The new Health and Care visa, which is for health professionals, opened on 4 August 2020. It is part of the Tier 2 General scheme and, like other parts of this scheme, can be granted for up to five years and can lead to settlement. Migrants can apply from outside the UK and, in some case, can switch within the UK.
And exactly which sorts of health professional is it open to and in which sorts of job? These are very good questions and they require detailed answers. The Home Office tells us that those who can apply for this visa are “qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard and who have good working English [and] eligible persons working in the social care sector”. In all cases the applicant must have been offered a suitable job by a suitable sponsor.
The Home Office has published a list of acceptable types of person, which includes:
- Biological scientists and biochemists
- Physical Scientists
- Medical Practitioners
- Ophthalmic Opticians
- Dental practitioners
- Medical Radiographers
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Social Workers
However, if you do not fit into any of these categories you should not necessarily despair: there are two further categories (which are defined elsewhere): “health professionals not elsewhere classified” and “therapy professionals not elsewhere classified”.
And exactly which employers will be able to sponsor migrants under the scheme? Well, here we get into more complexities. The published list is very detailed, and too complicated to reproduce here. To summarise, they are mostly centred around the NHS and other public sector organisations, but there are some other interesting bodies which may be able to sponsor migrants, including for example the General Chiropractic Council.
So if you want to know whether you qualify you may in some cases need to take professional advice.
Anyway, one of the interesting features of this visa is that it is relatively cheap. The Home Office application fee is £232 for a visa for up to three years and £464 for longer, and there is no IHS health surcharge fee. These fees are the same for applying either from within or from outside the UK. In relative terms this is very favourable, and the Home Office assures us that the processing time will be quick: three weeks after biometric details have been submitted.
As always with Tier 2, salaries levels must be paid at the appropriate rate and dependants (partner and children aged under 18) may be able to apply with the main applicant.
As indicated above, there are some complexities in this new scheme, and you might want to take legal advice to find out if you can apply, and how the sponsorship and application processes work. We at GSN Immigration will be able to help you with this.