Following the recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee, on 24 January 2022 the Home Office published the details of the changes (along with an Explanatory Memorandum) that it is making to the Skilled Worker visa route, which will make it easier for businesses, charities and voluntary bodies to sponsor overseas care workers.
The following changes shall take effect on 15 February 2022:
Anyone seeking a Skilled Worker visa must be sponsored by an appropriately licenced organisation. To be sponsored, the job the migrant will undertake in the UK must meet set criteria in terms of the level of skill required and the salary paid. Under the Skilled Worker visa route, jobs ordinarily must be skilled to at least Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) level 3.
The changes will mean that care workers and related jobs will be added to the Shortage Occupation List. The Shortage Occupation List comprises of roles deemed by the UK Government to be in short supply within the resident labour market. Such roles are afforded relaxed eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications. In order to help alleviate the current pressures faced by the health and social care systems caused by Covid-19, care workers, care assistants, home carers and related jobs are now being added to the Shortage Occupation List.
The requirement for these roles to be skilled to RQF level 3 will be disapplied. These roles will also benefit from the reduced salary requirement. An applicant with a job on the shortage list must be paid the higher of £20,480 per annum (£10.10 per hour) or 80% of the going rate for the job they will undertake. Please note that the Explanatory Memorandum confirms that the changes are not designed to allow home carers to be sponsored as Skilled Workers unless they are working for an organisation capable of meeting the sponsorship requirements.
Additionally, care workers are also being added to the list of occupations requiring a criminal record certificate from any country that they have been present in for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years, and while ages 18 or over.
We advise seeking legal advice where there is any uncertainty regarding the above changes to the Immigration Rules.