Coming to the UK to work in the healthcare sector

The Health and Care Worker visa is one of the most frequently used entry routes into the UK. It enables medical workers to come to the UK, where they can live and work in an eligible job for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.

The points-based visa system and skilled workers

From 1 January 2021, a new points-based visa system (PBVS) for skilled workers was introduced to replace the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

All non-UK nationals coming into the country to work must now demonstrate the following:

  • they have the required standard of spoken English
  • they have a job offer from a licensed sponsor who is registered with the Home Office
  • they are a designated ‘skilled worker’ and can fulfil the job offer requirements

When the PBVS was introduced most of the eligible healthcare jobs were for highly-qualified, higher-paid roles, such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, anaesthetists etc. and roles which required A-level qualifications and above.

However, many of the key-roles required urgently by the NHS, such as care workers, health support workers, and home carers, do not fulfill the requirements for a ‘Skilled Worker’ visa.

New rules for health and care workers introduced

From 15 February 2022, new immigration rules made it possible for care workers and home carers from overseas to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa – a new subcategory of the Skilled Worker route.

Initially introduced on a temporary basis for a 12-month trial period, the new Health and Care Worker visa has been introduced to recognise the shortage of workers in certain healthcare roles and that many of the roles are filled by non-UK nationals. The list includes:

  • care assistants
  • care workers
  • carers
  • home care assistants
  • home carers
  • nursing home support workers

The Home Office has said it will review the success of the temporary scheme in late 2022. There is a possibility that other roles will be added to the current list.

Health and Care Worker visa – the requirements

To apply to enter the UK on a Health and Social Care Worker visa you must have a confirmed job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor before completing your visa application – eligible employers will be the NHS, organisations providing services to the NHS, or an organisation providing adult social care.

Further requirements are as follows:

  • The job must not be for a private household or individual (unless the employer is a sole trader approved as a sponsor by the Home Office and you are employed by their business).
  • The salary for the role must be at least £20,480 per annum or £10.10 per hour (there is no ‘going rate’ specified for this occupation code).
  • The applicant must provide acceptable criminal record certificates from all countries they have lived in for 12 or more months in the last 10 years, and while they were aged 18 or over.
  • The applicant must meet the English language, tuberculosis screening, and financial requirements of the skilled worker route.

Post Brexit rules for EU Healthcare workers already living in the UK

Healthcare workers from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and their family members, who were living in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 were required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wished to remain.

If you, or your family members missed the deadline of 30 June 2021 you may still be able to apply. Check here to see if you are eligible to make a late application.

Experienced immigration solicitor for your visa application

Contact Wellers Immigration Service to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa. The team is led by Lorraine Toal, a vastly experienced solicitor, able to advise on complex visa applications and appeal cases.

For help, advice and representation please call Lorraine Toal on 020 8290 7956 or email