Care workers are essential workers who provide personal care and support to people who need help with their daily living activities. Care workers can work in various settings, such as residential homes, nursing homes, hospitals, or clients’ own homes. Care workers can also specialise in different areas, such as elderly care, disability care, mental health care, or child care.
If you are interested in becoming a care worker in the UK, you might be wondering what qualifications you need to have. In this article, we will explain the minimum requirements, the optional qualifications, and the visa process for care workers from Nigeria.
What qualifications do I need to be a Care Worker in the UK?
You will also need to pass enhanced background checks before you can work as a care worker in the UK. This includes a criminal record check, a health check, and a reference check. You will need to provide evidence of your identity, your qualifications, and your work history. You will also need to declare any convictions, cautions, or warnings that you may have. See more qualifications here.
Which unskilled jobs are in demand in UK?
Before we discuss the qualifications for care workers, let us first look at the demand for unskilled jobs in the UK. Unskilled jobs are jobs that do not require formal education or training, and can be performed by anyone who has basic skills and abilities. Some examples of unskilled jobs are:
- Warehouse operative
- Delivery driver
- Kitchen porter
- Retail assistant
- Farm worker
- Factory worker
- Security guard
According to the UK Shortage Occupation List, which is a list of jobs that are in high demand and have a shortage of workers in the UK, there are currently no unskilled jobs on the list. This means that unskilled jobs are not considered as priority occupations for visa sponsorship, and employers may have to prove that they cannot find suitable workers from the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) before hiring workers from outside the EEA.
However, this does not mean that there are no opportunities for unskilled workers in the UK. There are still many sectors that rely on unskilled workers, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Brexit transition. Some of these sectors are:
- Health and social care
- Hospitality and tourism
- Agriculture and food production
- Construction and infrastructure
- Logistics and transportation
- Manufacturing and engineering
Therefore, if you are looking for an unskilled job in the UK, you may have to do some research and networking to find employers who are willing to sponsor your visa, or apply for other types of visas that allow you to work in the UK, such as the Youth Mobility Scheme or the Ancestry visa.
Is UK still recruiting care workers from Nigeria?
One of the unskilled sectors that has a high demand for workers in the UK is health and social care. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were about 1.6 million care workers in the UK in 2020, and about 8% of them were from outside the EEA. However, due to the ageing population, the increasing demand for care services, and the high turnover rate of care workers, there is still a shortage of care workers in the UK.
Therefore, the UK is still recruiting care workers from Nigeria and other countries, as long as they meet the requirements and the visa process. In fact, care workers are now included in the Health and Care Worker visa, which is a new visa category that was introduced in August 2020 to attract more foreign workers to the health and social care sector. The Health and Care Worker visa is a type of Tier 2 (General) visa, which is for skilled workers who have a job offer from a UK employer. However, the Health and Care Worker visa has some advantages over the regular Tier 2 visa, such as:
- Lower visa application fee
- Exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge
- Faster processing time
- No cap on the number of visas issued
- No minimum salary requirement
Therefore, if you are a care worker from Nigeria who wants to work in the UK, you may have a better chance of getting a visa under the Health and Care Worker visa scheme, as long as you have a job offer from a UK employer who is a registered sponsor.
How to get a care job in UK from Nigeria?
To get a care job in UK from Nigeria, you need to follow these steps:
- Find a UK employer who is a registered sponsor and who is willing to offer you a care job. You can use online platforms such as Indeed, Monster, or Care.com to search for care jobs that offer visa sponsorship. You can also contact care agencies directly and ask them if they have any vacancies for sponsored workers.
- Apply for the care job that matches your skills and experience. You will need to have a CV and a cover letter that highlight your qualifications and achievements as a care worker. You may also need to provide references and certificates of your previous care work experience. You will also need to pass an interview with the employer, either online or in person.
- Get a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from the employer. A CoS is a unique reference number that you need to apply for your visa. It will contain information about your job, such as the title, the salary, the start date, and the duration. The employer will issue you a CoS after they have checked your eligibility and suitability for the job and the visa.
- Apply for your Health and Care Worker visa online. You will need to fill out an online application form on the GOV.UK website, and provide the following documents and fees:
- Your passport and a passport-sized photo
- Your CoS number
- Evidence of your English language ability (IELTS 4.0 or equivalent)
- Evidence of your finances (bank statements or payslips)
- Evidence of your tuberculosis test (if required)
- Visa application fee (£232)
- Attend a biometric appointment and an interview at a UK visa application centre in Nigeria. You will need to book an appointment online and pay a service fee (N47,000 or £109). You will also need to submit your fingerprints and a digital photo at the appointment. You may also need to answer some questions about your job and your visa at the interview.
- Wait for your visa application to be processed and approved. The processing time may vary depending on your circumstances, but it usually takes between 3 to 8 weeks. You can check the status of your application online or by contacting the UK visa application centre. If your application is approved, you will receive a visa vignette, which is a sticker that is placed in your passport. This will allow you to enter the UK and start your job as a care worker.
How much is UK visa fee for care workers?
The UK visa fee for care workers depends on the type of visa that you apply for. As mentioned above, the most common visa for care workers is the Health and Care Worker visa, which is a type of Tier 2 (General) visa. The visa fee for the Health and Care Worker visa is:
- £232 for a visa up to 3 years
- £464 for a visa more than 3 years
However, there are other types of visas that you may be eligible for, depending on your situation. For example, if you are already in the UK on another visa, such as a student visa or a family visa, you may be able to switch to the Health and Care Worker visa without leaving the UK. The visa fee for switching to the Health and Care Worker visa is:
- £232 for a visa up to 3 years
- £464 for a visa more than 3 years
Another example is if you are a citizen of a Commonwealth country, such as Nigeria, and you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you may be able to apply for an Ancestry visa, which allows you to work in any job in the UK for up to 5 years. The visa fee for the Ancestry visa is:
You can find more information about the different types of visas and their fees on the GOV.UK website.