To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on (a) broadening eligibility for the covid-19 pandemic-related visa extension for health workers to include (i) frontline NHS support workers and (ii) other people working in an NHS role, and (b) extending the duration of the existing one-year extension.
On 20 November 2020, the Home Secretary announced that frontline and other National Health Service workers’ whose Tier 2 (General) visas expire between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021 will be entitled to a free, one-year extension. This measure includes doctors, nurses and paramedics amongst others and includes their dependents. The Government previously provided free visa extensions for health professionals that were due to expire between 31 March 2020 and 1 October 2020. This recent announcement means that this offer is extended to 31 March 2021.
This extension only covers those on Tier 2 (General) visas, rather than those on visas that give a generic right to work in the United Kingdom. The Government has ensured these individuals can benefit from the reimbursement scheme for the Immigration Health Surcharge.