The new Health and Care Visa for foreign medical workers will open for applications on 4 August 2020, the government has announced.
The visa is not a new route as such, but a species of Tier 2 (General) visa — the announcement comes in a new Part A to the Tier 2 policy guidance, added on 14 July. It is also misnamed in the sense that it is only for “qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard” — not for care home workers. The full list of eligible professions is:
2112 – Biological scientists and biochemistsTier 2 Policy Guidance, Paragraph A3
2113 – Physical Scientists
2211 – Medical Practitioners
2212 – Psychologists
2213 – Pharmacists
2214 – Ophthalmic Opticians
2215 – Dental practitioners
2217 – Medical Radiographers
2218 – Podiatrists
2219 – Health Professionals not elsewhere classified
2221 – Physiotherapists
2222 – Occupational Therapists
2223 – Speech and Language Therapists
2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
2231 – Nurses
2232 – Midwives
2442 – Social Workers
3213 – Paramedics
To be eligible for a Health and Care Visa, the worker must be offered one of the above jobs, either for an NHS trust / health board or for one of several other medical and social care organisations listed in the guidance, and meet all the usual Tier 2 (General) criteria.
Reduced application fees are promised. The fees table has not yet been updated to say what they are, but the basic application fee has previously been reported as £464. Applicants should also be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Decisions are to be fast-tracked, “with the aim that the vast majority are processed within three weeks”.