Recruiting Social Care Workers from Overseas
During the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple sectors faced unprecedented times. In particular, the Health and Social Care sector. Rises in covid cases and loss of earnings resulted in a direct impact to the staffing levels within the healthcare field- with some care homes even having to close their doors due to a lack of staff.
To aid the repair of a broken sector, the government introduced a number of tactics to help rebuild the Health and Social Care industry, including the new Health and Care Worker visa being opened up to care workers which allows employers to be bringing a carer from overseas or a health worker for 12 months.
The addition of more care workers jobs being added to the United Kingdoms Shortage Occupation List, joining existing care jobs such as Senior Care Workers on the list.
The new rules allow UK care providers to employ overseas care workers through international recruitment, which will allow migrant workers to work within a care related job in the UK.
For more information on how you can apply for a Health and Care visa for yourself, or to find out about how your company can recruit overseas care workers, call our team of legal experts today on 0121 667 6530 for further guidance.
Care Job Roles And The Shortage Occupation List (SOL)
The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is an official government list comprising job roles in short supply throughout the United Kingdom.
Before new action was taken in the Health and Care sector, roles such as Senior Care Workers, Day Care, and Domiciliary Care managers were already featured on the Shortage Occupation List.
In February 2022, multiple new care roles were added to the Shortage Occupation List. These roles included: Care Assistants, Care Workers, Carers, Home Care Assistants, and Support Workers in nursing homes and care homes.
The addition of these roles means that employers can sponsor a broader range of care staff on a Health and Care Worker visa- easing the workload of current staff in their establishment by providing carer visa sponsorship to overseas professionals and taking advantage of the temporary changes to the Shortage Occupation List.
With the new immigration rules in place, migrant care workers may only have to meet a minimum salary requirement £20,480 to successfully apply for a Health and Care Worker visa.
What is the Health and Care Worker visa?
The Health and Care Worker visa is a new visa route that allows qualified medical professionals from overseas to work in the UK for up to five years for NHS employers, an NHS supplier, or, as an allied healthcare professional in a care home.
Working in a similar way to the Skilled Worker visa, the Health and Care visa is a route open exclusively to healthcare personnel, allowing a more cost-effective path to working in the UK, with the removal of the Immigration Health Surcharge for Health and Care visa holders.
Enforced in early 2022, new rules state that care workers from overseas can take advantage of the Health and Care Worker visa for 12 months provided they have a job offer from a UK employer with a valid Sponsor Licence.
New Health and Care visa applicants must meet the eligibility requirements before applying.
Health and Care Worker Visa Requirements
Care workers applying for a job in the UK Health and Social Care sector with a Health and Care Worker visa must meet the following requirements:
- They must be in receipt of a Certificate of Sponsorship from a company with a valid Sponsor Licence
- Their job must be listed under Shortage Occupation code ‘6145’. Their job role must outline that they will be employed to meet the personal care needs of clients and ensure their comfort at all times in a care home or their own home
- They must be paid at least £20,480 per year whilst working in the UK, or, the ‘going rate’ for their job role
- They must be able to meet the minimum English language knowledge requirement by being able to read, write, speak and understand English to a minimum level
- They must be able to support themselves when they first arrive in the UK. The minimum requirement for their own maintenance funds is £1,270.
In addition, the appropriate pre employment checks will be done prior to their employment contract being finalised and the candidates becoming newly appointed international health and social care workers.
English Language Requirements
One of the main requirements for the Health and Care Worker visa is that applicants must satisfy the minimum level of English language ability. Unless the applicant is coming from a majority English-speaking country, they may be required to take an English language test and pass to level B1.
Care Worker visa applicants can prove their English knowledge in one of the following ways;
- Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to a minimum of level B1
- Having a GCSE or A Level in English that was gained through study when under 18
- Having an academic degree level qualification that was taught in English
Minimum Salary Requirement
To be eligible for a Health and Care Worker visa, migrant care workers must be getting paid at least £20,480 per calendar year, or alternatively, must be getting paid the ‘going rate’ for their job role. Typically, you will be paid whichever is higher. Each occupation code has its own ‘going rate’, but the minimum you will get paid is usually £10.10 per hour.
If the role you will be taking on in the United Kingdom is on the Shortage Occupation List, Health and Social Care workers may be paid 80% of the total ‘going rate’ until they qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, if this is possible.
It is unlikely that anything under the minimum salary threshold will be accepted for a Health and Social Care workers visa application.
Sponsoring Health and Social Care workers
Like with many other UK visas, Health and Care Worker visa applicants must have a Certificate of Sponsorship from an eligible UK employer with a valid Sponsor Licence.
Eligible employers include; The NHS, an organisation providing services to the NHS, or, those who provide adult social care, for example, a nursing home. Applicants cannot be sponsored by an individual or a private household.
If you haven’t already been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor, you must apply at the earliest possible convenience to avoid any delays in the international recruitment process.
Upon applying, you must pay the appropriate Sponsor Licence application fee- which is £536 for a small or charitable sponsor, or £1,476 for medium and large organisations.
The process of application usually takes around 8 weeks from start to finish. However, if you require a faster decision, you can opt for a fast-track service at an additional cost.
Get help from our team of legal experts to allow you to effortlessly hire staff from overseas and take care of everything. Call us today on: 0121 667 6530
Sponsor Management System (SMS)
In order to qualify for a Sponsor Licence, your company must have the correct work structure in place to manage the Sponsor Management System efficiently. You must allocate staff in the following roles:
- Authorising Officer- a senior and competent person responsible for all other staff in the management network
- SMS Key Contact- the main person to liaise with the UKVI
- Level 1 user- overlooks the daily running of the company’s Sponsor Licence
Each member of key personnel must not:
- Unspent criminal convictions
- Have been fined by UKVI in the last 12 months
- Have been reported to UKVI
- Broken the law
- Been a member of key personnel for a sponsor who has had its licence revoked
- Failed to pay VAT
Applying for a Health and Care visa
You must apply for a Health and Social Care worker visa online within three months of receiving your Certificate of Sponsorship.
To apply, applicants should fill out the Skilled Worker visa application form but ensure that they tick the correct subcategory; in this case, the Health and Care visa category. You will need your documents to hand when applying. These include proof of identity in the form of a passport or other identity document and your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number- you can get this from your UK employer involved in the international recruitment process.
Application fees will need to be paid in full when you submit your application form.
Benefits of a Health and Care worker visa
There are in fact many benefits for care workers in the Health and Social Care sector who hold a Health and Care visa.
One of the main benefits is reduced visa fees. Health and Social care workers can benefit from 50% off the typical visa application fees, meaning that applying for a care workers visa for up to three years would cost £232, whilst it would cost £464 for more than three years.
In addition, care workers are exempt from paying any form of Immigration Health Surcharge during their time in the UK. This enables them to live in the UK on their care workers visa free of fees until they leave the UK. This applies to those working in the Health and Social Care field only.
Bringing Dependants to The UK On a Health & Care Visa
If your Health and Care Worker visa is successful, your partner and children can apply to join you in the UK on a dependant visa, provided that they meet the eligibility requirements to do so.
In order for them to be successful in their application, you must be able to prove that you have the funds to support them in the UK. Generally, you will need £285 for your partner, £315 for a lone child, and, £200 for each additional child who will be joining you.
One of the main advantages available to Health and Social Care workers is the reduced visa fees. This also applies to any dependants applying to accompany you to the United Kingdom.
Health And Care Worker Visa Holders Taking a Second Job
According to the most recent guidelines, holders of Health and Care Worker visas are allowed to undertake a second job or additional employment in the UK.
However, they must continue to fulfil their duties in their primary, sponsored role. In certain scenarios, they may need to modify their visa to reflect their new employment situation. No visa update is necessary if:
- The secondary job also falls under the Health and Care Worker category, allowing unlimited work hours in this role.
- The secondary job is part of the Shortage Occupation List, permitting up to 20 hours of work per week without a visa update.
- The additional role is a non-paid, volunteer position.
If the additional job does not fit into any of these categories, or if more than 20 hours per week are planned for a role on the Shortage Occupation List, Health and Care Workers must contact the Home Office to update their visa status.
They will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship from the secondary employer and must supply additional information to the Home Office explaining the reason for the change in their employment status and permissions.
New Rules On Secondary Employment For Health And Care Workers From Overseas Starting 27th of August 2023
Starting August 27, 2023, Health and Care Workers are permitted to engage in up to 20 extra paid work hours without needing to amend their visa. This is conditional upon the secondary employment being either in the same occupation code and at an equivalent level as their main job, or being listed on the Shortage Occupation List.
How can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers help?
Birmingham Immigration Lawyers are experts in current Immigration rules, meaning we can assist you in the successful completion of your Health and Care Worker visa application.
Alternatively, if you are a business looking for assistance in international recruitment, our highly trained immigration lawyers can help you.
For more information on how you can apply for a Health and Care visa, or to find out about how your company can recruit overseas workers, call our team of advisors today on 0121 667 6530 for further guidance.
Last modified on September 27th, 2023 at 7:33 am
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