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Unlocking opportunities: Navigating the UK Skilled Worker Visa for health tech professionals



The UK’s health industry is packed with opportunities for skilled workers from abroad to access.

Recent data has shown that over 17% (264,815) of workers in the UK’s biggest employer, the NHS, are from abroad, many of these on Skilled Worker visas.

As part of its digital transformation, health tech has been a growing area in the NHS for hiring skilled workers, and this number is still growing. Similar trends have been observed in the private sector.

The following article will help you to access opportunities as a health tech professional wishing to move to the UK.

The most important step is to get a Skilled Worker visa UK.

It will explain what the Skilled Worker visa is, the application process and requirements, and the fees and waiting times your application is subject to.

What is a Skilled Worker Visa for a Health Tech Professional?

The Skilled Worker visa came in on 1 December 2020, replacing the Tier 2 work visa.

It is designed to help experienced and high value workers from abroad to come to the UK to fill gaps in the domestic labour market. 

Requiring you to have received an appropriate job offer, this visa is eligible for up to five years.

You are welcome to extend it as many times as you like so long as you still match the eligibility requirements.

You must also apply to update the visa if you change jobs while in the UK.

Overall, the Skilled Worker visa is a great platform from which to build a life in the UK.

There are provisions to bring your familial dependents with you, and you can even apply for indefinite leave to remain after five years, allowing you to settle permanently. 

Eligibility Requirements

Being in the health tech sector alone is not enough to guarantee that you will be able to access a Skilled Worker visa.

You will need to make sure you match the following stringent requirements:

  • You have been offered a job that qualifies as skilled work, and your employer has given you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number. 
  • You are level 3 or higher on the Regulated Qualifications Framework, the equivalent to UK A-levels. 
  • You competently speak the English language, usually at B1 level or higher on the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
  • You will earn £38,700 annually or the market rate for your role, whichever is higher.
  • You have at least £1,270 in your bank account, so you can support yourself.
  • A passport that will be valid throughout your time in the UK. 

When making your application, you will need to provide documentation to prove that you meet these requirements. #

Exact documentation will vary from case to case, but the standard documentation you can expect to need includes the following:

  • Your passport.
  • University and high school certificates.
  • A job offer or signed contract specifying the role and your salary. 
  • An English language certificate from an accredited institution.

Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa

Having checked that you fit the eligibility requirements and gathered supporting documentation, you will be ready to begin the application process.

This process is almost entirely online and is completed through the UK government website. 

Once you have navigated to the Skilled Worker visa section of the UK government website, select “Start now” to begin your application.

You will need to upload the relevant documents and complete the online application form.

Once this is completed, you will need to pay fees, which are detailed in the following section.

The final stage of the process is to attend a biometric appointment at your nearest UK visa application centre, where you will have your photograph and fingerprints taken.

Application Fees and Waiting Times for Health Tech Workers

As a health tech worker, you are subject to the standard application fees and waiting times.

In most cases, you can expect a decision within three weeks.

Please note that the waiting times can be substantially longer if there is a backlog of applications or if there are issues with your application.

Therefore, it is in your best interest to complete your application to the highest standard possible. 

Before your application can be processed, you need to have paid all of the associated fees.

Firstly, your application fee will range from £719 to £1,639, depending on your circumstances.

For applicants applying from outside the UK, the following will apply

  • £719 if you will be staying in the UK for up to three years.
  • £1,420 if you are staying in the UK for over three years.

Higher application fees apply if you are making an application to switch or update your visa from within the UK.

This is usually because you have decided to change to a different job. The following fees apply:

  • £827 to remain in the UK for up to three years.
  • £1,636 to remain in the UK for more than three years.

A lower application fee will apply if your role is on the immigration salary list. The following will apply in that case:

  • £551 for stays up to three years.
  • £1,084 for stays of more than three years.

You will also need to pay the healthcare surcharge to access healthcare through the NHS while you are in the UK.

This will usually be £1,035 annually. 

Unlocking Your Future With a Skilled Worker Visa 

Successfully obtaining a Skilled Worker visa is certainly challenging, requiring you to prove your eligibility and get an offer for an appropriate role.

However, it will unlock fantastic opportunities for you within the UK’s burgeoning health tech industry, coming with great salaries and new experiences. 

To ensure you have the best possible chance of having a successful application, it is advisable to hire an immigration lawyer or advisor.

They can help you to complete a strong application and gather the right documentation.

If your application is rejected, they can also provide great advice on your next steps and help you navigate the appeals process.

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