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Recruiting Social Care Workers from Overseas

The increased demand for social care workers in the UK means that care providers can now benefit from an expedited visa process. With the adding of SOC code 6415 to the Shortage Occupation List it means it is easier to recruit social care workers from overseas.

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    Recruiting Care Workers and the Shortage List

    A key part of the UK immigration system is the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) – this list provides details on which occupations and skills are considered in high demand due to the shortage of suitability qualified UK workers.

    The UK government and the Migration Advisory Committee opted to add social care workers to the list to help fast-track job recruitment of eligible overseas workers to the UK health and care sector.

    It is hoped being able to quickly process Skilled Worker Visas will help to tackle the strong demand for suitable staff and reduce pressures within the industry as a whole as a UK employer with a sponsor license can now recruit care workers from overseas subject to eligibility criteria.

    Sign outside Home Office building

    Sponsor Requirements to Recruit Social Care Workers

    Any employers wanting to recruit social care staff workers from overseas must have a valid Sponsor Licence from the UK Home Office. This licence permits a body to sponsor and employ skilled overseas workers in vacant jobs. The sponsorship licence can only be awarded to organisations or companies rather than individuals and there is strict criteria in place to prevent any potential abuse.

    Applying for a Sponsor Licence to Recruit Care Workers

    Any organisation wanting to become a sponsor must apply to the Home Office and provide supporting documents such as VAT certificate, bank statements and evidence of HMRC registration before embarking on overseas recruitment.

    It is possible for a business to apply online for the sponsor licence and all documents can be provided in e-form. Once the documents have been submitted, the next stage is to pay the required fee. Currently, smaller companies must pay £536 per licence, while larger bodies are required to cover an application fee cost of £1,476.

    Current processing times for the sponsorship licence approval is 8 weeks. However, there is an option to apply for a fast-tracked route – which has a cost of an additional £500 but a decision is made by the Home Office within ten working days.

    Once granted a licence, an organisation must use the sponsorship management system provided by the UK Visas Immigration. This system will allow them to:

    • manage or renew your organisation’s licence or services
    • create and assign certificates of sponsorship to prospective employees
    • report changes of circumstances of your sponsored employees, including withdrawal of sponsorship
    • report changes to your own circumstances, for example a change of owner or a new location

    Employers and Background Checks of Overseas Care Workers

    Bodies looking to recruit overseas care workers must ensure that they carry out the correct checks of all potential employees before giving them employment.

    There are a range of background checks, including criminal record checks, that must be conducted. In addition, as part of a duty of care, organisations must also ensure that any staff have undertaken health screenings before they start working.

    Eligibility for the Health and Care Visa

    Although the Health and Care Visa allows applicants to benefit from a quick route to the UK as well as lower visa fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge exemption, they must still meet the same requirements of any other person applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, as well as being employed in a qualifying role.

    These include:

    • Be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional or work in an eligible health or social care job
    • Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
    • Have a valid certificate of sponsorship
    • Meet the minimum salary requirements
    • Be able to meet the financial maintenance requirements
    • Meet English language requirements

    English language Requirement for Skilled Worker Visa

    To qualify for the Health and Care visa, the applicant must demonstrate a certain level of English proficiency. This must be at least at level B1 (intermediate). To satisfy this requirement, they must be either/or:

    • Be a national of a majority English-speaking country
    • Have passed a Secure English Language Test
    • Have obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK
    • Have been awarded a degree taught in English
    • Have already met this requirement as a part of any previous application for entry clearance

    Do you need help applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      Salary requirements for Care Worker Visa

      The minimum salary to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa is £26,200 per year. However, each occupation code has a different annual going rate and for occupations in high demand the requirement is lower.

      The minimum salary requirement is £20,960 per year for Skilled Worker Visa applicants who benefit from tradeable points, such as the job offer under the shortage occupation list.

      Therefore, those working in healthcare or social care are able to qualify with a minimum salary of £20,960.

      As well as meeting the minimum salary threshold, applicants will also need to meet other financial requirements. They must have cash funds of at least £1,270 available to sustain themselves while in the UK. This money must be held in their bank account for at least 28 consecutive days prior to making an application for a visa.

      However, the employer or sponsor may agree to cover the applicant’s cost of the stay for the first month. If this is the case, then proof must be provided in the form of a letter from the employer.

      Valid Certificate of Sponsorship

      Anyone hoping to come and work in the UK under the Health and Care Worker Visa must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). This document confirms that the worker and the role they will do meets the sponsorship eligibility requirements.

      An employer can only issue a COS if they have been registered with the government as a sponsor with a valid sponsorship licence to employ workers from overseas.

      On the shortage list, the COS must detail that the under SOC Code 6145, the employer is employing the applicant to work as a care providers in residential and daycare establishments or in the home of those in need of care.

      All foreign national workers applying under the SOC Code 6145 must have a valid COS issued by an employer authorised to sponsor applicants for the eligible job and must provide it during the process of applying for a UK visa.

      Applying for a Health and Care Worker visa

      The application process for a Health and Care Worker visa is done online and is a sub-section of the skilled worker visa application.

      After filling out your application, you must prove your identity. You can either provide your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) at a visa application centre or scan your identity document using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.

      You will also have to pay the application fees and submit the documents.

      The above process can only be taken if you are outside the UK. If you are within the UK, you will have to apply to switch to a Skilled Worker visa from the visa you currently use to stay in the UK. Note that if you are on any of the visas below, you cannot switch:

      • Visitor visa
      • Short-term student visa
      • Parent of a Child Student visa
      • Seasonal worker visa
      • Domestic worker in a private household visa
      • Immigration bail
      • Permission to stay outside the immigration rules

      If you are on any of the above visas, you will have to leave the UK first and apply from outside the UK.

      Extending a Health and Care Worker visa

      It is possible to extend a Health and Care Worker visa if all of the following conditions are met:

      • the holder has the same job as when they were previously granted permission to come to the UK
      • the job is in the same occupation code as when they came to the UK
      • they are still working for the employer who issued their current certificate of sponsorship
      • the job still meets the salary requirements

      How can London Immigration Lawyers help?

      Our team of experienced London immigration lawyers understand the importance of attracting overseas Social Care Workers to the UK. We can guide you every step of the process. Luckily, our immigration lawyers are here to help.

      Our immigration lawyers offer a fast-track application service that will make sure your visa application is completed and submitted quickly. Our lawyers can work around the clock to ensure that your deadline is met. They can fill in the application form on your behalf and help you to gather all of the documents that you will require.

      For more information about the Visa application process, or how we can help you to apply, get in touch today on 020 4502 8582.

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