An applicant's guide to
the Health and Care
Worker visa

The Health and Care Worker visa is a category of UK work visa which allows medical professionals to come to the UK to do an eligible job within the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.

First opened to applications on 4 August 2020, the Health and Care Worker visa was introduced to help encourage qualified healthcare professionals from overseas to come and work in the UK health sector.

The visa forms part of the Skilled Worker route, the main immigration route for overseas workers in the UK. The Health and Care Worker visa offers a fast-track, reduced-fee entry route into the UK for eligible individuals and their dependants.

However, there are strict eligibility criteria that applicants must meet in order to qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa. In this article, we set out the types of jobs that are eligible, the other requirements you must meet, and how to apply.

What does the Health and Care Worker visa offer?

Successful applicants will be granted a visa which can last up to five years before you need to extend it. You can apply to extend your Health and Care Worker visa as many times as you like, as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements. After five years, you may be able to apply to settle in the UK.

What is the eligibility criteria?

Like the Skilled Worker visa, those applying for a Health and Care Worker visa must hold a confirmed job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor.

You must be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional, and the job you will be sponsored to do must be on the Home Office’s list of eligible health or social care jobs.

The job offer you hold must also meet the minimum salary requirements of the route. In most cases, you will need to be paid at least £20,480 or the ‘going rate’ for your profession, whichever is higher. However, certain roles are subject to different salary requirements. You can find out the ‘going rate’ for your occupation code here.

You must also be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.

Which jobs are eligible?

The jobs currently eligible for a Health and Care Worker visa and their corresponding occupation codes are as follows:

  • 1181: health services and public health managers and directors
  • 1242: residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
  • 2112: biological scientists and biochemists
  • 2113: physical scientists
  • 2211: medical practitioners
  • 2212: psychologists
  • 2213: pharmacists
  • 2214: ophthalmic opticians
  • 2215: dental practitioners
  • 2217: medical radiographers
  • 2218: podiatrists
  • 2219: health professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as audiologists and occupational health advisers
  • 2221: physiotherapists
  • 2222: occupational therapists
  • 2223: speech and language therapists
  • 2229: therapy professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as osteopaths and psychotherapists
  • 2231: nurses
  • 2232: midwives
  • 2442: social workers
  • 3111: laboratory technicians
  • 3213: paramedics
  • 3216: dispensing opticians
  • 3217: pharmaceutical technicians
  • 3218: medical and dental technicians
  • 3219: health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 6141: nursing auxiliaries and assistants
  • 6143: dental nurses
  • 6146: senior care workers

How to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa

You can apply for a Health and Care Worker visa up to three months before the date you are due to start work in the UK. To submit an application, you will need to apply online for a Skilled Worker visa. You will be asked during the application if you are applying for a Health and Care Worker visa – simply select ‘yes’ at this point.

As part of the application process, you will need to prove your identity either by attending a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to submit your biometrics, or by using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.

If you are currently in the UK on another form of visa, you may be able to apply to switch onto a Health and Care Worker visa. You must apply online before your current visa expires.

Once you have applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you will usually receive a decision on your application within 3 weeks.

How much does it cost?

The cost to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa is £232 per person for up to three years, or £464 per person for more than three years. This fee is the same whether you are applying from inside or outside the UK, and the same fee applies for each dependant applicant applying with you.

You must also show that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account to support yourself in the UK, unless:

  • You have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or
  • Your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK.

Applicants under this category and their dependants are not required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

Support with your application

If you require assistance with submitting an application for a Health and Care Worker visa, Smith Stone Walters can help. Our qualified immigration advisors will be able to assess your eligibility for this route, and offer practical support with the application process.

To speak to a member of the team, please contact us today.

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