The New Health and Care Visa

The new health and care visa will be open for applications on the 4 August 2020. The new health and care visa has already attracted a lot of criticism in the media primarily because of its name. You’d assume that the visa entry route was for care workers. However the government has limited the medical roles that meet the job description eligibility criteria for the new health and care visa. In this blog we look at UK immigration law and the new health visa.

UK Immigration solicitors

If you want advice on the new health and care visa or information on your best alternate visa options the UK immigration solicitors can help you. Call the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here. 

The health ticket

 When announcing the new health and care visa the Home Secretary outlined the key advantages of the new visa, namely:

  • Applications will be fast tracked by Home Office officials without the visa applicant have to pay for the Home Office premium service for their visa application to be prioritised

  • Visa applicants on the health and care visa won't have to pay the Immigration health surcharge

  • There is a reduced visa application fee for health and care visa applicants.

The Immigration health surcharge and health workers

There are many health workers in the UK who would not meet the eligibility criteria for the new health and care visa. The government has recognised this by saying that if you are subject to Immigration control on a Tier 2 (General) visa and you are a health worker (or a dependant of a health worker) then you won't have to pay the Immigration health surcharge. If you have already paid the surcharge then you are entitled to a reimbursement of the Immigration health surcharge from the 31 March 2020.

Who can apply for the health and care visa?

To meet the eligibility criteria for a health and care visa then you don’t just have to be a health and/ or care professional. You have to work in one of the health and care roles specified by the government. 

The eligible health and care visa roles are:

  • Biological scientists and biochemist

  • Physical Scientist

  •  Medical Practitioner

  • Psychologist

  • Pharmacist

  • Ophthalmic Optician

  •  Dental practitioner

  • Medical Radiographer

  •  Podiatrist

  • Health professional not elsewhere classified

  • Physiotherapist

  •  Occupational Therapist

  •  Speech and Language Therapist

  •  Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified

  •  Nurse or midwife

  • Social Worker

  • Paramedic.

The Home Office guidance on the Tier 2 visa and the health and care visa makes it clear that the wording ‘’ health professional not elsewhere classified’’ doesn’t include care home workers or those involved in associated health care roles such as hospital porters.

Is the health and care visa a new visa route?

Although the announcement of the health and care visa made it sound as if the Home Office was launching a completely new visa the reality is that the health and care visa is part of the Tier 2 (General) visa . The Tier 2 (General) visa guidance therefore applies to the health and care visa with some adaptations (such as the amount of the Immigration fee and the waiver of payment of the Immigration health surcharge).

In addition to meeting the specified health and care job role an applicant for a health and care visa must also:

  • Have been offered a job in one of the specified health or care roles by a National Health Service trust or one of the medical and social care organisations listed in the amended Tier 2 (General) visa guidance and

  • Meet all the general eligibility criteria for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

Is it worth applying for a health and care visa?

Having read the fine print some visa applicants are questioning how different the health and care visa really is to the Tier 2 (General) visa . In addition, National Health Service trusts and care home owners are questioning how overseas care workers will be recruited after the end of free movement and the introduction of the UK points based Immigration system on the 1 January 2021 in the absence of a lower skilled work visa and the limited job roles specified in the health and care visa.

UK immigration solicitors say that if you are eligible to apply for a health and care visa then you should make that application rather than apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa as it will save you money on the Immigration fee and Immigration health surcharge as well as ensuring that your application is prioritised without your having to pay for a premium level of service by Home Office officials to ensure your application is processed within about three weeks.  

UK Immigration solicitors 

London based OTS Solicitors specialise in business immigration and personal immigration law and are recommended in the two leading law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession.

For fast, expert, easy to follow immigration advice looking at your best visa options call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us here. Appointments are available through video conferencing, Skype or by telephone. 

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