UK Bans Family Members on Health and Care Worker Visas

UK Bans Family Members on Health and Care Worker Visas

Overseas care workers will be banned from bringing family members with them on their visa under the new rules.

The Health and Care Worker Visa is open to qualified doctors, nurses, and other health and adult social care professionals who wish to undertake an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier, or in adult social care.

The Health and Care Worker Visa can lead to settlement in the United Kingdom after 5 years and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.  From 11 March 2024, social care workers (occupation codes 6145 and 6146) will not be permitted to bring dependents to the UK.

However, care workers and senior care workers holding a Health and Care Worker visa that was granted before 11 March 2024 may be accompanied or joined by dependents, including in cases where they change jobs to another sponsor who meets the  Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation requirement.

The UK Government argues it will stop abuse of the system, but with around 15% of the workforce coming from abroad, it's been branded a “hostile, xenophobic” policy that will only harm a sector already in crisis.

This controversial decision is part of the UK Government's broader strategy to reduce net migration. As discussions surrounding immigration policies continue, the repercussions of these changes on the healthcare and social care sectors remain a subject of ongoing debate, with stakeholders expressing diverse opinions on the potential consequences for both the workforce and the quality of care provided.

Who Qualifies for a Health and Care Worker Visa

The Health and Care visa is for overseas workers with specialist skills to come to the UK to work for licensed employers in eligible roles.

This visa route is open to individuals applying under the skilled worker route for entry clearance or leave to remain who will be taking up a job offer in one of the occupations specified within a prescribed list of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes.

4-digit SOC CodeEligible Job Roles
1181Health services and public health managers and directors
1242Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
2112Biological scientists and biochemists
2113Physical scientists
2211Medical practitioners
2214Ophthalmic opticians
2215Dental practitioners
2217Medical radiographers
2219Health professionals not elsewhere classified eg audiologists and occupational health advisers
2222Occupational therapists
2223Speech and language therapists
2229Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified eg osteopaths and psychotherapists
2442Social workers
3111Laboratory technicians
3216Dispensing opticians
3217Pharmaceutical technicians
3218Medical and dental technicians
3219Health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
6141Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
6143Dental nurses
6145Care workers & home carers
6146Senior care workers

Requirements for a Health and Care Worker Visa

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are aged 18 or over;
  • You are a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional;
  • You work or will work in an eligible health or social care job, which falls within the list of approved occupation codes;
  • You work or will work for a UK health and care sector employer that has been approved by the Home Office;
  • You have a valid ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you have been offered;
  • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
  • You will be paid the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you will be doing, whichever is higher;
  • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
  • You have provided a criminal record certificate if working with vulnerable people; and
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if from a listed country.

The exact required documents will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

Applicants must have a job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor before they can apply.

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