Tuesday 31 March 2020 10:54 PM UTC
LONDON April 1: Thousands of foreign NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics are to have their work visas automatically extended for free so they can stay and help coronavirus sufferers, it was announced yesterday.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said those with residency documents due to expire on or before October 1 will have them extended for a year.
The move is expected to help some 2,800 medics working within the NHS, the Home Office said.
The change will be automatic so medical staff are not burdened with paperwork at a time when the NHS is facing a massive fight against the pandemic.
In a statement yesterday, Ms Patel 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.’atement today, Home Secretary Priti Patel 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’
The Home Office also announced that trainee doctors and nurses will also not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time
But Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour’s shadow immigration minister, said: ‘The current crisis is showing yet again that the 29 per cent of non-British NHS doctors are completely indispensable to our healthcare system.
‘The Home Office’s announcement that it will extend the visas of migrant doctors, nurses, paramedics and their families is a piecemeal show of gratitude.
‘It is completely incommensurate with the superhuman effort migrant workers are putting into the fight against coronavirus.
‘Successive immigration policies have no doubt exacerbated key worker shortages. With outstanding staffing gaps in the NHS, there’s no justification for not granting NHS key workers indefinite leave to remain.
‘Lest we forget, migrants helped build our NHS. The sheer number of British lives these key workers save every year more than earns them the right to live theirs in this country.’
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