The UK care sector is experiencing a significant staffing crisis, with an estimated 410,000 workers in social care leaving their jobs in 2021.  

The shortage equates to one in ten posts being vacant in 2022, with a total shortage of around 160,000 staff across the care sector.

Hiring new staff is critical to filling the gap, but the number of domestic, qualified, high-quality care workers in the UK is declining.  

One solution is to hire from abroad, with the government granting Health and Care Worker visas to eligible social care workers employed by an approved Home Office employer. You can become such an employer with a UK Sponsor Licence.

Health and Care Worker Visa

Hire Care Workers From Abroad

UK Visa Sponsor Licence - Health and Care Worker Visa

To hire care workers from abroad who need a sponsored work visa, you must hold a Sponsor Licence. Only a Licenced employer can sponsor a care worker and your organisation will need to be approved by the Home Office.

If you are not currently approved, you can apply for a sponsor licence, providing that your business is eligible, and you have suitable vacancies.

A Health and Care Worker visa is issued to qualified foreign workers who have an eligible job. They must be a doctor, nurse, health or adult social care professional to receive a visa that entitles them to work in the UK.

This is a skilled worker route and must involve a genuine vacancy. As the employer, you must issue a Certificate of Sponsorship that sets out the job. Workers can have a job with the NHS, with an NHS supplier, or in adult social care.

Additionally, the control of work requirements stipulates that the worker must continue to work for the sponsor. The employing company must be the sponsor for the visa to be legally valid.

How Synergy Immigration Solutions Can Help

Applying for the Sponsor Licence is meant to be simple, but in reality, it’s easy to make mistakes during the application as it’s very technical and document heavy. We will help you secure a Sponsor Licence with UK Visas & Immigration (“UKVI”).

After your Licence is issued, we will guide you through the process of employing care workers who need sponsorship and provide auditing, compliance checks, and training to ensure that you continue to operate your Licence responsibly.

We will advise you and make ourselves available to demystify sponsorship so that you can employ and sponsor care workers with confidence.

You can trust us to assist you in all immigration matters. We are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), registration number F202000171.

Occupational Codes And Salary

You can employ qualified workers for genuine job vacancies in the care sector. The government lists relevant occupation codes, with codes 1242 (residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors), 6145 (care workers and home carers), and 6146 (senior care workers) applicable to the care sector.

The biggest barrier to visa approval is salary requirements. Care workers and home care workers (occupation code 6145) must be paid at least £20,960 per year or £10.75 per hour. With senior care workers (code 6146), the minimum salary is 80% of the going rate: £18,600 (£9.54 per hour). You can find more information here.

There are a few exceptions; for example, you can pay 70% of the worker’s usual going rate if they are under 26 on the date you apply or working towards a recognised qualification in a listed UK regulated profession. However, the worker’s total stay in the UK cannot be more than four years if you apply for one of these reasons.

Why Is The Care Sector In A Staffing Crisis?

The coronavirus pandemic profoundly impacted the care sector, with some 410,000 care workers leaving their roles in 2021. Recent estimates suggest that a third (34%) of care workers left their roles in 2020-21.

Death, stress, and trauma from the coronavirus pandemic, low quality of life, low industry recognition, long hours, and low pay have led to an exodus. Additionally, the care sector has an ageing workforce with growing retiree numbers.

Alarm bells rang last year, with a loss of 50-70,000 workers across the sector in the six months leading up to November 2021. Last October, Unison also reported that the sector was pushed to the brink by a staffing catastrophe.

Workers from abroad are a critical lifeline for the care sector, and reputable employers can tap into this workforce to deliver high-quality care.

If you are a care provider, you can apply for a Sponsor Licence to employ and sponsor care professionals. Take the next step by picking up the phone and chatting to one of our experienced immigration experts.

Get Your Sponsor Licence

Call us today on 0203 1505 359 or email info@synergy-immigration.com