Are you a medical professional seeking an opportunity to work in the United Kingdom? Look no further than the Health and Care Worker visa, which allows qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals, and adult social care professionals to come to or stay in the UK while performing eligible roles within the NHS, an NHS supplier, or adult social care. In this article, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria, application process, and the benefits of obtaining this visa.
Eligibility for the Health and Care Worker Visa
To be eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Job Qualification: As a prospective applicant, you should be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional. This ensures that you possess the necessary skills and expertise required for the UK healthcare industry.
- Eligible Job: The role you undertake must fall under the category of an eligible health or social care job. The UK Home Office has provided a list of approved job roles in this domain. You must ensure that your intended job aligns with the specified criteria.
- Approved Employer: It is essential to work for a UK employer who has obtained approval from the Home Office. This ensures that your employer is authorized to hire overseas workers within the health and social care sector.
- Certificate of Sponsorship: To apply for the Health and Care Worker visa, you need a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer. This certificate provides details about the role you have been offered in the UK and validates your employment offer.
- Minimum Salary: The salary you receive must meet the minimum wage requirements based on the type of work you will be performing. Ensure that your employer offers a salary that fulfills the necessary financial criteria.
It is essential to verify if your job meets the eligibility criteria before proceeding with your application.
EU Settlement Scheme
If you or your family are from the European Union (EU), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, and you started living in the UK by December 31, 2020, you may be eligible to apply for the free EU Settlement Scheme. While the general deadline for application was June 30, 2021, exceptions exist:
- If you have a later deadline because you are joining a family member in the UK who was already residing there by December 31, 2020.
- If you have “reasonable grounds” for being unable to apply by June 30, 2021, such as health issues or being a victim of domestic abuse.
To confirm your eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme, it is advisable to check the official guidelines.
Visa Requirements for Irish Citizens
Good news for Irish citizens! You do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme to work in the UK.
The application for the Health and Care Worker visa is completed online and varies based on your situation:
- Coming to the UK: If you are outside the UK and planning to work there, you should follow the application process for entry.
- Extending Your Current Visa: If you are already in the UK and wish to extend your visa, you should apply for an extension.
- Switching from a Different Visa: In case you want to change your job or employer, you must apply to update your visa.
It is important to note that you must have a confirmed job offer before applying for the visa.
Proficiency in the English language is crucial to obtaining the Health and Care Worker visa. You should be able to speak, read, write, and understand English. You will likely be required to provide evidence of your English language skills during the application process.
Duration and Extension of the Visa
Once granted, the Health and Care Worker visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. Before its expiration or if you change jobs or employers, you must apply to extend or update your visa. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for extensions multiple times, enabling you to stay longer in the UK.
After completing 5 years on this visa, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which grants you the right to live, work, study, and apply for benefits if eligible.
Benefits and Limitations
With the Health and Care Worker visa, you can enjoy various privileges, including:
- Working in eligible healthcare roles.
- Taking on additional work under certain circumstances.
- Engaging in voluntary work.
- Pursuing studies in the UK.
- Bringing your eligible partner and children as dependants.
- Traveling abroad and returning to the UK without complications.
- Becoming eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years.
However, it’s important to note that there are limitations as well. You cannot apply for most benefits or the State Pension, and changing jobs or employers requires an update to your visa.
Application Timeline and Costs
The Health and Care Worker visa application process typically takes around 3 weeks for a decision. However, you may expedite the process by opting for a faster decision, subject to applicable fees. The exact costs associated with the application fee and personal savings requirement can be confirmed through official sources.
While applying for the Health and Care Worker visa, you and your dependants are exempted from paying the healthcare surcharge, which is an added advantage.
Privileges and Limitations
With a Health and Care Worker visa, you can enjoy several benefits, including:
- Employment in an eligible job within the healthcare sector.
- Possibility to undertake additional work in specific circumstances.
- Voluntary work opportunities.
- Access to educational pursuits.
- The provision to bring your partner and children to the UK as dependents, subject to their eligibility.
- Travel in and out of the UK.
- Eligibility to apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after residing in the UK for 5 years, along with meeting other requirements.
However, certain restrictions apply. For instance, you cannot apply for most benefits or the State Pension. Additionally, any job or employer changes necessitate updating your visa accordingly.
Upon a successful application, you will receive a comprehensive list detailing the activities and entitlements associated with the Health and Care Worker visa.
The Health and Care Worker visa provides an excellent opportunity for qualified medical professionals to contribute their skills to the UK’s healthcare system. By meeting the eligibility criteria, submitting a well-prepared application, and fulfilling the visa requirements, you can embark on a rewarding professional journey in the UK. Remember to gather all necessary documents, follow the application guidelines, and submit your application within the specified time frame. Good luck on your path to securing the Health and Care Worker visa!