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Health and Care Worker Visa

The UK Health and Care Worker Visa offers several unique benefits for individuals in health and care professions who desire to work in the UK. Feel free to reach out to our immigration solicitors at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 or fill out our form to discuss your UK Health and Care Worker Visa.

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November 10, 2023

Table of Contents

What is the Health and Care Worker visa?

The Health and Care Worker Visa offers a fast-track pathway for foreign nationals possessing medical and care skills to relocate to the UK for employment in eligible roles within the NHS, an NHS supplier, or the adult care sector, including positions like senior carers. Successful applicants can reside and work in the UK for a five-year period, with the option to extend their visa indefinitely. After five years, individuals with a Health and Care Visa can also pursue settlement in the UK, commonly known as indefinite leave to remain. This status comes with significant advantages, including the freedom to change employers, access benefits, and the absence of the need for further visa applications.

It might be surprising to learn that the UK’s National Health Service stands as the world’s fifth-largest employer, boasting a workforce of nearly 1.9 million individuals. Consequently, there is consistently high demand for clinical staff at various levels from international sources. Approximately 14% of the NHS workforce comprises overseas nationals, and there are roughly 100,000 vacancies within the service. The UK Health and Care Worker Visa emerges as the ideal option for professionals in the global health and care sector seeking employment opportunities in the UK.

What distinctions exist between the Health and Care Visa and the Skilled Worker Visa?

  • Targeted Professions:
    • The Health and Care Worker Visa is tailored for medical professionals and individuals engaged in eligible health and care professions.
    • The Skilled Worker Visa, on the other hand, caters to professionals in diverse fields beyond health and care.
  • Application Processing:
    • The Health and Care Visa benefits from a fast-tracked process by UKVI, ensuring prioritised handling. Applications are typically processed within three weeks from the point the applicant provides their biometric information.
    • In contrast, certain other work visas may take between eight and twenty weeks for processing.
  • Application Fee:
    • The application fee for the Health and Care Visa is notably lower than that for the Skilled Worker Visa. Specifically, the fee for the Health and Care Visa is £464, whereas it amounts to £1,220 for the Skilled Worker Visa when applying for a period exceeding three years.
  • Healthcare Immigration Surcharge:
    • Unlike the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants for the Health and Care Visa are exempt from the healthcare immigration surcharge. Typically, this surcharge is £624 for each year of stay with other visa categories.

Who qualifies for the Health and Care Worker Visa?

The UK Health and Care Worker Visa caters to accomplished professionals in the fields of medicine, nursing, healthcare, and adult social care. It is open to individuals specialising in a diverse array of occupations, each identified by a unique four-digit standard occupation code (SOC):

  • 1181: Health Services and Public Health Managers and Directors
    • Overseeing the strategic aspects of health services and public health.
  • 1242: Residential, Day, and Domiciliary Care Managers and Proprietors
    • Managing and directing operations in residential, day, and domiciliary care settings.
  • 2112: Biological Scientists and Biochemists
    • Conducting groundbreaking research and analysis in biological sciences and biochemistry.
  • 2113: Physical Scientists
    • Engaging in research and advancements in physical sciences.
  • 2211: Medical Practitioners
    • Practising medicine, providing medical care, and contributing to healthcare delivery.
  • 2212: Psychologists
    • Applying expertise in psychology to enhance mental health and well-being.
  • 2213: Pharmacists
    • Ensuring the safe and effective use of medications in healthcare.
  • 2214: Ophthalmic Opticians
    • Specialising in eye care and vision correction.
  • 2215: Dental Practitioners
    • Providing comprehensive dental care and promoting oral health.
  • 2217: Medical Radiographers
    • Utilising imaging techniques for medical diagnosis and treatment.
  • 2218: Podiatrists
    • Specialising in foot care and addressing lower limb issues.
  • 2219: Health Professionals ‘Not Elsewhere Classified’
    • Including audiologists and occupational health advisers, contributing to diverse healthcare roles.
  • 2221: Physiotherapists
    • Promoting physical well-being and rehabilitation through therapeutic interventions.
  • 2222: Occupational Therapists
    • Enhancing daily life and independence through occupational therapy.
  • 2223: Speech and Language Therapists
    • Facilitating effective communication and addressing speech and language disorders.
  • 2229: Therapy Professionals ‘Not Elsewhere Classified’
    • Encompassing unconventional roles such as osteopaths and psychotherapists.
  • 2231: Nurses
    • Providing compassionate nursing care across various healthcare settings.
  • 2232: Midwives
    • Ensuring maternal well-being and supporting childbirth experiences.
  • 2442: Social Workers
    • Making a positive impact through social work and community support.
  • 3111: Laboratory Technicians
    • Contributing to scientific discovery through laboratory work.
  • 3213: Paramedics
    • Responding to emergencies and providing pre-hospital care.
  • 3216: Dispensing Opticians
    • Safeguarding eye health through the dispensing of optical prescriptions.
  • 3217: Pharmaceutical Technicians
    • Supporting healthcare delivery through the preparation and dispensing of medications.
  • 3218: Medical and Dental Technicians
    • Assisting in diagnostics and treatment within medical and dental settings.
  • 3219: Health Associate Professionals ‘Not Elsewhere Classified’
    • Embracing diverse roles contributing to the broader healthcare landscape.
  • 6141: Nursing Auxiliaries and Assistants
    • Offering crucial support in nursing care settings.
  • 6143: Dental Nurses
    • Assisting in dental procedures and ensuring patient comfort.
  • 6146: Senior Care Workers
    • Providing essential support in the adult care sector, particularly in senior care.

Eligibility Criteria for the Health and Care Worker Visa

When applying for a UK Health and Care Worker Visa, several eligibility requirements must be satisfied. Specifically, applicants must:

  • Have a Job Offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):
    • Obtain a job offer and CoS from a UK employer affiliated with the NHS, an approved organisation providing medical services to the NHS (e.g. a laboratory), or an organisation involved in adult social care.
  • Meet the Minimum Salary Requirement:
    • Receive a salary that meets the minimum threshold, which varies depending on the type of job. Generally, the salary should be at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. Exceptions apply if the ‘going rate’ exceeds these figures.
  • Job Offer Requirements:
    • Secure a job offer aligned with one of the specified occupation codes, including roles within the NHS, organisations offering medical services to the NHS, or entities engaged in adult social care.
  • Employer (Sponsor) Licensing:
    • Ensure that the sponsoring employer holds the necessary licence to employ overseas workers under Health and Care Visas. The Home Office website provides a comprehensive list of eligible organisations.
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Meet the English language requirements by either passing an approved language test (equivalent to at least level B1 on the CEFR scale), possessing a qualifying academic qualification in English, or being from an exempt country.
  • Evidence of Savings:
    • Demonstrate sufficient personal savings (£1,270 held in the bank for 28 days) to support oneself while in the UK. This requirement is waived for individuals who have been in the country for one year or more on a valid visa. Alternatively, applicants lacking adequate funds may request their employer to provide a supporting letter, which the Home Office will accept.

To determine your eligibility for a UK Health and Care Worker Visa, consult with our knowledgeable immigration solicitors. Call us at +44 (0) 1293 522 275 for personalised advice on your Health and Care Worker Visa application.

How to Apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa

The application process for a Health and Care Worker Visa from outside the UK is conducted online through the Home Office website. You can proceed with completing and submitting your application once you have obtained your job offer, Certificate of Sponsorship, and the supporting information outlined below. If needed, you have the option to partially fill out the application and save your progress, enabling you to finish the process at a later date.

The application entails the following steps:

  1. Check Your Eligibility for a Health and Care Worker Visa:
    • Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Health and Care Worker Visa.
  2. Secure a Job Offer from a Licensed Sponsor in the UK:
    • Obtain a job offer from a sponsor in the UK who holds the necessary licence to sponsor overseas workers.
  3. Receive Your Certificate of Sponsorship:
    • Obtain the Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer in the UK.
  4. Prepare Required Documents:
    • Gather the necessary documents to substantiate your eligibility for the Health and Care Worker Visa.
  5. Complete the Online Application Form:
    • Fill out the online application form provided on the Home Office website.
  6. Pay Fees:
    • Pay the application fee, biometric fee, and healthcare surcharge as specified.
  7. Upload Supporting Documents:
    • Upload any documents required to support your application.
  8. Arrange Biometric Appointment:
    • If necessary, schedule a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken. You can fulfil this requirement either at a visa application centre in your location or by using the Home Office’s mobile app, ‘UK Immigration: ID Check.’
  9. Receive Decision:
    • Anticipate a decision within three weeks from the date of your application if submitted outside the UK. UKVI will contact you if additional information is required to support your application.

Required Documents for the UK Health and Care Worker Visa Application

To substantiate your Health and Care Worker Visa application, you will need to provide a range of information and documents. These include:

  • Passport:
    • A valid passport with at least one blank page.
  • Certificate of Sponsorship Reference Number:
    • The reference number from your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Job Details:
    • Your job title, annual salary, and the occupation code associated with your role.
  • Employer Information:
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number, as indicated on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Financial Documentation:
    • Evidence demonstrating sufficient personal savings to support yourself during your stay.
  • Family Relationship Proof:
    • Documentation proving your relationship to your spouse/partner and children, such as marriage and birth certificates.
  • Criminal Record Certificate:
    • If applying from outside the UK, provide a criminal record certificate unless your job falls under specific occupation codes (e.g., biological scientists and biochemists, physical scientists).
  • English Language Proficiency:
    • Proof of meeting the English language proficiency requirements.
  • TB Test Results:
    • If required based on your country of origin.
  • UK PhD Certificate or Ecctis Reference:
    • If your PhD is not from the UK.

Ensuring that you compile and submit these documents accurately will strengthen your Health and Care Worker Visa application.

Extension of the Health and Care Worker Visa

You have the opportunity to extend your Health and Care Worker Visa provided you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. This entails:

  1. Consistency in Job Role:
    • Maintaining the same job you held when initially granted permission to enter or stay in the UK. This job must align with the same occupation code.
  2. Employer Continuity:
    • Remaining employed by the same employer who issued your current Certificate of Sponsorship.
  3. Salary Compliance:
    • Ensuring that you still meet the specified salary requirements.

Should you decide to extend your visa, it’s essential to note that your partner or children also have the option to extend their visas. However, they must submit separate applications, either concurrently with yours or before the expiration of their current visas.

Dependants on the Health and Care Worker Visa

As a Health and Care Worker Visa holder, you have the opportunity to reunite with eligible family members in the UK. This encompasses the following dependants:

  • Spouse, Civil Partner, or Unmarried Partner:
    • Eligible spouses, civil partners, or unmarried partners can join you in the UK. To qualify, you must be in either a civil partnership or marriage, or have cohabited in a relationship for a minimum of two years.
  • Children Under 18:
    • Children below the age of 18 are eligible to accompany you to the UK as your dependants.
  • Children Over 18:
    • Dependant children over 18 may also join you if they fulfil specific criteria:
      • They live with you, except when they are attending university or residing in a boarding school.
      • They are not married.
      • They are financially dependent on you.

The opportunity for eligible family members to join you in the UK is a valuable aspect of the Health and Care Worker Visa. Detailed criteria ensure clarity regarding the eligibility of dependants, fostering family reunification.

Health and Care Worker Visa Expenses

The expenses associated with the Health and Care Worker Visa are outlined below:

Application Fee:

  • For a visa valid up to three years: £232 per person.
  • For a visa exceeding three years: £464 per person.

It’s essential to note that the application fee remains consistent, regardless of whether the application is submitted from within or outside the UK.

Biometric Fee:

  • £19.20.

These fees cover the processing of your visa application and the necessary biometric procedures. Ensuring clarity on the costs involved is crucial for applicants seeking to secure a Health and Care Worker Visa.

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