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03 Mar 2017

UK-bound non-EU/EEA healthcare workers amongst those now required to submit criminal record certificates

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Non-EU/EEA nationals applying for visas to enter the UK from 6 April 2017 to work in the UK's health and education sectors will have to provide criminal record certificates from any country (excluding the UK) in which they have lived continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more in the 10 years preceding the date of their visa application. This requirement will affect those prospective employees who have already been assigned a certificate of sponsorship from their prospective employers and are applying for a visa to enter the UK from 6 April 2017 onwards.

In the healthcare sector, care and service managers and directors, nurses and nursing directors, midwives, audiologists, nutritionists, chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists are some of the roles included in the published list of positions affected. Adult dependants applying for visas to accompany such workers will also have to submit criminal record certificates as part of their applications.

What next?

Healthcare organisations employing workers from overseas should factor into their recruitment procedures enough time for prospective employees from outside the EU/EEA to obtain the criminal record certificates particularly as the procedure, fee and processing time varies significantly from country to country. For example, in India it can take up to 30 days to obtain a certificate but up to 8 weeks in South Africa. Employers should also take care not to assign certificates of sponsorship too early to avoid them expiring (which happens 3 months after assignment) before the prospective employee has been able to get all certificates they need.

What if a new recruit can't obtain a criminal record certificate?

The Home Office is aware that certain countries, such as Indonesia and Libya, do not issue criminal record certificates and that it is particularly difficult to get them in others. In those cases, visa applicants will have to provide with their visa application a letter describing the efforts made to try to obtain a certificate and the reason they were unsuccessful.

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