How to apply to work as a UK Healthcare Assistant from South Africa

Are you from Johannesburg, Pretoria or elsewhere in South Africa? Are you interested in working as an HCA in the UK? 

In most cases, you must apply for a work visa before you can move to the UK for work purposes. This guide is designed to help you prepare to apply for a work visa so that you can work in the UK as a healthcare assistant. 

What qualifications do I need to work as an HCA?

If you are South African and want to work in the UK health and social care sector as a Healthcare Assistant, there aren’t any mandatory qualifications that you will need to hold. 

However, the following qualifications could improve your chance of securing a job:

Do South Africans need a visa to become an NHS Healthcare Assistant in the UK?

Most South African citizens must apply for a Health and Care Worker visa before they can work in the UK healthcare sector (some may qualify for an UK ancestry visa). 

The Health and Care Worker Visa is a skilled worker visa which used to be known as the Tier 2 work visa. 

To qualify, you must have been offered employment in a role that meets all the following conditions:

  • Your role must be eligible for this visa (at least RQF level 3)
  • Your salary must fulfil the minimum earning requirements
  • The company employing you must have Home Office approval and hold a Certificate of Sponsorship. If they don’t have a valid sponsorship licence, they must apply for one, which takes around eight weeks.
  • You must hold an occupation code, which your employer can provide
  • The vacancy must be genuine. Your application will be rejected if the Home Office has reason to believe the job doesn’t exist or was only created to allow you to apply for a visa

After you have passed all of the checks, you will receive an electronic ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’, which contains details of your job offer and employer.

How do I apply for a UK visa in South Africa?

You will need to apply for your Health and Care Worker visa in South Africa within three months of the date on your Certificate of Sponsorship. Your application must include the following:

  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship number 
  • Proof of your English proficiency
  • Your passport or equivalent evidence of identity
  • Your job details, including the job title, occupation code and salary details
  • Your employer’s name, contact details and sponsor licence number 

Once approved, your visa will be valid for up to five years. You must renew it when it expires or earlier if you change jobs to work with a different employer.

What are the English language requirements for a Healthcare Assistant from South Africa?

You must be proficient in the English Language to at least Intermediate standard (B1) on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

There are various ways you can prove this:

  • Have the nationality of a primarily English-speaking country
  • Pass a Secure English Language Test
  • Pass a GCSE, A Level or Scottish Higher in English
  • Hold a degree from a university that teaches in English
  • Have provided evidence as part of a previous visa application

How much is a Skilled Worker Visa?

The current UK visa fees for South African citizens are £247 for visits lasting less than three years or £479 if you plan to stay for more than three years.

If you are applying for a Health and Care Worker visa from South Africa, you must also have at least £1270 in your bank account. This must be available for a minimum of 28 days out of the 30 days before you make your visa application. This proves you can cover your expenses during the first 30 days after your arrival. 

If your employer is willing to cover your expenses for the first month, they can state this on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

Applying with a family

You can include the following people in your visa application:

  • Your spouse or partner (unmarried or civil)
  • Your children aged under 18
  • Your children aged over 18 if they are unmarried and staying in the UK as your dependents.

When you submit your application, you must be able to prove your relationship is genuine.

You will also need to be able to prove that you have the funds to support your family financially for the first 30 days in the UK:

  • £285 to support your partner
  • £315 for your first child
  • £200 for each additional child

Other documents required for Health and Care Workers from South Africa

You may need to provide several other documents as part of your visa application, including:

  • Bank statements
  • A criminal record certificate from each country you have lived in
  • A negative Tuberculosis test 

You can find full details on applying for a UK Health and Care Worker Visa on the UK Government website. 

Applying for a Health and Care Worker visa can be complicated. If you want to work as a UK healthcare assistant from South Africa, obtaining advice from a reputable visa processing specialist can help you to avoid errors and delays.

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