Thank you for contacting me about NHS staff and immigration as the Coronavirus outbreak continues.
I couldn’t agree with you more that we have seen courageous and heroic efforts made by front-line staff during this pandemic and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude. Ministers have been clear that they continue to consider how best to support the health and social care sector.
I am particularly pleased that the Government has taken action to ensure the immigration system does not unduly infringe the ability of the NHS to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak. Any doctor, nurse or paramedic working for the NHS will have their visa automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. I am pleased that family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended.
The Government has made sure that the extension is free.
I know Ministers are aware of the pressure NHS staff are under at the current time and therefore recognise the need to make this process as easy as possible. It is good news that those NHS staff do not need to apply for this extension, instead the Government will contact NHS employers to identify those staff eligible and will confirm if they have received an automatic extension.
I fully support the principle of the Immigration Health Surcharge. However, I was pleased to learn that the Government is reviewing the fee for NHS workers, in view of their extraordinary contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic.