The first statement of changes to immigration rules of the year 2022 was published on 24 January 2022, which adds care workers to the Shortage Occupation List, and make the role eligible for the Skilled Worker route, thus disapplying the usual requirement that a role must be skilled to at least Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) level 3.
The Skilled Worker route is for applicants with a specific job offer from an approved sponsoring employer. Lower salary requirements and application fees apply where a job is on the Shortage Occupation List. These changes make care workers and home carers eligible to be sponsored in the Skilled Worker route and add them to the Shortage Occupation List,
A key existing requirement of the Skilled Worker route is the job offer must be one which involves duties and responsibilities involving skills equivalent to RQF level 3, broadly equivalent to a level of skills obtained through A-levels or Scottish Highers. Applicants do not need to hold a formal qualification; it is the skill level of the job they will be doing which determines whether the threshold is met. These changes disapply this skills threshold for care workers, thus allowing them to qualify for the route.
Employers offering jobs in shortage occupations must offer applicants a salary of £20,480 per year, or £10.10 per hour, whichever is the highest.
The applicants will be required to provide criminal record certificates from countries they have been present in for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years, and while aged 18 or over.
While home carers are included in the same occupation code, these changes are not designed to enable home carers to be sponsored as Skilled Workers, unless they are working for an organisation which is able to meet the sponsorship requirements. Private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Workers.
The change is aimed at helping to alleviate current pressures on the health and social care system as a result of Covid-19.