The government has announced the “biggest boost for social care” by expanding the Health and Care visa to include care workers of lower grades.
What is the Health and Care Worker visa?
The Health and Care Worker visa was created in August 2020 as part of the Skilled Worker route giving medical professionals working with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care certain advantages in the visa application process.
Compared to other Skilled Worker professions, the Health and Care workers have the following perks:
- 50% visa fee reduction
- Exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
- Speedier decision following an application (decision within 3 weeks)
- Applicants’ dependants pay reduced fees and are also exempt from the IHS
The cost to of sponsoring a Health and Care worker for the employer is minimal – the immigration skills charge and assigning the certificate of sponsorship are two mandatory expenses. Many employers may also choose to pay for the care worker’s visa and flight tickets where necessary.
Expansion of the scheme
In an effort to boost the adult social care following the pandemic, care staff (social care workers, care assistants and home care workers) have been added to the shortage occupation list. Employers will be able to sponsor candidates in these professions for the Health and Care visa starting from 15th February 2021. It is expected that the scheme will be open for at least 12 months.
The requirements for an overseas care worker to be eligible for the Health and Care visa:
- Eligible job offer from an approved sponsor (the employer must be an approved and licensed Home Office sponsor)
- English Language requirement (B1 level)
- A salary of at least £20,480 (£10.10 per hour)for a 39 hour week
Care workers will be the only occupation under RQF level 3 eligible to use the Skilled Worker Route.
Same as other Skilled Worker visa holders, Health and Care workers can bring to the UK their dependants (partner and children under 18). Both the main applicant and the dependents are entitled to indefinite leave to remain after 5 years of residence.
Please get in touch if you need help with recruiting overseas care workers, applying for a sponsor license or would like to learn more about this scheme.