Travel ban rules and new resource for international workforce

Did you know that there has been a recent development for organisations who are recruiting international healthcare workers and the NHS Workforce Alliance has been working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement regarding entry clearance to the UK.

This has resulted in healthcare workers who have been granted entry clearance on a health and care visa or Tier 2 work visa to be allowed entry into the UK. However they must follow the government quarantine rules.

Travel bans for red list countries

Travel bans are in place for countries the UK consider high risk, these are on the RED LIST found here.

If someone has been in or through any of the countries on the list in the previous 10 days, they may be refused entry to the UK.

This list is subject to change so please keep updated regularly.

Exemptions to Travel bans British and Irish Nationals, or third country nationals with residence rights in the UK are exempt from the travel ban and will be able to enter the UK.

Third country national with residence right in the UK are:

  • Holders of existing leave to enter or remain (i.e. those with biometric Residence permits) or an entry clearance/visa that grants such leave e.g. students, workers, etc (but excluding visit visas)
  • Holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain
  • Holders of EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) leave
  • Those who have rights of entry under the Withdrawal Agreements (including returning residents with a right of residence under the EEA Regulations and EEA frontier workers)
  • Family members of EEA nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement

Therefore healthcare workers who have been granted entry clearance on a Health and Care visa or a Tier 2 work visa are allowed to enter the UK for work, however they must follow the government quarantine rules – see below

Travel requirements to the UK

There travel requirements to enter the UK depending on the country of exit:

Negative covid tests

  • Everyone travelling to England must have proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test to travel. The test must be taken in the 3 days before arrival to England.
  • Full and up to date details can be found here:
  • If the flight to the UK has a stopover in a different country – it is vital you check the Covid Test requirements for the stopover country as it may differ from the UK.  E.g. Germany require a Covid test within 48 hours of entry

Quarantine requirements

  • Those who are entering the UK from any country must self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.  Those who enter from non-red list countries are able to be released earlier from quarantine using the Test to Release Scheme  This must be a private test.
  • Those who are entering the UK from a country on the red list must also self-isolate for 10 days on arrival. They cannot use the Test to Release Scheme.
  • The Government has announced that travellers from the red list countries will be required to quarantine in hotels on arrival. The detail of this policy and when it will come into force is not yet known.  This will be provided on in due course and circulated.

Travel rules and visa entry requirements

  • When booking indirect flights to the UK please check the visa entry requirements of the transfer country.  Travellers may need a “visit visa” issued to allow them to travel through the transfer country.  e.g. Indian nationals need a visa to enter Turkey even if this is just for a connecting flight.
  • Also check the Covid test validity times as these may differ from the UK rules.
  • Countries have different “ban lists” so please ensure the country of origin is allowed to transit between any transfer country.
  • There are currently flights available from India direct with Air India and British Airways or via Muscat airport in Oman and there are flights from Philippines via Hong Kong and Oman.
  • Flights from Dubai are still available with Emirates via Frankfurt or Dublin to the UK.  Turkish Airlines also have flights to the UK via Istanbul.
  • Flights are subject to change at short notice so please keep up to date with the airline booking information.

If you are unsure of any of the travel restrictions or requirements please refer to the government website Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support – GOV.UK (

A new resource for your overseas trained nurses

The feedback from discussions with Trust IR leads and diaspora groups have suggested that a new resource designed to signpost to key information for international nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic would be helpful. This aims to build on the existing information NHS Trusts and agencies will already provide, and is targeted particularly at nurses who are new to the UK and the NHS.

This new resource includes signposts and guidance on:

  • Travelling to the UK
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Risk assessments and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Training and development
  • Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) support
  • Joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) temporary registry
  • Visa extensions
  • Raising concerns
  • Support from staff networks, trade unions and international nursing associations

The resource has been jointly produced by NHS England and NHS Improvement, and NHS Employers, with support from the unions.

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