Social care workers can get Skilled Worker visas from 15 February 2022

Employers (but not private households) will be able to sponsor care assistants, home carers, nursing home support workers and similar so long as they pay at least £20,480 and £10.10 an hour. They must also include a criminal record certificate.

By way of background: lots of the people who do the vital, unglamorous day-to-day work of looking after elderly and disabled people are from abroad. Pre-pandemic, 16% of the adult social care workforce were foreign nationals, while almost 40% of care home nurses trained abroad.

Medical professionals and senior care workers already qualify for what is branded the Health and Care visa, which legally speaking is the Skilled Worker route with lower fees and faster processing. But regular carers were not considered sufficiently skilled to qualify for visas under post-Brexit immigration policy.

As the explanatory note accompanying HC 1019 puts it, “a key existing requirement of the Skilled Worker route is the job offer must be one which involves duties and responsibilities involving skills equivalent to RQF level 3.

There are no formal academic requirements to apply for the above jobs in the social care area. However, potential workers will be required to register with the appropriate statutory body in the UK or in their home country. Also, potential workers would be expected to be holding or working towards the appropriate qualification for one of the jobs in the social care field. Applicants must typically be 18 years old and have some experience of working in the social care environment, which needs to be proven by relevant documents.

The Home Office stresses that this is only “temporary” to “alleviate current pressures on the health and social care system as a result of Covid-19”. There will be a 12-month window for applications, i.e. 15 February 2022 to 14 February 2023, at which point the policy will be reviewed. 

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