Doctors, nurses and paramedics from abroad are to have their visas extended so they can “focus on fighting coronavirus”.
The extension will apply to around 2,800 migrant health professionals who are working for the NHS and have UK work visas which are due to expire before 1 October.
They will be renewed automatically for a year free of charge so they can remain working in the country, the Home Office said.
The changes will also apply to their family members.
Restrictions have also been lifted on how many hours international student doctors and nurses can work for the NHS per week, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
Deadlines for registered overseas nurses to pass skills tests will also be extended so they have more time to take exams while working on the front line.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do.
“I don’t want them distracted by the visa process.
“That is why I have automatically extended their visas – free of charge – for a further year.”
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.