In an effort to combat the Covid-19 crisis, the United Kingdom government has extended visas for one year, for medical personnel employed by the National Health Service (NHS).

The extension will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, whose visa is due to expire before October 1 this year. The visa extension will be available to their family members as well.

The NHS visa extension will be automatic, free of charge and exempted from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Furthermore, the Home Office has also lifted the restriction on the number of hours student nurses and doctors can work in the NHS.

Pre-registered overseas nurses who are currently required to take their first skills test within three months and pass within eight months, will now have this deadline extended to the end of the year.

Commenting on this initiative, Priti Patel, Home Secretary said, “Doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are 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.”