We’re very pleased to see the vital contribution of overseas doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedics recognised by the UK government in its recent decision to extend visas for a year for all those working for the NHS with work visas due to expire by October 1st.
This change allows 2,800 healthcare professionals to stay in the UK along with their families. The extension is automatic and is also exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge – a £400 per year charge applied to all workers from outside the EU to access NHS services (irrespective of whether they work in the NHS or not).
The Home Office announcement also lifted restrictions on the number of hours international student doctors and nurses can work for the NHS per week and extended the time overseas nurses are required to pass their skills tests.
Through the work we do preparing hundreds of internationally-qualified doctors and nurses to pass the OET and IELTS English tests they need to work in the UK, we know just how committed they are to contributing their skills and energies to the NHS. We are constantly stuck by their positive, caring attitude and their eagerness to pass their language test so they can get into the wards and do what they have spent years training to do.
The NHS has a multinational, multicultural workforce providing an incredible service to the people of the UK. This decision is the right one and we hope is the sign of a more open door and warmer welcome to overseas healthcare professionals in years to come.