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Health and Care Visa Scheme Expanded

Temporary changes to the health and care visa will make it quicker, cheaper and easier for social care employers to recruit eligible social care workers, care assistants and home care worker to fill vital gaps for the next 12 months.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted a range of staff shortages within the social care sector, placing pressures on the existing workforce.

This boost follows the recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to make care workers and home carers eligible for the Health and Care visa and add the occupation to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

Inclusion on the Shortage Occupation List will stipulate an annual salary minimum of £20,480 for carers to qualify for the Health and Care visa. The Health and Care visa will allow applicants and their dependents to benefit from fast-track processing, dedicated resources in processing applications and reduced visa fees.

The Health and Care Worker Visa was introduced in August 2020, allowing medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to work within the NHS, as an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The Visa offers 50% visa fee reduction, an exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge and a speedier decision following application.

All roles in SOC Code 6145 will be subject to change as this visa is updated. This includes the following job titles: Care Assistant, Care Worker, Carer, Home Care Assistant, Home Carer and Support Worker (Nursing Home).

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:

It is vital we continue to do all we can to protect the social care sector during the pandemic and beyond.

These measures, together with the series of support packages announced since September, will help us ensure short term sustainability and success for our long-term vision to build social care back better.

I also urge all care staff yet to do so to come forward to Get Boosted Now to protect themselves and those they care for.

Providers who are new to visa sponsorship will be supported through the process through a series of engagement activities in January and February, to introduce them to the system and find out how to act as a visa sponsor.

Care workers and carers recruited to the UK will be able to bring their dependents, including partner and children, with the Health and Care visa offering a pathway to settlement should they remain employed and wish to remain in the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel MP said:

The care sector is experiencing unprecedented challenges prompted by the pandemic and the changes we’ve made to the health and care visa will bolster the workforce and helping alleviate some of the pressures currently being experienced.

This is our New Plan for Immigration in action, delivering our commitment to support the NHS and the wider health and care sector by making it easier for health professionals to live and work in the UK.

Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said:

Our social care staff have done a phenomenal job delivering care under the most challenging of circumstances.

We recognise the challenges the workforce has faced, with ever growing demand for services combined with the pandemic and existing staff shortages.

This change will support getting more people into care as we implement our long-term strategy for a fair and sustainable care sector that meets the needs of everyone

It is a requirement for anyone working in CQC-regulated care homes to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to comply with regulations. Those working in wider social care settings must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1st April 2022.

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