UK Visa Updates 2024
Foreigners who meet specific requirements can get a special visa to work in certain healthcare jobs in the UK. Many people can get this visa, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers who work with adults.
The visa goal is to help fill the skills gap in the UK healthcare industry by making it easier for people from other countries to come to the UK for work and possibly stay permanently.
After you apply, you can work in the UK for up to five years. You can renew your visa as often as possible if you still meet the requirements.
Once someone with a health or care visa has been in the country for five years, they can ask to stay indefinitely. If you have ILR status, you are no longer limited by the UK’s immigration rules and laws on visa support. This means you can freely change jobs and careers without renewing visas.
Requirements for a Health and Care Worker Visa
Under the skilled worker visa route, people who want to get a health and care visa must meet all of the following care worker visa regulations:
- Obtain a legitimate Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licenced UK sponsor.
- Ensure the job offer meets the required pay criteria.
- Have sufficient funds to sustain oneself upon arrival in the UK.
- Demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language.
- Provide details of your travel history over the last five years.
- Present up-to-date TB test results if they are from specific countries.
- For healthcare providers working with vulnerable individuals, submit a clean criminal record certificate from a relevant country of residence within the last 10 years.
- The employer is responsible for verifying eligibility and explaining in the CoS remarks how the employment aligns with the eligible visa role criteria.
Being a potential employee, it will be up to your new boss to let you know if you can get the UK healthcare visa. This will help you fill out the visa application form appropriately. In the note area of the CoS, your boss will also have to write a short description of how you will meet the visa role requirements at your new job.
Minimum Health and Care Worker Visa Salary
As part of the eligibility requirements, you must make the payment. When someone offers you a job, they must pay you at least the minimum wage or the “going rate” for that job, whichever is higher. The home office gives each qualified job a standard rate.
You must make at least £26,200 annually for most jobs, or £10.75 an hour. If your part is worth more than the other two, you must be paid at least the going rate.
The job pays £25,000 a year, but the going rate is £26,800. This means you don’t meet the salary standard.
Only some people who make less than the needed amount of money can apply for a health and care visa. If you complete at least £20,480 a year and one of the following is true, you can be paid between 70% and 90% of the going rate for your job:
- You have an offer for a job in a field that is in short supply.
- You are younger than 26, in school, just graduated, or getting job training.
- To be considered for the job, you must have a PhD in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or math).
- Your job is to be a postgraduate scientist.
Your UK supporter must give you a CoS before you can apply for a health and care visa. This is the unique number you use to apply online at the home office.
After you have filled out all the necessary information, the next step in the application process is to pay the fee (see below). You must also send some papers to back up your application.
The Home Office will look over the information and papers you send them when they get your application. They may then offer you either:
- Make an appointment for biometrics (you can’t use biometrics from a previous application) or
- Using an ID app, someone will tell you how to sign up for biometrics.
The same things you need to support any UK visa application: papers and details, such as, when applicable, the following:
- A legal passport or other travel paperwork that shows you can travel
- Any IDs or travel papers that have expired that show where you’ve been and when
- A reference number from your company on a Certificate of Sponsorship
- The name of your boss and the backer licence reference number
- Information about the job, such as the title, SOC code, and pay
- A letter or statement from your bank or building society showing that you have enough savings, unless your COS shows that your A-rated sponsor can help you instead.
- Proof that you can speak and write English
- If you are from a country on the list, your TB test results
- If your job doesn’t protect you, I have proof of no criminal record
- If you are filing with dependents, proof of your link, like your spouse’s marriage certificate and your children’s birth records,
What is the Cost of a Visa for a Health and Care Worker?
Here are the simplified costs for the Health and Care Worker visa:
Fees for Health and Care Worker visa applications made outside the UK:
- Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for 3 years or less) – £284
- Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for over 3 years) – £551
- Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation, Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for 3 years or less) – £284
- Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for over 3 years) – £551
Fees for Health and Care Worker visa applications made within the UK:
- Skilled Worker – Health and Care Worker Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for 3 years or less): £284
- Skilled Worker – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for over 3 years): £551
- Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for 3 years or less): £284
- Skilled Worker – Shortage Occupation – Health and Care Visa (Certificate of sponsorship for over 3 years): £551
What are the Processing Time Frames For Health and Care visas?
Once UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) gets your application, they will put it at the top of the list and move it along quickly.
After giving their personal information, most healthcare workers who apply this way expect to hear back about their application within three weeks. This is much faster than the usual process for getting a skilled worker visa, which can take anywhere from 8 to 20 weeks. The outbreak and the priority of Ukrainian plan applications have caused delays in UKVI processing, so it is best to get advice on current working times before sending your application.
There is also a specialised NHS support and visa-handling team that can help. Visa applicants and donors can call UKVI’s expert squad if they have any questions about the health and care visa application process or whether they are eligible.
Changing Employment on a Health and Care Visa
When health and care workers change jobs or companies, they need to apply to the Home Office to update their visas and let them know.
To be exact, you need to update your visa if:
- You’re starting a new job with a different company.
- The industry code on your new job is the same as the one on your Certificate of Sponsorship. You are also not working as part of a graduate training programme.
- When you leave a job on the shortage list and start one that isn’t on the list, you move out of a shortage occupation role. It doesn’t mean the government needs to step in to help with the lack of a list.
Is it Possible to Extend a Health and Care Visa?
You can get a health and care visa for up to five years. You should apply to stretch your visa before it runs out if you want to stay in the UK legally.
You can ask for a renewal if you still meet the visa standards. If you are still working for the same company that gave you your current Certificate of Sponsorship, in the same job with the same occupation code as when you applied for your last visa, and making the same amount of money, then you meet the requirements.
If you have been in the UK for 5 years, you can apply to settle under Indefinite Leave to Remain instead of using it to stay longer.
If you have family in the UK with dependent visas, they will also need to apply for an extension and show that they are still qualified as dependents, or they can use ILR before their visa ends.