Tier 2 Health and Care Visa

General provisions

The new Health and Care Visa for foreign medical workers shall open for applications on 4 August 2020.

The visa is not a new route as such, but a species of Tier 2 (General) visa — the announcement comes in a new Part A to the Tier 2 policy guidance, added on 14 July 2020.

The new Health and Care Visa is 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, 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 workers.

Eligibility

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 below; and

• will be employed or engaged by: 

  • An NHS Foundation Trust in England, an NHS Trust in England, the Care Quality Commission, Health Education England, Health Research Authority, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, Human Tissue Authority, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS Blood and Transplant, NHS Business Services Authority, NHS Digital (the Health and Social Care Information Centre), NHS England (the NHS Commissioning Board), NHS Improvement (Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, NHS Resolution (the NHS Litigation Authority or Public Health England, a Local Authority or Clinical Commissioning Group; or
  • 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; 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 as prescribed in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 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.

  • 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; or

b) A general dental services contract to provide primary dental services, or an agreement for the provision of primary dental services; or

  • A person who: 

a) Is providing care services as defined in 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.

  • 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; 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 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. 

List of the eligible Standard Occupational Classification codes

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 Visa. 

Main immigration requirements

Applicants for the Health and Care Visa will need to meet all relevant criteria for a Tier 2 (General) migrant, which are:

  1. Having a valid Certificate of Sponsorship 
  2. Evidence of an appropriate salary, which meets the relevant salary threshold
  3. Being able to provide evidence of knowledge of English language, with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
  4. Having sufficient personal savings when arriving in the UK
  5. Being able to demonstrate ability to travel and travel history over the preceding five years
  6. Valid tuberculosis test results (if applicable depending on a country of application)
  7. 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

Employer requirements

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.

Application and fees

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. 

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.

Fast-Track entry

UK Visas and Immigration (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. 

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

After five years of residence in the UK on this visa, the applicant is entitled to apply for the ILR, along with his dependent family members.

To be able to apply for the ILR, the applicant will have to pass the Life in the UK test.

Applicants for the ILR in this visa category must, in addition to the Life in the UK test, pass an English language proficiency test with a score of at least B1 according to the European CEFR scheme.

The people exempt from the above requirements are persons over 65 years of age or who have serious medical contraindications.

Our services

  • We can advise on the procedure, requirements and merits of making an application for leave to enter or remain in a Health and Care visa category
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making representations in support of their immigration matters
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant
  • We can advise on the merits of an administrative review in the event of any refusal and represent clients in appeals

Whatever the case, we are here to assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of their immigration matters.

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