Last reviewed 30 April 2020

Free visa extensions will be automatically granted to more crucial overseas health and care workers, Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced.

Frontline workers, including midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020, will receive an automatic one-year extension.

This will apply to those working both in the NHS and independent sector and will include their family members.

Ms Patel said: “We are incredibly grateful to all overseas health and care workers fighting this invisible enemy. We have already announced the extension of visas for NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics. Now we are going further by extending this offer to hundreds of other frontline health and care workers, both in the NHS and in the independent sector.”

These extensions will be automatic, free and include exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge, she went on.

In total, some 3000 vital health and care workers and their families will benefit from the extension.

The extension comes into effect immediately and is for all visas expiring between 31 March and 1 October 2020. Those benefitting from this extension will be identified by health and care employers across the UK.

Any NHS workers who have paid for an unresolved application will be offered the option of a refund with the Home Secretary promising to work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Trusts to put these arrangements in place.

She also confirmed that family members and dependants of healthcare workers who sadly pass away as a result of contracting the virus will be offered immediate indefinite leave to remain in the UK.