If you’re an international healthcare professional planning on relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, you have chosen a great time to do so! Why? Because the UK has a new and improved UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa! This means faster processing, free Immigration Health Surcharge fees and better support.
Want to know more? Then keep reading to find out!
Who can apply for the UK Health and Care Visa?
The new route is open to all EU and non-EU citizens, who are medical and healthcare professionals, on the condition they have a valid UK sponsor (job opportunity confirmed by a CoS).
This includes medical practitioners, nurses, dental practitioners, biological scientists, medical radiographers, midwives, occupational therapists, ophthalmic opticians, paramedics, physical scientists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists and more!
Why is the UK Health and Care Visa replacing the Tier 2 Visa?
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has said “The unwavering commitment, skill and compassion [NHS] staff have shown during the fight against this deadly virus is nothing short of phenomenal…
I’m incredibly proud of our health and care workforce and look forward to welcoming new professionals from across the globe to continue the fantastic work to ensure our health system remains the best in the world.”
Covid 19 and the need to resume normal operations highlighted how overstretched the NHS is and the pressure it puts on its individual workforce which is not sustainable. Thus, the purpose of the new system is to ensure there is an equal policy for all whilst making the process for international healthcare professionals a whole lot easier.
How do I apply for a UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa?
The new visa is available from 4th August 2020 and until then; you must apply for the Tier 2 visa.
To be eligible to apply for the UK Health and Care Visa, you must have been offered a job within the NHS or a registered licensed sponsor.
To apply, you must prepare and upload your documents, pay the fee and then, the great news? Your visa will be processed within a maximum of three-weeks!
What documents do I need to apply for the UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa?
- Your CoS reference number (which can only be obtained by obtaining a CoS from an NHS job offer, which requires GMC Registration)
- Proof of your English language skills: Your GMC/NMC Registration evidence (as an approved English language test was required for this)
- A bank statement showing you have enough personal savings (unless your CoS evidenced that your sponsor will provide maintenance*): You must have £945 in your bank account for 90 days before you apply
- A current passport or travel document to prove you can travel
- Expired passports or travel documents if you need to show your travel history
- Your TB test results if you’re from a listed country as having high incidence of TB present
- A criminal record certificate: You’ll be required to submit one for each country you have lived in for other 12 months (non-consecutive) over the last 10 years
* Please note, ID Medical will work hard to ensure that your NHS hospital will tick maintenance on your CoS – which means that you will not need to evidence your bank account funds for you or your family.
How much is the UK Health and Care Visa?
A visa for up to 3 years costs £232 and a visa for more than 3 years costs £464! The fee is the same whether you apply from inside or outside the UK.
Your dependants will also pay the same amount. If you’re a citizen of Turkey or Macedonia a visa for up to 3 years costs £177 and a visa for more than 3 years costs £409.
Bonus is that on 21st May 2020, The UK Home Office made the previous fee of £400 (per person, per year) for the Immigration Health Surcharge Fee FREE for all NHS workers! This change also includes all dependents included under the application… which means you will have free access to the NHS – same as all British citizens.
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What’s the difference between Tier 2 Visa’s and the UK Health and Care Visa?
On top of the shortage occupation fees being cheaper than a standard Tier 2 visa and the IHS fee being scrapped, the new visa will offer you:
1. Faster Processing Time
Once you’ve submitted your biometrics at your local Visa Application Centre, your UK Health Care Fast Track Visa can be returned to you in as little as three-weeks compared to the previous eight-ten weeks! Helping you get to the UK sooner than you thought!
2. Long Stay Application
The new and improved visa now also allows you to apply for up to five-years and 14-days stay (as long as your CoS matches it!) Helping you save time!
3. Better support from your NHS sponsor
Your NHS sponsors will now be able to contact a specific dedicated UK Health and Care Visa team to track your application, whereas this was not available previously which meant many applications were simply a waiting game.
A Final Word
The introduction of the new UK Health and Care Fast Track Visa is cause for celebration as we are truly grateful for all international healthcare professionals who choose the UK as their new home; however, the process has not always reflected this.
We hope this blog post answers all of your questions, but if you have any other concerns please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!