Health and Care Worker: An Overview
What is the Health and Care Worker visa?
The Health and Care Worker visa is a category designed for medical professionals to come to (or remain) in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.
Health and Care Worker visa holders are employees who have been hired by a UK sponsor. That sponsor will be the NHS, the NHS supplier, or care operator, as appropriate.
How do you qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa?
To apply for a Health and Care Worker visa, you will need to be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional, and have a confirmed job offer in an eligible health or social care job. Health and Care Worker applicants must have been issued with an NHS contract.
If you qualified outside of the UK, your qualification may need to be verified. You can find further information about what the requirements are from a medical or dental perspective from the General Medical Council or the General Dental Council.
Your job must have a certain occupation code in order to qualify for the Health and Care Worker visa. The following list is not exhaustive but doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, midwives, senior care workers, physiotherapists and other professional therapists are all likely to be eligible. You can check if your job is eligible here.
You also need to meet the following requirements:
- Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Applicants must have been issued with a CoS by a UK based employer. The employer must appear on the list of licenced sponsors, current details of which can be found on the gov.uk register. Each CoS has a unique reference number and contains information about the prospective worker, the job they will be coming to the UK to perform, the length of the contract and the salary.
- Appropriate salary. There are minimum salary requirements which vary depending on the job the applicant is coming to perform. Details of current salary rates can be found here.
- Knowledge of English Language. Health and Care Worker applicants must demonstrate English Language of at least B1 on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), evidenced by taking an appropriate test, being a national of a majority English speaking country or holding a degree which was taught in English. You can read more about this on our blog post English Language Requirements for UK Visa Applications.
- Maintenance. Applicants must show that they have at least £1270 of savings held for 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of submitting the application.
How long is a Health and Care Worker visa granted for?
Health and Care Worker visas are granted for the length of contract stated by the sponsor on the Certificate of Sponsorship (plus one month) up to a maximum of five years.
Applicants are able to extend their Health and Care Worker visas as many times as they like as long as they still meet the eligibility requirements.
After 5 years applicants may be able to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK.
What restrictions are there for those with a Health and Care Worker visa?
Applicants must undertake the job for which they were initially granted a visa for, i.e. the job detailed on the CoS. If applicants change employers, or even move to a different job within the same organisation they will need to make a fresh Health and Care Worker application.
It is possible to take a second job whilst working on a Health and Care Worker visa, in certain circumstances. An applicant can work up to 20 hours a week in a job that’s either in the same occupation code and at the same level as their main job or in a shortage occupation. If these conditions aren’t met they will need to apply to update their visa so that they’re being sponsored to do both jobs.
Health and Care Workers are not able to apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.
Health and Care Worker visa holders are able to study and travel abroad and return to the UK.
Can you include family members in a Health and Care Worker visa application?
Applicants can include partners and children on this visa, and they will be granted the same length of time as the main applicant. Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the application fee. Children over 16 must live with the applicant (unless they’re in full-time education). These children must not be married, in a civil partnership or have any children themselves, and they must be financially supported by you.
These family members will be able to work or establish their own businesses in the UK.
Applicants must show that their partner and children have a certain amount of money available in order to support themselves. The amounts are as follows:
- £285 for your partner
- £315 for one child
- £200 for each additional child
An applicant will need to provide evidence that they have had this money available for 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of the visa application.
Will a Health and Care Worker visa applicant need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge?
An applicant - and their partner or children - will not have to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge.
Does a Health and Care Worker visa lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?
Health and Care Worker visa holders will become eligible to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after five years provided that they are still required for UK employment by a licensed sponsor.
Applicants will also need to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirement and should not have spent more than 180 days in any 12 months period outside the UK.
Family members will also usually be eligible for ILR after completing 5 years as a dependent.
What is the difference between a Health and Care Worker visa and a Skilled Worker visa?
Although there are many similarities between these two visas, the differences are:
- The Health and Care Worker visa is designed for those with an NHS employment contract
- The visa fees for the Health and Care Worker are cheaper than for a Skilled Worker visa
- Applicants for the Health and Care Worker visa and their immediate family are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge
How can we help?
White Rose Visas are able to assist with Health and Care Worker visa applications, as well as other visa routes such as the Skilled Worker visa. If you are looking to prepare an application such as this or are unsure how to proceed with your particular circumstances, please contact us and we will be happy to advise you.