The UK work visa specifically for healthcare professionals is known as the Health and Care Worker visa. This healthcare worker visa provides a skilled worker route for many jobs including nurses, paramedics, and various technicians and therapists. Here are some of the requirements and details of the Health and Care Worker visa route to finding work in the UK.
What is the Health and Care Worker visa and what are its requirements?
A popular method to enter the UK in the past has been the Tier 2 General work visa. As of 2021, the Tier 2 General visa has been replaced by the Skilled Worker visa. The main requirements are:
- Meeting a minimum education level
- Earning a minimum salary appropriate to the occupation
- Having a satisfactory grasp of the English language
- A job offer from an employer that is approved by the UK Home Office
However, there is a specific Skilled Work visa centred around healthcare workers, known as the Health and Care Worker visa. Both visas provide a way to live and work in the UK through your current field of employment. The Health and Care Worker visa has lower application costs and healthcare workers do not pay the annual health surcharge of £624 per year per person.
The requirements differ from the Skilled Worker visa slightly. The minimum education level is replaced by the requirement to be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care worker. The job offer needs to be from an employer with a sponsor licence and is limited to eligible health or social care jobs.
Nationals from a majority English speaking country do not need to prove their knowledge of English. The same applies for healthcare workers taking the graduate route for working in the UK. If you have studied at a UK institution, your English proficiency is already proven to UK authorities.
Where do care workers fit into the Healthcare and Care Worker visa?
Despite the use of “care” in the title, the Health and Care Worker visa does not include care workers. Senior and child care workers do not fall into the eligible jobs for the Health and Care Worker visa. Jobs like senior care workers are eligible occupations for the Skilled Worker visa. Care workers would take the Skilled Worker visa route to get employment in the UK.
Salary requirements for the Health and Care Worker visa
The minimum salary requirement for the Health and Care Worker visa is at least £20,480. If the going rate for the position you are offered is greater than £20,480, you will need to match the higher figure. There are exceptions to the rule and you can be paid a lower salary in specific circumstances. This occurs when you have an annual salary of at least £20,480 and still meet one of the following:
- Your job is in shortage in the UK. Here you can earn 80% of the job’s usual going rate.
- You are under the age of 26 and are a recent graduate or in professional training. You can earn 70% of your job’s standard going rate if you’re working towards full registration in the job you are sponsored for.
- You have a postdoctoral position in a scientific role. You can be paid 70% of the usual going rate.
- You have a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) PhD qualification that is career relevant. Other PhD qualifications must meet a £23,040 salary amount. STEM PhDs are allowed 80% of the going rate and other PhDs are allowed 90% of the going rate.
- The salary for the job you are being sponsored for must equal or exceed both:
- (a) £20,480 per year and
- (b) 80 % of the going rate for the occupation code if your job is on the shortage occupation list.
- (a) £20,480 per year and
- (b) 70 % of the going rate for the occupation code if you are under the age of 26 at the time of the application.
Does the Health and Care Worker visa lead to UK residency?
After five years, your Health and Care Worker visa will expire, unless you have extended it because of a job or employer change. Working in the UK for five or more years on a qualifying visa means you are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The Health and Care Worker visa is a qualifying visa which gives the holder the opportunity to apply for ILR. With ILR, you can leave the UK and return as many times as you need, stay for as long as you require, and study. After a year of holding ILR, you may apply for UK citizenship.
What you are able to do with the Health and Care Worker visa
The Health and Care Worker visa permits dependants to accompany you to the UK while you work. You may also study and travel abroad and return to the UK with no hassle. Health and Care Worker visa holders cannot apply for benefits or state pensions and have to update their visas when changing jobs and employers.
Other requirements for the Health and Care Worker visa
What you need:
- A criminal record certificate from your current country of residence
- Proof of at least £1,270 in your savings for 28 days or more and within 31 days of applying for the visa
Ultimately, the Health and Care Worker visa is a UK visa route similar to the Skilled Worker visa, or the now defunct Tier 2 General visa. The Health and Care Worker visa provides the same skilled work opportunities in the UK but eases the application process for a multitude of healthcare workers.
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