GuidelinesUK Care Homes Offering Visa Sponsorship - A Guide for International Candidates

UK Care Homes Offering Visa Sponsorship – A Guide for International Candidates

The UK’s social care sector has faced chronic staff shortages for years. To help fill vacancies, some care homes now provide visa sponsorship to overseas candidates as a recruitment incentive. This allows international workers to live and work in the UK legally for an extended period.

Overview of the UK Care Home Job Market

UK Care Homes Offering Visa Sponsorship – A Guide for International Candidates

The UK has an aging population, with over 12 million residents now aged 65 or older. As demand for elderly care rises, care homes are struggling to recruit enough staff to meet needs.

Filling open care roles has become extremely challenging. As a result, some providers now offer visa sponsorship to recruit internationally.

What is Visa Sponsorship?

Visa sponsorship allows UK employers to hire foreign nationals by sponsoring them to work in the country legally.The employer must be approved by UK Visas and Immigration to act as a licensed sponsor. They will then provide a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to candidates they wish to hire from overseas.

With a valid CoS, international candidates can apply for a UK work visa. The visa allows them to live and work in the UK for an extended period, normally up to 5 years.

Types of UK Work Visas

There are several visa routes potentially open to care workers:

Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Visa covers most professional and skilled roles. Applicants must have a confirmed job offer from a licensed sponsor for a eligible occupation. Care home nurses can qualify for this visa by meeting these main requirements:

  • Have acceptance from licensed sponsor
  • Prove adequate English language ability
  • Show qualification documents
  • Meet salary threshold (currently £25,600)

However, care assistants and other support roles do not qualify, as they are not designated as “skilled” occupations.Nursing Abroad 3cb824463a16579d61863b05f70455a0

Health and Care Worker Visa

The Health and Care Worker Visa provides a sponsored route specifically for care professionals. It has lower eligibility requirements than the Skilled Worker Visa.All care home staff in customer-facing roles may be eligible, including:

  • Nurses
  • Care assistants
  • Care workers
  • Support workers

Key requirements are:

  • Have Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Show English language skills
  • Pass criminal record checks
  • Pay healthcare surcharge

There is no minimum salary threshold. But employers must pay eligible workers at least £10.10 per hour.

Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) offers working holiday visas for young people from certain countries. Requirements are:

  • Aged 18-30
  • Have £2,530 in savings
  • Meet country eligibility rules

The YMS allows participants to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years.

Top UK Care Home Companies Offering Visa Sponsorship

A growing number of large care home chains now offer visa sponsorship to help recruit overseas staff. Here are some of the top national providers confirmed to sponsor international candidates as of 2024:

Bupa Care Homes

  • One of the UK’s biggest care home providers
  • Over 200 homes nationwide
  • Wide range of care and nursing roles
  • Sponsor nurses and care assistants
  • Offer Skilled Worker and Health & Care Worker Visas

Open roles: Bupa has hundreds of vacancies across the UK.

Barchester Healthcare

  • 200+ care homes
  • Well-established national provider
  • Recruit care assistants via the Health & Care Visa route
  • Also sponsor nurses on Skilled Worker Visas

Open roles: Barchester actively recruits overseas and has over 1,900 vacancies currently.


  • Britain’s largest care home operator
  • Over 300 homes nationwide
  • H* Sponsor nurses, care workers and support staff
  • Provide Skilled Worker and Health & Care Worker Visas

Open roles: HC-One has 500+ open vacancies countrywide.

Care UK

  • Leading national care provider
  • 150+ homes across England, Wales and Scotland
  • Sponsor overseas staff through the Health & Care Visa
  • Recruit care assistants, nurses and support workers

Open roles: Care UK is actively recruiting and has numerous job vacancies.

Sanctuary Care

  • Operates nearly 100 care homes
  • Experience with international recruitment
  • Offer Health & Care Worker visa sponsorship
  • Hire nurses, care assistants and support staff

Open roles: Sanctuary has various roles available now suitable for visa applicants.

These major care companies have substantial recruiting needs across their national networks of homes. All actively welcome overseas candidates.

How to Find Suitable Vacancies

UK Care Homes Offering Visa Sponsorship – A Guide for International Candidates

The care chains above publish available jobs on their own websites. But there are also large general job boards listing thousands of wider care sector vacancies. These sites allow you to search specifically for roles with visa sponsorship:

You can search for locations nationwide or specify cities or regions of interest.

Useful Locations to Search

The highest volumes of care jobs are available in and around major urban areas:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Glasgow
  • Bristol
  • Sheffield

But most care providers also have homes in smaller towns and rural locations across the UK.

Application Process for Sponsored Roles

To apply for a sponsored care position, follow these steps:

1. Find a Suitable Vacancy

  • Use job sites above to search for open roles
  • Check employer’s website for latest postings
  • Focus on national care home chains offering visa sponsorship

2. Submit a Formal Application

  • Send required documents like CV, references etc
  • Ensure you meet the key eligibility criteria
  • Highlight relevant care experience and skills

3. Attend Interviews

  • Take part in phone, video or in-person interviews
  • Interview formats vary between employers
  • Be prepared to discuss experience, skills and motivations

4. Receive Job Offer

  • If successful, you’ll receive a written job offer
  • Offer may be “conditional” on obtaining visa
  • Confirm employer will sponsor your visa application

5. Apply for Visa

  • Once you accept the role, employer sends CoS
  • Submit visa application to UK Visas Immigration
  • Meet eligibility criteria for visa route
  • Pay required visa fees

The visa application process takes around 8 weeks. Timelines can vary depending on individual circumstances.Nursing Abroad ee32561a2fd9d66531b649b19b362a99

Working as a Care Assistant in the UK

Care assistants make up over half of all staff in UK care homes. If sponsored as a care assistant, what can you expect?

Typical responsibilities include:

  • Assisting elderly residents with daily activities like washing, dressing, eating etc
  • Providing companionship and talking to residents
  • Helping residents mobilise and move around safely
  • Monitoring residents’ health and reporting concerns
  • Assisting with organizing activities and events
  • General domestic assistance like making beds and tidying rooms

Essential skills and attributes:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Patience and empathy
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Diligence and attention to detail
  • Commitment to high quality care

Entry requirements:

  • No formal qualifications required
  • Basic English language ability
  • Genuine passion for caring for the elderly
  • Willingness to learn on the job

Working hours:

  • Full-time and part-time roles available
  • Rotating shifts schedules – mornings, days, nights
  • Weekend work required
  • Support provided for new starters

Pay and conditions:

  • Most care assistants earn from £10.10 to £11.50 per hour
  • Pay often higher with experience
  • Training opportunities to gain qualifications
  • Employer benefits like pension, holidays etc

Caring for the elderly can be challenging but brings high job satisfaction. With visa sponsorship, care homes offer exciting opportunities to gain experience while living temporarily in the UK.

Next Steps for Prospective Candidates

If you’re an international candidate interested in relocating to work in a UK care home, some important next steps include:

• Research visa options: Determine which visa route(s) fit your situation using official UK government guidance. Seek professional advice if needed.

• Assess language abilities: Care home staff need sufficient English to communicate clearly with colleagues and residents. Formally assess your skills to determine if improvement is needed.

• Understand job duties: Learn about typical care assistant responsibilities through online research. Assess if you have necessary attributes to perform this demanding but rewarding work.

• Search job listings: Use provided links to find open vacancies suited to visa applicants. Focus on larger care home chains actively sponsoring overseas staff.

• Prepare application documents: Ensure you have all required paperwork ready, like English language evidence, qualifications, CV, references etc.

• Apply for live roles: Submit formal applications for current job openings that offer visa sponsorship from reputable large care home operators. Coming from overseas to live and work in the UK can be challenging but also hugely rewarding. With an aging society and staff shortfalls in the care sector, exciting opportunities exist for international candidates looking to develop careers in caring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which UK care homes offer visa sponsorship for international workers?

Major national chains like Bupa, Barchester Healthcare, HC-One, Care UK and Sanctuary Care are actively sponsoring overseas staff through routes like the Health and Care Worker Visa.

What types of jobs do care homes sponsor from abroad?Nursing Abroad 3901d37825831493c5d3d3b65ac19447

Care homes sponsor international nurses, care assistants, support workers and other customer-facing roles using visa routes like the Skilled Worker and Health & Care Worker visas.

Can I get visa sponsorship as a care assistant?

Yes – large care home providers are now sponsoring care assistants, support workers and similar roles through the Health and Care Worker Visa, which has more flexible eligibility criteria.

Is prior experience required to work as a sponsored care assistant?

Often not – while experience is useful, some homes hire new overseas staff without previous formal care experience and provide on-the-job training. However, some knowledge of the role and essential skills like empathy and teamwork are expected.

How much do sponsored care assistants earn in the UK?

Typical pay rates for care assistants are £10-£11.50 per hour. Sponsored workers must earn at least the legal minimum of £10.10 per hour. Higher salaries are available with greater experience.


The UK’s elderly care sector faces increasing staffing pressures as the population ages. Care homes now sponsor selected international candidates to help address shortages through routes like the Health and Care Worker Visa.

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