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Veterinarian Visa UK

UK employers who have a sponsorship licence can bring foreign Veterinarians to come and work for them in the UK.

If you need more information about UK immigration matters or other services we offer, contact our team at IAS. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online for immediate assistance.

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    UK Vet Visa: An Introduction

    In both farm and small animal veterinary medicine, there is now a global scarcity of highly trained and competent veterinarians. In the UK, the scarcity is so severe that there have been demands to establish new veterinary institutions to close the skills gap in veterinary medicine in some areas, such as Wales.

    For UK businesses, finding high-calibre veterinarians in a market that is becoming more competitive can be difficult. For this reason, it is critical to ensure that visa applications for veterinary practitioners from non-EU/EEA countries are processed promptly.

    You must be licensed before you will be allowed to sponsor Veterinarians to come and work for your business in the UK. Additionally, you must also issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to your prospective Veterinarians before they can apply for a Veterinarian visa UK.

    There are roles the UK government endorsed for Veterinarians to take up in the UK which include, Veterinarian (Vet), Veterinary practitioner, and the Veterinary surgeon. Veterinarians are also required to obey the codes of practice laid down by the UK Visas and Immigration regulations.

    Your prospective Veterinarians whether EU or non-EU citizens must meet the Skilled Worker visa requirements because it is a route they can take to enter the UK.

    What Is The Skilled Worker Visa?

    The Skilled Worker visa grants your employee the right to enter the UK, live, and work for you (if you are a  licensed employer). The Skilled Worker visa is a work visa typically designed for long-term roles in the UK that could last for up to 5 years, depending on the duration of the Certificate of Sponsorship you issued your worker. After those 5 years, your worker may qualify to settle permanently in the UK.

    Veterinarians are considered Skilled Workers by the UK government, therefore, both EU and non-EU Veterinarians who wish to work in the UK can apply for a Skilled Worker visa. During their application for a Skilled Worker visa, they must prove that they have an employment offer from you (the employer).

    Also, their Skilled Worker visa can only be valid if they stay in the same role with you (if you sponsored them). But if they wish to change jobs or be employed by another business, they must apply for and obtain a new Skilled Worker visa.

    How To Hire Skilled Vets And Bring Them To The UK: Requirements

    You can sponsor foreign Vets to come and work for you in the UK. You can apply for a Skilled Worker sponsorship through a licensed online system.

    If you are issued a sponsorship licence after your application, you may now provide your prospective Vets a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The CoS is a reference number your Vets will need to add to their application submission to the Home Office. You are also required to meet other sponsorship obligations as part of the procedure.

    You must provide evidence to the Home Office that your business complies with specified eligibility conditions when applying for a skilled worker sponsor licence. You must prove that:

    • Your business is authentic and qualified to offer a sponsor licence.
    • You can offer the Vets legitimate job roles that will help them earn.
    • You are okay with the background checks and routine checkups by the Home Office.

    Our immigration specialists can help your business hire vets from overseas.

    Vets’ Qualifications & Requirements For The Skilled Worker Visa

    Your Vets must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for a Veterinarian visa UK (Skilled Worker visa). They must:

    • Have an authentic job offer.
    • Work for a UK employer that has been licensed by the Home Office.
    • Have a job listed as an eligible occupation.
    • Possess a certificate of sponsorship that explains the job they will do in the UK. You must first issue your Vets a valid CoS to ensure that they meet the sponsorship eligibility criteria. Note that you must be licensed before you issue Vets a CoS.

    Vets applying from overseas will need a defined CoS as it requires sponsors or employers who already have a sponsorship licence to apply through Sponsorship Management System (SMS). Your Vets may then apply for the visa about 3 months before they start work.

    • Have English knowledge up to level B1 in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. However, your Vets do not need to prove their English knowledge if they already passed an English Language test set by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Or if their course was taught in the English language if they are from an English-speaking country.

    But if they do not come from an English-speaking country, they are required to present an IELTS or OET test.

    • Earn a minimum of 70 points from the points-based system.
    • Earn a minimum salary for their job role. For the UK Skilled Worker visa, they must be paid a minimum of £27,000 per year or about £10.10 hourly. And if the going rate for their job role is higher, then they must earn at least the going rate.

    Note that your Vets coming into the UK must have the RCVS accreditation for foreign Vets and be adequately registered and possess a valid Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK.

    How To Apply For The UK Skilled Worker Visa


    You are required to have an A-rated licence to sponsor Vets to enter the UK and work for you. With this licence, you will have the right to issue a CoS to your Vets outside the UK. Most sponsors help their workers to cover almost all the expenses, ranging from relocation costs to getting a visa.

    Upon the reception of the CoS, your Vets will apply for the Skilled Worker visa with the CoS online (if they are outside the UK). They must complete an online application form and prove their identities.

    They may either scan their identity documents using the UK Immigration ID check app or provide their biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) at a visa application centre. Thereafter, they must submit their documents after paying their application fees.

    For Vets already in the UK, they must switch from their current visas that grant them stay in the UK to the Skilled Worker visa. Beware that you cannot switch from some visas to a Skilled Worker visa. These visas include:

    • Immigration bail.
    • Short-term student visa.
    • Seasonal worker visa.
    • Parent of a Child Student visa
    • Domestic worker in a private household visa.
    • Permission to stay outside the immigration rules.
    • Visitor visa.

    Due to the rules binding the possession of these visas above, applicants are required to first leave the UK and apply for a Skilled Worker visa outside the UK.

    Processing Time and Validity

    It typically takes about 8 weeks for a decision to be made on the Skilled Worker visa application for applicants within the UK. But if the applicant is outside the UK, they will get a decision in about 3 to 4 weeks.

    After applicants are issued the Skilled Worker visa, it will be valid for up to 5 years. As long as they continue to meet the eligibility criteria, they can extend their visa unlimitedly.

    Costs of Obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa

    Depending on the individual situations of applicants, the Skilled Worker visa fees range from £625 to £1,423. They will pay £624 yearly as a healthcare surcharge.

    Additionally, they must prove that they have a minimum of £1,270 to cater for their expenses when they enter the UK. However, applicants may not be mandated to prove that they have enough funds if their employer will cover the costs. Or if they have stayed in the UK for up to 12 months with a valid visa.

    If applicants are applying from inside the UK and updating, switching, or extending their visa, they will pay £704 for each applicant for up to 3 years. And pay £1,408 for each applicant for over 3 years.

    But if applicants are applying from outside the UK, they will pay £610 for each applicant for up to 3 years. And pay £1,220 for each applicant for over 3 years.

    If applicants want to take up shortage occupation roles, they will pay £464 for each applicant for up to 3 years. And pay £928 for each applicant for over 3 years.

    Our immigration solicitors can help your business obtain a sponsor licence so you can hire vets from overseas

    How IAS Can Help Businesses With Their Sponsor Licence

    Licensed business owners in the UK can bring Veterinarians to come and work for them in the UK. Visa sponsorship for Veterinarians may be a viable option for you to improve your workforce.

    You must obtain a sponsor licence to issue your Veterinarians a CoS to kickstart their Skilled Worker visa application for foreign Vets work in the UK. Amidst these stages of recruiting a workforce for your business, there are certain fees to be paid.

    Ensure you have the correct information about the visa application fees which typically differ depending on the intended duration of stay of your workers. Remember that any payment will not be refunded even if you overpaid or paid wrongly.

    This is why you should seek expert guidance from our immigration advisers at IAS. We are experienced professional immigration advisers who have helped several businesses obtain their sponsor licence and helped them get their workers to the UK hassle-free. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online for immediate assistance.

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

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    All practising Vets in the UK are required to be members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) which is the governing body for all the UK-based Vets. Besides that, your veterinary degree has to be recognised by the RCVS if you are a qualified Vet within or outside the UK.

    Yes, there is a shortage of Vets in the UK. The UK depends on overseas registrants to meet the required levels of workforce. According to statistics, the annual registrants entering the UK to work as Vets dell by 68%, which is from 1,132 in 2019 to 365 in 2021.


    Yes, Indian Veterinarians can work in the UK after they have taken their licensing examinations.

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