If you’re an international healthcare professional planning on relocating to the UK and joining the NHS, then the New Health and Care Visa which will be available from 4th August 2020, will benefit you. The Visa itself will enforce a reduced rate, faster processing, free Immigration Health Surcharge and better support for medical practitioners.
The following blog article aims to explain the benefits of the new Visa in more detail whilst also addressing your questions on eligibility requirements.
The Health and Care Visa route is open to all EU and non-EU citizens, who are medical and healthcare professionals, applying under Tier 2 (General) for Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain; on the condition they have a valid UK sponsor (job opportunity confirmed by a CoS).
The new Visa will apply only to the following list of occupations (applicants must be taking up a job specified below):
In addition to matching one of the above occupations, applicants will also need to meet the relevant criteria for a Tier 2, which include;
One of the main benefits that the new Health and Care Visa will bring is the reduced fee for IMG’s. The Visa fee is £232 (per person, per year, for up to three-years) or £464 (for more than 3 years) for those on the Shortage Occupation List including all Doctors and Nurses.
It is important to note, the visa fee reduction will also apply to partners and dependents of Health and Care Visa applicants. Partners and dependents of Health and Care Visa applicants should therefore also tick the Health and Care Visa.
Arguably one of the most progressive changes that the new health and care visa will bring is that applicants applying, and their dependants, will be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. Instead, those entering the UK via this new Visa route will be provided with immediate and free access to the NHS and its services – the same as British citizens.
Please note, the government has said that health and care workers who do not qualify for the health and care visa can still claim an Immigration Health Surcharge refund if they paid it on or after 31 March 2020.
On top of the overall fee being cheaper than the standard Tier 2 visa and the IHS fee being scrapped, the UKVI will prioritize the New Health and Care Visa applications. The aim of this is that the majority of applications will be processed within a 3 week time period, from the point of the applicant providing their biometric information. This is a significant reduction to the current Tier 2 timeframe for visa processing of between 8 and 20 weeks.
In addition to all the above, the UKVI have stated that there will be dedicated support available, enabling Health and Visa sponsors to contact UKVI’s specialist team should there be any issues or obstacles within the application process. This level of support was not previously available to NHS sponsors which meant that some Visa applications took a significantly longer period to process. Sponsors can contact the UKVI’s dedicated NHS team at the following email address: [email protected]
If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS position, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your relocation journey.
Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to join the NHS and relocate to the UK. We post a series of blog and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all your relocation queries.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS.
Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.
GOV.UK. 2020. UK Visa Fees. [online] Available at:
Webcache.googleusercontent.com. 2020. Tier 2 Policy Guidance. [online] Available at: