Opportunity to recruit care workers from overseas but only for 12 months
Care workers will soon be added to the Shortage Occupation List, which means they will be eligible for sponsorship and the Health and Care Visa. This is a response to the urgent recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee to address the staffing shortages in the care sector. It will cover care workers, support workers and home care assistants.
Following the changes, care workers will join other social care roles, such as senior care workers, in being eligible for sponsorship. Care workers will need to be paid a minimum salary of £20,480, with an hourly rate of at least £10.10, to qualify for sponsorship.
The Health and Care Visa allows certain individuals to be sponsored to work with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care. The visa application is processed faster, has lower fees and qualifies for an exemption from the immigration health surcharge, so care workers will benefit from cheaper and quicker visa applications.
The change to the Shortage Occupation List could provide a boost to the sector but there is some concern that the government has said this will be a temporary concession for 12 months which could deter workers from applying. However, unless the government can find other ways to address the social care staffing crisis, there may be pressure to extend this.
Sponsor licence required
If you already have a sponsor licence you will be able to recruit care workers from overseas as soon as the changes have been put in place. Due to the fast tracked application process, new workers will be able to obtain a visa within 3 weeks of completing the biometric information stage of their application.
If you don’t currently have a sponsor licence you will need to apply for one before you are able to employ care workers from overseas. The application takes approximately 2 months for the Home Office to process, so you should consider making that application now.