The Benefits of Sponsoring Under the Health and Care Worker Visa

The Benefits of Sponsoring Under the Health and Care Worker Visa

There are numerous benefits to consider when applying for visas and recruiting foreign nationals for skilled positions within the health and care sectors. Industry reports suggest that over the next 15 years, a minimum of 1.7 million more adults will require social care – this would require the social care workforce to grow between 2.1 million and 3.1 million by 2025 to meet the increasing demands. Meanwhile, figures in the healthcare sector illustrate there is a 12% NHS vacancy rate from March 2023, meaning there are more positions to be filled. Overseas recruitment provides companies with a larger pool of skilled workers which is otherwise unavailable on a local or national level. Furthermore, considering foreign workers for skilled vacancies within the health and social care industry in reality is more financially achievable than companies may envision. 

It can cost between £20,000 and £50,000 in maintenance loans across 4 years to train a nurse in the UK whereas a skilled professional applying for a nursing job from overseas is already qualified with no further need for student or training loans, minimising the cost to organisations which they aim to work in through the Health and Care visa. Furthermore, with the shortage of skilled workers highlighted above – it is extremely expensive for the NHS or a healthcare organisation within the UK to cover shifts by an agency based nurse. 

The growing deficit in skilled health and social care workers has caused a massive strain on public and privately owned nursing homes, hospitals, dentists, and other facilities, which begs the question – what can be done to fill these positions and meet the growing demands for care? The solution is to hire qualified international health and social care workers using the Health and Care worker route. In this article, we will consider the benefits of the Health and Care Worker visa to employers and employees, along with the visa requirements.

What are the benefits of sponsoring a Health and Care worker?

Whether you’re operating an NHS trust or a private health and social care organisation, the Health and Care visa, possesses various benefits for employers. For instance, the increased demand for skilled workers and the nature of these positions has resulted in the fast-tracking of the visa application under this route. Generally, a Skilled Worker visa application can take up to 3 weeks to be approved by the Home Office if you’re applying outside of the UK, or up to 8 weeks for those applying inside the country. Applications for the Health and Care Worker visa will take up to 3 weeks to be processed by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). But if you are in a hurry, this can be expedited for additional fee for a priority service, and the visa decision will be granted in just up to five working days – this also applies to the main Skilled Worker visa route. For further details on how to become a sponsor, click here.

Furthermore, as a business, you will save money by sponsoring prospective health and social care employees with the Health and Care visa in contrast to the Skilled Worker visa. Please see the table below for a comparison of the application and other associated fees.  

CategoryHealth and Care VisaSkilled Worker Visa
Visa Application Fee£247 per person for 3 years£625 per person for 3 years or £479 if your role is on the shortage occupation list
Immigration Health SurchargeExempt£624 per year

What are the benefits of the Health and Care visa for employees?

There are extensive benefits for prospective overseas nationals to be sponsored by health and social care organisations within the UK. These include the following:

  1. The Health and Care visa allows its holder to work and live in the UK for up to five years.
  2. After five years of being in the UK under this immigration route, holders can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain immigration (ILR) status, and permanently remain in the country.   
  3. The holder of the visa is entitled to bring their spouse and children as dependants to the UK, who will also be exempt from paying the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge.
  4. Visa holders are permitted to undertake voluntary and additional paid work up to 20 hours per week, as well as studies, if the job is at the same level and occupation code as the primary job or is a shortage occupation.

What jobs are considered eligible for the Health and Care visa?

Now that you’re familiar with the benefits for visa holders and sponsors, the next step is to understand which health and care jobs are eligible for sponsorship under this visa. Here are some of the jobs you can sponsor under this visa route:

Occupation Code
Occupational RoleSalary Requirements
1181Health services and public health managers and director£41,300 (£21.18 per hour)
1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors£28,300 (£14.51 per hour)
2112Biological scientists and biochemists£30,600 (£15.69 per hour)
2113Physical scientists£32,600 (£16.72 per hour)
2211Medical practitionersVaries depending on job title
2212PsychologistsVaries depending on job title
2213PharmacistsVaries depending on job title
2214Ophthalmic opticiansVaries depending on job title
2215Dental practitionersVaries depending on job title
2217Medical radiographersVaries depending on job title
2218PodiatristsVaries depending on job title
2219Health professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, including audiologists and occupational health advisersVaries depending on job title
2221PhysiotherapistsVaries depending on job title
2222Occupational therapistsVaries depending on job title
2223Speech and language therapistsVaries depending on job title
2229Therapy professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, including osteopaths and psychotherapistsVaries depending on job title
2231NursesVaries depending on job title
2232MidwivesVaries depending on job title
2442Social workersVaries depending on job title
3111Laboratory techniciansVaries depending on job title
3213ParamedicsVaries depending on job title
3216Dispensing opticians£20,960 per year or £10.75 per hour
3217Pharmaceutical technicians£22,200 (£11.38 per hour)
3218Medical and dental techniciansVaries depending on job title
3219Health associate professionals not elsewhere classifiedVaries depending on job title
6141Nursing auxiliaries and assistantsVaries depending on job title
6143Dental nursesVaries depending on job title
6145Care workers and home carers£20,960 per year or £10.75 per hour
6146Senior care workers£20,960 per year or £10.75 per hour

For further details regarding the salary bands for specific job titles not provided above, click here.

Also, if the job title you plan on applying for this visa is not listed above, you can verify its eligibility for sponsorship via the Home Office Website, click here to check.

What are the requirements to apply for the Health and Care worker visa?

To be considered eligible for the Health and Care visa candidates, must meet the following criteria:

  • Work in an eligible health or social care position deemed by the Home Office. 
  • Be a qualified professional for the selected occupation they are applying for with credentials or equivalent, this includes being a certified doctor, nurse, paramedic, adult social carer or other eligible professionals. 
  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from their employer to complete the visa application process. 
  • Prove they will be employed by an approved UK sponsoring employer with a contract of employment or offer letter.
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements for their selected occupation. 
  • Fulfil the English language requirements by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT), GCSE equivalent or possessing a degree taught in English unless you are a national from an exempt country such as Barbados, Canada, Australia or any other majority English-speaking country.
  • Demonstrate their ability to financially support themselves by having a minimum of £1,270 in their bank account.
  • Have no previous criminal convictions.

How can Nation.better assist you?

With vacancies in the health and social care sectors at an all-time high and a lack of national workers to meet these demands, businesses can turn to the Health and Care visa to provide a global outlook on the recruitment processes. Our team of immigration and recruitment specialists can assist you with the recruitment process. 

We have optimised and streamlined the immigration process to reduce legal costs, provide clear guidance, and services to our customers and candidates. We work alongside various health and social care businesses such as national care providers, private enterprises, care homes and many more. We help these companies navigate the visa application process from start to finish; including obtaining a sponsorship licence, visa applications, sponsorship compliance, and much more. 

With a team of seasoned professionals, we have supported businesses and organisations from all over the UK. Feel free to book a free consultation with us to discuss your needs, we will even perform complimentary eligibility assessments to evaluate your sponsorship candidate’s likelihood to obtain a visa.

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Permitted occupations for the Health and Care visa include qualified doctors, nurses, health care professionals, and adult or social care workers. To be considered eligible for this visa, applicants must have a complete or ongoing registration with a regulatory body (if applicable), sound understanding of English, a confirmed job offer from a valid sponsor and have been provided a Certificate of Sponsorship from their employer before applying for their visa.

To discover if your job is eligible for the Health and Care visa, you will firstly need to know the four digit occupation code, which you can find on the ONS occupation coding tool  by searching for the job title, and use this code to discover if your position is eligible at the Home Office website. If you do not know the code, you can ask your prospective employer. Please note not all job titles are listed in the ONS tool, so search for similar titles if you can’t find your exact match straight away.

An approved employer refers to a registered sponsor licence holder. In order to become a sponsor, a business must complete the sponsor licence application process, which ensures they are eligible to employ international candidates for UK employment. Here at Nation.better we can help you achieve your sponsor licence for as little as £1,000 plus VAT.

The Skilled Worker visa is for a wider range of skilled professionals. Whilst the Health and Care visa is specifically intended for qualified occupations such as doctors, nurses, adult social care workers amongst others.

Visa holders are able to extend their existing visas as many times as necessary as long as they still meet the criteria for their visa. Visa holders should begin the visa extension process 3 months before its expiration to avoid any delays. Once a visa holder has lived and worked in the UK for 5 years, they will be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain status, considering they meet all the criteria.

Health and social care are classified as ‘regulated’ activities in the UK, meaning that professionals in these occupations will be legally required to have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or equivalent carried out, prior to the start of their employment. 

Dependants are considered to be the spouse/partner and children (under 18) that can prove their relationship with the main application / visa holder. Please note this is regardless of marital status, so unmarried partners can be considered dependants. Each dependant will be required to complete a separate visa application and cover these fees.

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