Are you looking to work as a care worker in the UK? If so, you will need to apply for a care worker visa. This blog post will provide a comprehensive guide to applying for a care worker visa in the UK. Read on to learn more about the process, the requirements, and the documents you will need to submit.

What is the Health and Care Worker Visa?

The UK government introduced the Health and Care Worker Visa to address the shortage of health professionals in the UK, allowing overseas medical professionals to work in health services, including the NHS, approved providers, and adult social care homes as allied health professionals. This visa offers a more streamlined and cost-effective application process than the Skilled Worker Visa for care worker visa applicants.

Health and Care Worker Visa holders can work in the UK for up to five years, with an opportunity to apply for an extension. Health professional shortage occupation list candidates can also apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain to continue their career in the health industry.

One significant advantage of the Health and Care Worker Visa is that care worker visa holders and health professionals are exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge. Eligible healthcare professionals applying for this visa can also benefit from reduced visa fees, making it easier for them to work in the UK and contribute to organisations providing medical services.

Who is eligible for the Health and Care visa?

The Health and Care Worker visa is available for skilled professionals, including doctors, nurses, and adult social care professionals. Applicants must be applying for entry clearance or leave to remain under the skilled worker route and have a job offer in one of the occupations listed within the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes. The eligible professions may be revised periodically, and currently include the following:

SOC code Eligible job roles
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 not elsewhere classified eg audiologists and occupational health advisers
2221 Physiotherapists
2222 Occupational therapists
2223 Speech and language therapists
2229 Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified eg 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
6145 Care workers & home carers
6146 Senior care workers

 

To be eligible for the visa, in addition to the job falling under one of the SOC categories mentioned above, the applicant must have received a job offer from a licensed sponsor. The sponsoring entity must be an NHS body or trust, a provider of medical services to the NHS, an organization offering adult social care, or one of the various other medical and social care organizations listed in the official guidance. This may include individuals who are employed or affiliated with any of the following industry bodies:

  1. General Chiropractic Council

  2. General Dental Council

  3. General Medical Council

  4. General Optical Council

  5. General Osteopathic Council

  6. General Pharmaceutical Council

  7. Health and Care Professions Council

  8. Northern Ireland Social Care Council

  9. Nursing and Midwifery Council

  10. Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

  11. Scottish Social Services Council

  12. Social Care Wales

If your job does not fall within one of the specified occupations for a designated organization, you will not qualify for the Health and Care visa. However, individuals who do not meet the requirements of the new visa route can still apply for the Skilled Worker visa under the standard arrangements.

What are the Health and Care Worker visa requirements?

To qualify for the Health and Care visa, applicants must meet all the necessary requirements under the Skilled Worker visa route, which include the following:

  1. Holding a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed sponsor in the UK

  2. Receiving an offer for a qualifying job that meets the relevant salary threshold

  3. Demonstrating a good working knowledge of the English language

  4. Being able to provide their travel history over the previous 5 years and show they can travel

  5. Providing valid tuberculosis test results if they are from a listed country

  6. Supplying a criminal record certificate from any country where they have resided for 12 months or more in the last 10 years if they will work with vulnerable people as a healthcare professional.

As part of the eligibility requirements, applicants must also satisfy the salary requirement, which is to earn either the minimum salary threshold or the appropriate rate for the job they have been offered, whichever is higher. Additionally, some applicants must show they have sufficient personal savings to support themselves on arrival in the UK.

If applying from overseas, applicants must have had £1,270 in their bank account for at least 28 consecutive days, with day 28 falling within 31 days of the visa application date. However, they will be exempt from this financial requirement if they are applying from within the UK and have held a valid visa for at least 12 months or if their employer will cover their costs for the first month in the country.

Prospective employees will be informed by their new employer of their eligibility for the Health and Care Worker visa, and the employer must provide an explanation in the CoS note field on how the applicant meets the eligible visa role requirement.

If the UK sponsor is a private healthcare organization commissioned by the NHS, an explanation of the contractual arrangements with the NHS may also be required as proof of eligibility for the Health and Care Worker visa.

How to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa

To initiate the application process for the Health and Care visa, you must first obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your UK sponsor. This CoS is a unique reference number that you will use to apply online on the Home Office website.

After providing all the required information, you will be prompted to pay the applicable fee (details of which can be found below). You will also need to submit various supporting documents along with your application.

Upon receipt of your application, the Home Office will evaluate the information and documents provided. You may be asked to either book a biometrics appointment if it is not feasible to reuse biometrics from a previous application, or you will be advised on how to enroll biometrics using an ID app.

Supporting documents for health and care worker visa Uk

To support your Health and Care visa application, you will need to provide various documents such as:

  1. A statement or letter from your bank or building society to demonstrate your personal savings, unless your CoS shows that your A-rated sponsor can provide support for you instead

  2. Evidence of your proficiency in English

  3. A current and valid passport or travel document to prove that you can travel

  4. Any expired passports or travel documents to indicate your travel history

  5. Your tuberculosis test results if you come from a listed country

  6. A criminal record certificate

If you are not exempt, such as being a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will usually need to show that you have passed an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, or hold an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD.

If you are applying as a doctor, dentist, nurse, or midwife, your language ability assessment from your professional body can be used as proof.

What are the Health and Care Worker visa costs?

Compared to other skilled worker visa applications, the Health and Care visa has a reduced fee for both the applicant and any dependents. This fee is the same whether the application is for entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK, as long as the applicant qualifies for the Health and Care visa.

Health and Care Worker visa applications made outside the UK
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants £247
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants £479
Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants £247
Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants £479

 

Health and Care visa applications made within the UK
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Worker Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants £247
Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years -main applicant and dependants £479
Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for three years or less – main applicant and dependants £247
Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa – where a certificate of sponsorship has been issued for over three years – main applicant and dependants £479

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement

In order to obtain a Health and Care Worker Visa you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do. This is an electronic record rather than a physical document.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship will need to have been issued by an employer that is authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question under the Health and Care Worker route. 

The typical employer will be the NHS, an organisation providing medical services to the NHS, or an organisation providing adult social care. Where an employer is not currently approved they can apply for a Sponsor Licence if they are eligible.

Your employer will be required to include a brief explanation in the Certificate of Sponsorship setting out how the employee meets the Health and Care Visa eligibility requirement. Where an employer is an organisation that provides services commissioned by the NHS, evidence of any contractual arrangements with the NHS may be required to be disclosed. 

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Health and Care Worker visa application.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information, including:

  1. details of your name, job and salary;

  2. a start date which is no more than 3 months after the date your Health and Care Worker visa application;

  3. confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office;

Do I meet the salary requirements?

The Health and Care Worker Visa mandates that candidates satisfy the minimum salary eligibility criteria, which may differ depending on their job position. According to the guidelines, applicants must earn at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour.

However, if the current wage for your role is higher, your minimum salary will rise accordingly. The going rate fluctuates based on your occupation code, and you must meet the minimum rate for your specific job.

If you work in health and care and make less than the minimum salary requirement, you may still be eligible for the health and care visa if you meet one of the following conditions:

  1. You are a student or under the age of 26, in professional training, or a recent graduate.

  2. Your job is listed as a shortage occupation.

  3. You have a STEM Ph.D. qualification that can be applied in health and care.

  4. You hold a postdoctoral position in a scientific role.

What does my Health and Care Visa allow me to do in the UK?

As a Health and Care visa holder residing in the UK, you have several entitlements. As a care worker visa holder, you can perform the following activities:

  1. Engage in an eligible job

  2. Participate in volunteering activities

  3. Obtain an additional job (although this may not be allowed in some cases)

  4. Pursue your studies

  5. Bring your spouse and children to live with you

  6. Travel in and out of the UK

  7. Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years of living and working in the UK

  8. Apply for an extension of your Health and Care visa if you intend to continue working in the UK, provided that you are still employed in the same job that you had when you were granted entry clearance

  9. Be exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge.

Dependants of Health and Care Workers

To obtain a Health and Care Worker Visa, applicants must fulfill the minimum salary eligibility criteria, which can vary depending on the job role. The guidelines specify that the applicant must earn a yearly salary of at least £25,600 or an hourly rate of £10.10.

However, if the going rate for the job is higher than the minimum salary requirement, the applicant must meet the going rate. The going rate varies based on the job role.

In the event that a health and care worker earns less than the minimum requirement, they may still be eligible for the visa if they meet one of the following criteria:

  1. They are a student or under 26 years old, in professional training, or a recent graduate.
  2. Their job is on the shortage occupation list.
  3. They have a Ph.D. STEM qualification that can be applied in health and care.
  4. They hold a postdoctoral position in a scientific role.

Conclusion

Applying for a care worker visa in the UK can be a complex process that involves meeting specific immigration rules and requirements. To be eligible for the care worker route, individuals must demonstrate that they have a recognised UK qualification and meet the relevant professional regulatory body standards for the following occupation codes in the UK health sector, including qualified doctors, nurses, health associate professionals, and others.

Additionally, applicants must provide evidence of their ability to speak English by taking a Secure English Language Test. They also need to obtain a job offer from an approved provider in the care sector and undergo a health assessment conducted by occupational health advisers.

It is important to note that the UK government has implemented changes to the care worker visa category in recent years, and applicants must keep up-to-date with any new regulations or requirements that may arise. Ultimately, successful applicants will have met all necessary criteria and can look forward to starting their careers in the UK healthcare sector.

How we can help

CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make the immigration and global mobility process more seamless and compliant; specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants globally.

Visit cgmpartners.org.uk/register for more information.

 

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