The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has announced that frontline health workers and their dependents will be granted free visa extensions. The extensions will be automatically granted to eligible workers whose visas were set to expire by 1st October 2021.
The extension looks to benefit more than 14,000 applicants. The extension will mean that doctors, nurses, paramedics and in other supporting frontline roles will be able to continue their work in the fight against coronavirus.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said ‘’The dedication and skill of overseas health and care workers who are leading the UK’s fight against coronavirus is truly extraordinary.
‘’Thousands of them have helped save countless lives throughout this pandemic and are now playing a vital part in the hugely successful vaccination rollout.
‘’Our offer of free visa extensions shows how our country values the contributions of these heroes.’’
The move has been met with criticism for leaving out care workers and those not seen as directly involved in the NHS.
UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Thousands of NHS workers will be relieved they don’t face hefty bills to continue providing vital services across the UK.
“Many have faced huge stresses and pushed themselves to the limit to treat and look after us all. It’s only right the government looks after them and makes their lives a little easier by granting free visas.
“But it looks like the care sector has been overlooked again. This scheme must extend to all employees in health and care, particularly the lowest paid who need this help the most.”