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UK Health and Care Worker Visa

The UK Health and Care Worker Visa provides a number of distinct advantages for migrants in health and care professions who wish to come to the UK to work.

Contact our immigration lawyers for a free telephone consultation on 020 3744 2797 or complete our enquiry form to discuss your UK Health and Care Worker Visa.

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What is the Health and Care Worker visa?

The Health and Care Worker Visa provides a fast-track for overseas nationals with medical and care skills to come to the UK to work in an eligible role with the NHS, an NHS supplier, or in the adult care sector, such as senior carers. Successful applicants can live and work in the UK for a period of five years and extend their visa as many times as they wish. After five years migrant workers with a Health and Care Visa will also have the option to settle in the UK (also known as indefinite leave to remain). There are considerable advantages of permanent residence, including the ability to switch employers claim benefits, and there is no requirement to apply for further visas.

It might surprise you to know that the UK’s National Health Service is the world’s fifth-largest employer with a staff of nearly 1.9m people. For this reason, there is always considerable demand for clinical staff of all levels from overseas. It is estimated that overseas nationals make up around 14% of the total workforce of the NHS, and there are around 100,000 vacancies within the service. The UK health and care worker visa is the ideal choice for professionals working in this sector from around the world who wish to work in the UK.

What are the differences between the Health and Care Visa and the Skilled Worker visa?

The Health and Care Worker Visa is only for medical professionals and those in eligible health and care professions. The Skilled Worker visa is for other professions and jobs outside of health and care.

In addition, there are several benefits of a health and care worker visa compared to a Skilled Worker visa, as follows:

  1. The Health and Care Visa is fast tracked by UKVI, meaning that applications are handled as a priority and processed within three weeks from the point the applicant has provided their biometric information. This compares to some other work visas which can take between eight and twenty weeks to process.
  2. The application fee for a Health and Care Visa is much lower than for the Skilled Worker Visa at £464 compared to £1,220 if applying for more than 3 years
  3. There is no requirement to pay the healthcare immigration surcharge for the Health and Care Visa. This is normally £624 for each year of your stay.

Who is the Health and Care Worker Visa for?

The UK Health and Care Worker Visa is available to the following qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals and adult social care professionals in one of the following occupations (note the four-digit number is the standard occupation code – SOC):

1181: health services and public health managers and directors

1242: residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors

2112: biological scientists and biochemists

2113: physical scientists

2211: medical practitioners

2212: psychologists

2213: pharmacists

2214: ophthalmic opticians

2215: dental practitioners

2217: medical radiographers

2218: podiatrists

2219: health professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as audiologists and occupational health advisers

2221: physiotherapists

2222: occupational therapists

2223: speech and language therapists

2229: therapy professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as osteopaths and psychotherapists

2231: nurses

2232: midwives

2442: social workers

3111: laboratory technicians

3213: paramedics

3216: dispensing opticians

3217: pharmaceutical technicians

3218: medical and dental technicians

3219: health associate professionals not elsewhere classified

6141: nursing auxiliaries and assistants

6143: dental nurses

6146: senior care workers

Health and Care Worker Visa eligibility

There are several eligibility requirements that must be met when applying for a UK Health and Care Worker Visa. Specifically, you must:

  • Have a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a UK employer from either the NHS, an approved organisation providing medical services to the NHS (e.g. a laboratory), or an organisation providing adult social care.
  • Be paid a minimum salary
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK

Job offer requirements

You must have an offer for a role with one of the above occupation codes. If you are unsure of the occupation code of the job you have been offered, you can use the ONS occupation checking tool1. Alternatively, check with your employer, who will be able to provide this information.

Your job offer must be from one of the following:

  • the NHS
  • an organisation providing medical services to the NHS
  • an organisation providing adult social care

Your employer (sponsor) must be licenced to employ overseas workers with Health and Care Visas. A full list of the types of organisations you can work for can be found on the Home Office website2.

Be paid a minimum salary

The minimum salary will depend on the type of job you have. Typically, you will need a salary of at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. The rules state that if the ‘going rate’3 is more than either of these figures, you will need to be paid at least the going rate. The going rate is set by the government and reflects the salary (or hourly rate) they estimate is typically paid within each profession. Therefore, the going rate varies considerably depending on which profession you are in).

In some cases, you can still apply for a Health and Care Visa if your salary is less than the amounts above. The rules state that you can be paid between 70% and 90% of the going rate for your job if you are paid at least £20,480 per year, and one of the following applies:

  • you have a job offer for a role in a shortage occupation4
  • you are under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
  • you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification relevant to the job you have been offered
  • you have a postdoctoral position in a scientific role

Meet the English language requirements

To apply for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you must meet the English language requirements, either by:

  • passing an approved language test for reading, writing, speaking and understanding English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
  • having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, or;
  • having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English.
  • being from an exempt country.

Evidence of savings

You will also need to show you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK (£1,270 held in your bank for 28 days). This will not be required if you have already been in the country for one year or more on a valid visa. If you do not have sufficient support funds, you may choose to ask your employer to provide a letter of support, which the Home Office will also accept.

To check if you are eligible for a UK Health and Care Worker visa, speak to one of our helpful immigration solicitors. Call us on 020 3744 2797 for advice on your UK Health and Care Worker visa.

How to apply for the health and care worker visa

The process of applying for a Skilled Worker visa from outside of the UK is completed online on the Home Office website5. You will be in a position to complete and submit your application once you have your job offer, Certificate of Sponsorship, and the supporting information listed below. If necessary, you can complete part of the application and save your progress, allowing you to complete the process at a later date.

The application steps are as follows:

  1. Check your eligibility for a health and care worker visa
  2. Secure a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK
  3. Receive your Certificate of Sponsorship from your UK employer
  4. Prepare the documents you will need to prove your eligibility for a health and care worker visa
  5. Complete the online application form6
  6. Pay the application fee, biometric fee, and healthcare surcharge (see below).
  7. Upload any documents required to support your application.
  8. Arrange a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken if this is required. You will be advised how you can prove your identity and supply your biometrics (i.e. fingerprints and photo) for your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This can be done either by having your fingerprints and photo taken at a visa application centre in the country in which you are located or by using the Home Office’s mobile phone ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. The app allows you to scan your identity documents and upload these to the Home Office.

You can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks of your application date if submitted outside the UK. If more information is needed to support your application, you will be contacted by UKVI.

Reiss Edwards can handle the Health and Care Visa application process for you and your family members. Call us on 020 3744 2797 for advice on your UK Health and Care Worker visa.

UK Health and Care Worker Visa required documents

Some of the information and documents you may need to provide to support your Health and Care Worker Visa application include:

  • Your passport (with a blank page)
  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Your job title and annual salary
  • Your job’s occupation code
  • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number (as shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship)
  • Evidence of sufficient personal savings to support yourself
  • Proof of your relationship to your spouse/partner and children (e.g. marriage and birth certificates)
  • Provide a criminal record certificate if you are applying from outside the UK, unless your job is in one of the following occupation codes:
    • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
    • physical scientists (2113)
  • Proof of your English language proficiency
  • TB test results (if you are from a country for which this is required)
  • UK PhD certificate or Ecctis reference if your PhD is not from the UK

Health and care worker visa extension

You will be able to further extend your health and care worker visa as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria; this means you must:

  • still have the same job as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK – this must be in the same occupation code
  • be working for the employer who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship
  • continue to meet the salary requirements

Your partner or children will also be able to extend their visa. However, they will need to apply separately, either at the same time as you or at any time before their current visa expires.

Health and care worker visa dependants

As a Health and Care Worker Visa holder, you will be able to bring your eligible dependant family members to join you in the UK; this includes your:

  • husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner – to be eligible, you must be in either a civil partnership or marriage or have been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years
  • children under the age of 18
  • children over 18 - if they are: living with you (unless they are at university or in a boarding school), not married, and financially dependent on you

Health and care worker visa costs

The health and care worker visa costs are as follows:

Application fee

  • For a visa of up to three years: £232 per person
  • For a visa of more than three years: £464 per person

Please note the application fee is the same whether you apply from inside or outside the UK.

Biometric fee

£19.20

References:

1 Office For National Statistics: ONS occupation coding tool.

2 GOV.UK: Health and Care visa: guidance for applicants

3 GOV.UK: Skilled Worker visa: going rates for eligible occupations

4 GOV.UK: Skilled Worker visa: shortage occupations

5 Home Office Website: Online Application

6 Home Office Website: Online Application

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