Physiotherapists, and their families, will now be included in the government’s new visa extension scheme, following calls from the CSP and other trade unions.
The one-year extensions – which were originally announced for NHS nurses, doctors, and paramedics who have visas that are due to expire between 31 March and 1 October 2020 – will now also cover physiotherapists and other allied health professions.
The government introduced the scheme to protect staffing levels across the health sector and allow staff to focus on patient care during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.
Rob Yeldham, CSP Director of Strategy, said: ‘After we called for change, the Home Office’s decision is a welcome relief to many CSP members.
'We have had members working in ICU worrying about whether their visa is about to expire.
'Community rehabilitation services are likely to see an unprecedented increase in demand as we turn to face the challenge of meeting the post-Covid healthcare needs in the months and years ahead. So it is vital we retain every overseas physio and physio support worker currently working in the UK.
‘We would like further assurances from the Home Office around; the timescale during which extensions are made, the status of physio support workers and those not directly employed by healthcare providers.’
Which physiotherapists are eligible?
The visa extension scheme now includes physiotherapists on a Tier 2 (‘general’) or Tier 5 Visa that is due to expire before October 2020.
The extensions are available for physiotherapists who are employed by the NHS or an independent healthcare provider.
And physiotherapists, and their families, who belong to this category will now be able to have their visas extended, for a period of one year, and will not have to apply or pay for the extension.
The CSP has produced a visa extension FAQ for members, which provides further details about the government’s new policy.
The Home Office has also confirmed that family members and dependants of eligible healthcare workers who pass away during the pandemic will be granted immediate indefinite leave to remain.
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