New Health & Care visa is now active

Earlier this year the government announced the introduction of a new Health and Care visa for qualified doctors. On 4 August 2020, the new Health and Care visa was made live and you can now submit applications under this category. The application must be submitted under the current Tier 2 Points Based System. There are a number of benefits for doctors such as faster processing times (3 weeks from the date of submission) and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.  

What is the new Health and Care visa?

The Health and Care visa is a new fast-track visa for eligible foreign health and care professionals such as doctors, nurses and associated health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard and meet the requirements for a UK visa. The new process offers fast-tracked decisions, reduced visa fees and exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.  

Why has the government introduced the Health and Care Visa?

The UK Government has introduced the Health and Care visa in an attempt to deal with the shortage of medical professionals in the UK. The visa is designed to make the visa application process easier and quicker for the best foreign health professionals to work in the National Health Surcharge (NHS) and other eligible occupations. Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

We are indebted to overseas health and care professionals for their tremendous contributions, not just in saving thousands of lives throughout this crisis, but for the vital role they play year-round.

This new visa is part of our new immigration system making it quicker, cheaper and easier for the best and brightest health and care professionals from around the globe to work in our brilliant NHS”.

Priti Patel (Home Secretary)

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has reiterated that the answer to the shortage of medical professionals is not immigration and there should be more focus on investing in the UK domestic workforce and endorsing UK employers to focus on recruiting from within the UK.

What are the benefits of applying for the Health and Care visa?

If you are eligible for the new Health and Care visa you can benefit from the new streamlined process and reduced visa fees (see below). The Home Office will aim to make a decision within 3 weeks from the date of biometric enrolment instead of the standard 8 to 20 weeks. You will also benefit from an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) exemption. The current IHS fee is £400 a pear and this will be increased to £624 in October 2020. The IHS exemption also applies to dependents. The Home Office has also set up a specially dedicated support team available to assist with any issues with the application.

What are the new visa fees for the Health and Care Visa?

The Home Office has also introduced lower visa fees for the Health and care visa. The visa fee for applications submitted outside the UK differs to the fee for in-country applications.

If you apply from outside the UK:

  • Tier 2 – Health and Care visa – Under 3 years – £232 (previously £610); or
  • Tier 2 – Health and Care visa – Over 3 years – £232 (previously £464).

If you apply from within the UK:

  • Tier 2 – Health and Care visa – Under 3 years – £232 (previously £704); or
  • Tier 2 – Health and Care visa – Over 3 years – £232 (previously £704).

What are the requirements for the Health and Care visa?

The Health and Care visa is available for applicants who are applying:

  • Under Tier 2 (General) for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain; and
  • will be taking up a job in one of the occupations specified within the list of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes (see below); and
  • Will be employed an NHS trust/foundation trust in England or any other eligible practice.

You must also meet the Tier 2 criteria:

  • Valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS);
  • Meet the salary appropriate salary requirement;
  • English language;
  • Maintenance; and
  • Travel history/Overseas criminal record check (where applicable).

The employer must provide a brief explanation on the CoS explaining how the applicant will meet the Health and Care visa requirement. For more information on your employers’ responsibilities as a sponsor, you can review the official home office employers guidance.

Who can apply for the new Health and Care visa?

The name of this new visa is slightly misleading as the route is not open for all health and care workers and it does not open doors for health and care workers who previously may not have found their job on the Standard Occupational Classification. In principle, all it does is give existing jobs the benefit of streamlined visa service. The Health and Care visa will only apply to some of the (SOC) codes associated with health care. The following job codes may apply for this visa:

  • 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; and
  • 2231 – Nurses & 2232 – Midwives & 2442 – Social Workers & 3213 – Paramedics.

Furthermore, the government has been criticised for not including care home workers on the list. Care home workers provide a key service to the elderly and in our opinion should have been on the list.

How our immigration solicitors can help with new Health and Care visa

Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of clients. The key to submitting a successful Health and Care visa application is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules and submitting the correct supporting documents. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.

Using our Immigration Solicitors to submit the new Health and Care visa

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application to submit a visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully submit a new Health and Care visa

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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