The Home Office has put in place temporary measures to extend the visas of all regulated healthcare professionals across the NHS and the independent sector during the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures initially applied to nurses, doctors and paramedics and were further extended on 29 April.
The following professions are included:
- biological scientist
- dental practitioner
- health professional
- medical practitioner
- medical radiographer
- occupational therapist
- social worker
- speech and language therapist
- therapy professional.
The visa extensions apply to a large number of professionals employed by the NHS, whose visa is due to expire before 1 October. Further details can be found on the Home Office website.
Staff eligible for the one year extension will not be expected to apply. The UK Visas and Immigration NHS team is contacting NHS organisations asking for the details of staff and family members eligible for the extension.
You can contact UK Visas and Immigration's dedicated NHS mailbox with queries about these extensions: UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Due to current travel restrictions, individuals on visitor visas, for example doctors on clinical attachments who are eligible to secure GMC registration, can now apply for a Tier 2 visa from within the UK, otherwise known as an in-country application.
Individuals who would normally have to return to their home country to apply for Tier 2 visas will also temporarily be able to apply from the UK until 31 May, for example doctors who have passed their Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test. On 22 May this route was extended until 31 July.
Home Office bereavement scheme
The bereavement scheme was launched in April and offers indefinite leave to remain for the families and dependents of health workers in the NHS and the independent health and care sector. The scheme was extended on May 20 to cover NHS support staff and social care workers.
UK Visas and Immigration are contacting employers to identify those eligible for the scheme and will arrange for those affected to be issued with indefinite leave to remain. If further information is required or relatives believe they are eligible but have not yet heard anything, enquiries in the first instance should be shared with UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
More details are available on the Gov.uk website.
To secure additional capacity of staff on the frontline, the Home Office has also lifted the restriction on the amount of hours student doctors, nurses and paramedics can work in the NHS.