Health and care worker visa

You can apply for this visa if you’re offered an eligible job in the health and social care sector and are suitably qualified.



The Health and Care Worker Visa:

  • is linked to a specific employer and role
  • applies only to a specific set of eligible job codes
  • requires sponsorship from an employer who holds a UKVI sponsor license
  • is part of the Skilled Worker Visa category (and has similar requirements)
  • can be extended
  • can lead to settlement in the UK after 5 years
  • allows for dependent partners and children to apply with you or join later
  • has a lower visa application fee and does not require you to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

Please always check the latest relevant government visa guidance before applying, as immigration rules are subject to frequent changes.

Eligibility requirements

You must:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
  • work in an eligible health or social care job, which falls within the list of approved occupation codes
  • work or will work for a UK health and care sector employer that has been approved by the Home Office
  • have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered
  • be competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0)
  • be paid the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing, whichever is higher
  • have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds
  • have provided a criminal record certificate, if working with vulnerable people
  • have provided a valid TB certificate (if you’re from a listed country)
  • have consent from an official sponsor (if you’ve been financially sponsored within the last 12 months)

The exact requirements will vary depending on your circumstances. Please read the detailed Caseworker Guidance.

Expand the sections below for further information on these eligibility requirements.

Certificate of sponsorship

You’ll need a Certificate of Sponsorship issued by an employer who holds a UKVI sponsor license. A typical employer will be the NHS, an organisation providing medical services to the NHS, or an organisation providing adult social care.

Your employer is required to provide a brief explanation setting out how you meet the Health and Care Visa eligibility requirement.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued no more than 3 months before the date of your Health and Care Worker visa application.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information, including:

details of your name, job and salary a start date which is no more than 3 months after the date your Health and Care Worker visa application confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office

Salary requirement

Each occupation code has its own annual ‘going rate’.

For NHS roles there are various pay scales which vary according to whether they’re in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The salary would need to match these.

There’s a separate system for roles which are not NHS based. Unless the going rate for your job is higher than this, the minimum salary is:

£20,480 for new entrants £25,600 if an experienced worker

For more information, visit:

  • If you’ll be working in a postdoctoral position, you can be paid 70% of your usual going rate.
  • If your job is in a shortage occupation list, you can be paid at 80% of the usual going rate.

You may be paid less than the ‘going rate’ in the following circumstances:

If you’re under 26, studying, a recent graduate, or in professional training towards a recognised UK qualification or registered status you can be paid at 70% of the usual going rate.

If you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job you’ll be paid at 80% of the usual going rate, as long as you will still earn at least £20,480 a year.

If you have a non-STEm PhD level qualification you will be paid at 90% of the usual going rate as long as you will still earn at least £23,040.

English language requirement

You must demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference scale (CEFR) for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).

It’s likely that you’ve exceeded this requirement if you hold a Student visa.

You don’t need to prove your knowledge of English if you’re being sponsored to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or midwife and you’ve already passed an English language assessment accepted by the relevant professional regulatory body.

You’ll satisfy the English language requirement if you:

  • are a national of a majority English-speaking country
  • have passed a Secure English Language Test from an approved provider
  • have been awarded a degree-level academic qualification taught in English
  • obtained a GCSE/A Level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Highers or Advanced Higher in English while at school in the UK; or
  • have already shown you met the requirement of level B1 in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay
Financial requirement

This is usually £1,270 in cash funds held for at least 28 consecutive days ending not more than 31 days before the date of your visa application.

You don’t need to show funds if:

  • you’ve been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application; or
  • your employer certifies your maintenance on the Certificate of Sponsorship
Criminal record certificate requirement

If you’re applying from outside the UK you’ll need to provide a criminal record certificate.

You don’t need to provide a certificate if your job is one of the following occupation codes:

  • biological scientists and biochemists (2112)
  • physical scientist (2113)

If you’re under 28 years old and you’ve lived in more than one country you must provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which you’ve stayed for a total of 12 months or more since you turned 18.

If you’re over 28 years old you must provide a criminal record certificate for any country you’ve stayed in over the last 10 years

Eligible job codes

Your job must be in one of the following eligible occupation codes to qualify for the Health and Care Worker visa:

  • 1181: health services and public health managers and directors
  • 1242: residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
  • 2112: biological scientists and biochemists
  • 2113: physical scientists
  • 2211: medical practitioners
  • 2212: psychologists
  • 2213: pharmacists
  • 2214: ophthalmic opticians
  • 2215: dental practitioners
  • 2217: medical radiographers
  • 2218: podiatrists
  • 2219: health professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as audiologists and occupational health advisers
  • 2221: physiotherapists
  • 2222: occupational therapists
  • 2223: speech and language therapists
  • 2229: therapy professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as osteopaths and psychotherapists
  • 2231: nurses
  • 2232: midwives
  • 2442: social workers
  • 3111: laboratory technicians
  • 3213: paramedics
  • 3216: dispensing opticians
  • 3217: pharmaceutical technicians
  • 3218: medical and dental technicians
  • 3219: health associate professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 6141: nursing auxiliaries and assistants
  • 6143: dental nurses
  • 6145: care workers and home carers
  • 6146: senior care workers

If you’re offered a job and you’re unsure what job code it is,  you can check the ONS coding tool to find the closest match.

Job codes may change over time so always check the latest guidance.

Visa conditions

You can:

  • work in the job you’ve been sponsored for
  • undertake supplementary employment if you continue to work in the job for which you’re being sponsored and:
    •  the additional work is in the same occupation code; or
    •  is less than 20 paid hours a week
  • have dependants (partner or child) apply at same time or join later
  • extend the visa without limit
  • study

You can’t:

  • access public funds (eg most benefits or a state pension)
  • change jobs or employer unless you’re also updating your visa
  • be self employed


If you hold a Student visa you can switch to this visa from within the UK. You can also apply from outside of the UK.

It’s an online application and you must submit biometrics.

The standard application fee is the same whether you apply from inside or outside of the UK and depends on the length of the visa:

  • up to 3 years - £232 per person
  • more than 3 years - £464 per person
  • If you’re from an EU country - a further reduction of £55 applies

Apply from inside the UK  (Switching)

Apply from outside the UK

If you have dependants they must make a separate application. They will pay the same fees.

Apply as a dependant

UKVI aims to prioritise these visas and process them within 3 weeks of biometrics being received, but it could be longer.

You may receive a BRP or digital immigration status.

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Information for students

The Student Services Information Desk (SSiD) answers a range of general student related enquiries