Recruiting healthcare professionals from overseas
Recent changes to the UK’s Immigration Rules have made it quicker and easier than ever for employers in the adult social care sector to recruit qualified healthcare professionals from overseas.
In February 2022, the Home Office added care workers and home carers to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and made these roles eligible for sponsorship under the Health and Care Worker visa route. The changes have opened new opportunities for employers to recruit international workers into a wider range of roles than before.
The Health and Care Worker visa is a fast-track, reduced-fee UK immigration route for qualified professionals looking to work in the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The route has been designed to make it easier for employers to access the qualified workers they need, whilst incentivising such professionals to bring their skills to the UK.
With it now being easier than ever for healthcare professionals to live and work in the UK, is it time your business made use of this visa route to provide a much-needed staffing boost?
Fish for talent in a wider pool
In order to recruit international care workers under the Health and Care Worker route, your business must hold a valid Home Office sponsor licence. Becoming an approved sponsor will enable your business to widen its recruitment net and employ healthcare professionals from anywhere in the world.
Providing your business meets the eligibility requirements and has the necessary compliance measures in place, obtaining a sponsor licence is a relatively quick and easy process. Smith Stone Walters has partnered with several employers in the adult social care sector to help them obtain a sponsor licence and begin onboarding their first overseas care workers.
Open to anyone with the skills to care
The Health and Care Worker visa is open to care assistants, care workers, carers, home care assistants, home carers and support workers in nursing homes. Applicants will simply need to show the Home Office that they have a confirmed job offer from an approved UK sponsor at the appropriate salary level, and they can speak English to an acceptable standard.
The route offers many benefits to employers and employees alike. Employers have the flexibility to sponsor workers for any length of time up to five years on a single visa. After five years, the employee will be able to apply for settlement in the UK. Main applicants can also apply to bring their family members with them as their dependants if they are eligible.
A reduced fee route to the UK
Recruiting workers under the Health and Care Worker visa is not as expensive as you might think. Health and Care Workers benefit from a lower visa application fee and they are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
Due to care workers being listed on the SOL, employers can recruit care workers on a salary of just £20,960 per annum, lower than the general salary threshold of £26,200 under the Skilled Worker route.
A two-tier pricing system also allows small or charitable sponsors to benefit from lower sponsorship fees compared to medium or large organisations.
Immigration support for the care sector
Smith Stone Walters was delighted to exhibit at the Residential and Home Care Show on 26 – 27 April, and we’re looking forward to keeping the conversation going around benefits of international recruitment.
Our company is an Immigration Practice, specialising in business visa and immigration services for UK employers. We have helped many employers in the care sector, including one of the country’s largest care providers, to bring overseas care workers to the UK. Our team of immigration experts can manage the entire process for you, from initial assessment and application submission for your sponsor licence, to managing the individual visa applications for your employees. We can also work with you on an ongoing basis to ensure you are maintaining compliance with the Immigration Rules and your sponsor duties.
To find out more about how we can help your business run compliant immigration programmes on any scale, visit our website https://smithstonewalters.com/ . We have a range of helpful resources on UK visa routes and sponsorship requirements for you to take away, and our friendly team are on hand to answer any questions you may have about international recruitment.
If you wish to gain some key insights into international recruitment for the care sector in advance of the event, you can also download a digital copy of our new brochure on the UK’s Health and Care Worker visa.
David Hugkulstone co-founded Smith Stone Walters in 2001, with over 30 years’ immigration experience gained in the public and private sector.