The new health and care visa:
what you need to know
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way things are done everywhere. It has also in many cases revealed the deficiencies in the health systems around the world. In the United Kingdom, like in many countries, there has been a workforce gap for many years which was made more apparent by COVID-19. In response to this, the Government appears to be trying to forestall a situation in the near future where it would be unable to cope with the demands placed on the system. Hence, the new health and care visa.
This new health and care visa seeks to make it easier, cheaper, and faster for healthcare professionals around the world to come to the UK. It is common knowledge that international medical graduates already make up a substantial proportion of registered medical practitioners in the UK and it appears this kind of visa might be a factor in attracting further numbers.
So what is this new health and care visa?
If you are already familiar with the visa routes for professionals in the UK, you would probably already know what the Tier 2 visa is. This is the sort of Visa you apply for after you have an offer of a job from an approved Sponsor. This sponsor (employer) issues you a certificate of sponsorship for a Tier 2 visa with which you apply to the home office. The usual time frame to get a decision on Tier 2 visa application is 3 weeks if you apply from outside the UK and it costs £610 per applicant plus Immigration health surcharge which costs £400 per applicant per year.
According to the Government website, the new health and care tier 2 visa will now cost £232 pounds. This indeed appears to be a substantial cut in the cost, but that’s not all. Additionally, applicants and their dependents would not have to pay the immigration health surcharge which normally costs £400 pounds per person per year. Again this is a huge relief for prospective applicants of this visa type. The time frame for getting a decision has not changed from the standard 3 weeks when applying from outside the UK.
There is no doubt that the new health and care visa comes with substantially lower costs than what it used to be. This indeed should put the minds of many prospective applicants at rest with regards to the financial implications of moving to the UK. These expatriates can now focus on passing their exams and getting registered with the GMC.