The Royal Pharmaceutical Society and British Pharmaceutical Students' Association have welcomed news today that pharmacists from overseas will be granted an automatic, free extension to their visa.
The Home Office has announced that frontline workers with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will receive an automatic one-year extension.
This follows a joint letter from RPS and BPSA to the Home Secretary calling for a visa extension for pre-reg pharmacists to help them focus on contributing to the provision of key services, combating coronavirus and saving lives.
We have confirmed with the Department of Health and Social Care that this extension will apply to provisionally registered pharmacists who are in employment which fulfils the requirements for a tier 2 visa. We will be continuing discussions in relation to international trainees without employment in the period between the end of pre-registration training and the registration assessment.
The extension comes into effect immediately and is for visas expiring between 31 March and 1 October 2020. Employers will need to notify the Home Office to request an extension.
RPS President Sandra Gidley said:
“It will be vital to support and maintain the pharmacy workforce in the coming months so this is welcome news for pharmacists, and their families, who are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d urge employers to contact the Home Office to request the extensions for their teams.”
BPSA President Regan McCahill said:
“Pre-registration pharmacists are working on the frontline to support patient care, so it’s only right this has been recognised by the Government. We’ve also called for support for pre-registration pharmacists who may not currently be in employment and will be speaking to government and the regulator further.”