Working in the UK

HEALTH AND CARE WORKER VISA

The Health and Care Worker Visa was specifically created to foster the participation of healthcare professionals from diverse regions worldwide, enticing them to contribute their skills and expertise within the United Kingdom’s healthcare sector.

Applicants for the Health and Care Worker Visa are privileged with several advantages. These encompass expedited entry to the United Kingdom, along with reduced visa fees and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge. Moreover, they receive dedicated assistance from a specialised team within UKVI, ensuring efficient processing of visa applications for migrants and their dependent families.

The visa opened to applications on the 4th of August 2020, forming part of the UK’s new immigration system.

Below we look at the key requirements for this visa route, including eligibility criteria, the application process, Health & Care visa costs, and processing times.

Kindly note that Sam Soyombo can assist an applicant once they have successfully obtained an offer of employment. However, it’s important to mention that we cannot act as sponsors for candidates in the visa application process.

health and care worker visa

Table of Contents

Who is eligible for the Health and Care visa?

The Health and Care Worker Visa is accessible to qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals, and adult social care professionals. Eligible individuals can apply for this visa under the skilled worker route, whether they are seeking entry clearance or leave to remain and intend to accept a job offer in one of the specified occupations listed within the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.

The list of eligible professions is dynamic and subject to potential revisions. As of now, the following occupations are included:

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, e.g. audiologists and occupational health advisers.
2221
Physiotherapists
2222
Occupational therapists
2223
Speech and language therapists
2229
Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified, e.g. 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

In addition to the occupation falling under one of the SOC categories mentioned above, an applicant must have received a job offer from a licensed sponsor to qualify for the visa. The sponsoring organisation must belong to one of the following categories: an NHS body or trust, a medical services provider for the NHS, an adult social care provider, or one of the specified medical and social care organisations listed in the official guidelines. This may encompass individuals employed, engaged, or registered with industry bodies such as:

  • General Chiropractic Council
  • General Dental Council
  • General Medical Council
  • General Optical Council
  • General Osteopathic Council
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health and Care Professions Council
  • Northern Ireland Social Care Council
  • Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Social Services Council
  • Social Care Wales

Suppose the job role you are pursuing falls outside the designated occupations for a recognised organisation. In that case, you will not meet the Health and Care Worker Visa eligibility criteria. However, applicants who do not qualify for the new visa route can still explore the option of applying under the standard Skilled Worker visa arrangements.

Shortage Occupations for Healthcare and Education

You can verify the healthcare and education shortage occupations list specific to each region of the UK and determine the corresponding salary requirements by referring to the official resources. 

If your occupation appears on this list, your salary must meet or exceed the national pay scale rate designated for the job in order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa.

There’s a different list of shortage occupations if you do not work in healthcare or education.

If you do not know your job’s occupation code, you can search for your job in the ONS occupation coding tool.

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, e.g. audiologists and occupational health advisers.
2221
Physiotherapists
2222
Occupational therapists
2223
Speech and language therapists
2229
Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified, e.g. 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

What are the Health and Care Worker visa requirements?

Health and Care visa applicants are required to fulfil all the pertinent criteria outlined within the Skilled Worker visa route, which include:

  • Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a UK-licensed sponsor.
  • Have the offer of a qualifying job that meets the relevant salary threshold.
  • In some cases, to have sufficient personal savings so that you can support yourself on arrival in the UK.
  • Have a good working knowledge of the English language.
  • Be able to show that you can travel and provide your travel history over the preceding five years.
  • Have valid tuberculosis test results if you are from a listed country.
  • Be able to provide a criminal record certificate from any country where you have lived for 12 months or more within the last ten years if you will be working with vulnerable people as a healthcare professional.

 As part of the eligibility criteria, it is essential to meet the salary requirement, which can be determined based on either surpassing the minimum salary threshold or meeting the specific rate set for the offered job, whichever amount is higher.

In addition to the criteria mentioned above, certain applicants will be required to provide evidence of their financial self-sufficiency. If you are applying from overseas, you must demonstrate that you have maintained a minimum balance of £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days, with the 28th day falling within 31 days of your visa application date. However, this financial requirement is waived if you are applying from within the UK and have held a valid visa for a minimum of 12 months or if your employer agrees to cover your expenses for the initial month in the country.

Your prospective employer is responsible for informing you about your eligibility for the Health and Care Worker visa, enabling you to complete the visa application form accurately. Also, your employer should briefly explain in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) note area about how you meet the eligible visa role requirement in your new job.

Suppose your UK sponsor is a private organisation that offers healthcare services commissioned by the NHS. In that case, you may need to provide an explanation and potential documentary evidence detailing the contractual arrangements with the NHS to prove your eligibility for a Health and Care Worker visa.

How to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa

In order to initiate the application process for the Health and Care visa, the first step is to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your UK sponsor. The CoS is a distinctive reference number you will utilise when submitting your application online through the Home Office website.

After completing all the necessary information, the subsequent step in the application process is to make the required payment (refer to the fee details provided below). Additionally, you will be required to submit various supporting documents to accompany your application.

Once the Home Office receives your application, they will carefully evaluate the provided information and documents. Depending on the circumstances, you may be requested to either book a biometrics appointment if the biometrics from a previous application cannot be reused, or you will receive instructions on enrolling your biometrics using an ID app.

Health and Care Worker Visa Supporting Documentation.

When applying for the Health and Care Worker visa, you will typically be required to provide the following supporting documentation:

  1. Valid passport or travel document: You must submit your current passport or travel document, which should be valid for the duration of your intended stay in the UK.
  2. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): The CoS assigned to you by your UK sponsor is a crucial document that verifies your job offer and sponsorship.
  3. Proof of knowledge of English language: You will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by providing an acceptable English language test result or proof of exemption.
  4. Maintenance funds: If you are applying from overseas, you must show evidence of meeting the financial requirement by providing bank statements or other relevant financial documents. This includes having £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days, with the 28th day falling within 31 days of your visa application.
  5. Tuberculosis (TB) test results: Depending on your country of residence, you might need to undergo a TB test and submit the test results as part of your application.
  6. Academic or professional qualifications: Provide documents that validate your academic or professional qualifications relevant to your job offer.
  7. Previous travel history: It can be beneficial to provide details of your previous travel history, including previous visas or entry and exit stamps from other countries.

It’s important to note that specific documentation requirements may vary depending on individual circumstances and the specific job offer. Therefore, it is advisable to refer to the official Home Office guidance or consult an immigration professional for accurate and up-to-date information.

Unless you qualify for an exemption, such as being a national of a predominantly English-speaking country, demonstrating your English proficiency usually requires evidence of passing an approved English language test at a minimum CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Alternatively, you can submit an academic qualification taught in English and recognised by UK NARIC as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or PhD.

If you are applying as a doctor, dentist, nurse, or midwife, you can rely on the assessment conducted by your professional body as proof of your language proficiency.

Care Certificate

The Care Certificate comprises a set of agreed-upon standards that outline the expected knowledge, skills, and behaviours for individuals in specific job roles within the health and social care sectors.

Consisting of 15 minimum standards, the Care Certificate is a fundamental component of a comprehensive induction program for those new to the care industry. These standards ensure that essential areas are covered, setting a strong foundation for effective and competent care provision.

The 15 standards

  1. Understand your Role
  2. Your Personal Development
  3. Duty of Care
  4. Equality and Diversity
  5. Work in a Person-Centred Way       
  6. Communication
  7. Privacy and Dignity
  8. Fluids and Nutrition
  9. Awareness of Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disabilities
  10. Safeguarding Adults
  11. Safeguarding Children
  12. Basic Life Support
  13. Health and Safety
  14. Handling Information
  15. Infection Prevention and Control

List of Institutions that offer all these Courses

Can my Partner or Dependant join me in the UK?

When applying for a Health and Care visa, your immediate family members, such as your spouse or partner and dependant children, can accompany you in the UK through this visa route.

If you are already in the UK and wish to bring your dependant to join you, your UK sponsor must provide written confirmation. The sponsor’s letter or email should state your occupation and the organisation you work for. If the organisation is not an NHS body, it should explain how it qualifies to sponsor your family members.

What are the Health and Care Worker visa costs?

The Health and Care visa offers a lower visa application fee compared to what other skilled workers pay. This reduced fee applies to both applicants and their dependents, regardless of whether they are applying for entry to the UK or permission to stay in the UK. It applies specifically to those who qualify under the Health and Care visa category and also applies to dependents.

Health and Care Worker visa applications made outside the UK Cost

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 Cost

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

Applicants and their dependents who qualify for the Health and Care visa are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Frontline health and social care workers who are not eligible for the Health and Care visa will still be responsible for paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. However, they should be eligible for a reimbursement scheme. This acknowledges the valuable contribution of those who have come to the UK to work during the pandemic.

What are the Health and Care visa Processing times?

Once your Health and Care Worker visa application is received, it will be prioritised and expedited by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

As a result, most healthcare professionals applying through this route can typically expect a decision on their application within three weeks of providing their biometric information. This is significantly faster than the current processing time for skilled worker visas, which can take 8-20 weeks. 

However, it’s important to note that UKVI processing times may still be affected by delays resulting from the pandemic and the prioritisation of other schemes, such as the Ukrainian scheme. When submitting your application, it is advisable to seek advice on the current processing times.

A dedicated NHS support and visa processing team is also available to assist. This specialised team allows visa applicants and sponsors to contact UKVI for support with the application process or to address any questions regarding eligibility for the Health and Care visa.

Health and Care Visa FAQs

Depending on the immigration status and intended length of stay, the requirement to pay the healthcare surcharge may vary. However, the UK government has introduced an exemption for health and care workers, granting them permanent exemption from the charge or eligibility for reimbursement. Please refer to official government sources for the most up-to-date information on healthcare surcharges for health and care workers in the UK.

The appropriate UK visa for health workers is the Health and Care Worker Visa. This visa is specifically designed for qualified healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, who wish to work in the UK's healthcare sector. It provides a pathway for these individuals to obtain entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK under the skilled worker route. The Health and Care Worker Visa offers various benefits and support to eligible applicants, encouraging them to contribute their skills and expertise to the UK health sector.

Yes, care workers are eligible for the Health and Care Worker Visa. The visa is designed to encourage qualified health professionals and adult social care professionals to work in the UK's health and social care sectors. This includes occupations such as care assistants, support workers, and other roles within adult social care. Care workers can apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa under the skilled worker route, provided they meet the relevant criteria and have a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK.

Share on

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

Related Article

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *