Health and Care Worker Visa

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Health and Care Worker Visa

The Health and Care Worker Visa category allows doctors, nurses and other medical professionals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) to enter or remain in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS Supplier or to work in Adult Social Care.

If you’re permitted to enter or stay in the UK as a Health and Care Worker, you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years. You will also be permitted to have your partner and children join you in the UK as your dependents.

Health and Care Worker Visa requirements

In order to succeed in an application for a UK Health and Care Worker Visa, you will need to demonstrate to the UK Visas and Immigration that you meet the eligibility requirements as set out in Appendix Skilled Worker of the Immigration Rules, which requires that:

  • You are over the age of 18 at the date of application;
  • You are a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional;
  • You work in an eligible health or social care job;
  • Your proposed UK employer has been approved by the UK Visas and Immigration;
  • You have secured a Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer that contains key details regarding the role you are taking up with the UK employer;
  • You are paid the required minimum salary the extent of which depends on the type of work you do;
  • You are able to demonstrate knowledge of English Language to the required level;
  • You are able to demonstrate that you hold sufficient funds to maintain yourself in the UK unless your employer is A-rated and it has ‘certified’ your maintenance;
  • You are able to travel and can provide your travel history for the preceding 5 years;
  • You are able to provide a valid tuberculosis test results (if from a listed country);
  • You are able to provide a criminal record certificate from any country where you have resided for 12 months or more prior to the date of application in the last 10 years, if you are taking a job that involves working with vulnerable people.

The specific requirements, that may be applicable to you, will differ depending on your circumstances. You may wish to seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer.

If you wish to apply for a Health and Care Worker Visa, speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.

Occupation Codes for Health and Care Worker Visa

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you must demonstrate to the UK Visas and Immigration that you will be employed in one of the following occupations:

  • 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

Approved UK Health and Care Sector Employers

Prior to your application for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you must have obtained a job offer from an approved UK employer that holds a sponsor licence. Approved employers are also referred to as sponsors because they are sponsoring you to enter or remain in the UK.

The job offer you present in support of your application for a Health and Care Worker Visa must be from:

  • The NHS;
  • An organisation providing services to the NHS;
  • An organisation providing adult social care.

If your sponsor is not currently approved, they can apply for a sponsor licence which will be granted to them subject to their meeting the eligibility requirements for Sponsor licence (https://www.gov.uk/uk-visa-sponsorship-employers) applications.

Requirement for Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

In order to qualify for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you need to be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship in respect of the job you are planning to do in the UK. The Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued by a Home Office authorised employer for the job you have been offered under the Health and Care Worker category.

Your Sponsor must also provide a brief explanation in your Certificate of Sponsorship as to how you meet the eligibility requirements of the Health and Care Worker Visa. Your sponsor is also responsible for notifying you of your eligibility for a Health and Care Worker Visa so that you are able to take the necessary steps to complete the visa application process for obtaining a Health and Care Worker Visa.

If your employer provides services that are commissioned by the NHS, it will need to provide evidence of its contract arrangements with the UK Visas and Immigration as proof that you are eligible to apply for a Health and Care Worker Visa.

The Certificate of Sponsorship submitted in support of your application for a Health and Care Worker visa must not have been issued more than 90 days before the date of the submission of your application.

A valid Certificate of Sponsorship must have the following details:

  • Your full name, employment details, salary level, and PAYE details; and
  • Confirmation of the start date of your employment which must not be more than 3 months after the date of application; and
  • Confirmation that your Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application for leave to enter/remain; and
  • Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been withdrawn by the Sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office.

Immigration Skills Charge Requirements

To be eligible for leave to enter/remain in the UK as a Health and Care Worker, your sponsor must have paid the required level of Immigration Skills Charge.

The Immigration Skills Charge is a fee that a sponsoring employer must pay for ever foreign worker he/she employs and it must be paid in respect of every Certificate of Sponsorship that a sponsor issues.

The UK Visas and Immigration has provided exemption from paying the Immigration Skills Charge for Chemical scientists (2111), biological scientists and biochemists (2112).

English Language Requirement

To succeed in an application for Health and Care Worker Visa, you will need to prove English Language proficiency (in reading, writing, speaking and listening) to Level B1 CEFR.

You will be deemed to have satisfied the English Language requirements if you can demonstrate that:

  • You are a citizen of a majority English speaking country;
  • You have been awarded a degree certificate taught in English;
  • You have the required grade in GCSE or A Level at school in the UK;
  • You have already provided evidence of meeting the English Language test at Level B1 in a previous application for leave to enter/remain;

If you are applying to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife and you have passed an English language assessment that has been accepted by your professional regulatory body, you will not need to prove knowledge of English language.

Salary Threshold Requirements

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you must be paid a salary of £20,480 per annum by your employer unless the going rate for the job you intend to do is higher than that. There is a specific going rate for each occupation code. The going rate depends on the job that you intend to do in the UK and the occupation code that it falls under. The NHS salaries are listed in ‘pay bands’ and the part of the UK where you will be taking up your employment as a Health and Care Worker.

If you are applying for Health and Care Worker Visa as biochemists, as biological or physical scientists, your employer will need to pay you a minimum salary of £25,600 per annum unless the ‘going rate’ for your job is higher than this.

You may be paid less than the ‘going rate’ in some circumstances, which are set out below:

  • Your employer can pay you at 80% of the usual going rate if you are applying with a job offer which is in a shortage occupation;
  • Your employer can pay you at 70% of the usual going rate if you are applying as a new entrant to the labour market;
  • Your employer can pay you at 80% of the usual going rate if you have a PhD qualification in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subject relevant to the job you are planning to do in the UK;

Your employer can pay you at 70% of the usual going rate if you are applying to take up a postdoctoral position in the UK.

What is a job in shortage occupation?

The shortage occupation list (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-shortage-occupation-list) is an official document, maintained by the UK Visas and Immigration, which sets out a list of occupations which UK employers find it difficult or competitive to fill with UK resident employees.

The Home Office website sets out a separate list of jobs for shortage occupations in healthcare and education, which includes medical practitioners, nurses, midwives, psychologists, speech and language therapists, medical radiographers, paramedics and social workers.

For those jobs that appear on the shortage of occupation list, the UK Visas and Immigration reduces the salary threshold requirements so that it is easier to employ foreign citizens for those jobs.

Financial Maintenance Requirements

To qualify for leave to enter/remain as a Health and Care Worker, you must meet the financial requirements by showing that you have held funds of at least £1,270 for a 28 days period prior to the date of your application. You claim exemption from the financial requirements if you have an A-rated Sponsor who is willing to cover your maintenance costs for the first month of your employment up to an amount of £1,270 and is able to confirm this in your Certificate of Sponsorship.

You will automatically meet the financial requirements if you can demonstrate that you have been lawfully living in the UK for 12 months prior to the date of your application for a Health and Care Worker Visa.

Criminal Record Certificate Requirements

You must provide a Criminal Record Certificate in support of your application for Health and Care Worker Visa if you are applying from outside the UK, unless you are applying for leave to enter the UK to work as a biological scientist (2112) or physical scientist (2113).

If you are 28 years of age or older you will be required to provide a criminal record certificate for any country you spent time in the 10 years prior to the date of your application for a Health and Care Worker Visa.

If you are under 28 years of age, you must provide a criminal record certificate from the relevant authorities of any country in which you spent 12 months of more since you turned 18.

Duration of a Health and Care Worker Visa

If you are successful in your application for Health and Care Worker Visa, you will be granted leave to enter or remain for a period until 14 days after the expiry of your Certificate of Sponsorship (which may be for a maximum of 5 years after the start date of your Certificate of Sponsorship).

You will be able to apply for an extension to your Health and Care Worker Visa if you can demonstrate to the UK Visas and Immigration that you earn the required salary threshold and:

  • You are applying to continue in the same job as the one for which you were previously granted leave to enter or remain in the UK; or
  • You are applying to take up employment that is in the same occupation code as the one for which you were previously granted leave to enter or remain; or
  • You are working for the employer who issued your existing Certificate of Sponsorship.

Maximum time you can spend under the Health and Care Worker Visa

Unlike the Tier 2 (General) route, where you could only spend a maximum period of 6 years in the UK under as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, the Health and Care Worker Visa route does not place any restrictions on the length of time you can stay in the UK as a Health and Care Worker Migrant and you can be granted leave of up to 5 years at a time.

Conditions of Health and Care Worker Visa

In addition to performing the job for which they have been issued a Certificate of Sponsorship, Health and Care Workers are permitted to take up supplementary employment in the UK. They must, however, continue performing the job for which they have been sponsored, ensure that the supplementary work is in the same occupation code or is less than 20 hours a week.

If you take up work that is more than 20 hours per week or take up work that is in a different occupation code to the one you have been sponsored for, you will be required to update your Health and Care Worker Visa. In those circumstances, you will be required by the UK Visas and Immigration to secure a fresh Certificate of Sponsorship from your second employer and provide a written explanation as to why you want to change your current Health and Care Worker Visa.

You will be required to update your leave to enter or remain if you wish to change your job or your employer. You will need to make an application to the UK Visas and Immigration to have your Health and Care Worker Visa updated in the following circumstances:

  • You are changing the job for which you have been sponsored and you are taking up employment with a different employer;
  • Your job is changing to a different occupation code; or
  • You are moving from a job that is on the shortage occupation list to a job that does not appear on the shortage occupation list.

Reduced Visa Fees for Health and Care Workers

The UK Visas and Immigration has reduced its application fees for individuals applying for Health and Care Visas. In order to make it easier for Health and Care Worker Visa applicants to enter and remain in the UK, the visa application fee reduction has also extended to their dependent children and partners who wish to join or remain with the Health and Care Worker migrants in the UK.

How our lawyers can help you with your Health and Care Worker Visa Application

Our lawyers are specialists in UK immigration law with almost a decade of experience. We have assisted hundreds of Health and Care Worker Visa applicants to prepare and submit successful Health and Care Worker Visa applications.

Our immigration lawyers can provide you expert advice on meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, carry out a detailed assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a Health and Care Worker Visa and can assist you with the preparation and submission of your immigration application.

Our lawyers combine creative energy with deep technical legal expertise to uncover innovative, out-of-the-box and unconventional strategies that help you succeed in your application even when you’re facing inherent challenges in meeting the requirements of a Health and Care Worker Visa.

We do this by deploying the following:

  • Taking a holistic approach to analysing every facet of each case and formulating strategies to comprehensively address every element of the case;
  • Bringing deep technical and substantive legal expertise;
  • Collaborative strategizing among specialist lawyers, who operate at different levels of seniority, bringing a wealth of technical expertise, tactical know-how and diversity of perspective on your matter;
  • Using Design Thinking to reframe the challenges you face with a view to redefining value and opening up the scope of solutions;
  • Designing customised strategy to meet your specific challenges.

What this means for you?

If you instruct us to take on your case, our scope of work will comprise of the following:

  • Taking detailed instructions to carry out a thorough analysis of your case;
  • Assessing your eligibility for a Health and Care Worker Visa in line with the requirements as set out in the Immigration Rules, the accompanying Policy Documents and the wider case-law jurisprudence;
  • Notifying you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case;
  • Advising you on strategies, where possible, to remedy the weaknesses in your case and better evidence the strengths of your case;
  • Providing you detailed and customised advice on the documents you need to provide in support of your application;
  • Reviewing your documents to assess whether they meet the evidential requirements of your application and to advise you if further documents are required;
  • Drafting the application form to provide to you for review and, if required, amending the application in line with your observations;
  • Preparing a detailed letter of representations to be submitted in support of your application;
  • Submitting the application form online and arranging an appointment for the enrolment of your biometrics;
  • Responding to any queries from the Home Office regarding your application
  • Addressing any queries that you may have regarding your application and any issues arising relating to your immigration status;
  • Corresponding with the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) to ensure a timely decision on your application.
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