Let us at Centuro Global help you discover the essential steps and benefits of sponsoring your employees for a Health and Care Worker visa.
Nov 20, 2023, Article contributed by Seren Keskin
In this insightful article, we delve into the process of sponsoring a Health and Care Worker visa for your employees. Understanding this process is crucial for healthcare employers aiming to recruit and retain talented international staff. We’ll guide you through the key steps, legal requirements, and strategic benefits of visa sponsorship.
Learn how this initiative not only supports your employees but also strengthens your healthcare organisation.
Understanding the Health and Care Worker Visa
Before diving into the sponsorship process, it’s vital to understand what a Health and Care Worker visa entails and who it’s for. This section will provide an overview, setting the stage for deeper insights.
Eligibility and Requirements
To be eligible for this type of visa, your employee would need to be a healthcare worker and show proof of fluency in the English language.
Some of the qualifying careers can be listed as doctors, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, dentists, occupational therapists, social workers, paramedics, and medical scientists who are currently employed in one of these professions eligible for the visa type.
As for the English fluency criterion, your employees will be working with English speakers, which means that they will need to be able to speak, comprehend, read, and write in English. Below points can be used as proof of language where necessary:
- Citizenship of an official first language English-speaking country
- Having an educational degree or academic equivalent completed in English
- Having passed an English assessment accepted by their profession’s regulatory body of the said healthcare profession
There are some additional documentation and qualification requirements for the application of the healthcare worker visa.
As part of this process, proof must be presented as a minimum salary amount. This minimum salary must be the highest value out of either £26,200 per annum (£10.75 per hour) or the going rate – whichever is higher.
Apart from the minimum salary requirement, your employees will also need to provide proof of savings to show they can support themselves upon coming to the UK. For just the employees themselves, this amount is £1,270; if your employee will be coming along with dependents such as a spouse and/or children, then proof of the additional funds of each person needs to be presented.
In case there is no proof of savings that can be provided, there is another option for you to step in as the employer. If you are able to certify that you would be covering the accommodation and maintenance of your healthcare worker as well as their dependents for the first month they are in the UK, then personal proof of savings from their side will not be necessary.
Benefits for Employers
- By opting to hire healthcare employees from across the globe outside the UK, you are unlocking a diverse pool of talent with varied skills, experiences, and perspectives. This diversity can enhance creativity and problem-solving within your organization.
- Access to global healthcare professionals would allow your businesses to find individuals with specialized skills that may be scarce or in high demand in their home location. This can give the company a competitive advantage in specific areas.
- A commitment to visa sponsorship demonstrates an organization’s openness to diversity and its willingness to invest in attracting top talent. This can enhance the employer’s reputation and make it more appealing to prospective employees.
Benefits for Employees
- Global mobility through an employer sponsoring a visa for the employee often means access to improved career opportunities, including positions with higher responsibilities, better pay, and a more conducive work environment.
- Moving to a country with a rich cultural scene and recreational opportunities can be enticing. This includes access to museums, theatres, parks, and other amenities that contribute to a higher quality of life.
- Relocating to the UK would provide sponsored individuals with a global perspective and valuable cross-cultural experiences. This can contribute to the personal and professional growth of your employee.
For the healthcare sector in the UK
The Health and Care Worker visa in the UK is designed to benefit the healthcare sector by addressing workforce shortages and facilitating the entry of skilled healthcare professionals from around the world. Here are some ways in which the Health and Care Worker visa benefits the UK healthcare sector:
- Addressing Workforce Shortages
- Recruitment of Skilled Professionals
- Flexibility in Hiring
- Support for the National Health Service (NHS)
- Meeting Demand for Social Care
- Enhancing Diversity in the Workforce
- Global Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange
- Filling Specialized Roles
- Reducing Staffing Pressures
- Contributing to Economic Growth
Timeline and Process Overview
It is always important to ensure the use of the most up-to-date information issued by the UK government on this visa type; however, below is a general outline of the application process for the UK Health and Care Worker visa:
- Job Offer:
The process typically begins with a job offer from a UK-based employer that is eligible to sponsor overseas workers. Employers need to be registered as sponsors with the UK Home Office. If you may not have such an entity, this is where Centuro Global can assist you in hiring your employees.
- Certificate of Sponsorship (COS):
Once the job offer is accepted, the employer provides the applicant with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). This document contains information about the job, the employer, and the employee.
- Occupation Code and Salary Requirements:
The applicant’s occupation must be listed on the eligible health and care occupation codes, and the salary offered must meet the minimum required for the specific occupation, as mentioned in the details above in the article.
- Gather Supporting Documents:
Applicants need to gather the necessary supporting documents, which may include proof of identity, qualifications, English language proficiency, and other relevant documentation.
- TB Test (if applicable):
Some applicants may be required to undergo a tuberculosis (TB) test, depending on their country of residence.
- Apply Online:
Applicants submit their visa application online, providing all required information and documentation. This is typically done through the UK government’s official visa application website.
- Biometric Information:
After submitting the online application, applicants may need to visit a visa application centre to provide biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph.
- Health Surcharge Payment:
Applicants are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of the application process. This provides access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK.
- Application Processing:
The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) processes the visa application. The processing time can vary, and applicants are advised to check the current processing times for their specific visa category.
- Decision and Visa Issuance:
Once the application is processed, the applicant will receive a decision on their visa. If approved, they will receive a visa vignette in their passport, allowing them to enter the UK.
- Travel to the UK:
With the visa issued, the applicant can travel to the UK and start their employment.
It’s important to note that the timeline for the Health and Care Worker visa application can vary depending on factors such as the volume of applications, the completeness of documentation, and the efficiency of the processing system. Applicants should refer to the official guidance and consult with their prospective employer for the most accurate and current information. Additionally, immigration policies can change, so checking for updates regularly is advisable.
The Sponsorship Process Explained
Navigating the sponsorship process can be complex. This section breaks down each step, offering practical advice for healthcare employees.
Becoming a licensed visa sponsor for a company in the UK involves several steps. The UK Home Office manages the process, and obtaining a Sponsor License is a prerequisite for employers who wish to sponsor skilled workers under various visa categories, including the Health and Care Worker visa. Here are the initial steps to become a licensed visa sponsor:
- Check Eligibility:
Ensure that your company is eligible to apply for a Sponsor License. Typically, this includes being a legitimate business entity with a physical presence in the UK and a genuine need to sponsor skilled workers.
- Choose the Right License Type:
Determine the type of Sponsor License that best fits your business needs. There are different categories, such as Skilled Workers, Global Business Mobility and Seasonal Workers, among others. Choose the category that aligns with the type of workers you intend to sponsor.
- Appoint Key Personnel:
Designate individuals within your organisation to fulfil critical roles related to the Sponsor License. This includes an Authorising Officer (senior and responsible for the overall license), Key Contact (main point of contact with the Home Office), and Level 1 and Level 2 Users (responsible for day-to-day management of the sponsorship system).
- Gather Required Documents:
Prepare the necessary supporting documents for the application. This may include business registration documents, financial statements, and evidence of the need for sponsored workers.
- Complete the Online Application:
Submit the Sponsor License application online through the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website. Provide accurate information and ensure that all required fields are completed. Pay the applicable fee during the application process.
- Provide Supporting Information:
Upload the supporting documents as part of your online application. Ensure that the documents are in the required format and demonstrate your company’s eligibility and compliance with the sponsorship requirements.
- Compliance with Immigration Rules:
Familiarise yourself with and commit to complying with the responsibilities outlined in the Immigration Rules. This includes ensuring that sponsored employees have the right to work in the UK and comply with reporting duties.
- Site Visit (if required):
The Home Office may conduct a site visit to verify the information provided in the application. Be prepared for this possibility and ensure that your organisation is compliant with immigration requirements.
- Wait for a Decision:
The UKVI will review your application, and the decision-making process can take several weeks. During this period, you may be contacted for additional information or clarification.
- Receive the License:
If your application is successful, you will receive a Sponsor License. This license will specify the category and type of workers you are allowed to sponsor.
- Maintain Compliance:
After obtaining the Sponsor License, it is crucial to adhere to immigration continually.
Common Challenges and What to Expect Through the Process
- Eligibility Criteria:
Understanding and meeting the specific eligibility criteria, including occupation codes, salary requirements, and other qualifications, can be challenging for applicants and employers.
- Document Verification:
Ensuring that all required documents, such as proof of identity, qualifications, and English language proficiency, are accurate and in order can be a challenge.
- Application Processing Times:
Delays in visa processing times may pose challenges for applicants, especially if they have imminent job start dates or time-sensitive relocation plans.
- Changes in Immigration Policies:
Immigration policies can change, affecting the application process. Staying informed about any policy updates is crucial to avoid surprises or disruptions.
- Financial Requirements:
Meeting the financial requirements, including the Immigration Health Surcharge and other fees, can be a challenge for some applicants.
- TB Testing:
For applicants from certain countries, undergoing a tuberculosis (TB) test may be required. This can add an additional step to the application process.
- Biometric Appointments:
Scheduling and attending biometric appointments at visa application centres can be logistically challenging, particularly for applicants located in regions with limited access to these centres.
- Dependent Visa Applications:
If applicants plan to bring dependents, understanding the requirements and ensuring a smooth application process for their family members can be challenging.
- Communication and Language Barriers:
Language barriers may pose challenges, especially if applicants and employers are not proficient in English.
- Remote Work Considerations:
Understanding the rules around remote work and whether it is allowed under the Health and Care Worker visa can be important, especially in situations where the nature of the work involves travel or telecommuting.
Wrapping up, we emphasize the importance of effectively sponsoring your employees for a Health and Care Worker visa. This not only demonstrates your commitment to your staff but also significantly contributes to the quality of healthcare services. Consider taking the first step today to empower your team and enhance your organization’s capabilities.
Interested in learning more about employee visa sponsorship or need assistance with the process? Contact us for expert guidance and support.
This immigration update serves as an informative resource and should not replace legal or specific scenario advice. Please be aware that immigration policies can change abruptly. For tailored assessments related to your case or company, we recommend consulting with Centuro Global.