Changes to the Health and Care Worker visa and Shortage Occupation List have been announced to help address staffing shortages in the UK health and social care sector, exacerbated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.
The Health and Care Worker visa launched in August 2020, allowing medical professionals to enter or remain in the UK to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The Health and Care visa comes under the Skilled Worker visa route.
Under new rules announced on 24 January 2022, care staff will be eligible to be sponsored for a Health and Care Worker visa from 15 February 2022.
Care providers who have been approved by the Home Office can sponsor and employ non-UK workers from overseas to work in health sector roles including:
- care assistants
- care workers
- home care assistants
- home carers.
- support workers (nursing home)
As well as being eligible for sponsorship, these roles will also feature on the Shortage Occupation List. Until now, only Senior Care Workers (SOC Code 6146) were eligible for sponsorship and featured on the Shortage Occupation List.
The Shortage Occupation List comprises roles considered to be in short supply within the UK. Occupations appearing on the Shortage Occupation List have more flexible requirements, such as lower salary requirements than other sponsored jobs.
Care providers who do not already hold a Skilled Worker sponsor licence are now able to apply for a sponsorship licence.
This change followed the government announcement on 24 December 2021, ‘Biggest visa boost for social care as Health and Care Visa scheme expanded’.
What are the requirements?
Care workers will need to meet the following Health and Care Worker key visa requirements:
Hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for an eligible job, issued by a Home Office approved employer.
- Be paid a minimum of £20,480.00 and £10.10 per hour (based on a 39 hour week).
- Meet the maintenance requirement, showing that they can support themselves on arrival in the UK. This means that the applicant must have £1,270.00 available for a minimum of 28 days.
- Meet the English language requirement (level B1 CEFR).
- In line with other care-related roles, care workers will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have been present in for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years while 18 or over.
Family members and settlement
Care staff will be eligible to bring their dependant family members to the UK on the Health and Care Worker visa. After spending five years in the UK on the Health and Care Worker visa, they will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain provided they meet the other requirements.
Please get in touch if you are a care worker or care provider and need help applying for a visa or sponsor licence, or if you would like to find out more about this scheme.