As we reported last month, in an attempt to alleviate current pressure on the health and social care system as a result of Covid-19, the Home Office recently announced that the UK Health and Care Worker visa is to be opened up to overseas care workers, care assistants and home carers.
More details have now been released in a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC1019 published on 24 January 2022.
Health & Care Visa Opening to More Care Workers
From 15 February 2022, care workers will be eligible to be sponsored for a Health and Care Worker visa. To the list of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Codes which meet the eligibility requirements for a Health and Care Worker visa will be added:
- 6145 Care workers and home carers
Related eligible job titles will include Care assistant, Care worker, Carer, Home care assistant, Home carer and Support worker (nursing home).
The change is being effected by disapplying the requirement of the Skilled Worker route for the job offer to be one which involves duties and responsibilities involving skills equivalent to RQF level 3, which is broadly equivalent to a level of skills obtained through A-levels. Removing the skills threshold will allow care workers to qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa.
Care Workers added to the Shortage Occupation List
At the same time, care workers, home carers and related job titles are being added to the Shortage Occupation List, meaning that they can benefit from lower salary requirements and application fees than other skilled workers.
An applicant with a job offer for a job as a care worker, home carer or related eligible job title will need to be paid a salary which is at least equal to whichever is the highest of £20,480 per or £10.10 per hour.
Where a Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued to a care worker to stay in the UK for 3 years or less, the application fee will be £232. Where a Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued for a care worker to stay in the UK for 3 years or more, the application fee will be £464. This application fee will be automatically reduced by £55 for nationals of: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.
Home Carers Must Be Sponsored by an Organisation
The Home Office has confirmed that whilst home carers will be eligible for a Health & Care Worker visa, home carers will only be able to be sponsored on the route if they are working for an organisation which is able to meet the sponsorship requirement. In other words, private households and individuals will not be able to sponsor home carers unless they are a sole trader sponsoring someone to work for their business.
Criminal Record Requirement for Care Workers
The Home Office has also clarified that, in line with other care-related occupations, care workers will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country they have been present in for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years, and while aged 18 or over.