Support for overseas nurses and healthcare workers in the UK
While we continue to face such turbulent times, there is one thing that remains certain – the UK needs our valued nurses and healthcare workers more than ever. In response to the increased staffing demand, there is a new focus from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), as well as the UK Government, which will assist those coming from abroad.
COVID-19 temporary register for overseas nurses and midwives
Over the past few weeks, the NMC has announced new changes for international nurses and midwives who can now join a temporary COVID-19 register. With greater urgency and demand in this unprecedented situation, this will enable skilled professionals to join the frontline workforce as quickly and safely as possible.
The NMC stated, “we recognise that the UK health and social care system relies on the excellent care given by professionals from other countries” and expressed they are doing everything they can to support overseas candidates with their registration.
From Monday 6 April 2020, eligible overseas nurses and midwives have been able to join a temporary register. This has already seen more than 10,000 applications from international candidates, as well as former nurses who want to re-join the register and help fight against COVID-19.
Commenting on the milestone moment, Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, the NMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar, has thanked all the nurses and midwives who have signed up to the temporary COVID-19 register, expressing that the contributions and support from overseas workers are being recognised now more than ever.
Free visa extensions for frontline healthcare workers
As part of the national effort to combat coronavirus, the UK Government has announced that NHS and frontline healthcare workers will automatically have their work visas extended, free of charge, for one year.
The extension was announced on 31 March by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. It will apply to over 2800 international doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists, all of whom with visas due to expire before 01 October 2020.
The extension is available to those working in both the NHS and independent private sector and includes their family members. In addition, extensions will be automatic, free and include exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.
In the announcement, Patel said, “we are incredibly grateful to all overseas health and care workers fighting this invisible enemy…” adding that the overseas frontline staff are doing extraordinary work responding to this global outbreak.
In total, it has been stated by Patel that this will benefit over 3,000 vital healthcare workers and their families.
These announced changes are a direct reflection on the crucial service that overseas healthcare workers provide to the UK, and the positive impact they have on our NHS, particularly noticeable in the current climate.
We, too, want to express our gratitude and show support for our international candidates; thank you all for your contributions, commitments and the vital assistance you are providing.
If you are a nurse currently seeking work opportunities or have any questions in relation to these addressed changes, please get in touch with our dedicated team who are here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
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