close
Wednesday May 29, 2024

Overseas NHS staff to get one-year visa extension

By Wadood Mushtaq
April 01, 2020

LONDON: The Home Office on Tuesday announced extension of visas of NHS’s overseas doctors, nurses and paramedics for one year, besides lifting restriction on the number of working hours for student nurses and doctors at the health facility.

Doctors, nurses and paramedics whose visas are due to expire before 1st October 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year free of charge.

The visa extension, announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to around 2,800 overseas doctors, nurses and paramedics employed by the NHS, whose visa is due to expire before 1st October. The extension will also apply to their family members. In order to get more doctors and nurses on the frontline, the Home Office has also lifted the restriction on the number of hours for student nurses and doctors to work in the NHS.

On top of these changes, pre-registered overseas nurses —who are currently required to sit their first skills test within three months and to pass the test within eight months — will now have this deadline extended to the end of this year.

This will give overseas nurses more time to pass their exams whilst they spend the immediate term working on the frontline.

Patel said in her statement that doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world have been playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives. “We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do. I don’t want them distracted by the visa process. That is why I have automatically extended their visas “free of charge“ for a further year.

Patel further said the extension to NHS visas will be automatic, there will be no fee attached and it will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge. Trainee doctors and nurses will also not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time, she added. She clarified that extension will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge of up to £400 per year. The Home Office said all these steps were being taken to boost the performance of NHS and to meet the target of 10,000 tests every day.