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Get a Sponsor Licence to Hire Health and Care Workers in the UK

Get a Sponsor Licence to Hire Health and Care Workers in the UK

A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to travel to the UK and obtain an eligible job with the NHS as an NHS supplier or in adult social care.

Any organisation in the UK offering a job to the migrant worker should be registered as a sponsor and provide the candidates with a valid certificate of sponsorship containing information about the position, duties and responsibilities, salary, place of work, etc.

An overseas worker may be hired under the Health & Care Worker route by a UK organisation if:

  • They are a qualified doctor, dentist, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional, working in an eligible health or social care job
  • The UK employer has been approved by the Home Office
  • They have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from the employer with information about the role offered in the UK
  • They are paid a minimum salary—the specific amount will depend on the type of work

Although the Health & Care Worker visa is a part of a Skilled Worker visa, the costs related to the visa application are different from the common Skilled Worker visa expenses. The Home Office has announced some attractive conditions such as reduced visa fees and exemption from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge by the main applicants and their dependent family members for the candidates in the Health and Care sector.

Who can be a sponsor?

The typical employer will be: 

  • The NHS 
  • An organisation providing medical services to the NHS, or 
  • An organisation providing adult social care 

First, the organisation should get a sponsor licence. A sponsor licence is a formal permission from the Home Office to companies based in the UK to hire overseas workers or to employ those who are in the UK on other types of visas allowed to switch to the Skilled Worker route from inside the country. The company that has been granted a sponsor licence is listed in the register of eligible sponsors and can assign certificates of sponsorship to the candidates they identify in the recruitment process whom they are planning to hire.

It is normally issued for 4 years with the automatic option for renewal if the company continues to qualify.

Does the process of applying for a sponsor licence in the Health & Care sector differ from those trading in other sectors?

In general, the process for applying for a sponsor licence remains the same and includes the following steps: 

  1. Completing online application
  2. Paying the Home Office fees
  3. Submitting the relevant documents to the Home Office

A notable point is that mostif not allorganisations in the Health & Care sector are regulated by the relevant governing body and must provide a confirmation of registration to be able to apply. The Health and Social Care regulators list can be found here and the one you need to be registered with depends on the services you provide. In most cases, the candidates will also need to register with the appropriate regulatory body.

Eligibility requirements for a sponsor licence

Prior to completing the online application form, please ensure you fully qualify to be a registered sponsor, as the Home Office will grant your company a sponsor licence based on the following: 

  • The company is a genuine organisation based in the UK (it can also be a UK branch of an international company) operating lawfully in the UK. To prove this, certain documents should be provided. The full list of documents depends on the sector you are operating in and will be created by our specialists once you are ready to apply.

Depending on the circumstances you may apply for one licence covering all UK branches (e.g., care homes) or a separate licence can be granted for each branch.

  • The Key Personnel named in the application, and any people involved in the day-to-day running of the business must be honest, reliable, and not engaging and have not engaged in behaviour or actions that are not conducive to the public good.
  • Your ability to carry out your sponsor duties and evidencing your compliance in accordance with sponsor duties and compliance: This is normally checked by looking at the human resources and recruitment practices to make sure you will be able to fulfil your sponsor duties. Please note that the organisation may be visited by the Home Office staff before the licence is granted.
  • The vacant jobs for which you intend to assign a CoS must be identified. If you have already identified someone that you wish to employ via the sponsorship system, you should provide evidence of how you identified this person. If you identified this person as a result of a recruitment process, you should clarify where you advertised the position and provide the details of the recruitment agency if they assisted you with the candidate.

You should confirm whether the person is already working for you (if they are in the UK, for instance, as a student).

  • Ability to confirm how you identified this person as the most suitable for the job if you have not advertised the job and the person you wish to employ is not currently working for you.
  • Ability to prove to the Home Office that the vacancy is genuine, you clearly understand what duties and responsibilities your candidate is going to have, what qualification and experience they need to fulfil their work, and that you are able to pay the correct salary as requested by the Home Office.

Sponsor licence application expenses

If you qualify as per the requirements above and the application online has been completed, you can continue with the payment for your application to be considered.

The fee for a sponsor licence depends on the size and type of organisation. This application fee is payable every time the sponsor renews their licence (every four years). Fees are usually reviewed annually by the Home Office and may vary once it is time to renew the licence.

To be able to hire skilled workers you need to pay the Home Office fee, which is currently £536 for small or charitable sponsors and £1,476 for medium or large sponsors. 

Check if you are considered to be a small or large sponsor here.

Submitting the documents to the Home Office

You should scan your submission sheet and supporting documents. You can also download the documents from the company’s HMRC account, regulatory bodies websites, etc. 

All the documents should be originals that are of good quality and clearly readable without any amendments.

They should be sent to the email address given on the submission sheet. Make sure your files meet the following requirements:

  • PDF format
  • Descriptive titles, with 25 or fewer characters
  • High quality with excellent readability 

If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you must include a certified translation.

Timeline to obtain a decision

Most applications are dealt with within 8 weeks. The Home Office may need to visit your business and schedule an audit on the site at the registered office address. You may be able to pay £500 to get a decision within 10 working days in which case, the Home Office will notify you about this option.

Once the licence is granted, your company will be enlisted in the register of sponsors and you can proceed with hiring the candidate.

Read more about the available Health & Care worker positions once you are a registered sponsor, as well as the fees related to the Health and Care worker visa application in our blogs.

Contact us today for more information.

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