- 07 May 2021
- 2 min read
Overseas Health Workers Get Free Visa Extension But Care Workers Miss Out Again
Thousands of health workers from overseas breathed a big sigh of relief recently as it was announced that those whose visas were set to run out in the near future would enjoy a free one-year extension.
Nurses, doctors, midwives, paramedics and many others besides will benefit, with more than 14,000 people affected in total.
This news has been well received by staff and employers alike, but critics were quick to point out that the extension hasn’t been granted for care workers.
Care Workers “Overlooked” Again
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea praised the impact this move will have on the NHS, but questioned why care workers had been “overlooked” again.
This free extension was first introduced at the beginning of the pandemic, but was only offered to nurses, doctors and paramedics.
It was later extended to more professions, but care workers continued to miss out.
For the care sector this is especially frustrating because the biggest benefit of this extension is the money it saves for those who need it most.
A health and care worker visa normally costs £232 per person. This visa extension also applies to partners and children.
Therefore, for many it offers a significant saving. But savings are arguably needed most by care staff – whose earnings are typically far lower than those of health professionals.
With an hourly rate that often hovers barely above the national minimum wage, this is exactly the kind of relief measure the care sector is crying out for.
Pressure is now being applied by the sector and trade unions, but it remains to be seen whether the government will change course.
With more than 100,000 vacancies across the UK, the care sector needs all the help it can get to retain overseas staff.