New UK Tier 2 health and care visa now open for applications

Comments by Sanwar Ali:

The name of this health care visa available from 4 August 2020 is highly misleading.  It gives the impression that care workers can come under this Tier 2 visa category.  In reality frontline care workers still cannot come under this UK visa scheme.  It is also actually not a new scheme and is part of the Tier 2 visa and Sponsor Licence scheme.  To come under this scheme you need to have a relevant job in the UK and a Tier 2 sponsor in the UK.   Presumably, the naming of this scheme is just Government “spin” to give the impression that they will in fact deal with the care worker skills shortage.  The good news is that this application is faster and much cheaper than the usual Tier 2 visa category.  The following occupations codes are covered:

2112 – Biological scientists and biochemists

2113 – Physical Scientists
2211 – Medical Practitioners
2212 – Psychologists
2213 – Pharmacists
2214 – Ophthalmic Opticians
2215 – Dental practitioners
2217 – Medical Radiographers
2218 – Podiatrists
2219 – Health Professionals not elsewhere classified
2221 – Physiotherapists
2222 – Occupational Therapists
2223 – Speech and Language Therapists
2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
2231 – Nurses
2232 – Midwives
2442 – Social Workers
3213 – Paramedics

The new UK health and care visa, announced in open for applications from 4 August 2020. The Home Office published details of the new visa on the official UK government website recently, outlining who is eligible to apply and the costs involved.

The UK health and care visa is reserved for those with a job offer from the NHS, any organisation that provides medical services to the NHS or organisations that offer adult social care. The visa is only currently available to applicants outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and people from Switzerland. However, this is subject to change after Brexit.

Who is eligible?

Doctors, nurses, health professionals and senior-level adult social workers are eligible for the visa. Eligibility is dependent on sponsorship from an employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsor licence. A person who fulfils the criteria of the job role will be issued with a certificate of sponsorship.

An application for a Tier 2 health and care visa can be made up to three months prior to the start date of your employment in the UK. The health and care visa is a ‘fast track’ immigration route, with decisions made on applications within three weeks of submitting biometric information.

Submitting biometric information will cost £19.20.

Health and care visa costs

Health and care visa costs vary depending on the length of stay in the UK. For a visa that is valid up to three years, the cost is £232. Visas issued with a validity longer than three years cost £464. However, fees are subject to change at any point.

Fees are charged at the same rate whether you apply for a health and care visa within or outside the UK. The costs also apply to dependants.

For citizens of Turkey and Macedonia, health and care visa fees are reduced. For a visa that’s valid for up to three years, the cost is £177. For visas over three years, the fee is £409.

Following a review, the health and care visa will not be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge. However, access to public funds is prohibited.

Premium processing for the health and care visa is available for an additional £500, which guarantees an application decision within five working days. Meanwhile, super-premium processing guarantees a decision by the next working day, provided that biometric information has been submitted.

 Tier 2 Health Care visa duration of stay

Health and care visas can be issued with a maximum stay of five years and 14 days, after which, visa holders can apply for UK indefinite leave to remain (settled status).