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Recruiting Care Staff From Overseas

In response, the health services industry was introduced on 1 March 2021 to a number of jobs on UK shortages Occupation List for 12 months which are eligible.

A new law will allow care providers to hire non-EU workers to work overseas through visa sponsorship in various care positions.

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How Can Care Workers Immigrate To The UK?

The NHS is facing a serious problem with personnel shortages. The unmanageable workloads are taking a toll on the staff, often resulting in employee burnout.

From 15th February 2022, the UK Government made the following decision: Care workers, care assistants and home care workers will be eligible for the Health and Care Worker Visa.

This announcement came at a needed time for trained care workers from overseas who were waiting for a chance to come and work in the UK.

The intention is to help and ease the current situation in the Care Worker Industry, which has suffered major shortages and pressure since the peak of COVID-19 in 2020.

Below is a detailed explanation of the key points that care providers must know before considering recruiting overseas care workers through the Health and Care Worker Visa and other immigration routes available to them.

Workforce Shortages: The Indication of Future Recruitment

Workforce shortages in the UK are the most threatening challenge that’s faced the home country since the breakout of COVID-19 in 2020. This has influenced the increased demand for the healthcare workforce.

Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy, made a statement that best depicts the current situation of the NHS in the UK. She said:

We have witnessed senior experienced staff crying with frustration and anger…[they are] mentally drained and despite their best efforts have seen patients suffer and have received negative comments from distraught relatives and carers.

This shortage of workers has resulted in the deterioration of well-being and work ethic.

To improve the situation of the NHS, additional care roles were added to the shortage occupation list:

  • Care assistants
  • Care workers
  • Home care assistants
  • Home carers
  • Support workers

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is responsible for reviewing the list. They’ve confirmed that stakeholders were already experiencing recruitment difficulties. Therefore, the goal is to improve personal care in healthcare facilities.

However, applicants need to meet certain requirements to apply for a work visa.

workforce shortages the indication of future recruitment

Health And Care Visa Requirements

All Health and Care Visa applicants need to meet the criteria indicated under the Skilled Worker Visa route:

  • A valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a UK licensed sponsor
  • A job offer that meets the relevant salary threshold
  • Sufficient personal savings that can support you whilst in the UK
  • Sufficient knowledge of the English language
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Valid tuberculosis test results
  • Travel history from the previous five years

Additional visa requirements include meeting the minimum salary requirement or proof of the appropriate job rate – whichever is higher. Some participants may also need to prove that they can support the following:

  • Emergency First Aid at Work
  • Safeguarding Children
  • Food Safety/Food Hygiene
  • Health and Safety Awareness Training
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
  • Infection Prevention and Control
  • Manual Handling or/and Moving and Handling of People

Health and Care Visa Application Process

After you have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), you will be given a unique reference number when applying online on the Home Office website.

The next stage in the application process is paying the fee and providing the relevant documents. The Home Office will then assess the information and offer you the following:

  • To enroll biometrics
  • To book a biometrics appointment (if it’s not possible to reuse any biometrics from the previous application processes)

After all the necessary background checks have been completed, the advisor can discuss potential dates in the UK.

Supporting Documentation Applicants May Need To Provide

The application process may require social care staff to provide additional documentation such as:

  • Valid visa or passport that confirms that you can travel
  • Expired travel documents that show your travel history
  • Criminal record certificate
  • Statement or letter from your bank

Do you need help with recruiting care staff from overseas? Our lawyers can assist you.

English Language Requirements

Social care workers from countries where the majority do not speak English are intercepted by several requirements that must be met before starting their job in the UK.

Applicants must prove that they can understand, read, and write in English at the B1 level on the CERF (Common European Framework of Reference for Language) Scale.

Sufficient knowledge in English is confirmed by:

  • Obtaining a GSCE, A level, Scottish National Qualification (level 4-5), Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English – gained through study at an accepted UK school when under the age of 18.
  • Having an academic level degree qualification that was initially taught in English (If it was taught abroad, they will need to apply for UK NARIC that’s equivalent to a UK bachelor’s or master’s degree.)
  • Passing and submitting SELT (Secure English Language Test)

Which countries do not need proof?

Among the countries that do not require their care workers to provide the documentation mentioned above are the Bahamas, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Jamaica, Malta, and so on.

What Is the Cost?

In order to apply for a licence, applicants must pay a fee. The cost is £536 for small businesses or £1,476 for medium and large organisations.

Can You Bring Your Partner Or Children?

Your children and/or your partner are allowed to apply for a visa and join you in the UK as your “dependents.” Applicants must be able to provide evidence that they can support their dependents financially.

Applicants need to secure:

  • £285 for their partner
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each additional child
  • + their own maintenance funds

If the application is successful, their visa can end on the same date as yours.

Care Worker Visa – Permits and Prohibitions

After they have been granted the visa, there are certain rules that define what applicants can and cannot do.

Here are the most important points outlined:

What Can You Do?

  • You can take on additional work (in certain circumstances).
  • You can do voluntary work.
  • You can study simultaneously.
  • You can work an eligible job.
  • You can bring your partner or child (provided they meet the eligibility criteria).
  • You can travel abroad and return to the UK.
  • You can apply for a permanent settlement in the UK (provided you’ve lived here for the past 5 years).

What Can’t You Do?

  • You can’t apply for most benefits (public funds, for example).
  • Change employers or jobs unless you update your visa.

We can assist you if you need help with recruiting care staff from overseas.

What Is A Skilled Worker Route?

A Skilled Worker Route allows qualified individuals, i.e. migrant workers, to come to the UK and work in the social care sector, for example, for an approved sponsor in an eligible role.

This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa, and now, is the main visa for all non-UK residents who want to come and work here.

Regardless of whether you’re an individual looking for sponsorship, or an employer looking for a skilled worker from overseas, you should understand the basics of requirements.

For both sides, the goal is to avoid any delays or issues with the Home Office. Mistakes on your application will mean that you will lose your application fee. And since it’s an important step in your career development, informing you about immigration rules and seeking legal advice is of the utmost importance.

This visa provides provisions for:

  • Spouses
  • Unmarried partnerships of over 2 years
  • Dependable children

This visa also provides a route to Indefinite Leave To Remain and settlement.

How long does the visa last?

The Skilled Worker Visa is granted for a period of 5 years. The visa holder may either apply for an extended period or may be eligible for an Indefinite Leave To Remain.


The sponsor requirements are outlined in the new Appendix for Skilled Workers. Applicants need to collect a total of 70 points to be eligible for the visa.

Here is how the points are distributed:

  • A genuine job offer from a licenser sponsor – 20 points
  • English language to the required standard – 10 points
  • A job offer at the skill level of RQF3 or above – 20 points
  • Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 (at least 80% of the going rate) – o points
  • Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 (at least 90% of the going rate) – 10 points
  • Salary of £25,600 or above – 20 points
  • A job in a shortage occupation list – 20 points
  • PhD in a subject relevant to the job – 10 points
  • PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job – 20 points

What Is the Cost?

The Skilled Worker Visa fee varies between £610 – £1,408. The factors influencing the price are whether your job is on the shortage occupation list and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Processing Time

The processing time takes up to:

  • Eight weeks if the application is made within the UK
  • Three weeks if the application is made outside the UK

Recruiting Senior Care Workers?

Senior care workers have also been added to the shortage occupation list. This makes it easier for care homes to recruit immigrant workers from overseas. The process is similar to the one we’ve already mentioned.

The first step would be to apply for a sponsor licence. There also needs to be a clear employment plan outlined.

Vaccination Status For People Working in Care Homes and Health Services

Anyone who wants to work or volunteer in care homes must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The only reason they shouldn’t be is if it’s medically justified.

recruiting senior care workers

Not sure how to recruit care staff from overseas? Our lawyers can assist you.

We Can Help You

If you’ve found yourself in the position we discussed, then you understand the importance of dealing with accurate and up-to-date information regarding Health and Social Care.

Our IAS team consists of law experts that are well-versed in immigration law, ready to delve into your case and help you make an informed decision.

Our team provides expert guidance, and our goal is to help applicants find the most appropriate course of action that will help them achieve their desired result.

Our offices are located throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, and our clients can rest assured of the quality we provide.

Call us on 0330 311 6351 for immediate help & assistance with your situation.

We are here to help you in person, via the phone or online.

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

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