Home Legal Immigration law update: Expansion of Health and Care Visa Scheme

Immigration law update: Expansion of Health and Care Visa Scheme

by Lisa Carr

Gulnaz Raja, Founder & CEO of ©GNR Solicitors 2022

On 24 December 2021, it was announced by the government that care workers, care assistants and home care workers would become eligible for a Health and Care Visa for a 12-month period. 

To understand the pressures and issues placed by the social care sector, at GNR Solicitors we have taken a deeper dive to help care providers understand the requirements.

Sponsorship licence:

The employer must have a sponsorship licence if they want to sponsor an oversees national who is not a settled worker and does not have immigration permission to work in the UK. This includes most EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020. The employer must ensure the worker is eligible. 

Currently the employer must meet the immigration requirements for the Skilled Worker route as the Health and Care visa forms part of the Skilled Worker route. The employer will be required to meet the specific requirements for a licence such as salary requirements as well as other factors. The government announced that the inclusion on the Shortage Occupation List will stipulate an annual salary minimum of £20,480 for carers to qualify for the Health and Care visa. 

To apply for a sponsorship licence, this attracts an application fee dependant on the size of your organisation.

Certificate of Sponsorship:  

When an employer is granted a licence, they must assign the worker a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), once the allocation has been obtained, using their sponsorship management system (SMS) account. However, before doing so, the employer must ensure that the worker meets all the eligibility requirements and be able to explain how the criteria has been met.

The employer is also expected to comply with all their sponsor duties with key personnel allocated roles and responsibilities.

Assigning a CoS does not guarantee the worker will be granted entry clearance or permission. The worker must meet all the immigration requirements of the route in which they are applying. 

There is also a fee payable by the employer per CoS. In addition, the employer is required to pay an Immigration Skills Charge for each year of sponsorship. 

Worker’s immigration application:

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa, the applicant worker will need to provide their assigned certificate of sponsorship reference number provided by the employer. This must be an approved UK employer who holds a sponsor licence. The applicant will also be required to meet various other eligibility requirements. 

Applicants will also be able to bring their dependants, including partner and children. Applicants will be required to pay the visa application fee, however they will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

It should be noted that the above information is correct as per the latest government announcement of 24 December 2021 but may be subject to change. The precise immigration requirements for care workers, care assistants and home care workers are still due to be published to see if there are any additional requirements. 

The above does not constitute legal advice.

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