Expansion of the Health and Care Visa scheme
Carer will be added to the Shortage Occupation List.
Following a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) care workers and home carers will be eligible for the Health and Care visa and will be added to the Shortage Occupation list early this year.
According to a press release from 24 December 2021 these changes are in response to pandemic pressures and will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for social care employers to recruit eligible workers to fill current gaps. The changes are likely to be time-limited for a 12-month period.
The Health and Care Visa
The Health and Care visa allowed certain medical professionals to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care in the UK. The Visa can lead to settlement after 5 years. Applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.
All roles within the SOC Code 6145 will be added to the Health and Care Visa. These are: Care Assistant, Care Worker, Carer, Home Care Assistant, Home Carer and Support Worker (Nursing Home).
- Aged 18 or over
- Work in an eligible health or social care job
- Certificate of sponsorship (employer must have a sponsor licence)
- Knowledge of English language (Level B1)
- Minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ of the profession – whichever is higher
- Meet the financial requirement
- Criminal record certificate – if applying from outside the UK
- Tuberculosis test results – if you are from a certain country
Health and Care visa applicants benefit from an exemption from the Healthcare surcharge for themselves as well as their partner or children as well as a reduction of the visa fee (standard application fee for a Health and Care Worker visa is £232 per person for a visa up to three years and £464 per person for more than 3 years).
The shortage occupation list
Being part of the shortage occupations, where applicants for entry clearance or permission to stay may be paid 80% of the going rate for the occupation code, will mean a minimum of £20,480 for carers to qualify for the Health and Care visa.
Health services and public health managers and directors as well as residential, day and domiciliary care managers are already on the shortage occupation list, along with senior care workers.
Note that anyone working in CQC-regulated care homes will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and those working in wider social care setting are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 April 2022.
Employers are required to have a sponsor licence in place to employ foreign workers. The process time of a sponsor licence is around 8 weeks. Once a sponsor licence is obtained, they can assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the potential employee. This enables them to apply for the visa.
FSP can advise you on all aspects of immigration and will keep you up to date with the latest developments as they are released from the Home Office.
If you require our assistance, please contact our Head of Immigration, [email protected].