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UK Health and Care Worker Visa (for Emiratis)

Overseas medical professionals and care workers must obtain a Health and Care Worker Visa to come and work in the UK.

If you are an employer looking to hire health and care workers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you and your potential hire must be aware of the UK immigration requirements. Call Total Law today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to speak with our expert business immigration lawyers for bespoke advice and legal assistance.

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    What Is a UK Health and Care Worker Visa?

    To address the domestic skills shortage in the healthcare sector, the UK government launched the Health and Care visa in 2020 to allow the hiring of overseas health workers. The role of care workers and home carers has been included on the Home Office’s shortage occupation list since 2022.

    The UK Health and Care visa is part of the Skilled Worker route to immigrate to the country. Apart from British or Irish citizens and EEA/Swiss citizens with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, all foreign nationals (such as UAE citizens, also called Emiratis) will have to apply for this visa if they wish to work in the UK as doctors, nurses, other allied health professionals, or adult social care workers.

    This visa is a sponsored route to work in the UK. The prospective employer must possess a valid ‘Worker’ Sponsor Licence so that they can assign certificates of sponsorship (CoS) to potential overseas employees.

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    What Health and Care Workers Can And Cannot Do in the UK

    A Health and Care Worker Visa in the UK allows the visa holder to:

    • Live in the UK as long as their visa is valid
    • Work in an eligible job
    • Take up additional paid work (the job must be an eligible Skilled Worker occupation)
    • Do unpaid voluntary work
    • Study in the UK
    • Bring eligible family members to the UK (except for care and senior care workers)
    • Enter and exit the UK
    • Apply to settle permanently in the UK after five years if they meet the additional eligibility criteria

    Since 11 March 2024, care or senior care workers are no longer eligible to bring their spouses/partners and children to the UK as their dependent family members.

    If you have employed a care or senior care worker on a Health and Care Worker visa before that date, their eligible family members may stay with them in the UK, provided they are:

    • Still holding a Health and Care Worker visa, or
    • Extending their Health and Care Worker visa with their current employer (i.e. you), or
    • Changing to a new job within the same occupation code while on a Health and Care Worker visa

    Your employees holding Health and Care Worker visas cannot change their current jobs or employers unless they apply to update their visas. Additionally, they are not eligible to apply for most public funds or the state pension.

    Eligibility Criteria for Employers and Employees


    To obtain a Health and Care Worker visa in the UK, both the prospective employer and the potential overseas UAE-based employee will have to fulfil certain eligibility criteria. As an employer, you must be aware of both sets of requirements.

    While it is crucial to understand your obligations as a sponsoring employer to avoid any penalty imposed by the Home Office, being aware of what requirements your potential hires must meet to obtain a Health and Care Worker visa will help you decide your overseas recruitment strategy and business planning.

    For advice and the latest information on the Health and Care Worker Visa reach out to Total Law today.

    Employer Criteria for Hiring Overseas Health and Care Workers

    To sponsor medical professionals from overseas on a Health and Care Visa, the UK-based employer will need to prove that they are eligible to apply for a Sponsor Licence.

    They will have to assure the Home Office of the genuineness of their organisation, their capability to undertake sponsorship responsibilities once the licence is granted, and the genuineness of the job offer.

    You must use the sponsor management system (SMS) to meet your sponsor licence duties, including your HR systems, policies and processes. You will also have to appoint Key Personnel, who will be in charge of managing the SMS within your company and liaison with the Home Office.

    Additionally, you have to satisfy the Home Office that the job you will be offering to your prospective overseas health and care worker is a genuine job.

    It is a position that actually exists within your company, the successful overseas candidate will be hired to perform the duties associated with that specific job, and you have not created the position just to enable the candidate to apply for a work visa in the UK.

    The job you are offering must meet the skill level specified by the Home Office in its eligible occupations list or shortage occupations list and match the description of one of the standard occupation codes (SOC). You must also be able to pay your overseas worker a compensation package that at least meets the minimum salary threshold for the job’s respective SOC.

    If you are hiring a foreign national care worker or senior care worker, you must also be registered with the Care Quality Commission.

    Eligibility Requirements for Overseas Health and Care Workers

    To be eligible to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa in the UK, your migrant worker will have to meet the following eligibility criteria:

    • Be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional, whose qualification is recognised in the UK
    • Have a confirmed, eligible health or social care job offer from a registered employer in the UK
    • Their salary will meet the minimum threshold, depending on the occupation code
    • Have been issued a CoS from their sponsoring employer, which includes information about the job role
    • Able to speak, read, write and understand English at least at CEFR B1 level

    Our legal experts are ready to navigate you through your UK health and care worker visa. Contact Us

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      Documents Required for a Health and Care Worker Visa

      To apply for a Health and Care Worker visa, your overseas hire will need to submit the following documents:

      • A valid passport with at least one blank page for the visa
      • The CoS reference number (as received from you)
      • Your company name and sponsorship licence number
      • Job title, annual salary, and occupation code
      • Proof of English knowledge
      • Proof of sufficient financial means
      • Proof of relationship with their spouse/partner and children (if any), where applicable
      • Criminal record certificate
      • UK PhD certificate, or unique Ecctis reference number if their qualification is from outside the UK

      Certified translation copies must be provided for documents not in English or Welsh. Tuberculosis test results are not required for a UK healthcare worker visa for Emiratis, since the UAE is not a listed country.

      They may also be required to provide further evidence depending on their own circumstances and employers may wish to seek advice from an immigration expert to avoid potential delays to an application.

      UK Health and Care Worker Visa Application Process

      Your migrant worker will have to fill in an online visa application form on the Home Office website. To apply for a Health and Care Worker visa, they will have to apply through the Skilled Worker visa route.

      When applying on the website, they will be asked whether they are applying for a Health and Care Worker visa. They must choose ‘yes’ at this stage to proceed with their Health and Care Worker visa application.

      The visa applicant will need to submit the completed application form along with scanned copies of their supporting documents online and pay the visa fees. Next, they will have to book an appointment with a UK visa application centre (VAC) to submit their biometric information, original passport, and physical copies of supporting documents.

      VFS Global is the official third-party UK visa services provider in the UAE. They have VACs in Dubai, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, and Sharjah. The applicant may choose the one nearest to their location.

      Visa Application Processing Time and Fees

      It may take UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) up to three weeks to reach a decision on the visa application. The waiting time may increase if the supporting documents need to be verified, the applicant will have to attend an interview, or because of their personal circumstances (e.g. if the applicant has a criminal record).

      The visa application fee varies depending on the migrant worker’s proposed stay in the UK. The fee is £284 if they are going to stay for up to three years, and £551 if more than three years.

      The Health and Care Worker Visa Renewal

      A Health and Care Worker visa lasts up to five years and is renewable thereafter for as long as the visa holder continues meeting the eligibility requirements. However, if the visa holder changes jobs or employers, they must apply to update their visa.

      The visa holder may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK after five years, provided they meet the additional eligibility criteria, to settle permanently in the country.

      How Can Total Law Help?

      The domestic shortage of skilled health and care workers is making the NHS, its allied bodies, and private healthcare providers in the UK rely more and more on overseas doctors, nurses, and other allied healthcare professionals as well as care workers. The Home Office offers the support of a dedicated team within UKVI in processing health and care worker visas, to enable their fast-track processing.

      However, applying for a Health and Care Worker visa is a complex process, one that involves passing the Home Office’s rigorous scrutiny successfully. It is, therefore, advisable that you speak with an expert business immigration lawyer while finalising your overseas hiring plan.

      Whether you are looking for expert advice for your health and care worker sponsor licence application, or seeking professional assistance for your migrant worker applying for a UK Health and Care Worker visa from the UAE, we can guide you. Call us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to speak with one of our expert immigration advisers.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Yes. As long as such workers are working for the employer holding the sponsor licence in the UK, and not for a third party, you can hire your health and care staff on a contractual basis.

                No. Neither the main applicant nor their dependent family members need to pay the healthcare surcharge.