The Home Office has announced that applications for the new ‘Health and Care visa’ can be made from 4 August 2020.
The Tier 2 visa process still applies, but applicants who are working for specific employers in roles that fall within a particular list of SOC codes will pay a reduced application fee, be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge and should expect a decision within 3 weeks of enrolling biometrics (rather than eight weeks). Their dependants will also benefit from these provisions.
But you need to be careful. The sponsor MUST explain on the Certificate of Sponsorship how the applicant qualifies. If they fail to do so, the visa application may be rejected as the correct fee will not have been paid – this could result in migrants already in the UK finding they do not have the 3C leave they expected whilst waiting for a decision, meaning they are here unlawfully. So make sure you double check the CoS before you apply!
Sponsors who provide commissioned services to the NHS also need to be prepared to evidence the contract to UKVI.
Sadly the new visa seems to have been misnamed, because it does not apply to care workers. The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said “The independent Migration Advisory Committee has been very clear that immigration is not the answer to the challenges in the social care sector and, as we implement the new immigration system, we want employers to focus on investing in our domestic workforce.”
To be eligible for the visa the employee must be sponsored under one of the following SOC codes:
- 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 not elsewhere classified
- 2221 – Physiotherapists
- 2222 – Occupational Therapists
- 2223 – Speech and Language Therapists
- 2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2231 – Nurses
- 2232 – Midwives
- 2442 – Social Workers
- 3213 – Paramedics
This article is from the July 2020 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts’ Immigration Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at July 2020.