I have written previously about the Health and Care visa route and its implications for the healthcare sector, particularly care homes where many of the lower paid or skilled roles did not fall within scope of this or of the Skilled Worker visa more generally.
The government has now responded to the increasing pressure of widespread staff shortages by adding many of these lower skilled roles to the Shortage Occupation list despite the fact that they still do not recognise these roles as skilled at RQF level 3, which would render them eligible for the Skilled Worker visa. They have been added only to the Shortage Occupation list, and then the rules have been amended to allow lower skilled roles to be sponsored in the event that they are included on the shortage occupation list.
From, 15th of February 2022 employers (but not private households looking to bring over an individual for personal care) will be able to sponsor care assistants, home carers, nursing home support workers and other individuals in similar roles provided they meet the salary threshold of at least £20,480. It is likely as well that they will be eligible for the Health and Care visa, exempting applications from the Immigration Skills Charge and the Immigration Health Surcharge as well as entitling them to the lower application fee and faster processing time.
The new SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) code added to this route is 6145 – Care Workers and home carers, with the note that “private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Worker applicants. The related job titles are:
- Care Assistant
- Care Worker
- Home Care Assistant
- Home Carer
- Support Worker (nursing home)
This visa is designed as a temporary solution to ‘alleviate current pressures on the health and social care system as a result of Covid-19’, and for the time being the window for applications is 15/02/2022 – 14/02/2023, however it is unclear what the Home Office will do when reviewing this in February 2023 and there is every possibility that this visa path will end up open indefinitely.
If you are in need of a sponsor license, or help managing Skilled Worker visas, including for Care Workers, we can help. Get in touch on 01403 801 801 or send us an email at [email protected] to arrange a consultation with one of our friendly experts.