Everything you need to know about the Health and Care Worker Visa

“The care sector is experiencing unprecedented challenges prompted by the pandemic and the changes we’ve made to the Health and Care visa will bolster the workforce and help alleviate some of the pressures currently being experienced.

This is our New Plan for Immigration in action, delivering our commitment to support the NHS and the wider health and care sector by making it easier for health professionals to live and work in the UK.” - Priti Patel

What is the Health and Care Worker Visa

In the wake of the combined challenges posed by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, the shortage of healthcare workers in the UK has been causing significant disruptions in care homes and hospitals across the UK. To address this issue, the government introduced the Health and Care Worker Visa – a promising avenue that offers a range of benefits to attract skilled professionals to the healthcare sector.

Who is eligible for this visa?

The Health and Care Worker Visa is available to individuals in specific occupations, all of which are included in the list of Shortage Occupations. To qualify for the Health and Care Worker visa, your profession must fall under one of the following occupation codes:

  • 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
  • 6145: care workers and home carers
  • 6146: senior care workers

Applicants must work in a qualifying health or social care position and be a licenced doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional to qualify. Before requesting a visa, applicants must also have a verified work offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship in hand.


Applicants who wish to apply for the health and care worker visa must be able to satisfy the following requirements in that they;

  • are 18 years of age or older.
  • hold qualifications as a doctor, nurse, health professional, or adult social care professional.
  • will be employed in a role that is an eligible health or social care job, as defined by the approved occupation codes.
  • are employed with an employer that operates within the UK health and care sector and has been endorsed by the Home Office.
  • possess a valid 'certificate of sponsorship' from the employer, outlining details of the role offered.
  • possess a competent grasp of the English language, meeting at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0).
  • will receive a salary that meets the minimum requirement or the prevailing 'going rate' for the specific job type - whichever is higher.
  • have sufficient funds to sustain themselves without resorting to public funds.
  • Have submitted a valid criminal record certificate if they are working with vulnerable individuals.
  • Can provide a valid TB certificate if they originate from a listed country.

How long is the Health and Care Worker visa valid for?

Successful applicants may work in the UK for up to five years and may request to have their visa extended as often as they'd like, providing they continue to meet the requirements.

After five years, those on Health and Care visas can also apply for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain. With ILR status, applicants can change companies and jobs without needing to apply for extra visas since they are no longer subject to UK immigration control and are not constrained by visa sponsorship regulations.

Partners and Dependants on the Health and Care Worker visa

Providing they meet the requirements, applicants can apply to bring their partner and children to the UK as dependents. If approved, they will be granted a visa in line with the main applicant.

When applying, applicants and dependent partners must be able to demonstrate that they are either in a legally registered civil partnership/marriage or that they have been cohabiting for at least two years.

For dependent children, if the child is 16 or over, they must:

  • Be living with the main applicant (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college or university).
  • Be unmarried.
  • Be financially supported by the main applicant.

What is the Financial Maintenance requirement for the Health and Care Worker visa

The applicant must also demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependants. The applicant must be required to show they have funds of at least £1,270 available to them and:

  • £285 for partners
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each additional child

The funds must be held for at least 28 consecutive days before the application submission date.

In some cases applicants will be exempt from meeting the maintenance requirements if they can demonstrate that their employer has agreed to certify their maintenance. Applicants will also be exempt if they are applying to extend their leave in the UK and have already been present in the UK for 12 months or more at the date of the application.

How much does the Health and Care Worker Visa Cost

Applicants who qualify for the Health and Care Visa applicants do not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge and this too applies to dependents. The application fees are:

  • £247* for applications where the certificate of sponsorship had been issued for 3 years or less.
  • £479* for applications where the certificate of sponsorship had been issued for 3 years or more.
  • The above fees are applicable to both overseas applications and applications submitted within the UK.

What are the processing times for the Health and Care Worker visa?

Due to the nature of the health and care worker visa, the Home Office has pledged to prioritise these applications with an aim to process entry clearance applications within 3 weeks and in-country applications within 8 weeks.

I am a student, can I switch into the Health and Care Worker Visa?

Please see our last blog post for more information.

I have more questions

Please feel free to [contact us] (https://www.getborderless.io/contact-us)for further advice.

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