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Difference Between Skilled Worker Visa & Health and Care Visa

If you are coming to the UK to work as a doctor, you might be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa. Find out more about the difference between them.

Call us today on 0333 305 9375 for professional assistance with your visa application. We are here to help you via the phoneonline, or in person.

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Understanding Both

What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

The Skilled Worker Visa, which has replaced the Tier 2 (General) Work Visa, is intended for individuals who want to come to the UK to do a specialised job. Its holders can come to the UK and stay there to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

To be able to obtain the Skilled Worker Visa, foreign nationals must be coming to work in a role skilled to at least RQF level 3. They must also be paid the minimum salary which is at least £38,700 per year as of 4th of April 2024.

Medical professionals are among the professions eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa. This means that if you are a doctor and you want to come to the UK to work, you can apply for the Skilled Worker Visa.

What is the Health and Care Visa?

The Health and Care Visa is intended for overseas healthcare professionals who want to come to the UK to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in the adult social care sector. Only certain medical roles qualify for this type of visa.

Holders of the Health and Care Visa can stay in the UK for up to 5 years. After the initial validity of their visa expires, they have the right to extend it. There is no limit on how many times they can extend it but they must continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

The Health and Care Visa is only open to doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who plan to come to the UK to work in eligible roles in the UK health sector or the social care sector.

What is the Main Difference Between the Skilled Worker Visa and the Health and Care Visa?

Medical professionals who want to work in the UK can obtain either the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa. Both visas allow foreign medical professionals to work in the UK for up to 5 years with a right to extend it as long as they are still eligible. And, both visas allow holders to apply for settlement in the UK after 5 years.

The main difference between these two visas is the fact that the Skilled Worker Visa is intended for professionals from a wide range of professions. The Health and Care Visa, on the other hand, is intended only for qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals, or adult social care professionals.

If you work in the health and care industry and you are considering moving to the UK to work, get in touch with our lawyers. They can help you determine whether you should choose the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa.

What requirements must medical professionals meet to get the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa?

Regardless of whether foreign citizens want to apply for the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa, they must be working in an eligible job, have a job offer in the UK, be paid at least a minimum salary, and have a good command of the English language.

To be able to obtain the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must be coming to work in a role skilled to at least RQF level 3 (equivalent to A-levels). And, their employer must have been approved by the Home Office and hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

As for the Health and Care Visa, applicants must be qualified doctors, nurses, health professionals, or adult social care professionals and they must be coming to work in a role included on the Shortage Occupation List. Just like with the Skilled Worker Visa, the UK employer must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

How Much Do the Visas Cost?

Applicants for the Skilled Worker Visa must pay between £827 to £1,408 depending on their individual circumstances. They must also pay £1,035 per year for the immigration health surcharge and they must have at least £1,270 available to show that they can support themselves after they arrive in the UK. Applicants might be exempt from this requirement if they have already been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months or if their UK employer agrees to cover the costs of their stay during the first month in the UK.

The cost of applying for the Health and Care Visa varies depending on how long applicants want to stay in the UK. Those who plan to spend up to 3 years in the country must pay £232 and those who want to remain in the UK longer must pay the visa application fee of £464.

Applicants must also have at least £1,270 in their bank account to demonstrate that they can support themselves in the UK. With the Health and Care Visa, there is no requirement to pay the annual healthcare surcharge, however.

What are the Waiting Times?

Those who want to apply for the Skilled Worker Visa can submit their application up to 3 months before they are due to start working in the UK. On average, the Home Office takes 3 weeks to process applications for this visa. Sometimes the process can take longer if they need more time to review all the documents.

Similar waiting times apply to applications for the Health and Care Worker Visa. Applicants can apply up to 3 months before they plan to start their job in the UK and they typically receive a decision regarding their application within 3 weeks.

Keep in mind that the waiting time can be longer if you forget to provide some of the required documents or make mistakes in your application. This is why it is advisable to hire an immigration lawyer who can review your application before you submit it.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance with choosing the right visa.

What Can I Do on the Skilled Worker Visa?

Foreign nationals who come to the UK on the Skilled Worker Visa can work in one of the eligible professions, study, do voluntary work, travel overseas and come back to the UK, and bring their dependents with them.

The Skilled Worker Visa grants holders the right to one of the jobs included on the list of eligible occupations for a UK employer that has been approved by the Home Office. There are numerous professions that can qualify. Examples include:

  • Health professionals
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Pharmacists
  • Production managers
  • Financial managers and directors
  • Senior police officers
  • Healthcare practice managers
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • IT specialist managers
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians
  • Social workers

So while the Skilled Worker Visa can be a good choice for those who want to come to the UK to work in the health sector, other professionals can also apply for it.

Those who come to the UK on the Skilled Worker Visa might be able to apply for UK settlement after residing in the country for 5 years.

And, holders of the Skilled Worker Visa have the right to bring their dependents (their partner and children) to the UK with them. However, to be able to come to the UK with their relative who holds the Skilled Worker Visa, family members must obtain a dependent visa.

What Can I Do on the Health and Care Worker Visa?

Those who come to the UK on the Health and Care Worker Visa can work in an eligible medical job. Holders of the Health and Care Worker Visa must work for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in the adult social care sector.

Eligible job roles for the Health and Care Worker Visa include:

  • Medical practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Paramedics
  • Dental nurses
  • Senior care workers
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Pharmaceutical technicians
  • Care workers

Those who obtain the Health and Care Worker Visa are not allowed to work in nonmedical professions. However, in some circumstances, they might be able to take on additional work and do voluntary work.

Holders of the Health and Care Worker Visa have the right to apply for settlement in the UK after living in the country for 5 years. And, they are allowed to bring their partner and any dependent children to the UK with them.

How Can IAS Help?

Applying for the Skilled Worker Visa or Health and Care Visa can be complicated as each of them comes with slightly different eligibility criteria. At IAS, we have a team of highly qualified immigration lawyers who can help you determine whether you are eligible to apply.

If you are not sure which visa you should choose, our lawyers can help you determine it. Regardless of which visa you decide to apply for, our immigration experts can guide you through the application process. Thanks to their professional assistance you can maximise the chances of your application being approved.

Your immigration lawyer will also answer any questions you might have and review your application before you submit it to make sure you included all the necessary information and documents.

Call us today on 0333 305 9375 to find out more about how we can help.

If you have any questions about your Skilled Worker visa or Health and Care visa application, our lawyers can help.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Health and Care Visa and the Skilled Worker Visa are separate visas. The former is intended only for foreign nationals coming to the UK to work in medical roles. The latter is available to medical professionals but also to other skilled occupations.

Regardless of which visa foreign nationals wish to obtain, they must hold a job offer in the UK. And, after they spend 5 years living in the country, they can apply for UK settlement.

The short answer to this question is yes. Those who want to get the Health and Care Visa must provide proof confirming that they have a good command of the English language (level B1 or higher on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale).

To prove their language skills, they must do one of the following:

  • Pass a Secure English Language Test from an approved provider
  • Prove that they have a GCSC, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English (obtained through studying in the UK when they were younger than 18 years old)
  • Have a degree that was taught in English

Nationals of English-speaking countries are exempt from this requirement.

Holders of the Skilled Worker Visa have the right to come to the UK to work for the employer who gave them a job offer for the role they included in their visa application.

Those who want to work for a different employer or switch to a different role with the same employer must apply to update their Skilled Worker Visa.

To be able to obtain the Skilled Worker Visa or the Health and Care Visa, applicants must be paid at least £25,600 per year (or £10.10 per hour). The minimum salary requirement can be higher if the going rate for a certain profession is higher.

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