Government grants deceased doctors’ dependants right to remain

by Peter Blackburn

Dependants of doctors who die on the front line fighting coronavirus will be granted immediate indefinite leave to remain in the UK, the Government has confirmed.

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 29 April 2020
Depiction of molecular virus

It comes after pressure from the BMA – with the association’s council chair Chaand Nagpaul urging home secretary Priti Patel to make the changes to show support for international medical professionals working in the NHS during the pandemic.

Dr Nagpaul wrote to Ms Patel on 3 April outlining a range of measures required to support international doctors during the continuing crisis.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘As you will sadly be aware the risks to doctors working on the front line are very real. The first three doctors to sadly die in the UK due to COVID-19 were international doctors. This illustrates the sacrifices that all doctors make and the risks they are willing to take to care for critically ill patients in the NHS. 

‘Our international medical graduate members are understandably worried about protecting their families whose immigration status will be dependent on theirs. We therefore urge the Home Office to give indefinite leave to remain to the dependants of international doctors who die while working in the NHS due to COVID-19.’

More than 100 NHS and care staff have died with the virus, with total recorded deaths rising to 21,092.

In his letter Dr Nagpaul also called for all doctors and healthcare professionals to be exempt from the health surcharge, at least for the duration of the pandemic, and for all international doctors to obtain indefinite leave to remain automatically.

‘It is important that medical professionals who wish to assist in the current crisis are supported in doing so,' he said.