The Home Secretary and Secretary of State for health and social security announced today the launch of a new health and social security visa this summer, creating a new fast-track visa route for relevant health and social security professionals and fulfilling a key Manifesto commitment.
Today, they also announced further details of how the immigration medical allowance exemption will work for medical staff, who will now be permanently exempt from this allowance.
The home Secretary and the Minister of health and social security jointly developed the health and care visa to demonstrate the government’s commitment to helping the NHS and the wider health and care sector. It is designed to facilitate and speed up the work of the best global health professionals in the NHS, for NHS-commissioned service providers and in relevant professions in the social care sector.
The legislation needed to open this new route will be submitted to Parliament today, and medical professionals will be able to apply from August.
The new medical visa will be accompanied by a reduced visa fee compared to that paid by other qualified workers, including exemption from the immigration medical surcharge. Medical professionals applying for this route can also expect a decision on whether they will be able to work in the UK within just three weeks of biometric enrollment. Individuals working in the health and social security sector who are not eligible for a health and medical care visa will still be able to claim a refund from the immigration health care surcharge if they paid it on or after March 31.
Home Affairs Minister Priti Patel said:
We are indebted to foreign health and healthcare professionals for their enormous contribution not only to saving thousands of lives during this crisis, but also for the vital role they play all year round.
This new visa is part of our new immigration system, making it faster, cheaper and easier for the best and brightest health and care professionals from around the world to work in our brilliant NHS.
Health and care professionals from around the world are playing a vital role in hospitals and nursing homes across the country, fighting the coronavirus. The introduction of a medical visa follows a series of unprecedented measures aimed at showing the UK’s gratitude to medical professionals from abroad.
Secretary of state for health and social security Matt Hancock said:
Our healthcare system has always had a proud tradition of welcoming foreign employees to work, study and live in the UK, and I am proud that the NHS is the place of choice for talented people from all over the world.
The unwavering commitment, skill and compassion shown by staff in the fight against this deadly virus is nothing short of phenomenal, and the refund of the immigration medical allowance recognises the huge contribution of those who came to the UK to work in the health and social care sector.
I am incredibly proud of our medical workforce and look forward to meeting new professionals from around the world to continue the fantastic work of ensuring that our healthcare system remains the best in the world.
Right across the immigration system of the Ministry of internal Affairs has already provided support to front-line medical personnel with the help of initiatives such as the extension of visas and establishing a system of protection against heavy loss.
The Prime Minister has previously announced that health and social workers will be permanently exempt from paying the immigration medical allowance in the future, and immigration medical allowance payments made from March 31 will also be refunded.
As part of the launch of the medical visa, those who apply through the visa and their dependents will be exempt from paying the immigration medical surcharge. The government has already started to refund immigration medical allowances to all medical workers who received level 2 visas that were paid from March 31, 2020, and this process will continue. More information will be published about the GOV immigration health surcharge.UK pages for customers to contact us directly if they believe they should get a refund. The Department of health and social security is currently working with this sector to establish operational mechanisms for reimbursing health and social security personnel outside the scope of the health and social security visa. These activities will begin on October 1 in the form of 6-month compensations.
The new health and care visa will apply to relevant roles in the health and care sector. The events of recent months have clearly demonstrated the important role played by the health sector in British society. The government works closely with this sector to support and recognize the contribution of health professionals. This includes a broad focus on training and implementing an appropriate career structure to provide opportunities for those working in the sector and make it an attractive profession for potential carers.
The independent migration Advisory Committee has made it very clear that immigration is not the answer to the challenges in the social security sector, and as we implement the new immigration system, we want employers to focus on investing in our domestic workforce.