UK Health and Care Visa Requirements and Guidance 2022
On 4 August 2020, the British Government had launched the Health and Care Visa for qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard and who have good working English. The British Government had extended the scope of the Health and Care Visa to include eligible persons working in the social care sector. The benefits of Health and Care Worker visa are fast-tracked entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated support to come to the UK with families. Additionally, people applying for the Health and Care Visa, and their dependant family, are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The Health and Care visa forms part of the Skilled Worker route.
A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.
Appendix Skilled Worker Requirements for Health and Care Visa UK
The Health and Care Visa forms part of Skilled Worker. Therefore, anyone wishing to apply for the Health and Care Visa in 2021 needs to meet all of the requirements for the Skilled Worker route. Therefore, in terms of Appendix Skilled Worker, a foreign worker needs to meet the validity, suitability, and eligibility requirements stated in the Appendix Skilled Worker to get UK Health and Care Visa in 2021.
- Validity Requirements for Health and Care Visa UK: The Paragraphs SW 1.1. to SW 1.6 of Appendix Skilled Worker outline the minimum criteria which an applicant needs to fulfill for the further considerations. For instance, the applicant has used the correct form and supplied their identity documents. Applications which do not meet validity requirements are rejected as invalid.
- Suitability Requirements for Health and Care Visa UK: The Paragraphs SW 2.1. to SW 2.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker relates to the suitability of the applicant to be granted any form of permission, not specifically whether they qualify for Health and Care Visa UK. Applicants must not fall for refusal on general grounds or be in breach of immigration laws. Applications which do not meet these requirements are refused.
- Eligibility Requirements for Health and Care Visa UK: The Paragraphs SW 3.1 to SW 16.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker relates to the specific eligibility criteria. Applications which do not meet these requirements are refused.
Difference Between Skilled Worker and Health and Care Visa UK
Although, the Health and Care visa forms part of the Skilled Worker route; however, there are a few differences between skilled worker and health and care visa UK:
- The Health and Care Visa is only available to the individuals listed in Paragraph 2 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance of UKVI
- The Health and Care Visa is only for Standard Occupational Classification codes listed in Paragraph 3 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance of UKVI
- For the Health and Care Visa UK, the employer needs to include a brief explanation in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) setting out how the employee meets the Health and Care Visa eligibility requirement set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of Health and Care Visa Guidance of UKVI.
- Individuals applying for the Health and Care Visa will apply using the normal Skilled Worker application form and, assuming their employer has confirmed how the employee is eligible, the applicant will check the box to confirm they are applying for the Health and Care Visa.
- Health and Care Visa applicants (including partners and dependants) pay the reduced application fees
- Applicants applying for the Health and Care Visa, and their family are exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
- UKVI will automatically Fast-Track Health and Care Visa applications within three weeks after biometrics
- Dedicated NHS support and visa processing team for Health and Care Visa sponsors for resolving issues with the application process or eligibility for the health and Care Visa. Accordingly, Health and Care Visa sponsors can contact UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at: UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk
*What happens next?
Multilingual qualified London based immigration specialists will get back to you, usually within 2-3 working days. If you have not attached any documents, then the UK based Law firm may ask for the relevant Case-Specific Document(s) such as Refusal Letters, Deportation Orders, Application Forms etc. Moreover, after reviewing the papers and information, the legal advisor may advise a course of action and quote the fees for processing the application.
Have a wonderful day!
Before considering suitability and eligibility requirements, the Immigration Officer/Home Office check the validity of the UK Health and Care Visa application under the paragraphs SW 1.1. to SW 1.6 of Appendix Skilled Worker Visa, which relate to:
- EEA Nationals
- Application Fees
- Biometrics and Identity Documents
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Minimum Age of the Applicant
- Government or International Scholarship Agency Awards
Although, the Health and Care Visa entry clearance applications by EEA nationals before the end of free movement between the EU and the UK can be considered as valid, but the grant should be no earlier than 1 January 2021. The Health and Care visa applications for permission to stay before 1 January 2021 from EEA nationals are rejected as invalid.
Applicants applying for the Health and Care visa are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Charge and have lower application fees. Once the Health and Care Visa is granted then migrants need to pay £19.20 for biometrics information (fingerprints and a photo) in the UK.
The application fee for Health and Care Visa (and for Health and Care Visa Shortage Occupation List) is the same for applicant and dependent family members from inside and outside the UK. If the duration of the Health and Care Visa is up to 3 years, then the application fees are £232 per person. However, if the duration of the Health and Care Visa is more than 3 years then the application fees are £464 per person.
The current surcharge is £400, rising to £624 this October. It is due to be removed for all NHS staff, including health workers, porters and cleaners, as well as independent health workers and social care workers – many of whom are on the minimum wage. Doctors, nurses and paramedics are also included. They had been previously given a one-year exemption.
Biometrics and Identity Documents
At the time of application, Health and Care Visa applicants need to provide their biometrics. These biometrics details are verified against a valid passport or other travel document of the applicants
Certificate of Sponsorship
For the Health and Care Visa UK, the employer needs to include a brief explanation in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) setting out how the employee meets the Health and Care Visa eligibility requirement in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance of UKVI. Accordingly, it is responsibility of the employer to the applicant that they are eligible for the Health and Care Visa so the applicant can correctly complete the visa application form. If an employer is an organisation that provides services commissioned by the NHS, then needs to provide evidence of the contract arrangements with the NHS to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as proof that applicants are eligible to apply for a Health and Care Visa.
Please note, the Health and Care Visa applicants need to have a certificate of sponsorship (CoS). The COS is a virtual document (like a database record) which is assigned by the sponsor. Sponsors use a secure IT system called the sponsorship management system (SMS) to assign a CoS.
CoS Reference Number
The applicants should provide COS reference number in their application. If the applicant has not supplied the reference number, they must provide an explanation. Moreover, if the Immigration Officer/Home is not satisfied the sponsor has assigned a CoS to the applicant, then may reject the application. If the CoS reference number is not yet assigned because of delays by UKVI (for instance, a delay in processing a sponsor licence application or a request for a CoS), then the Immigration Officer/Home Office may exceptionally place the case on hold pending the outcome.
The assigned CoS should not be more than 3 months before the date of application. If the COS is assigned too early, then also the application may be rejected.
The minimum age for Health and Care visa applicants is 18 or over on the date of application. Therefore, if the applicant is too young, then the application gets rejected.
If a Health and Care Visa applicant has received an award covering fees and living costs from a government or international scholarship agency in the 12 months before the date of application, then the government or agency must provide written consent. The letter of consent must be on the official letter-headed paper or stationery of the organisation or organisations, bearing the official stamp of that organisation and issued by an authorised official of that organisation. The documents must confirm the organisation gives the applicant consent to remain in or re-enter the UK.
An applicant who is in the UK cannot apply to switch into the Skilled Worker Health and Care route if they have, or were last granted, permission as a Visitor, Short-term Student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household, or outside the Immigration Rules.
For entry clearance or permission to stay as a Health and Care Worker in the UK an applicant need to meet the suitability requirements under Paragraphs SW2.1 and SW 2.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker. Therefore, in terms of paragraph SW2.1 the Health and Care Visa applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal. Moreover, as per paragraph SW2.2 an applicant applying for permission to stay must not be:
- in breach of immigration laws, except that where paragraph 39E applies, that period of overstaying will be disregarded; or
- on immigration bail
UK Health and Care Visa Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible, Health and Care Visa applicants need to secure 50 mandatory points (for sponsorship, job, and English language skills) and 20 tradeable points (for salary and other attributes). In some cases (mainly entry clearance applications), applicants must also need to satisfy non-points eligibility requirements relating to tuberculosis testing, available funds, and criminal records certificates.
Accordingly, in terms of Appendix Skilled Worker, eligibility requirements for Health and Care Visa UK in 2021 relates to:
- Entry Requirement
- Tuberculosis Certificate
- Points Requirement (Overview)
- 20-Points for Sponsorship (Mandatory)
- 20-Points for a Job at the appropriate Skill Level (Mandatory)
- 10-Points for the English Language Requirement (Mandatory)
- Tradeable Points Options
- Consideration of Salary (All Tradeable Points Options)
- Financial Requirement (Mandatory)
- Criminal Record Certificate Requirement (Mandatory)
A person seeking to come to the UK as a Health and Care Skilled Worker need to apply for and obtain entry clearance as a Health and Care Worker before they arrive in the UK.
Health and Care Visa applicant needs to provide a valid TB certificate with their application if they have been residing within a country listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules for more than 6 months immediately preceding the application. If an applicant fails to provide a valid TB test certificate, then the application is refused under paragraph SW 3.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker.
An applicant needs to score fifty (50) mandatory points against the following UK Health and Care Visa Eligibility Requirements:
- Sponsorship – 20 Points
- Job at an Appropriate Skill Level – 20 Points
- English Language skills at level B1 (intermediate) – 10 Points
To get Health and Care Visa UK an applicant needs to score 20 points for sponsorship. Accordingly, to secure 20 Points for Sponsorship an applicant needs to satisfy the UK Health and Care Visa Eligibility Requirements relating to:
- Valid Certificate of Sponsorship
- Licensed Sponsor
- Immigration Skills Charge
- Genuine Vacancy
- Working for Third Parties
Job at an Appropriate Skill Level
To get Health and Care Worker Visa UK an applicant needs to score 20 points for Job at an Appropriate Skill Level. Accordingly, to secure 20 Points for Sponsorship an applicant needs to satisfy that they are sponsored for an eligible job as per Paragraph 3 of the Health and Care Guidance of UKVI. An applicant may not get the points for a job at the appropriate skill level if the sponsor has not chosen an appropriate occupation code.
Health and Care Visa English Language (IELTS) Requirements
To get Health and Care Visa an applicant needs to score 10 points for English language skills equivalent to level B1 of the Common European Framework of References (CEFR) for English language in all four components (reading, writing, speaking, and listening).
An applicant can meet the Health and Care Worker Visa requirements for English Language if they are nationals of a majority English speaking country, have a degree taught in English (certified by UK NARIC equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree), have passed an English language test (CEFR Level B1), have met requirement in a previous grant of leave or there are transitional arrangements.
The Health and Care Worker Visa applicants do not need to prove the knowledge of English Language if they are a national of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA. Please note, applicants from non-English Speaking countries, usually meet the Health and Care visa requirements by passing an approved English language test.
For further details, please refer to Appendix English Language.
What are the IELTS Requirements for Health and Care Visa UK?
If an applicant has skills equivalent to CEFR level B1 for English language in all four components (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) then can score 10 points for English Language. Therefore, for Health and Care Visa UK IELTS requirement is 4.0-5.0 Band Score, which is equivalent to CEFR Level B1.
Please note, according to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B1 level in English can:
- understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling
- produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
- describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
To get UK Skilled Worker Visa in addition to the 50 mandatory points, an applicant also needs to score 20 tradeable (salary) points. The Health and Care worker usually need to be paid at least £20,480. If the ‘going rate’ for the job is higher than £20,480, then applicant usually need to be paid at least the going rate. Each occupation code has its own annual going rate. Therefore, the going rate depends on the job.
Higher Salary Requirements
For the occupations codes listed below, Health and Care Workers usually need to be paid at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. If the ‘going rate’ for your job is higher than both of these, then the Health and Care Worker usually need to be paid at least the going rate.
For instance, if the salary is £27,000 per year, but the annual going rate for the job is £30,000 then applicant does not meet the usual salary requirements for Health and Care Worker visa.
Please note each occupation code has its own annual going rates.
You’ll need to meet different salary requirements for this visa if your job is in one of the following occupation codes:
1181: health services and public health managers and directors
1242: residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
2112: biological scientists and biochemists
2113: physical scientists
3111: laboratory technicians
3216: dispensing opticians
3217: pharmaceutical technicians
6146: senior care workers
When you can be paid less
A person can still be able to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa if the job is eligible, but salary is less than £25,600 or job’s usual ‘going rate’. The applicant still needs to be paid at least £10.10 per hour.
A Health and Care Worker can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for the job if salary is at least £20,480 per year and they meet one of the following criteria:
- job is in a shortage occupation
- the applicant is under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
- the applicant has a science, technology, engineering, or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to the job (if they have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject the salary needs to be at least £23,040)
- applicant has a postdoctoral position in a scientific role
A Job Listed in Shortage Occupation
A ‘shortage occupation’ is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK. If the job is on the shortage occupation list, then the applicant can be paid 80% of the job’s usual going rate. View the shortage occupations list to see if the job is included and how much the sponsor needs to pay. Make sure to check if there is a shortage in the part of the UK in which the applicant will be working in – England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
If the applicant is under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training, then sponsor can pay 70% of the job’s usual going rate if one of the following applies, the applicant is:
- under 26 on the date of the application
- currently in the UK on a Student visa studying at bachelor’s degree level or above – or has been in the last 2 years, and a student or visit visa was their most recent visa
- currently in the UK on a Graduate Entrepreneur visa
- going to work towards a recognised qualification in a UK regulated profession
- going to work towards full registration or chartered status in the sponsored job
A migrant’s total stay in the UK cannot be more than 4 years if they apply for one of these reasons. This includes any time the migrant has already spent in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) work visa.
A PhD Level Qualification Relevant to Job
An applicant can earn 80% or 90% of the job’s usual going rate, depending on the subject of PhD level qualification. Accordingly, if the applicant has a science, technology, engineering, or maths (STEM) qualification, then can be paid 80% of job’s usual going rate, if they will still earn at least £20,480 per year. If the applicant has a non-STEM qualification, then can be paid 90% of job’s usual going rate, if they will still earn at least £23,040 a year. However, in both situations, the applicant must:
- have a UK PhD or an equivalent doctorate-level overseas qualification – need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) to check if an overseas qualification is equivalent to a UK PhD
- be able to prove qualification is relevant to the job in the UK – employer can confirm this
For further details, please check the list of jobs that qualify for a PhD salary discount. If you’re a research or academic leader, you may also be eligible to apply for the Global Talent visa. This visa has no language or minimum salary requirements.
Postdoctoral Position in a Scientific Role
Applicants can be paid 70% of job’s usual going rate if they will be working in a postdoctoral position. For detail, please check the minimum salary requirements to qualify for this visa. However, the total stay in the UK cannot be more than 4 years for a postdoctoral position at 70% of the usual going rate. This includes any time applicant has already spent in the UK on a Tier 2 (General) work visa.
Consideration of Salary (all tradeable points options)
As per the Health and Care Visa application procedure, applicants and sponsors need to provide information relating to tradeable points. Therefore, it is possible for applicants to score tradeable points in more than one way (although applicants cannot mix and match different tradeable options). However, this does not mean, the Home Office/Immigration Officer, necessarily need to consider every option fully in every application.
Accordingly, the Home Office/Immigration Officer usually first considers the mandatory points for sponsorship and a skilled job. Then considers whether the occupation code is eligible (as this will affect the options which are available). Next, the Home Office considers salary, then (in the case of occupations in Table 1) any other information which could attract tradeable points.
A Health and Care visa applicant will automatically meet the financial requirement when they are applying for permission to stay, having been in the UK for at least 12 months with permission on the date of application. However, if this does not apply, a Health and Care visa applicant can meet the financial requirement by either:
- their sponsor certifying, they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270; or
- providing evidence showing they have held funds of at least £1,270 for a 28-day period as set out in the financial requirement guidance (this has reduced from the 90-day requirement which existed for Tier 2 applications)
Criminal Records Certificate
The criminal records certificate requirement for UK Health and Care Visa applies if the application is for entry clearance and the applicant is being sponsored in an occupation code listed in paragraph SW 16.1 of Appendix Skilled Worker, which mostly relates to Health, Education, Social Workers etc.
If the requirement applies, the applicant need to provide a criminal records certificate for any country they have been present in for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the 10 years before the date of application, while they were aged eighteen or over. However, the requirement may not apply if the applicant provides a satisfactory explanation why it is not reasonably practicable for them to obtain a criminal record certificate from any or all the relevant authorities.
Supporting Documents Required for Health and Care Visa UK
To meet the UK Health and Care visa requirements an applicant needs to furnish the following supporting documents with the application:
- Print out of the UK Health and Care Visa Online Application Form
- a current passport (or other valid travel identification) that shows applicant’s identity and nationality with a blank page on both sides for affixation of the visa vignette
- certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh
- certificate of sponsorship reference number, which the UK employer (sponsor) has given to the applicant with a brief explanation setting out how the applicant meets the Health and Care Visa eligibility requirement
- job title and annual salary
- job’s occupation code
- name of the employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on the certificate of sponsorship
- proof of meeting the English requirement such as UKVI IELTS Test result, academic degree with ECCTIS (previously UKNARIC) certificate
An applicant may ask their employer for a copy of certificate of sponsorship if they do not have one.
Additional Supporting Documents
Depending on the circumstances, a Health and Care Visa applicant may need to provide:
- evidence of requisite personal savings for meeting the maintenance funds requirements. For instance, bank statements (unless the certificate of sponsorship shows that the employer can support)
- proof of relationship with spouse/partner or children – if dependant family members are applying with the main applicant
- tuberculosis test results, if applicable
- a criminal record certificate – if applicable
- a valid ATAS certificate – if the job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
- UK PhD certificate, or unique ECCTIS reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number) if the applicant’s qualification is from outside the UK
Applicants applying for the Health and Care Visa need to use the normal Skilled Worker application form and, assuming their employer has confirmed how the employee is eligible. Accordingly, the applicant will check the box to confirm they are applying for the Health and Care Visa. Applicants (including dependant family members) applying for Health and Care Visa will pay the reduced application fees.
However, applicant should not tick the Health and Care Visa box if the employer has not confirmed on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they are eligible (for Health and Care Visa). If an application is made, but the applicant does not appear to meet the conditions, that application may be rejected (as the correct fee will not have been paid). Therefore, if the applicant is unsure then must check with the sponsor before completing the UK Health and Care visa application form.
Dependant Family Members
If partner or dependant children of a person who qualifies for the Health and Care Visa, but the qualifying person arrived in the UK before the Health and Care Visa was available, then they will need confirmation from the sponsor that the person upon whom their application is reliant, is eligible for the Health and Care visa. The sponsor will need to provide the information, which would normally be included in the Certificate of Sponsorship, to the applicant for inclusion in the partner or dependant application. Accordingly, this should be in the form of a letter or an email from the sponsor and would set out the organisation and, if not an NHS body, how the organisation qualifies under paragraph 2 of the UKVI Health and Care Visa Guidance.
Dedicated NHS Support and Visa Processing Team
The UK Health and Care Visa Sponsors can contact UKVI’s specialist team if they have any issues with the application process and procedure – such as eligibility of the applicant. Accordingly, sponsors can contact UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at: UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk
Fast-Track Health and Care Visa UK
As per the procedure, UKVI prioritises Health and Care Visa applications, with the aim to process most of the applications within three weeks after biometrics.
Conditions of Stay in the UK
A migrant on Skilled Worker Visa in the UK can:
- work for the sponsor in the job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship
- do a second job in certain circumstances; however, can only apply for a second job until the migrant starts working for the sponsor
- do voluntary work
- study if it does not interfere with the sponsored job
- travel abroad and return to the UK
- bring family members to the UK
- apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if the migrant has lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements
However, a migrant on Skilled Worker route cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension, and change jobs or employer unless the migrant applies to update the visa.
UK Health and Care Visa Second Job
A migrant on Health and Care Skilled Worker route needs to apply to update the visa if they take on a second job that is either:
- more than 20 paid hours a week in addition to the job they are being sponsored for
- in a different occupation code
The second job must meet the eligibility requirements and the migrant on Health and Care Visa in the UK need a new certificate of sponsorship to prove this. Accordingly, the migrant also needs to include a letter with the application explaining that they want to change their current permission to stay. The letter must state:
- name of the applicant
- date of birth of the applicant
- the current certificate of sponsorship reference number
- the date when the current permission to stay runs out
If the application is successful, the migrant will get a new visa giving them permission to do both jobs. Please note, a migrant on Health and Care Visa do not need to apply to update the visa if they are taking on additional work in the same occupation code or the migrant be doing less than 20 paid hours a week.
UK Health and Care Visa to Settlement (ILR)
A migrant on Health and Care Visa can apply for settlement (ILR) under the Skilled Worker route after spending a continuous period of 5 years in the UK, consisting of time with permission in any of, or any combination of, the following routes:
- Skilled Worker
- Tier 2 (General)
- Global Talent
- T2 Minister of Religion / Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
- T2 Sportsperson / Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
- Representative of an Overseas Business
- Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
- Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
- High Value migrant such as Tier 1 (Investor)
- Tier 1 (General)
Health and Care Worker Visa UK Success Rate
According to the latest immigration statistics, from 2020 Q4 to 2021 Q2, 25,823 UK Health and Care Visa applications resolved, and 25,683 visas granted. Moreover, 118 applications rejected, 22 applications withdrawn, and no application lapsed. Therefore, the UK Health and Care entry clearance visa success and refusal rate are 99.45% and 0.45%, respectively.