The Government has launched a new fast track Health and Care visa for certain overseas Healthcare Professionals who want to work in the UK. It sits within the normal Tier 2 work visa route.
Health and care visa
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for skilled healthcare professionals. Whilst the Government has emphasised the need to invest in and train our domestic workforce, it has also recognised that our healthcare requirements, as we emerge from the crisis, cannot be met in the long term by home grown talent alone.
The new Health and Care visa has, according to the Government, been designed to make it easier and quicker for talented global healthcare professionals to come to the UK to work for the NHS, NHS commissioned service providers or an organisation providing adult social care which is set out in the Government’s policy guidance.
Who is eligible?
The Government has published what is described as an exhaustive list which as well as including doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, dentists also covers roles such as physiotherapists, pharmacists and psychologists. Care workers are however excluded from the list, which has caused anger and raised concerns amongst care home providers, who struggle to recruit UK workers for these crucially important roles.
The list of healthcare professionals will be reviewed and probably expanded under the new Skilled Worker route as from 1 January 2021. This is because occupations at level 3 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (A level standard) will be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa then, whereas only level 6 (Bachelor’s degree level equivalent) are currently eligible under the current Tier 2 Skilled worker route.
What are the requirements of the Health and Care visa?
- The role has to be one on the Government’s list, as set out in one of the defined job codes.
- The person must be employed by the NHS, NHS commissioned service providers or social care providers, which are listed in Government guidance.
- They must have a certificate of sponsorship assigned by one of the eligible employers that has a Sponsor licence to employ individuals from outside the UK.
- Have an appropriate salary.
- Demonstrate a sufficient level of English.
- Have sufficient personal savings when they arrive in the UK, unless their employer certifies their maintenance.
- Provide a criminal record certificate from any country where they have live for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if they will be working with vulnerable people.
- Have a valid TB test certificate (dependent on country).
Fees reduction and immigration healthcare surcharge fee exemption
Those eligible for the Health and Care visa will pay a reduced application fee for their UK Entry clearance application and this will also apply to partners and dependents who will be accompanying the worker.
The worker and their family accompanying them (generally speaking, partners and children) will also be exempt from paying the immigration healthcare surcharge which is levied when applications are made.
UK Visas & Immigration say that they will prioritise applications for these visas and will aim to decide applications within three weeks after the applicant has provided their biometric information. This is in comparison with the current normal standard timeframe for processing applications of up to eight weeks.
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