Coronavirus Update: NHS Workers to receive 1-year visa extension

The Home Secretary has announced NHS workers on Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas will receive a 1-year automatic visa extension in an attempt to fight the on-going global Coronavirus pandemic. The purpose of the visa extension is to give NHS workers peace of mind so that they can focus on combating Coronavirus and help save lives. In addition to the visa extension, the government has also announced that trainee doctors and nurses will not be limited by the number of hours they can work during term time as they would under usual circumstances.

Who are NHS workers?

For the purpose of the 1-year visa extension, NHS workers are defined as:

  • Doctors;
  • Nurses; and
  • Paramedics.

It is yet to be seen whether the Home Office expands the definition of ‘NHS workers’ and whether the same visa extension may apply to other specialist job roles. There are a number of specialist occupations that are working in some capacity to fight the deadly virus who should also be commended for their efforts.

What is the 1-year visa extension for NHS workers?

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel announced yesterday afternoon that there are around 2,800 NHS workers who will be given an automatic 1-year visa extension in the UK. The government has waived the need to make a formal application for the extension and there will be no costs involved. The extension demonstrates how valued overseas NHS workers are to the UK. It was also announced that pre-registered nurses who are currently required to sit a skills test will be given an additional 5 months to pass the test allowing them to focus on working in the frontline combating Coronavirus. 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. 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.”

It is clear to everyone that the NHS workers are doing an amazing job and we are of the opinion that all NHS workers should be given indefinite leave to remain status in the UK immediately. The government are planning further talks later this week to discuss the situation regarding migrants who wish to access universal credit in these difficult times. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has also pushed for the government to relax the rules on ‘no recourse to public funds (NRPF)’ as a failure to do this will result in a breach of the social distancing rules. Sadiq Khan wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to suspend the NRPF rules stating:

They are unable to access the welfare safety net they need, despite paying into the system through taxes. These are people who have lived in the UK for many years, often with children born and brought up here

Will the 1-year visa extension apply to family members of NHS workers? 

The simple answer is yes; the extension will also apply to family members who are in the UK as dependents. Family members are direct family members only i.e. parents, spouses, and children. In some limited circumstances, you apply for secondary family members. However, it is not clear whether the government will introduce provisions for overseas family members wanting to come to the UK once the travel restrictions are relaxed.

We are proud to announce a 25% discount on legal fees for NHS workers

As a small token of appreciation, we are proud to announce that our immigration team will offer a 25% discount on all legal fees for NHS workers for work relating to a UK Visas and Immigration application until 1 October 2020.

What other benefits are available for NHS workers?

In addition to the government’s decision to grant an automatic visa extension to NHS workers there are a number of private organisations/businesses offering benefits for NHS workers. Please see some of the benefits listed below:

  • Free accommodation at selected hotels for NHS staff in need;
  • Free parking at Hospitals (Government to cover costs of parking);
  • Discounted prices for some good at some outlets; and
  • Early opening hours for NHS workers to shop at some supermarkets.

Can I still see an immigration Solicitor in London given the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic?

Yes. We are a technologically advanced law firm and are well equipped for the current situation and have the resources and infrastructure to support you with any UK immigration issue.

We are actively monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 situation and will continue to follow advice and guidance issued by the UK GovernmentPublic Health England and the NHS.

The well-being of our team and our clients is our priority. We are following the advice to maintain social distancing; therefore we will hold all meetings with clients via video conferencing or via our telephone conferencing facilities for the foreseeable future.

Please contact our Immigration Team to arrange a consultation with us so we can assess your case in more detail and give you advice specific to your individual circumstances.

Using our Immigration Solicitors in London for advice regarding UK Visas and Immigration during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative in order to advise on a UK Visa and Immigration application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful applications using our Immigration Solicitors in London during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department.

We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to speak with one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

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