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UK Visa Extensions for Health Care Workers

The UK government has provided £462.5 million for recruitment and retention of health and social care staff. Part of this money will be used to expand the Health and Care Visa scheme which was created in August 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is cheaper, quicker and easier to obtain the Health and Care Visa than a work visa. It means that the government is ready to support the healthcare system, which is under enormous strain because of COVID-19.

Extending the List of Professions

The list of professions contains a quite wide range of occupations. They are mainly practitioners of various specializations, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, biomedical scientists, and other specialists related to medicine.

Three options are added. Now it includes:

  • social care workers;
  • care assistants;
  • home carers.

It means that this will include carers, unlicensed assistive personnel, home care assistants and other workers who take care of sick and patients who require rehabilitation.

Increasing the Minimum Pay

The minimum salary for health and social care staff has also been increased. It is now £20,480 per annum. “The UK is committed to becoming a high-skilled, high-wage economy and minimum salaries must reflect the professional skills that are required to provide quality care,” said the Migration Advisory Committee.

Reducing the Burdens of Paperwork

An applicant must have an invitation and a certificate of sponsorship from their future employer, like for an ordinary work visa. Employers are mainly public and commercial entities which are directly or indirectly connected to the NHS (the UK’s National Health Service).

The government has promised to provide full support to companies that hire foreign employees. A program of events is planned for January and February this year, where detailed instructions will be given to companies how to become a visa sponsor and do all the paperwork correctly.

Applicants must prove that they are eligible for the position they are applying for. This can be a medical degree, an employment contract confirming their practical work experience, positive reviews and references, or other relevant documents.

Term and Restrictions

It is explained that the support program for the health care system and, in particular, for the recruitment of foreign specialists in this sphere, is valid for a 12-month period. Further details on the program’s term will depend on the situation in a year’s time.

“These measures, together with the series of support packages announced since September, will help us ensure short-term sustainability and success for our long-term vision to build social care back better,” said Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.

However, it is important to pay attention to the fact that the Health and Care Worker visa is granted for up to 5 years and can be extended any number of times. Moreover, this type of visa is a settlement one.If you have lived in the UK for at least five years on a Health and Care Worker Visa, you may be eligible to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and British citizenship. You will be able to do so, if all this time you have worked in a company that has sponsored you for a visa application. If you have a new employer, you must inform the immigration authorities and amend your visa.

If you have any questions about a UK work visa or any other details about immigration to the UK, please contact us. Imperial & Legal will advise you and choose the best option for your relocation.

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