The focus of this article is the UK Health Care Visa Requirements for skilled workers in 2023. It’s important to note that the Skilled Worker Visa has replaced the former Tier 2 General or work permit since 2020. As of now, the Health and Care Visa is viewed as a part of the Skilled Worker Visa. Consequently, this updated health and care visa can provide a pathway to permanent residency (ILR) in the UK. Furthermore, those under Tier 2 (General) workers can pursue extensions, employment changes, and permanent residency via the UK Health and Care Visa.
Table of Contents
1. Health Carer Visa UK Requirements 2023
On August 4, 2020, the UK Government introduced the Health and Care Visa to attract qualified doctors, nurses, and other health professionals trained to an acknowledged standard and possessing a good command of English. The government expanded the Health and Care Visa’s scope to incorporate eligible individuals working in the social care sector. The advantages of the Health and Care Worker visa include expedited entry, lower visa fees, and specialized support for bringing families to the UK. People applying for the UK Health and Care Visa and their dependent families are exempted from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). The Health and Care visa is integrated into the Skilled Worker route.
Introduction to the UK Health Care Visa Requirements 2023
As the Health and Care Visa is part of the Skilled Worker route, prospective applicants need to satisfy all of the Skilled Worker route’s requirements. In relation to the Appendix Skilled Worker, a foreign worker must meet the validity, suitability, and eligibility requirements outlined in the Appendix Skilled Worker to secure a UK Health and Care Visa.
The validity requirements, as stated in the paragraphs SW 1.1. to SW 1.6 of the Appendix Skilled Worker, provide the minimum criteria that an applicant must meet for further considerations. For example, the applicant must use the correct form and submit their identity documents. Applications failing to meet these validity requirements are deemed invalid.
The suitability requirements, given in paragraphs SW 2.1. to SW 2.2 of the Appendix Skilled Worker, pertain to the applicant’s overall suitability for obtaining any permission, not specifically qualifying for the UK Health and Care Visa. Applicants must not be subject to refusal on general grounds or violate immigration laws. Applications failing to meet these requirements are denied.
The eligibility requirements, as per the paragraphs SW 3.1 to SW 16.2 of the Appendix Skilled Worker, list the specific criteria to qualify. Applications failing to meet these requirements are also denied.
2. Skilled Worker Visa vs Health and Care Visa
Comparison of Skilled Worker Visa and Health and Care Visa UK
While the Health and Care Visa is part of the Skilled Worker route, there are distinct characteristics between the Skilled Worker and the UK Health and Care Visa:
- The UK Health and Care Visa is exclusively available to the individuals as outlined in Paragraph 2 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance by UKVI.
- This Visa is applicable solely for Standard Occupational Classification codes mentioned in Paragraph 3 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance by UKVI.
- For the UK Health and Care Visa, employers must provide a concise explanation in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) demonstrating how the employee satisfies the eligibility requirements specified in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Health and Care Visa Guidance by UKVI.
- Applicants for the UK Health and Care Visa use the standard Skilled Worker application form. If their employer confirms the employee’s eligibility, the applicant will tick the box indicating they are applying for the Health and Care Visa.
- Those applying for the Health and Care Visa, including partners and dependents, pay a reduced application fee.
- Applicants for the UK Health and Care Visa, along with their families, are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
- UKVI expedites processing of the UK Health and Care Visa applications, aiming for a three-week turnaround post-biometrics.
- There is a dedicated NHS support and visa processing team for Health and Care Visa sponsors to address any issues related to the application process or eligibility. Consequently, Health and Care Visa sponsors can reach out to UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at: UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
3. UK Health and Care Visa: Validity and Suitability Considerations
- EEA Nationals: Applications from EEA nationals should be submitted before the end of the EU-UK free movement, with visas valid from January 1, 2021, onward.
- Application Fees: Applicants enjoy reduced fees and are exempt from the Immigration Health Charge. This includes NHS staff and health care workers. Charges apply for biometrics registration and visa based on validity.
- Biometrics and Documents: Biometric information is required and verified against valid identity documents.
- Certificate of Sponsorship: A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from employers is necessary.
- CoS Reference Number: This number, included in the application, should be issued within 3 months of applying.
- Minimum Age: Applicants must be 18 or older.
- Scholarship Consent: Written consent is required for those with a government or international scholarship.
- Switching Restrictions: Certain visa holders or those outside Immigration Rules cannot switch to this visa route.
- Entry Clearance and Stay Permission: Applicants must meet suitability requirements outlined in Paragraphs SW2.1 and SW 2.2 of the Appendix Skilled Worker.
- Compliance with Immigration Laws: Applicants should have no violations of immigration laws, though some overstaying under paragraph 39E may be disregarded.
- Immigration Bail: Applicants should not be under immigration bail.
- Law-Abiding Status: Ensuring applicants are compliant with immigration laws is crucial, demonstrating their lawful status and good standing.
These considerations ensure that Health and Care Visa applicants are eligible, compliant, and meet the specific requirements set by UK immigration policies.
4. Eligibility for Health and Care Visa UK 2023: Simplified Overview
- Points Requirement: 50 mandatory points (sponsorship, job, English skills) + 20 tradeable points (salary, attributes).
- Non-Points Requirements: In certain cases, additional requirements like tuberculosis testing, financial proof, and criminal records certificates are necessary.
- Entry Clearance: Must obtain entry clearance as a Health and Care Worker before entering the UK.
- Tuberculosis Testing: A valid TB certificate is required if residing in a listed country for over 6 months before applying.
- Mandatory Points (50): 20 for sponsorship, 20 for job at the right skill level, 10 for English language (B1 level of CEFR).
- Tradeable Points (20): Based on salary and other qualifications.
- Financial Proof: Either sponsor certification for initial accommodation and maintenance or evidence of holding £1,270 for 28 days.
- Criminal Record Certificate: Necessary for applicants from countries where they’ve stayed for 12 months or more over the past 10 years after turning 18.
- Points for Sponsorship (20): Valid Certificate of Sponsorship, licensed sponsor, immigration skills charge, genuine vacancy, appropriate skill level job, and no third-party work.
- Meeting the Requirement: Automatic eligibility for applicants in the UK for 12 months; others need sponsor certification or proof of funds (£1,270 for 28 days).
- Criminal Records Certificate is required for entry clearance in certain occupation codes. Must provide certificates from countries where they’ve stayed for 12 months or more in the past 10 years after age 18. Exceptions possible with valid reasons.
Requirements may vary based on job code, nationality, and individual circumstances. Always consult the latest UK government guidelines or a legal professional for accurate advice.
5. Health and Care Visa English Requirements
To apply for the Health and Care Visa in the UK, one of the key eligibility requirements relates to English language proficiency. An applicant needs to achieve a score equivalent to level B1 of the Common European Framework of References (CEFR) for English language in all four components: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This is worth 10 points in the visa application process.
The requirements for demonstrating this proficiency can be met in a few ways:
- If the applicant is a national of a majority English speaking country, which includes 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, they are not required to provide additional proof of English language skills.
- If the applicant has a degree that was taught in English and is certified by UK NARIC as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, this also satisfies the requirement.
- If the applicant has passed an English language test at the CEFR Level B1, this can also meet the requirement.
- If the applicant has met the requirement in a previous grant of leave or through transitional arrangements, they would be deemed as satisfying this requirement.
For further details, please refer to Appendix English Language.
Health and Care Visa UK IELTS Requirement 2023
In terms of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the required band score for a Health and Care Visa UK is between 4.0 and 5.0, equivalent to CEFR Level B1.
According to the official CEFR guidelines, someone at the B1 level in English should be able to:
- Grasp key aspects of straightforward, standard communication on common topics typically found in work, school, leisure activities, and similar settings.
- Deal with most situations likely to arise while 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.
6. How to Score Tradeable Points for Health Care Worker Salary in UK?
When applying for the UK Skilled Worker Visa, specifically for the Health and Care worker visa, in addition to the mandatory 50 points for skills, qualifications, and language proficiency, an applicant also needs to score 20 tradeable points related to salary.
Typically, a Health and Care worker needs to be paid at least £20,480. However, if the ‘going rate’ for the job is higher than £20,480, the applicant usually needs to be paid at least that amount. Each job or occupation code has its own annual going rate, meaning the exact figure can depend on the specific job.
There are also higher salary requirements for certain occupation codes, with an annual pay rate of at least £25,600 or £10.10 wage rate per hour (whichever is higher) or the going rate, again, if it is higher. These occupation codes include:
- 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
However, there are instances where an applicant may still qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa even if their salary is less than the usual £25,600 or job’s ‘going rate’. The individual must still be paid at least £10.10 wage rate per hour, but can be paid between 70% and 90% of the job’s usual going rate if their salary is at least £20,480 per year and they meet one of the following criteria:
- The job is in a shortage occupation.
- The applicant is under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training.
- The applicant has a relevant science, technology, engineering, or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification. For a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject, the salary needs to be at least £23,040.
- The applicant has a postdoctoral position in a scientific role.
More detailed information can be found on the Gov.UK website, including specific annual going rates for various occupation codes.
The UK Skilled Worker Visa requirements allow for certain exceptions to the typical salary threshold for the following circumstances:
- Shortage Occupations: If the job an applicant is applying for is listed as a ‘shortage occupation’ (a job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK), the applicant can be paid 80% of the job’s usual going rate. It’s important to check the official shortage occupations list and also note whether there’s a shortage in the specific region of the UK where the applicant will be working.
- New Entrants: For applicants who are under 26, studying, recent graduates, or in professional training, they can be paid 70% of the job’s usual going rate given that one of the following applies:
- The applicant is under 26 on the date of the application.
- The applicant is currently studying at bachelor’s degree level or above in the UK, or has been in the last two years, with their most recent visa being a student or visit visa.
- The applicant is currently in the UK on a Graduate Entrepreneur visa.
- The applicant is working towards a recognized qualification in a UK regulated profession.
- The applicant is working towards full registration or chartered status in the sponsored job.
- PhD Level Qualification Relevant to Job: Applicants with a relevant PhD level qualification can be paid 80% or 90% of the job’s usual going rate, depending on the subject of the PhD level qualification. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) qualifications allow for 80% of the job’s usual going rate (minimum £20,480 per year), and non-STEM qualifications allow for 90% of the job’s usual going rate (minimum £23,040 per year). Applicants must have a UK PhD or an equivalent overseas qualification and be able to prove its relevance to the job in the UK.
- Postdoctoral Position in a Scientific Role: For those in a postdoctoral position, the applicant can be paid 70% of the job’s usual going rate. Similar to the new entrant category, the total stay in the UK cannot be more than 4 years, including any time spent on a Tier 2 (General) work visa.
These flexible terms help the UK attract talent in fields where there is a shortage or where highly specialized knowledge is needed. They also make it more accessible for younger people and those in training to come to the UK. However, always ensure you check the official resources for the most updated requirements.
For the Health and Care Visa application in the UK, the applicant must follow a certain sequence of considerations. After ensuring that the mandatory points for sponsorship and a skilled job are met, the eligibility of the occupation code is verified. This is because the eligibility of the occupation code affects the available options for tradeable points. After this, the salary and any other information that could earn tradeable points (in the case of occupations in Table 1) are considered.
7. Documents Required for UK Care Worker Visa
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 Documents Required for UK Health and Care Visa
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 dependent 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
8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Health Care Visa UK 2023
What form do I use to apply for a Health and Care Visa?
You need to use the normal Skilled Worker application form. If your employer has confirmed your eligibility, check the box to confirm that you’re applying for the Health and Care Visa.
Can I check the Health and Care Visa box even if my employer hasn’t confirmed my eligibility?
No, don’t check the box if your employer hasn’t confirmed your eligibility. If you do, your application may be rejected because the correct fee has not been paid. Always check with your sponsor before completing the form.
What about my dependents?
Dependent family members need confirmation from the sponsor that the person upon whom their application is reliant is eligible for the Health and Care visa. This should be in the form of a letter or email from the sponsor.
How can I get support during my application process?
You can contact the UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk if you have any issues with the application process.
How long does the application process take?
UKVI prioritizes Health and Care Visa applications. Most applications are processed within three weeks after biometrics.
Can I work a second job while on a Health and Care Visa?
Yes, you can do a second job in certain circumstances but you may need to apply to update your visa.
How long do I need to stay in the UK to apply for settlement (ILR)?
You can apply for settlement (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you have lived in the UK for 5 years and meet other eligibility requirements.
Can I bring my family members to the UK?
Yes, you can bring family members to the UK.
Can I apply for most benefits or the State Pension on a Skilled Worker route?
No, you cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.
What is the success rate of the Health and Care Worker Visa in the UK?
According to the latest immigration statistics, from 2020 Q4 to 2021 Q2, the UK Health and Care entry clearance visa success and refusal rate are 99.45% and 0.45%, respectively.
What are the conditions of stay in the UK for a migrant on Health and Care Visa?
A migrant holding a Health and Care Visa in the UK has several rights and options in the UK. They are allowed to work for their sponsor in the job detailed in the Certificate of Sponsorship. Additionally, they can also apply for a second job under certain conditions. They are permitted to engage in voluntary work and to pursue studies, provided these do not interfere with their sponsored job. These individuals are free to travel abroad and return to the UK. Furthermore, they have the ability to bring their family members to live with them in the UK. After residing in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years and meeting other specified eligibility requirements, they can apply for permanent settlement, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’, in the UK.
Can a migrant on a Health and Care Visa apply for public funds or the State Pension?
No, a migrant on a Health and Care Visa cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.
How much is UK Health and Care visa fee in 2023?
Upon visa approval, migrants are required to pay £19.20 for biometrics registration in the UK. A fee of £232 per person is levied for visas valid up to 3 years, whereas for visas lasting over 3 years, the fee is £464 per person. All NHS staff, including health and care workers, are exempt from the surcharge, which is set to increase from £400 to £624 in October.
What is the minimum salary requirement for the Health and Care Visa?
Typically, a Health and Care worker must be paid at least £20,480. If the ‘going rate’ for the job is higher, the applicant should be paid at least that amount.
How is the ‘going rate’ determined for a specific job?
The ‘going rate’ refers to the standard salary for the specific job or occupation code. It varies depending on the exact role and responsibilities.
Can the salary be less than £20,480 if the job’s going rate is lower?
No, the minimum salary requirement is £20,480, even if the going rate for the job is lower. The applicant must be paid the higher of either £20,480 or the specific going rate for the job.
Where can I find the going rate for my specific job or occupation code?
The going rate for each job or occupation code is usually listed in the official guidance or relevant governmental resources. You may need to consult with an immigration specialist or refer to official government documents to find the exact figure for your specific job.
How long does it take to process a UK Health and Care Visa application?
UKVI expedites the processing of the UK Health and Care Visa applications with the aim of a three-week turnaround time post-biometrics. This is a targeted timeframe and might vary depending on individual circumstances.
Is there any support available for Health and Care Visa sponsors if they face issues with the application process or eligibility?
Yes, there is a dedicated NHS support and visa processing team specifically for Health and Care Visa sponsors. If you have any issues related to the application process or eligibility, you can reach out to UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at: UKVINHSteam@homeoffice.gov.uk.