A Guide to the Health and Care Worker Visa
The third national lockdown in the UK and devastating COVID-19 statistics has really emphasised the need for migrants to come to the UK to fill health care vacancies. In this article our immigration solicitors look at work visas and the health and care worker visa and eligibility criteria.
UK Immigration solicitors
If you have questions about the health and care worker visa or your UK work visa options the immigration solicitors at London based OTS Solicitors can help you. Call the friendly specialist immigration team at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, Skype or telephone.
What is the health and care worker visa?
The health and care worker visa allows overseas workers in the health professions to enter the UK on a specialist work visa provided they will be employed in an eligible job:
- In the NHS or
- With an NHS supplier or
- In adult social care.
Overseas workers subject to Immigration control include EEA nationals if the EEA national came to the UK after the end of free movement on the 31 December 2020 and therefore isn’t eligible to apply for pre-settled status or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
What jobs are qualifying jobs for a health and care worker visa?
When it comes to the health and care worker visa the crucial aspect of the visa eligibility criteria is your job. To qualify for a health and care worker visa, you must have a job offer to work as:
- A qualified doctor or
- A nurse or
- A health professional or
- An adult social care professional or
- An eligible health or social care worker.
In addition, your employer must have a sponsor licence from the Home Office so that they can sponsor your Employment in the UK on a certificate of sponsorship. Your employer must pay you a minimum salary in accordance with the Immigration rules or the going rate for the job (whichever is higher). Without a job offer from a sponsoring employer you won’t be able to apply for a health and care worker visa
If your job doesn’t meet the eligibility criteria for a health and care worker visa you may still be able to come to the UK on a skilled worker visa but you will still need a job offer from a sponsoring employer and the job will need to meet both the required skill level and minimum salary threshold. The salary threshold is set in the Immigration rules, rather than by individual employers.
Will any health care job make me eligible to apply for a health and care worker visa?
Only jobs with an eligible occupation code will qualify for a health and care worker visa. The government decides the jobs that should be given an occupation code rather than individual employers. Occupational codes for the health and care worker visa currently include:
- 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, for example, audiologists and occupational health advisers
- 2221: physiotherapists
- 2222: occupational therapists
- 2223: speech and language therapists
- 2229: therapy professionals not elsewhere classified, for example, osteopaths and psychotherapists
- 2231: nurses
- 2232: midwives
- 2442: social workers
- 3213: paramedics
However, even if your job title is on the occupation code list you won’t qualify for a health and care worker visa unless you have a job offer and your employer has a sponsor licence to sponsor your Employment.
What is the minimum salary requirement for a health and care worker visa?
Health and care worker visa applicants need to be paid at least £20,480 a year unless the ‘going rate’ for the job code is higher than the set minimum salary. The individual sponsoring employer doesn’t set the going rate as this is set by the government.
Immigration solicitors say that checking if your job meets the minimum salary requirement can be complicated because if your job is included in the shortage occupation list then you can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for the job provided that your salary is at least £20,480 per year or:
- You are under the age of 26
- You are studying or a recent graduate or you are in professional training
- You have a science, technology, engineering or maths PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job
- You have a postdoctoral position in a scientific role.
As salary levels and the eligibility criteria for the health and care worker visa can be complicated under the Immigration rules it is best to take specialist immigration legal advice on whether your qualifications and planned job meet the eligibility criteria for a health and care worker visa.
How much does a health and care worker visa cost?
If you decide to apply for a health and care worker visa you will need to pay the visa application fee and meet the maintenance requirement. The maintenance requirement is normally £1,270 unless an exemption applies. In addition, your sponsoring employer can say that they will cover the need for you to have to evidence holding the maintenance requirement funds. The employer does that by certifying that on the certificate of sponsorship. The major advantage of the health and care worker visa in comparison to other work visas, such as the skilled worker visa , is that applicants don’t need to pay the Immigration health surcharge if applying for entry clearance to the UK on a health and care worker visa.
What documents do you need to apply for the health and care worker visa?
To apply for a health and care worker visa immigration solicitors say that you will need to provide:
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number. This will be provided to you by your sponsoring employer
- Your job title, the occupation code for the job and annual salary
- The name of your employer and their Sponsor Licence number
- Evidence that you meet the English language requirement – either by passing the English language test or being exempt by virtue of your nationality or qualifications in accordance with the Immigration rules
- Evidence you meet the maintenance requirement
- Other evidence depending on your circumstances, such as a tuberculosis test certificate or a criminal record test certificate or biometric residence permit
- Your valid passport or other identity document that proves your identity and nationality.
UK Immigration solicitors
OTS Solicitors are experts in immigration law and help both employers with sponsor licence applications and employees with work visa applications. Our friendly specialist immigration solicitors can assess your immigration and visa options and look at your eligibility criteria for a health and care worker visa or skilled worker visa. For the best advice on your work visa options call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or by telephone appointment.