The Government committed to introducing a ‘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 scope of the visa is being extended to include eligible persons working in the social care sector. The benefits for such workers are fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated support to come to the UK with their families. In addition, as announced by the Prime Minister on 21 May, people applying for the Health and Care Visa, and their dependent family, will be exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. This offer will form part of the Tier 2 (General) regime for skilled workers1. The Health and Care Visa will be available to applicants from 4 August 2020.
The Health and Care Visa is available for individuals who:
• are applying under Tier 2 (General) for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain; and,
• will be taking up a job in one of the occupations specified within the list of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes set out in paragraph A3; and,
• will be employed or engaged by:
A local Health Board in Wales, Health Education & Improvement Wales, Public Health Wales, The Welsh Ambulance Service or Velindre NHS Trust; or
A Health Board or Special Health Board constituted under section 2 of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service (established under Section 10 of that Act), Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (known as the Care Inspectorate) established under Section 44 of the Public Services (reform) (Scotland) Act 2010 or Scottish Social Services Council established under section 43 of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001; or
A Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service, Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency, Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency, Northern Ireland Practice and Education Committee, Northern Ireland Social care Council, Patient and Client Council, Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-Being (the Public Health Agency), Regional Business Services Organisation, Regional Health and Social Care Board or Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority; or
A person who is employed
(a) To provide, or to support the provision of, regulated activities and who is also employed or engaged by an institution or organisation registered with the Care Quality Commission; or
(b) For the purposes of an establishment or agency in Wales regulated under Part 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000; or
(c) For the purposes of a service regulated under Part 1 of the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016; or
A person who is employed or engaged by a party to:
(a) A general medical services contract to provide primary medical services, or an agreement for the provision of primary medical services under section 50 of the NHS (Wales) Act 2006; or
(b) A general dental services contract to provide primary dental services, or an agreement for the provision of primary dental services under section 64 of the NHS (Wales) Act 2006; or
• A person who:
(a) Is providing care services as defined in section 47(1) of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 and registered under that Act; or
(b) Is employed or engaged by an organisation registered with Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland; or
(c) Is, or who is employed or engaged in connection with the provision of services under the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 by, a party (other than a Health Board) to:
- an arrangement to provide services under section 2C of that Act; - an agreement to provide services under section 17C of that Act;
- a contract to provide services under section 17J of that Act; or
- an arrangement to provide services under section 25, 26 or 27 of that Act; or
• A person who is employed or engaged by a General Practitioner Federation or by any entity with which the Northern Ireland Regional Health and Social Care Board has a contract or an arrangement under the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 to provide Family Practitioner Services; or
• A person who is employed or engaged by a body registered with, or monitored or inspected by, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, and who, if that body were in England and they were employed or engaged by it, would meet the criteria set out in (vi) a), above; or
• A person employed or engaged by, or registered with, one of the following organisations: General Chiropractic Council; General Dental Council; General Medical Council; General Optical Council; General Osteopathic Council; General Pharmaceutical Council; Health and Care Professions Council; Northern Ireland Social Care Council; Nursing and Midwifery Council; Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland; Scottish Social Services Council (under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001) or Social Care Wales, or
• A person employed by an organisation providing adult social care services. Adult social care services means any services which an English Local Authority must or may provide or arrange to be provided under: a) Section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983 – (After-care) b) Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 (Care and Support).
A3 The Health and Care Visa will apply to the following list of Standard Occupational Classification codes:
• 2112 – Biological scientists and biochemists
• 2113 – Physical Scientists
• 2211 – Medical Practitioners
• 2212 – Psychologists
• 2213 – Pharmacists
• 2214 – Ophthalmic Opticians
• 2215 – Dental practitioners
• 2217 – Medical Radiographers
• 2218 – Podiatrists
• 2219 – Health Professionals not elsewhere classified
• 2221 – Physiotherapists
• 2222 – Occupational Therapists
• 2223 – Speech and Language Therapists
• 2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
• 2231 – Nurses
• 2232 – Midwives
• 2442 – Social Workers
• 3213 – Paramedics
This is an exhaustive list - applicants must be taking up a job in one of the above occupations to be eligible for the Health and Care Visa2.
A4 Applicants for the Health and Care Visa will need to meet all relevant criteria for a Tier 2 (General) migrant, which are:
• having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
• evidence of an appropriate salary, which meets the relevant salary threshold
• being able to provide evidence of knowledge of English language
• having sufficient personal savings when arriving in the UK
• being able to demonstrate ability to travel and travel history over the preceding five years
• valid tuberculosis test results (if from a listed country)
• providing a criminal record certificate from any country where a migrant has lived for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, if working with vulnerable people
The employer will be required to include a brief explanation in the Certificate of Sponsorship setting out how the employee will meet the Health and Care Visa requirement. The employer will also be responsible for informing the applicant they are eligible for the Health and Care Visa so the applicant can correctly complete the visa application form. Where an employer is an organisation that provides services commissioned by the NHS, evidence of the contract arrangements with the NHS may need to be provided to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as proof that applicants are eligible to apply for a Health and Care Visa.
Visa fee reduction
Individuals applying for the Health and Care Visa will apply using the normal Tier 2 (General) application form and, assuming their employer has confirmed they hold a suitable contract and the employee is therefore eligible, the applicant will check the box to confirm they are applying for the Health and Care Visa. Health and Care Visa applicants will pay the reduced application fees.
Once they have completed all the relevant information, the application process should automatically route Health and Care Visa applicants to the payment page where the appropriate fee will be applied.
The visa fee reduction will also apply to partners and dependants of Health and Care Visa applicants. Partners and dependants of Health and Care Visa applicants should therefore also tick this box.
You should not tick the Health and Care Visa box if your employer has not confirmed on the Certificate of Sponsorship that you are eligible. Where 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). If you are unsure you should check with your sponsor before completing the application.
If you are applying as a partner or dependant 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 you will need confirmation from the sponsor that the person upon whom your application is reliant, is eligible for the 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.
In addition to the reduced visa fee, applicants applying for the Health and Care Visa, and their family will be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Family is defined as those who are dependants of the applicant who is eligible for the Health and Care Visa. It does not cover wider family or those living independently of the health and Care visa applicant.
UKVI will prioritise Health and Care Visa applications, with the aim that the vast majority are processed within three weeks from the point the applicant has provided their biometric information. This is in comparison to the current timeframe for visa processing of between eight and twenty weeks.