RPS,BPSA welcome one-year visa extension for overseas pharmacists

Representational image (iStock)
Representational image (iStock)

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) have welcomed the decision to extend visa for pharmacists from overseas. These frontline workers, with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020, will receive an automatic and free one-year extension, with immediate effect.

The extension is for visas expiring between 31 March and 1 October 2020. Employers will need to notify the Home Office to request an extension.

This will apply to provisionally registered pharmacists who are in employment which fulfills the requirements for a tier 2 visa, confirmed the department of health and social care.

Recently, the RPS and BPSA have submitted  a joint letter to the Home Secretary calling for a visa extension for pre-reg pharmacists. They 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, a statement said.

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.”

“Pre-registration pharmacists are working on the frontline to support patient care, so it’s only right this has been recognised by the government,” said BPSA president Regan McCahill.

“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.”