On December 24, 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed that it would accept the recommendation of Al-Mutawa and Al-Qadi and that care workers, care assistants and home care workers would become eligible for the healthcare visa program. In addition, care workers will be added to a list of occupations in shortage, in a move aimed at making it easier to hire thousands of additional care workers within the UK.
What do the changes mean?
- Care workers, care assistants and care home care workers will qualify under the skilled worker category while currently, only adult care workers meet the skill level requirement.
- Under this immigration category, these workers can be sponsored for up to five years, can come to the UK with their partners and children and can qualify to settle in the UK after five years.
- Applicants will benefit from a 50 percent reduction in visa fees, a waiver of immigration health surcharges and faster decision times on visa applications.
The government has been keen to stress that these measures are only temporary, so they will remain under review but will remain in place for at least 12 months. The required changes to immigration rules are expected to take effect in February 2022.
Caregivers who are struggling to fill vacancies and do not already have a care license in the Skilled Worker Track may wish to consider applying for a license before these changes take effect.
Caregivers who already hold a sponsor’s license should review their existing systems and processes to ensure compliance with the Home Office sponsor’s guidelines to reduce the risk of losing their license and being unable to take advantage of these changes.
For more information about these changes, please contact Talitha Degwa on our Immigration Law Team at 0738 4813 082, or complete the form below.