Care workers looking to move to the UK to live and work are currently in high demand. Out of all the UK sponsorship visas for care workers, the Health and Care Worker visa is the most popular pathway to live and work in the United Kingdom. You will need to have a valid visa and sponsorship from an employer such as the National Health Service (NHS).
Working in the UK as a care worker
Latest figures from Skills for Care the UK in the year ending March 2023 shows the UK has a shortage of 152,000 care workers which is a decrease of 7% on the previous 12 months. This is expected to increase due to the shortage of care workers across the world. The UK is competing with countries such as Australia and Canada for skilled carers. This offers good employment prospects if you are interested in moving to the UK to work as a carer. There is currently a 9.9% vacancy rate for care workers across the UK on average, London is the highest with a current vacancy rate of 12.1%.
The National Health Service (NHS) is the largest employer in the UK with over 1 million staff, many of which were born abroad.
Over the past 12 months 70,000 care workers were recruited from abroad which is expected to increase next year. Also, on average in the past 12 months there has been 1.7 million job posts for care workers across the UK.
UK visas for care workers
The main pathway for all healthcare professionals looking to move to the UK is the Health and Care Worker visa and to a lesser extent the Youth Mobility Scheme. There is multiple other visas you may qualify for that do not require sponsorship from an employer, but can still work as a care worker. Check out our Path to Citizenship page for more options.
Occupation code for care workers
- 6145: care workers and home carers
- 6146: senior care workers
Sponsorship visas for Care Workers
To be eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa you must pass several minimum requirements.
- Work for an employer that has been approved by the UK Government
- Have a valid certificate of sponsorship related to the role
- Job must be on the Health and Care Worker Occupations List
- Salary must meet the minimum threshold for the role
- Speak, read, write and understand English to a minimum standard
To ensure you are successful in applying for your visa, you must gather the below important documentation.
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Proof of your knowledge of English
- A valid passport for the entirety of the visa
- Occupation and Salary
- Bank statement proving sufficient funds
- Name of employer and license number
Care worker jobs in the UK
Finding a job as a care worker in the UK is similar to any other occupation, although a role within the NHS you have to apply directly. Finding a job in the NHS can be a relatively straight forward process, but you have to be flexible with your preferences from location to job role. The NHS Careers website is the best place to find vacancies, you will have to create a profile before applying for jobs. We do not recommend agencies.
We recommend using Indeed to begin your job search, also adding “sponsorship” in to your search query will provide you with employers you know will hire people from overseas. Once you are on Indeed, take note of employers and contact them directly and ask them if they offer sponsorship if not mentioned in the job post.
Care workers must earn at least £20,960 per year to qualify for the Health and Care Worker visa, this applies to all 4 nations of the United Kingdom.
Senior care workers must earn at least 14,880 to qualify.
Can I bring my family?
The Health and Care worker visa allows you to bring your family members to the UK, they are known as “dependants”.
You don’t have to be a permanent resident or have an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK to bring your family members. The cost for each adult dependant is £285, £315 for one child and £200 for additional children as of July 2023.
Dependants over 18 can work full time in any profession throughout with no restrictions. The length of time allowed to stay is the same as the main applicants work visa.
You can bring family members on other visas used by care workers such as the UK Ancestry visa and British National Overseas visa.
Family members are not allowed on the Youth Mobility Scheme.
How much will it cost when applying?
If you apply for the Health and Care Worker visa the current application cost is £479 for five years. You need to prove you have £1,270 in your bank account on arrival and pay for any administrations fees from gathering documentation and paying for potential English language tests.
Other visas will cost more as you will need to pay for the Healthcare surcharge upfront which is currently £624 per year. For example, if you are applying for a 2-year visa you will have to pay £624 each year, therefore you will have to pay a total of £1248.
Do Care Workers pay the Healthcare Surcharge?
Care workers who have applied through the Health and Care Worker visa are exempt from the Healthcare surcharge, including any dependants.
PERMANENT RESIDENCY OPPORTUNITY
Yes, the first step to becoming a British citizen is being granted a visa that contributes towards the 5 year requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
There are 3 main stages to being granted British citizenship.
Live and Work in the UK for 5 years on a work visa
Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
Apply for Naturalisation/British citizenship
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