Since it was introduced in the summer of 2020, the Health and Care Visa has formed part of the Skilled Worker route; anyone wishing to apply for the Health and Care Visa must therefore meet all of the Skilled Worker suitability and eligibility requirements i.e. have been trained to a recognised standard and have a good working of knowledge English, additionally the salary must be at least the national pay scale rate for the job you’ll be doing.
You can apply for this visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. Where you are applying from outside of the UK you will need to prove that you have an acceptable criminal history record for any country in which you have resided for more than 12 months, in the 10 years before your application and only while aged 18 or over i.e. if when you apply you are 24 years old then you would need to supply evidence where necessary for the previous 6 years. This will also apply to any adult dependant partners, whether they apply with you or make a separate application to join you if you are already in the UK; it will not apply if you or your dependants are making an application for an extension of stay in the UK. If you don’t provide a certificate or a satisfactory explanation about why you have not provided one, your visa application will be refused
NB The process for acquiring a criminal record check or a ‘Certificate of Good Character’ for someone from overseas varies from country to country. Please check the gov.uk website for guidance re this.
The route was initially created for qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals but was extended to include those working in the social care sector. The benefits of this route for applicants are
- fast-track entry. 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.
- reduced visa costs £479/943 for a 3-year or 5-year visa as opposed to other work routes where the respective fees are £625/£1235
- applicant and their dependant family, are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge. For a three-year certificate of sponsorship this would mean a saving of £1872.00 per adult and £1410.00 for anyone under-18.
Your visa once granted can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa before it expires or if you change jobs or employer. If, you meet the requirements for ‘settlement’ you can apply after 5 years of ‘continuous’ residency, if not you can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.
Importantly there is dedicated support available, enabling Health and Care Visa sponsors to contact UKVI’s specialist team if they have any issues with the application process or eligibility for the health and Care Visa.