Can UK Adult Social Care Businesses Recruit Overseas Workers to Meet the UK Care Recruitment Crisis? banner


Can UK Adult Social Care Businesses Recruit Overseas Workers to Meet the UK Care Recruitment Crisis?

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Crisis is not a word that should be used lightly. Immigration solicitors use it cautiously but do so because UK adult social care businesses say they are in the midst of a recruitment crisis. There is no point in harking back to the days of free movement of EU nationals when care homes could recruit from overseas without a great deal of fuss or red tape.  These days it is harder, but not impossible, to recruit adult care staff from the EU or non-EEA countries.

Our immigration solicitors look at how UK adult social care businesses can recruit overseas workers to recruit care staff.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on overseas recruitment and immigration law call the expert London immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

Adult care recruitment from overseas

There are several ways your business can look to recruit overseas-based workers or non-British workers to fill vacancies in the adult care sector. They include:

  • Your business applying for a sponsor licence so you can sponsor care workers on work visas, primarily the health and care worker visa that is part of the skilled worker visa route
  • Recruiting EU nationals who either have pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme as this status gives the worker the right to live and work in the UK without needing a sponsoring employer with a sponsor licence or being restricted to only work in certain job roles
  • Recruiting non-British nationals who are in the UK on visas that allow them to work without needing a sponsoring employer. For example, a person in the UK on a graduate visa can work for your business without needing your business to hold a sponsor licence. For example, many international students on student visas can work part-time while studying provided they comply with their visa conditions. For example, some people in the UK on family visas or spouse visas can work in the UK without being restricted to employment by an employer with a sponsor licence
  • Recruiting non-British nationals who are settled in the UK with indefinite leave to remain and therefore are free from immigration controls

The health and care worker visa

If your business is in the position where it can't recruit sufficient numbers of adult care staff who are British citizens or settled persons or who have an existing right to work in the UK ( for example, because they have settled status ) then you may have no alternative other than to look overseas to recruit staff. To do that you will need a Home Office-issued sponsor licence.

The health and care worker visa makes it slightly easier for UK businesses in the health care sector to recruit staff from overseas in comparison to those recruiting staff on skilled worker visas. That’s because a variety of care worker roles have been added to the shortage occupation list. However, businesses still need a sponsor licence and still need to go through the same overseas recruitment process and comply with standard sponsor licence reporting and recording duties.

Applying for a sponsor licence to sponsor health and care worker visa applicants

Sponsorship Licence lawyers say that whilst sponsor licence duties may appear very onerous, they can be relatively easy to navigate through either using Sponsorship Licence lawyers to manage the sponsor licence application and compliance process for your business or through investing the time in systems and staff training to make the sponsoring of overseas staff as straightforward as possible.

If you are planning on managing your sponsor licence yourself it is important to get all your systems and procedures in place before you apply for your first sponsor licence. That’s because one of the reasons why the Home Office may refuse a sponsor licence application is because the Home Office official is not satisfied that your business can manage the reporting and recording duties that come with a sponsor licence.

Key personnel for your sponsor licence application

As part of the preliminary application process, your business needs to appoint an authorising officer to be responsible for the operation of the sponsor licence.

Sponsorship Licence lawyers say it is crucial to get the appointment of your authorising officer right as an inappropriate appointment might end up with your application being refused or your encountering difficulties with sponsor licence compliance. Those problems could result in delays in recruiting overseas workers and could even result in additional Home Office audits or even the suspension or revocation of the sponsor licence.

Health and care worker overseas recruitment

Once a sponsor licence has been granted your business can recruit health care workers from overseas, provided that:

  • The jobs you are recruiting to fill are genuine vacancies
  • The job roles are on a government list of approved jobs with an allocated standard occupation code
  • You will be paying the worker the minimum salary threshold for the job – the minimum salary threshold depends on whether the job is on the shortage occupation list and the government-imposed going rate for the particular job code
  • The worker meets the eligibility criteria for the health and care worker visa

Once the recruitment process is complete, the next step is to allocate the certificate of sponsorship as without that reference number a visa applicant can't secure a skilled worker visa or health and care worker visa.

Once the visa has been issued and the worker is in the UK and ready to start work, an employer will need to conduct a right-to-work check before the new employee starts  work. That requirement is the same for any worker but what is different with the sponsored employee is the ongoing requirement by the sponsor licence holder to complete all its sponsor licence reporting and recording duties in respect of each sponsored worker.

If your business can retain its sponsored employees then after 5 years in the UK the sponsored worker can apply for indefinite leave to remain if they meet the residence requirement and other eligibility criteria for indefinite leave to remain. Once the worker has ILR they are free of immigration control and your business no longer has to sponsor their employment.

UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For advice on sponsor licences and immigration law call the immigration team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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