Guidance on free, one year visa extensions for NHS and frontline healthcare workers

The Home Office has issued new guidance on eligibility and process for securing a one year visa extension for NHS and frontline health workers. This is relevant to NHS and independent healthcare employers.

The categories of professions that qualify has been expanded from doctors, nurses and paramedics to include:

  • biochemist
  • biological scientist
  • dental practitioner
  • health professional
  • medical practitioner
  • medical radiographer
  • midwife
  • nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • ophthalmologist
  • paramedic
  • pharmacist
  • physiotherapist
  • podiatrist
  • psychologist
  • social worker
  • speech and language therapist
  • therapy professional

This extension policy applies to all visa holders in these occupations, and is not limited to sponsored workers. Only employees with visas which are due to expire before 1 October 2020 are eligible. Those with visas which expire after this date will need to extend in the usual way under the rules and policy in place at the time. The extension will be granted for one year from when an employee's visa is due to expire. The employee's family members can also qualify. NHS or independent healthcare employers will need to contact employees in these occupations to ensure they are aware the visa extension policy. The employer will advise UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) which employees are eligible for an extension. The eligibility requirements are that the employee is in an eligible profession and that their visa is due to expire before 1 October 2020. A report can be provided to the UK Visas and Immigration NHS team. The one year visa extension is free and there is no immigration health surcharge to pay. If an employee has already submitted an extension, they can email the UKVI NHS team to withdraw their existing visa extension application and apply for a refund. They will not be able to do this they have already provided their biometrics (fingerprints and photo) as part of that application. Once the employer receives the go ahead from UKVI, they can advise their employees to post their current biometric residence permits (BRPs) for them and their family members to UKVI. Alternatively, the employer can send the BRPs to UKVI. These should be sent to UK Visas and Immigration PO Box 3468 Sheffield S3 8WAUKVI will return the BRPs to the employer after the visa has been extended to be passed to the eligible employees.

If you would like to talk through the consequences for your business, please email us and one of our team will get in touch.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.