From the 15th of February 2022, care workers will be recognised on the Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation List and eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa.
This means that UK care providers will now be able to sponsor work visas for non-UK resident care workers in all roles, which will help bridge the current staffing gap in the sector.
If you are a UK Care Provider who wishes to sponsor work visas for non-UK residents, De Jure Chambers can help you attain your Sponsorship Licence for the Skilled Worker route and prepare for the 15th February.
3 weeks ago, our associated organisation, the Cambridgeshire Care Providers Alliance CiC, found that social care providers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are operating at 19% below the minimum capacity required to provide a service that is safe, caring, effective, responsive to people's needs and well-led. This, and similar situations across the sector, is why the government has decided to add care workers to the SOL.
Care workers will be the only occupation below the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 3 – equivalent to A-level – eligible to use the PBS. The Home Office will keep the measure under close review, and may consider the position further upon publication of the full report in April 2022. However, the government accepts the unique pressures placed on the care sector by the pandemic and the severe staffing shortage it is currently suffering, and are introducing this measure in order to address that shortage. The measure will be kept under close review by the Home Office until publication of the full report by MAC in April 2022, at which point the position may be reconsidered. There is now a twelve-month window in which you can definitely apply.
How we can help:
We have long been aware of this issue. Back in June 2021, we held a webinar with Kate Hollyer on immigration requirements for hiring health and social care workers post-Brexit in which we discussed the new points-based UK immigration system, the EU settlement scheme, and tradeable and non-tradeable points in the Skilled Worker route.
Since the publication of CiC’s research, we have been contacted by many care providers seeking help with their Sponsorship Licence applications so they can begin building up their staff numbers again and provide a better service to the residents of their homes. We are pleased to report that all of the applications which we have assisted to date have been successful, and very happy to be supporting the care sector rebuild itself during this trying time.
For those care providers who are still seeking to apply for a Sponsorship Licence and think they may need help with it, we encourage you to begin by filling out this survey, free of charge:
We will get in touch with you and go from there.
Further legal points:
Under the new UK points-based immigration system (PBS), which has replaced EU free movement since Brexit, medical professionals can come to the UK on a Health and Care Worker visa to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier, or in adult social care. The Shortage Occupation List was compiled by the government to indicate which professional areas are lacking staff and can therefore have the eligibility criteria for sponsored work applications relaxed. The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the old Tier 2 (General) visa. Under its system, non-UK resident workers must have 70 points in order to be eligible for sponsorship by an employer as a skilled worker. Points are gained in areas like language and salary requirements. However, if a role is on the Shortage Occupation List, the worker can ‘trade’ 20 of these 70 points for a salary up to 20% below the minimum salary threshold, in most cases £20,480.
In order to apply on or after 15th February 2022, care workers will need to have a job offer made under standard occupational classification (SOC) code 6145, from a sponsor licensed by the Home Office under the Skilled Worker route, and they must not be working for a private household or individual, besides a sole trader sponsoring the applicant to work for their business. The applicant’s sponsor must also be approved by the Home Office to sponsor workers under the Health and Care Worker visa – i.e., the NHS, an NHS supplier, or an organisation providing adult social care, and the salary for the job is at least either £20,480 or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. The applicant also must have a clean criminal record and meet the English language, tuberculosis screening and financial requirements of the Skilled Worker route. Employers looking to sponsor a non-UK resident care worker for the Skilled Worker visa will need to explain how the applicant meets the Health and Care visa eligibility requirements.
Author: Isobel Macleod
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