Skilled worker: health and care visa

Read about the skilled worker visa for employing overseas nationals (excluding Irish citizens) under the points-based immigration system.

6 December 2021

This page summarises the skilled worker: health and care visa for employing overseas nationals from outside of the UK (excluding Irish citizens) under the points-based immigration system.

Key points

  • 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.

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


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

On 30 November, the Home Office launched a new Skilled Worker Eligibility Checker (SWEC) tool to enable applicants and employers to immediately see if vacancies are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa.

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. 
  • 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 sponsor



Job at the appropriate skill level (RQF 3 and above)



English at the required level



Salary criteria - one can be chosen from the following:

Salary of £20,480 but in listed health/education job that meets the relevant national pay scale*



Salary of £20,480 (minimum) to £23,039



Salary of £23,040 to £25,599



Salary of £25,600 or above



Other Criteria - one can be chosen from the following:

Job in a shortage occupation



Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job



Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job



Applicant is a new entrant to the job market



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.

On 30 November, the Home Office extended the priority visa services to now be available to EU nationals holding a biometric passport from an EU country (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland), and who are submitting applications via the UK Immigration: ID Check app in the following routes: Skilled worker, Health and Care worker, and Student.

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


Visa - three years or more


The cost is reduced by £55 for applicants (not partners or dependants) from the following EU countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey.

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.


Medical radiographer

Jorge is a medical radiographer from Portugal who has been offered a position at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Jorge has also passed his IELTS English language test. Jorge attracts the mandatory 50 points based on his skill level, job offer and English ability. His occupation features on the shortage occupation list but he also benefits from interim mutual recognition of his professional qualifications. This gives Jorge the final 20 points needed to be eligible for a health and care visa.

Lab technician

Samuel is a lab technician from Spain who has secured a role at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and has passed his English Language test, attracting the mandatory 50 points for skill, job offer and English. The role attracts a salary of £21,000. Samuel has a PHD which gives him the remaining 20 points for his health and care visa.