I couldn’t agree with you more that we have seen courageous and heroic efforts made by front-line staff, in Broxtowe and across the country, during this pandemic and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude.
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. It is good news that thousands of health professionals and their family dependants will have their visas extended for a year, free of all fees and charges. This comes after a previous announcement offering free visa extensions for health professionals whose visas were due to expire between 31 March 2020 and 1 October 2020. This further action taken by the Government will now extend that offer from 1 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.
It is important to remember that the visa extensions are just one part of the Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and you may be pleased to know that Ministers have been clear that they continue to consider how best to support the health and social care sector.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is based on a number of requirements, including lawful residence in the UK without excess absences and sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK. It is important to remember that many migrant health professionals already in the UK are likely to be on an immigration route that leads to settlement. I believe it is vital that the core tenets are maintained to provide for successful integration - this benefits the UK and overseas workers themselves.
Other areas of support include the bereavement scheme, the exemption from the NHS Surcharge and the new Health and Care Visa.