Care workers eligible for Health & Care visas

Feb 10, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a range of staff shortages in the social care sector, placing pressures on the existing workforce and risking to leave many without the care needed.

According to care providers it is difficult to retain staff due to :

  • “burnout from the pandemic
  • compulsory vaccinations in care homes
  • higher pay available in other sectors as the economy picks up, and
  • post-Brexit immigration rules changes”.

The new immigration system has previously been criticised for excluding care workers from the list of eligible occupations for the fast track Health and Care visa, (a subcategory of the Skilled Worker route) despite their role during the pandemic.

Visa’s for Health & Care Workers in the UK

compiled by Judit Adorjan – Immigration Consultant

On 6 April 2021 following the recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee the occupation code 6146 Senior care workers has been added to the Shortage Occupation List. However, other care worker roles have been excluded as they fall under the medium skill threshold of RQF level 3.

According to hospital managers care staff shortages continue to pile pressure on the NHS with rising numbers of patients stuck in hospitals due to care providers being forced to turn down supporting patients as they move from hospital back to their own home or care homes.

As a response to this pressure on 24 December 2021 the government had announced that other care staff, such as care assistants, care workers, carers, home care assistants, home carers and support workers for nursing homes will also be added to the Shortage Occupation List. This announcement has been confirmed in the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1019 published on 24 January 2022.

As per the latest changes social care workers will be able to apply for Health & Care visas effective from 15 February 2022.

The minimum salary requirements of £20,480 per year and £10.10 an hour must be met and applicants need to provide a criminal record certificate.

Dependent family members, including partner and children of care workers and carers can join them in the UK. The Health & Care visa offers a pathway to settlement should they remain employed and wish to stay in the UK.

Although, occupation code “6145 Care workers and home carers” will be added to the Shortage Occupation List it continues to be below RQF level 3 required for the Skilled Worker route. Therefore, this is considered a temporary measure to provide a much-needed staffing boost for the sector.

There will be a 12-months window for applications between 15 February 2022 and 14 February 2023, at which point the policy will be reviewed.

The Home Office recommend care providers who do not already hold a sponsor licence to take advantage of this offer by submitting an application as soon as possible.

Contact our Health & Care UK Visa Lawyers

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