A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The Health and Care visa is integrated into the Skilled Worker route.
The Health and Care Worker visa allows applicants to benefit from expedited entry, lower visa fees, and specialized support for bringing families to the UK. The UK Health and Care Worker visa holders and their dependants are also exempted from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
This guide will briefly explain the general requirements that must be met to apply for Health and Care Worker visa. All requirements must be strictly met otherwise the application will be refused.
What are the requirements?
To qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa, you must have a confirmed job offer before your application and:
- be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
- work in an eligible health or social care job
- work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
- have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
- be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do
You’ll usually need to be paid at least £20,960 per year or £10.75 per hour. If the ‘going rate’ for your job is higher than both of these, you’ll usually need to be paid at least the going rate.
Each occupation code has its own annual going rate. You will need to meet different salary requirements depending on your job.
You can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,960 per year and you meet one of the following criteria:
- your job is in a shortage occupation
- you’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
- you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,580)
- you have a postdoctoral position in a scientific role
Knowledge of English requirements
You must prove you have passed an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, or have 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.
However, do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife and you’ve already passed an English Language assessment that is accepted by the relevant regulated professional body.
You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are a national of one of the majority English-speaking countries listed below:
You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK. Your partner and children must have a certain amount of money available to support themselves while they’re in the UK. The maintenance requirement is £285 for an adult partner, £315 for one child, and £200 for each additional child.
You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.
You don’t have to prove you have money to support yourself if:
- you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
- your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK
What if you cannot meet all the requirements?
It may be possible to still apply for a Health and Care Worker visa if you do not meet all the requirements. Please contact us to find out more information.
Health and Care Worker visa or Skilled Worker visa?
Although the Health and Care Worker visa is part of the Skilled Worker route and shares the same standard Skilled Worker application form, there are differences between the Skilled Worker and Health and Care visas.
The Skilled Worker visa open to workers in eligible occupations across many areas, whereas the Health and Care Worker Visa is specifically limited to medical professionals and individuals working in eligible health and care roles.
If you are not taking up a job role in one of the prescribed occupations for a designated organisation, you will not be eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa, although it remains open to applicants who fall outside the visa requirements to apply under the Skilled Worker visa, provided they meet the visa criteria.
Compared to the Skilled Worker visa, the Health and Care route has many advantages over the Skilled Worker route, including faster processing of visa applications, lower application fees and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.
What is the Process?
Before you apply, you need to have a job offer from an approved UK employer. You need to ask for the 4-digit occupation code from your employer and check if your job is eligible for this visa. Your employer will assign you a certificate of sponsorship (Cos), which you will need for your visa application.
Once you application has been submitted, you will need to book a biometric appointment at a visa centre or enrol your biometrics via an ID app. You will not be able to submit any further documents after your biometrics have been submitted and your application will be under consideration.
Presently, the Home Office will take up to 3 weeks from your biometric submission date to decide an application unless there is a delay.
There are a number of reasons why an application can be delayed, but most commonly it can failure to provide all the required documentation, and / or the need to attend an in-person interview. Doing everything right in your application increases the chances of the approval of your application within a short waiting time.
To help avoid such potential delays, please contact us to assist with your Health and Care Worker visa applications, ensuring that avoidable delays, and refusals are dealt with at the application stage.
Health and Care Worker Visa – Granted
Should your application be granted you will be granted limited leave to remain for a period depending on your application.
You will be eligible to live in the UK within this time. As well as this, you will be able work and take on additional work in certain circumstances and study in the UK.
You cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.
Health and Care Worker Visa – Refused
You’ll get a letter or an email explaining why your application was refused. Your refusal letter will explain if you have the right to either an administrative review or an immigration decision appeal
Once you are granted Health and Care Worker visa, you can extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements. You can apply for renewal of your leave to remain 28 days prior to the expiry of your leave to remain.
If you change jobs or employer, you will need to apply to update your Health and Care Worker visa.
Is fast track available?
Please note that Priority Service and Super Priority Service are available for Health and Care Worker visa, where you will receive a decision within 5 working days or the next working day. The Home Office fee is £500.00 for a decision within 5 working days or £1000.00 for a decision on the next working day.
When you apply for a Health and Care Worker visa, you and your dependants will need to pay the application fee. You and your dependants are exempt from having to pay the healthcare surcharge.
Please note that when applying for entry clearance, the actual fee paid may be higher due to payment being processed in the local currency.
When can you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?
Health and care workers who have lived in the UK for 5 years on the visa, or in combination with other permitted work visa categories, are eligible to apply for settlement (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’).
Contact us today to start the Health and Care Worker Visa process
We at Lisa’s Law regularly assist in applying for Health and Care Worker visa applications both from abroad and within the UK. We will advise and represent you throughout the process. Contact us today to start the process.
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