Visa extension welcome as NHS faces workforce shortages

Nurse and child

Responding to today’s announcement about renewing free 12-month visa extensions for healthcare workers to those whose visas expired before the end of March 2021, Rebecca Smith, managing director of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:

“One of the greatest pressures facing the NHS at the moment is the workforce shortage due to vacancy levels and this 12-month extension for healthcare workers whose visas will expire will go some way towards helping this. It recognises the important contribution they make and will help reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with visas at this critical time.

“Health leaders tell us they are becoming increasingly worried about capacity to deliver some services as a result of their staff’s absence due to both sickness and self-isolation, and at the same time, about how much more their staff will be able to take.

“Organisations are doing all they can to support staff and make sure they’re cared for as they care for us, but they will also need understanding, patience and support from the public.

"While employers welcome all the changes made this year to support, to recruit and retain our essential international workforce, we remain deeply concerned that in six weeks' time the new immigration rules will mean there can be no recruitment from outside the UK into care worker roles in social care, and no sign of a new long-term financial deal for the sector - the clock is ticking but there is still time for this to be addressed."


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