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Health And Care Worker Visa

A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.

The Health and Care visa was designed to encourage healthcare professionals from around the world to come to work in the UK health sector.

For applicants, the benefits of the new Health and Care Worker visa include fast-tracked entry to the UK, together with reduced visa fees and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. It also includes the support of a dedicated team within UKVI in processing visa applications for migrants and their dependent families.

If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

If you or your family member started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

Otherwise you need a visa to work in the UK.

Eligibility

Your job

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa, you must:

  • be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
  • work in an eligible health or social care job
  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do
    You must check if your job is eligible and must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.

Knowledge of English

You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.

If you are not eligible for a Health and Care Worker visa

You may be eligible for another type of visa to work in the UK

How long you can stay

Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You will need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements. After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK. This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you are eligible.

How to Apply

You must apply online.
How you apply depends on whether you’re:

  • outside the UK and are coming to the UK
  • inside the UK and extending your current visa
  • inside the UK and switching from a different visa

If you want to change your job or employer, you must apply to update your visa. You can include your partner and children in your application to stay in the UK if they are eligible.

How long it takes

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.

As part of your application, you will need to prove your identity and provide your documents. You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You will find out if you need one when you start your application.

Getting a decision

Once you have applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you will usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.

You may be able to pay to get a faster decision. How you do this depends on whether you are outside the UK or inside the UK.

How much it costs

You, your partner or children will each need to:

  • pay the application fee
  • prove you have enough personal savings

Healthcare surcharge

You – and your partner or children – will not have to pay the healthcare surcharge.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work in an eligible job
  • take on additional work in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they are eligible
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you have lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public fund)), or the State Pension
  • change jobs or employer unless you update your visa
  • If your application is successful, you will get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Health and Care Worker visa.

Current Changes To The Health And Care Worker Visa

In an attempt to alleviate current pressure on the health and social care system as a result of Covid-19, the Home Office recently announced that the UK Health and Care Worker visa is to be opened up to overseas care workers, care assistants and home carers.

More details have now been released in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC1019 published on 24 January 2022.

From 15 February 2022, care workers will be eligible to be sponsored for a Health and Care Worker visa. To the list of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes, which meet the eligibility requirements for a Health and Care Worker visa, will be added:

  • 6145 Care workers and home carers

Related eligible job titles will include Care assistant, Care worker, Carer, Home care assistant, Home carer and Support worker (nursing home).

The change is being effected by disapplying the requirement of the Skilled Worker route for the job offer to be one which involves duties and responsibilities involving skills equivalent to RQF level 3, which is broadly equivalent to a level of skills obtained through A-levels. Removing the skills threshold will allow care workers to qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa.

Care Workers added to the Shortage Occupation List

At the same time, care workers, home carers and related job titles are being added to the Shortage Occupation List, meaning that they can benefit from lower salary requirements and application fees than other skilled workers.

An applicant with a job offer for a job as a care worker, home carer or related eligible job title will need to be paid a salary which is at least equal to whichever is the highest of £20,480 per year or £10.10 per hour.

Where a Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued to a care worker to stay in the UK for 3 years or less, the application fee will be £232. Where a Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued for a care worker to stay in the UK for 3 years or more, the application fee will be £464. This application fee will be automatically reduced by £55 for nationals of: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.

Home Carers Must Be Sponsored by an Organisation

The Home Office has confirmed that whilst home carers will be eligible for a Health & Care Worker visa, home carers will only be able to be sponsored on the route if they are working for an organisation, which is able to meet the sponsorship requirement. In other words, private households and individuals will not be able to sponsor home carers unless they are a sole trader sponsoring someone to work for their business.

Criminal Record Requirement for Care Workers

The Home Office has also clarified that, in line with other care-related occupations, care workers will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have been present in for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years, and while aged 18 or over.

Still have questions?

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