From 15th February 2022, overseas social workers, care assistants and home care workers will be eligible to enter the UK on a Health and Care Worker Visa. This will alleviate the current stresses within the social care sector and allows additional care workers to be recruited to fill staff shortages.
What is it?
Launched in August 2020 due to the pandemic, this Health & Care visa allows medical professionals i.e. a care assistant, care worker, carer, home care assistant, home carer and support worker in a nursing home, to come to or stay in the UK to work with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The added benefits are :
- applicants will be able to apply for settlement in the UK after 5 years if the worker remains employed.
- dependent partners and children can accompany the main applicant.
- there are lower salary requirements of at least equal to £20,480 per annum or £10.10 per hour (whichever is the highest).
- there is a 50% visa fee* reduction bringing the fees down to £232 per person for three years and £464 per person for more than three years.
- they will not be required to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge.
- the visa decision will be provided and processed within 3 weeks from the date their biometrics are taken.
Care Workers now have a dedicated category in the Shortage Occupation List
The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes for a Health and Care Worker visa will be added as 6145 Care workers and home carers. This will include but not be limited to care workers, home carers & assistants, care assistants, nursing home support workers and related job titles.
As we have stated above Home Carers are included in occupation code 6145, however it is made clear in the statement of changes that this will not enable home carers to be sponsored as Skilled Workers, unless they are working for an organisation which is able to meet the sponsorship requirements. Therefore, private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor home carers as Skilled Workers.
Criminal Record Requirement
The Home Office confirms that all care workers must provide a criminal record certificate. This is in line with other care-related occupations. Criminal certificates must be issued by the country the applicant has been living or working in for the past 12 months or more in the last 10 years, and while aged 18 or over.
To employ a health and care worker under this visa route, all applicants must have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This means that they must be employed by a company that holds a valid sponsor licence. If you do not have a UK sponsor licence, The Nathanson Partnership can assist you in applying for one.
Contact us for advice and a consultation.