New government guidance sets out additional steps for employers when sponsoring foreign medical workers applying for the new Health and Care Visa.
The visa launched on 4 August 2020 as a subcategory of the existing Tier 2 (General) route for sponsored workers.
The updated Tier 2 and Tier 5 guidance for sponsors explains that extra steps are required for employers assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in this new route.
Firstly, the job description summary must clearly state how the job meets the visa criteria – so employers must confirm which SOC code applies and expressly state which approved body will employ the worker. The full list of approved bodies appears at A2 of the separate Tier 2 policy guidance (also just updated) which contains detailed information on who qualifies for the visa.
Secondly, private organisations assigning a CoS must include details about their arrangements with the relevant NHS body to provide medical services. Sponsors who forget to include this information at the time of assigning the CoS must add it to a “sponsor note” afterwards.
Thirdly, employers must tell migrants to ensure they actually specify the Health and Care subcategory in their visa application, to make sure the application is correctly processed.
These extra steps are apparently needed to ensure applicants qualify for “special treatment” during the processing stage, including fast-track entry, reduced fees and automatic exemption from the (otherwise extortionate) Immigration Health Surcharge. NHS workers who don’t qualify for a Health and Care Visa have to pay the surcharge up front and claim it back.