Health and Care Worker Visa

The Health and Care Worker Visa is a category granted to people working within the health and care sector. This page outlines everything you need to know about applying for the visa and coming to the UK.

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What is the Health and Care Worker Visa?

This visa category has been designed for overseas healthcare professionals who wish to come to the UK to work in certain categories of health and care roles.

Because some roles in the healthcare sector are on the occupation shortage list, applicants are eligible to receive fast-tracked entry into the UK, reduced visa fees, and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

There are also dedicated supports for applicants and their families to help with the visa application process.

In most cases, the employer of these visa holders will be the NHS, a supplier to the NHS, or an approved adult social care provider.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some health workers and dependents may be able to extend their visas free of charge. Check the Gov.uk page healthcare worker visa page for updates.

If you need support from Newcastle Immigration Lawyers with your visa application, you can get in touch with us on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers and receive immediate support with your case.

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Who can apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa?

There are a number of eligibility requirements for this immigration route. If you wish to apply for this visa, you should take note of the code that relates to your job. This is also referred to as the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.

The list of eligible roles includes the following:

  • Biological scientists and biochemists
  • Physical scientists
  • Medical practitioners
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Ophthalmic opticians
  • Dental practitioners
  • Medical radiographers
  • Podiatrists
  • Health professionals (not elsewhere classified)
  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Speech and language therapists
  • Therapy professionals
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Social workers
  • Paramedics

It is also possible for a visa applicant to be employed by a relevant medical or social organisation or industry body. For example, The General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland, etc.

How to apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa

The application process is similar to other visa applications in that it requires comprehensive preparation and evidence in order to receive a successful decision.

The most important aspect of the process is being issued with your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by your employer. This unique code is required to submit your visa application.

Once you have completed the online application form for the Health and Care Visa and submitted your supporting documents (see below), you should pay the application fee.

Following the receipt of your application, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) should request that you either attend an in-person biometric information appointment or provide the relevant information using a smartphone app.

The way that you apply depends on whether you are outside the UK or inside the UK (whether extending or switching the visa). If you wish to change your job or employer, you should submit an application to update the visa.

It is possible to add a dependent partner and child(ren) to your application if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Required documents

When submitting your application for the Health and Care Visa, some of the following documents may be required:

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • Expired passports to show your travel history (where relevant)
  • Tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
  • Statement from your bank confirming that you have adequate finances to maintain yourself
  • Proof of your level of English language skills (at least level B1 on the CEFR scale)
  • Criminal record certificate (where relevant)

There are some exceptions for some people who are nationals of an English-speaking country, or who have a degree qualification taught through English. If these situations do not apply to your situation, you should hold a Secure English Language Test result to prove your level.

However, it may be the case that if your language level is already certified by your professional standards body, you may not need to submit further proof of your language abilities.

Fees and waiting time

Fees

There is a reduced fee for people who wish to apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa. Below is the current cost for the visa for applications made outside the UK:

  • Where the applicant chooses to stay for three years or fewer: £232
  • Where the role is on the shortage occupation list (under three years): £232
  • Where the role is on the shortage occupation list (over three years): £464

For applications made within the UK, the following fees apply:

  • Where the applicant chooses to stay for three years or fewer: £232
  • Where the role is on the shortage occupation list (under three years): £232
  • Where the role is on the shortage occupation list (over three years): £464

Dependents of people on this visa category will also be eligible for reduced visa fees and all are exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge.

Waiting time

This visa category has one of the fastest visa processing times. The majority of applicants can expect to receive a decision within three weeks from the date of submission of their biometric information.

Because this is a valuable visa category, there are dedicated people within the NHS who can support with the application process.

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Do you have to update your visa when changing job?

It is important to abide by the conditions of your stay and not undertake any employment that is not permitted by your approved visa.

However, it may be the case that you wish to change your job or employer. In these cases, it will be necessary to update your visa by submitting an application.

You will be issued a new Certificate of Sponsorship by your employer if you are undertaking a new job or changing employers. When you are in receipt of this number, you can then submit your application.

You can also add a second job to your existing visa, but this must be an eligible role and you must receive a new CoS to outline the nature of the work.

In most cases, you should update your visa up to three months before the start date of your new job. You will be asked to submit evidence of your identity and your biometric information. You can apply to update your visa at the Gov.uk link.

How to switch to this visa

You may be eligible to switch to this visa category under certain circumstances. If you are in the UK on an eligible visa, you and your dependents may be able to apply.

To be considered, you should ensure that your job meets the eligibility requirements and that you have the appropriate skill level in English.

There are some circumstances where you may not switch to this category. This includes the following reasons:

  • You hold a Visitor Visa
  • You are on a short-term Student Visa or the Parent of a Child Student Visa
  • You are on a seasonal worker or domestic worker in a private household visa
  • You are on immigration bail
  • You were given leave to remain outside immigration rules (e.g., on compassionate grounds)

If the above situations apply to your case, you should first leave the UK and apply from overseas. You can use the Gov.uk site to switch to a Health and Care Visa.

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Related pages for your continued reading.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Health and Care visa allows overseas medical professionals to work in the UK on an approved list of occupations in the health and social care sector. There are some reduced costs associated with this visa when compared to other visa categories. Many of the roles on the occupation shortage list are in the health and care sectors which means that workers who want to come to the UK are in high demand.

Immediate family members (spouse and dependent children) may be eligible to come to the UK to join their partner/ parent on this visa. There are separate applications involved in this process. If the visa holder is already in the UK and wants to apply for their family members to join them, it is possible to submit an application to do so.

Most visa holders will have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge when coming to the UK. However, health and social care workers and their dependents do not have to pay this charge. If a visa holder has already paid this, they may be entitled to apply for reimbursement.