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The UK Health and Care Worker Visa: Your Pathway to a Rewarding Career in the UK Healthcare Sector

Are you a healthcare professional planning to work in the UK? You’re in the right place. The UK Health and Care Worker Visa is a dedicated visa category specifically designed to facilitate international health professionals in providing their invaluable services across the UK’s healthcare sector.

The Health and Care Worker Visa serves as a lifeline to the healthcare sector, allowing it to function effectively and efficiently, bolstering the delivery of critical healthcare services to the population. The UK government recognises the vital contribution of overseas healthcare professionals and has therefore made the application process more straightforward.

However, to apply for this visa, you must meet specific criteria. This includes having a job offer from an approved sponsor, such as an NHS trust, and demonstrating your proficiency in English. Additionally, you must show that you have the required maintenance funds to support your stay in the UK.

Criteria for the UK Health and Care Worker Visa

To qualify for a Health and Care Worker Visa, you must satisfy several requirements:

  • A confirmed job offer from a UK employer who is a licensed visa sponsor.
  • The role you’ve been offered must qualify for sponsorship.
  • Proof of English language proficiency.
  • Sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in the UK, unless you’re exempt.
You must receive a minimum annual salary of £20,480, or the amount as stated on the Occupational Code (OC code), whichever is higher - assuming your role is on the Shortage Occupation List
You are a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
You work in an eligible health or social care job (see the list below)
You must meet the English language requirement of CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, or be from an ‘English speaking country’
You must obtain work sponsorship from an employer registered as a Home Office sponsor. Upon sponsorship, you will be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), this is like an online UK work permit
You must have held £1,270 in savings for 28 days prior to the date of application, or an A-Rated Home Office sponsor may certify that they will provide this on the CoS. Further funds must be held for each dependant family member applying

Each of these elements plays a crucial role in the application process. Understanding these requirements thoroughly is key to successfully obtaining your visa.

Eligible Professions for the Health and Care Visa: An Updated Overview

The dynamic nature of healthcare necessitates regular updates to the list of professions eligible for the Health & Care visa. Here are the professions currently included:

Health services and public health managers and directors
Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
Biological scientists and biochemists
Physical scientists
Medical practitioners
Ophthalmic opticians
Dental practitioners
Medical radiographers
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified eg audiologists and occupational health advisers
Occupational therapists
Speech and language therapists
Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified eg osteopaths and psychotherapists
Social workers
Laboratory technicians
Dispensing opticians
Pharmaceutical technicians
Medical and dental technicians
Health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
Dental nurses
Care workers & home carers
Senior care workers


Health & Care visas are usually granted for an initial period of either up to 3 years or up to 5 years.  This is usually in line with the work duration indicated on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned to you, in effect your UK work permit.

If your Health & Care sponsorship continues, it is possible to apply for UK work visa extensions from within the UK indefinitely.

It is possible to apply to switch visa category from within the UK into this visa type, if you are not currently in the UK holding one of the following visa types:

  • Visitor visa
  • Short-Term Student visa
  • Parent of a Child visa
  • Seasonal Worker visa
  • Domestic Worker visa
  • Any Discretionary visa

Please however note that you may still need to meet the requirement to have worked for your employer outside of the UK for the required period, unless exempt. 

Following 5 years continuous residence, you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, effectively permanent residence providing all the requirements are met at that time.

Spouses or partners and children under the age of 18 may apply for visas to accompany you to the UK as your ‘dependants’.  Your spouse or partner should be permitted to work.

It is permitted to switch into the Health & Care visa type from within the UK if you were last granted a visa under certain visa categories. In all other circumstances, initial Skilled Worker visa applications must be from abroad, either from your country of nationality or legal residence.

UKVI aim to process visas as follows:

Visa applications submitted outside of the UK:

  • Standard processing: 15 working days
  • Priority Service processing: 5 working days


Visa applications submitted inside the UK:

  • Standard processing: 8 weeks
  • Priority Service processing: 5 working days


Important: UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) do not guarantee processing times and delays do occur. We advise that you do not book any non refundable travel until your visa has been approved and your work visa is in your possession.  Priority services can be suspended without notice and may not be available at the time of application.

The UKVI application fee is as follows:

Applying outside or inside of the UK:

  • Visa up to 3 years duration: £247; or
  • Visa more than 3 years (max 5) duration: £479

No, those who qualify for the Health & Care visa are exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

Let Immtell Guide Your Journey to a Healthcare Career in the UK

Choosing a healthcare career in the UK can be a rewarding experience. The process of applying for a Health and Care Worker Visa, however, can be overwhelming. At Immtell, we understand the intricacies of the visa application process and are here to guide you every step of the way.

Our team of experienced immigration advisors will ensure your application is as strong as possible, increasing your chances of success. We’ll provide expert advice and guidance, helping you navigate the often complex terrain of UK immigration rules. Reach out to us today to start your journey towards a fulfilling healthcare career in the UK.