Skilled worker: Health and Care Visa

Read about the Health and Care Visa for employing overseas nationals (excluding Irish citizens) under the points-based immigration system.

11 April 2024

The Health and Care Visa is a sub-type of the Skilled Worker Visa available for those who are taking on a role in eligible health or social care jobs or who are a qualified doctor, nurse, healthcare professional or adult social care professional.

Key points for Health and Care Visa 


  • The Health and Care Visa is a sub-type of the Skilled Worker Visa.
  • Overseas care workers (SOC 6135) and senior care workers (SOC 6136) are now unable to bring dependents for new applications from 11 March 2024. Care workers, senior care workers, and skilled workers already in route prior to the new rules being implemented will not be subject to the changes. 
  • Only CQC-registered providers in England can sponsor Health and Care Visa applicants.
  • Increased the general salary threshold to £29,000 or £23,200 for occupations on national pay scales where applicable.
  • For Health and Care Visa occupations (including care workers and senior care workers) on the Immigration Salary List (ISL), the salary threshold is set at either £23,200 or the occupation-specific threshold, whichever is higher. 
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge does not apply.
  • The Certificates of Sponsorship (COS) cap is suspended.
  • The resident labour market test no longer applies.
  • 70 points are required.

You can read our latest guidance and illustrative examples on how the immigration policy changes impact the NHS.

The visa includes a dedicated support service from UK Visas and Immigration which supports individuals and their family member applications,

  • Following the release of the new Immigration Salary List on 4 April 2024, SOC 2020 codes are replacing SOC 2010 codes. Below is a conversion table of health and care roles with the old SOC 2010 code and the new SOC 2020 code.

    DescriptionSOC code 2010SOC Code 2020
    health services and public health managers and directors11811171
    health care practice managers12411231
    residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors12421232
    biochemists and biomedical scientists21122113
    physical scientists21132114
    generalist medical practitioners22112211
    specialist medical practitioners22112212
    occupational therapists22222222
    speech and language therapists22232223
    psychotherapists and cognitive behaviour therapists22292224
    clinical psychologists22122225
    other psychologists22122226
    therapy professionals not elsewhere classified22292229
    midwifery nurses22322231
    registered community nurses22312232
    registered specialist nurses22312233
    registered nurse practitioners22312234
    registered mental health nurses22312235
    registered children’s nurses22312236
    other registered nursing professionals22312237
    dental practitioners22152253
    medical radiographers22172254
    other health professionals not elsewhere classified22192259
    social workers24422461
    laboratory technicians31113111
    dispensing opticians32163211
    pharmaceutical technicians32173212
    medical and dental technicians32183213
    health associate professionals not elsewhere classified32193219
    nursing auxiliaries and assistants61416131
    ambulance staff (excluding paramedics)61426132
    dental nurses61436133
    care workers and home carers61456135
    senior care workers61466136



You as the employer, will first have to issue the overseas recruit with a defined out of country COS.

The overseas recruit must be able to demonstrate that they are:

  • a qualified doctor, nurse or health professional
  • have been offered an eligible health or social care job with an approved UK sponsor
  • have a certificate of sponsorship which includes information about the role offered
  • meet the minimum salary threshold or going rate for the occupation (the salary threshold only includes guaranteed basic gross pay, and not other benefits such as overtime, bonus pay or golden hellos; London weighting can be included as long as it is considered as basic gross pay for tax and pension purposes and is in line with resident workers)
  • meet the necessary English language requirements.

50 of the required points are fixed and 20 are tradeable. This table outlines the characteristics and points.

Job offer by approved sponsorFixed20
Job at the appropriate skill level (RQF 3 and above)Fixed20
English at the required levelFixed10
Salary criteria - one can be chosen from the following:  

Salary of at least £23,200 - applies to:

eligible health and care role on national pay scale

eligible health and care role on the ISL

*new entrant to a health and care role


Salary of at least £26,100 - applies to:

relevant PhD

Salary of at least £29,000 for all other rolesTradeable20
Other Criteria - one can be chosen from the following:  
Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job and has a salary of £26,100 or aboveTradeable20
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and a salary of £23,200 or aboveTradeable20

*The salary of a new entrant will depend on their occupation code, qualification level, age, and other factors. New entrants on a health occupation code based on the national pay scale will need to meet the requirement of £23,200.

Application timescales

A Health and Care Visa can be applied for up to three months before an individual is due to work in the UK. Applications are fast-tracked and if successful, decided within three weeks. Faster decisions can be processed if an individual chooses to attend an appointment either in or outside of the UK.

The Home Office fast-tracked priority visa services is available for those on the Skilled workerHealth and Care worker, and Student Visa routes. This can be done via the UK immigration: ID Check app or a face-to-face appointment.

Cost and maintenance requirement

The cost of a health and care visa is the same when applying from in or outside of the UK:

Visa - up to three-years£284
Visa - three years or more£551

Individuals should also have £1,270 in their bank account (for at least 28 days prior to application) to demonstrate they can support themselves when in the UK, unless you are content to support them during the initial period. If so, you need to detail this on the certificate of sponsorship within the additional data section and select sponsor certifies maintenance.

Length of stay in the UK and securing permanent residency

Individuals who successfully secure a health and care visa can live and work in the UK for up to five years and can extend their visa if they continue to meet eligibility requirements with the same employer. Individuals may also qualify for indefinite leave to remain after five years if they continue to meet eligibility requirements for example, job offer, salary and can demonstrate continuous residence (not having been out of the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period). Some concessions have been made in the Immigration Rules which enables time with permission in any other route while waiting for a decision on their skilled worker application to count towards the five years needed to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain.