The UK is facing a shortage of health & care workers, with over 150,000 vacancies across the adult social care sector by the end of March 2023. To address this shortage, the UK government has introduced the Health & Care Worker visa route, which has become extremely popular with Indians, accounting for two in five of all skilled work visas issued in the UK.
The eligibility criteria for the Health & Care Worker visa include being a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional with a job offer from a UK employer. Applicants must also provide evidence of English language proficiency and have their overseas qualifications confirmed by Ecctis. The application process can be completed online through the official UK government website, with a standard application fee ranging from £284 to £551 depending on the length of the visa.
The visa can last for up to 5 years and can be extended, with the possibility of applying for indefinite leave to remain after five years. Additionally, dependents of visa holders are entitled to benefits, and visa holders can access health treatment on the NHS. For more information and to apply, visit the official UK government website. The application start and end dates can vary, so it is essential to check the official website for updated information.
Immigration Update: What you need to know about the UK’s health & care visa – Short Details
Vacancy/Post Name: Health & Care Worker
Total Post: Numerous
Qualification: Qualified doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional with a job offer approved by the UK Home Office.
Selection Process: Application process, proof of identity and qualification, English language proficiency test
Application Fees: Standard application fee of £284 per person for up to three years, £551 per person for more than three years
Job Location: United Kingdom
Apply Start Date: Ongoing
Apply End Date: Not specified
Official Website Link: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas
Immigration Update: What you need to know about the UK’s health & care visa – FAQ’s
What is a Health & Care Worker visa?
A Health and Care Worker visa of the UK was introduced in August 2020 and allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the British National Health Service (NHS), an NHS supplier, or in adult social care.
What is the eligibility criteria?
The UK health and care worker visas are only open to adults and apply to NHS clinics, hospitals and community services and private health and care providers who are approved to employ overseas workers. To qualify, an applicant must be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional and must have a qualifying job offer from a UK employer which has been approved by the UK Home Office. Applicants must have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from their British employer with information about the role that has been offered in the UK. The salary for the job must meet minimum salary requirements as listed on the UK Government website.
Are degrees from Indian universities recognised?
Applicants who studied abroad will need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that their qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
What about English language proficiency?
Applicants must also prove they can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale. This can be done in a range of ways, including passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider, having a UK GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18, having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English.
Where & how can one apply for this visa?
Indians applying from outside the UK should apply online through the official UK government website. As part of the application process applicants will need to prove their identity. This will generally mean having fingerprints and a photograph taken at a visa application centre in India. This is to get a biometric residence permit.
What is the fee?
There are several fees associated with the Health and Care Visa and applicants must be able to show they can support themselves in the UK. Proof of this is usually evidenced by having at least £1,270 available. The standard application fee depends on the length of the visa. Up to three years, it is £284 per person, and for more than three years, it is £551 per person.
What is the processing time?
Once an online application has been made and the appropriate documents provided, and identity has been verified a decision is usually made within three weeks. In some cases, the process can take longer if, for example, supporting documents need to be verified, the applicants are required to attend an interview or there are extenuating personal circumstances, for example, if the applicant has a criminal conviction.
How long is the visa valid? Can it be renewed?
Visa can last for up to 5 years and can be extended. Holders must apply to extend or update visas when they expire or if their job or employer changes.
What are the benefits that the visa holder’s dependants are entitled to?
A dependant partner or child is classified as a husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner, a child under 18 including if they were born in the UK during your stay, a child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant. Applicants need to provide evidence of these relationships when they apply. In 2022, 30,000 Indian nationals moved to the UK under the health and care worker visa route. Of these, over half (18,000) bought dependents with them.
Can one transition from this work visa to UK citizenship?
After five years, health and care visa holders may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK under the ‘indefinite leave to remain’ scheme. This gives people the right to live, work and study in Britain for as long as they like, and to apply for certain benefits if they are eligible. Visa holders are not eligible for benefits before this but will be able to get health treatment on the NHS