The government has now confirmed that the new Health and Care Visa will be available from Tuesday 4 August. The good news is that applicants will be entitled to pay a reduced visa application fee compared to other skilled workers and will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge (currently up to £400 per year). The government claims that decisions will be taken within 3 weeks from biometric enrolment.
The visa will apply to eligible roles within the health and care sector. It is not as wide ranging as it may first appear. It will not cover care and home workers. It is only intended for “qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard”. The government appears to be following the advice of the independent Migration Advisory Committee that immigration is not the answer to the challenges in the social care sector. The government wants employers in that sector to focus on investing in the domestic workforce rather than recruiting workers from the EU or worldwide. In addition applicants can only work for one of the organisations listed in the guidance issued on July 13 such as the NHS or one of the other medical and social care providers they have identified.
The new visa will only be available to those who qualify for inclusion in the following list of Standard Occupational Classification codes:-
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
Applicants will also be expected to meet all the relevant criteria for a Tier 2 (General) migrant. It follows for all of this that many private organisations in the health and social care sector may well be denied the opportunity to recruit medical or care staff through this route.
Here at Leathes Prior, we have our Employment Team and expert Immigration Lawyers that can support you and/or your business with planning for the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU – please contact us on 01603 610911 or email us here and we would be happy to discuss your bespoke circumstances with you.