UK launches Health & Care Visa
On 14th July 2020, the Home Office launched a brand-new visa route, as part of the latest immigration bill, for overseas healthcare professionals to enter the UK. From August 2020, such professionals will be eligible to apply for this visa.
“We are indebted to overseas health and care professionals for their tremendous contributions, not just in saving thousands of lives throughout this crisis, but for the vital role they play year-round.”
- Priti Patel, The Home Secretary
This visa avenue will ensure fast track and easier access for the ‘best global talent’ in health and care services to live and work in the UK. Applicants will benefit from the following:
- Reduced visa fees- visa application fees will be comparably cheaper to the fees paid by other skilled workers.
- Exemption from Immigration Health Surcharge for applicants and their dependents.
- A quicker decision on visa applications in just three weeks.
Front line workers not eligible for this visa route will still have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge but will alternatively benefit from the reimbursement scheme. This will be part of a programme where reimbursements will be provided in six-month reimbursements beginning from 1st October 2020.
The following professionals will be eligible to apply. This list will be updated in due course:
- Biological scientists and chemists
- Physical Scientists
- Medical Practitioners
- Ophthalmic Opticians
- Dental practitioners
- Medical Radiographers
- Health Professionals not elsewhere classified
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
- Social Workers
This new policy stems from the UK government’s intention to recognise the dedication and endless efforts of those working in the health and social care sector to combat the COVID-19 crisis. This route is to be welcomed widely by the NHS and provide efficiency and extreme ease for the best of the best overseas health and care professionals to work in the UK’s NHS service.
Although this visa route has its advantages for eligible applicants and the NHS, its scope is somewhat questionable. It has been indicated by the British Medical Association council that a significant chunk of care workers will fall outside the eligibility parameters of this visa route because of low salaries in this sector. This means they will have to keep paying the Immigration Health Surcharge upfront and not reap any benefits.
It is with great concern that many health and social care workers’ invaluable services will be disregarded. Therefore, this policy should apply to all workers in this sector equally and unequivocally. In addition, the Department of Health and Social Care must decide a strategy by extending benefits to all health care workers, providing training opportunities and so forth to make this sector a more appealing profession to attract more workers. This policy is still under review and subject to further amendments, with the hope of this policy applying to a broader range of health and social care professionals in the future.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your visa application or would like to know your eligibility for Health and Care visa, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.