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Healthcare Worker Visa: Calculating Salary Rates

Employers seeking to sponsor migrants under the Skilled Worker route’s Health and Care Worker Visa must be paid an appropriate salary for their position. Their salary must be equal to, or exceed, the minimum salary requirements as set out in Appendix Skilled Worker and Appendix Skilled Occupations to the Immigration Rules. For healthcare workers, these are calculated differently to other occupation codes. This article will explore how healthcare workers’ salaries are calculated for occupations in the relevant pay bands in Table 3.

What counts as a salary?

Only guaranteed basic gross pay can be included to meet the minimum salary requirements. Salaries cannot take into account other allowances, pay or benefits (even if they are guaranteed), such as any of the following: 

  • pay which cannot be guaranteed because the nature of the job means that hours fluctuate; 
  • additional pay such as shift allowance, or overtime or bonus pay, whether or not it is guaranteed; 
  • employer pension and employer national insurance contributions; 
  • any allowances, such as accommodation or cost of living allowances; in-kind benefits, such as equity shares, health insurance, school or university fees, company cars or food; 
  • one-off payments, such as ‘golden hellos’; 
  • any payments relating to immigration costs, such as the application fee or Immigration Health Charge; or 
  • payments to cover business expenses, including (but not limited to) travel to and from the applicant’s home country, equipment, clothing, travel or subsistence.

What are the minimum salary requirements?

In order to meet the minimum salary requirements, an applicant must be awarded 20 ‘tradable points’ from the table at paragraph SW 4.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker. This sets out six different options (A to F) for calculating the minimum salary. 

For jobs in a listed health occupation, the relevant Option is F. As below, applicants with a job in a listed health or education option can only be awarded tradable points from Option F. 

Option Tradeable points requirements Relevant rules Points
F Job in a listed health or education occupation and the applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both:

• £20,480 per year; and

• the going rate for the occupation code.


An applicant with a job in a listed health or education occupation can only be awarded tradeable points from option F.

SW 13.1. to SW 13.7. and SW 14.1 to SW 14.6. 20

How is the general salary threshold calculated?

Only the salary for the first 48 hours a week will be considered towards the general salary threshold. Applicants will need to show that their proposed salary is at least the amount specified for the option that they wish to rely on. The minimum salary for Option F is £20,480. This amount does not change based on the number of contracted work hours per week. Only the going rate is affected by the number of hours worked per week. 

How  do I calculate the going rate for the role?

The listed health and education occupations are set out at Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations. It should be noted that there is no distinction between private practice or NHS roles in respect of the amount that the Skilled Worker migrant must be paid. 

By way of example:

Occupation Code Related job titles Going rate (annual) National pay scale source
2212 Psychologists • Clinical psychologist

• Educational psychologist

• Forensic psychologist

• Occupational psychologist

• Psychologist

• Psychometrist

See relevant pay band in Table 3 NHS Agenda for Change 2020/21
2221 Physiotherapists  



• Physiotherapy practitioner

See relevant pay band in Table 3 NHS Agenda for Change 2020/21
2217 Medical radiographers  Medical radiographer

• Radiographer

• Sonographer

• Therapeutic radiographer

• Vascular technologist

See relevant pay band in Table 3 NHS Agenda for Change 2020/21
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified • Audiologist

• Dental hygiene therapist

• Dietician-nutritionist

• Family planner

• Occupational health adviser

• Paramedical practitioner

See relevant pay band in Table 3 NHS Agenda for Change 2020/21

Health care workers 

The relevant going rates are set out at Table 3 of Appendix Skilled Occupations.

Band or equivalent England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland
Band 3 £19,737 £20,700 £19,737 £19,737
Note: Band 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland falls below the minimum salary of £20,480 in Appendix Skilled Worker paragraph SW 4.2; so the effective minimum is £20,480 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and £20,700 in Scotland.
Band 4 £21,892 £22,700 £21,892 £21,892
Band 5 £24,907 £25,100 £24,907 £24,907
Band 6 £31,365 £31,800 £31,365 £31,365
Band 7 £38,890 £39,300 £38,890 £38,890
Band 8a £45,753 £49,480 £45,753 £45,753
Band 8b £53,168 £59,539 £53,168 £53,168
Band 8c £63,751 £71,365 £63,751 £63,751
Band 8d £75,914 £85,811 £75,914 £75,914
Band 9 £91,004 £102,558 £91,004 £91,004

Please note that dental practitioners’ salaries are not represented in the numbered bands in Table 3 above and are instead set out in the NHS Employers Pay and Conditions Circular (M & D). Medical practitioners’ salaries are also not based on the bands based in Table 3. 

The starting point is to determine where the role fits in within the banding system; this will be determined by the role and the experience of the individual. Once the appropriate band has been identified for the candidate, then the relevant minimum salary for the Skilled Worker route can be determined.

How do I calculate the going rates based on the number of hours worked?

Going rates in Table 3 are per year and based on a 37.5-hour week. They must be pro-rated for other working patterns, based on the weekly working hours stated by the applicant’s sponsor.

If an applicant is contracted to work more or fewer than 37.5 hours per week, then the going rate will need to be adjusted accordingly using the equation below (though note that it must not fall below the general minimum salary of £20,480):

Going rate for the role at 37.5 hours per week × hours contracted to work ÷ 37.5

For example, the going rate for a health worker in Band 5 or equivalent is £24,907 per annum based on a 37.5-hour working week. If an applicant was contracted to work 45 hours per week, the going rate would be increased to £29,888.40 per annum (24,907*45/37.5).

Similarly if an applicant was contracted to work 30 hours per week, the going rate would be reduced to £19,926.60 (24907*30/37.5). However, this would fall below the minimum threshold of £20,480 in paragraph SW 4.2 of Appendix Skilled Worker; as such, the effective salary required £20,480.

Unlike some of the other options in Appendix Skilled Worker, Option F (applicable to health workers) does not allow for salaries at a percentage below the going rate, and does not specify a minimum hourly rate. 

As above, those applying for entry clearance / permission to stay as a Skilled Worker can only be awarded tradeable points from Option F. Therefore, they cannot, for example, rely on having an educational qualification (Option B or C), or a job on the shortage occupation list (Option D), or as a new entrant (Option F) in order to rely on a reduced percentage of the going rate for the role. 

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to applying for a sponsor licence or for a Health ad Care Worker Visa, please contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.

This article was co-written by Dr Catherine Taroni and Georgina Griggs.


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