Coronavirus - UK Visa Guidance on NHS work and volunteering
UK Visa Guidance on NHS work and volunteering
This guidance applies to Imperial College staff employed in clinical/medical-related roles (including the following groups) who wish to/agree to undertake clinical/medical-related work for NHS:
- Clinical academics with job descriptions that include clinical/NHS activity, and hold substantive College employment contracts and honorary NHS contracts
- Clinically qualified employees (usually undertaking roles in medically-related research (who may or may not hold an NHS Research Passport))
Any College staff who wish to/agree to undertake clinical/medical-related voluntary work/volunteering for NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic should also refer to the Staff Volunteering During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Under UKVI Policy and Sponsor guidance and Coronavirus guidance:
- Tier 2/Skilled Workers in clinical/medical-related roles can undertake supplementary work for the NHS as a Medical Practitioner with no weekly working hours restriction.
- Tier 5 (GAE)/Temporary Worker sponsored researchers in clinical/medical-related roles can undertake supplementary work for the NHS as a Medical Practitioner. The usual 20 hours per week maximum applies.
- Medical Practitioner work (SOC code 2211) is listed on the current Appendix Shortage Occupation List and therefore meets other supplementary work eligibility criteria.
- Supplementary work does not need to be recorded/reported to UKVI by individual or sponsor.
- Any absence/reduction in working hours from their usual role due to coronavirus does not need to be reported to UKVI
- If an individual is granted authorised leave from their usual College duties due to Covid-19, the College would still define them as ‘continuing to work and be employed by the College’ and they would therefore meet the other supplementary work eligibility criteria.
- If the combined working hours for NHS and/or College will be in excess of 48 hours per week, then the employee will need to complete and return working time directive opt-out declaration forms to both College and NHS employers.
Visa extensions for frontline health workers
- Some frontline health workers who work for the NHS are eligible for a free one-year visa extension. Unfortunately, even though you may be undertaking significant frontline NHS work, most College staff employed in clinical/medical-related roles are not sponsored under one of the eligible SOC codes listed at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-frontline-health-worker-visa-extension.
- The only exceptions would be if:
- You are sponsored by the College under an eligible SOC code and are undertaking frontline NHS/covid-19 medical work; or
- A close family member is sponsored by the NHS employer under an eligible SOC code
If you believe that you qualify under one of these exceptions, please contact the Staff Compliance team.
- Unless you qualify for one under one of the above exceptions, you will need to follow the standard visa extension process and pay the relevant visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees as normal.
Non-clinical voluntary work/volunteering
Any College staff who wish to/agree to undertake non-clinical voluntary work/volunteering for NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic should refer to the Staff Volunteering During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
- UKVI sponsor guidance confirms that voluntary work is permitted. There is no restriction on the number of hours than can be volunteered.
- If a Tier 2/Skilled Worker, voluntary work in any sector is permitted and does not need to be reported to UKVI.
- If a Tier 5 (GAE)/Temporary Worker sponsored researcher, voluntary work can only be undertaken where this has been specifically recorded on their CoS. Individuals must therefore contact the Staff Compliance team and receive relevant confirmation before starting any voluntary work.
- If the combined voluntary and working hours for NHS and/or College will be in excess of 48 per week total, then the employee will need to complete and return working time directive opt-out declaration forms to both College and NHS employers.
- Only reasonable expenses are permitted to be paid to volunteers. No other direct payment or ‘payment in kind’ is permitted under the sponsor guidance.
Please note that it is important to follow the usual supplementary work guidance and eligibility criteria before accepting any paid work in addition to the main College sponsored role.
UKVI Policy and Sponsor guidance
Changes to the current restrictions on the number of hours you can work or volunteer
There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and you are a:
- Tier 4 /Student
- Tier 2/Skilled Worker and your NHS job is a second job
- visiting academic researcher
- holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer
If your student or employee is absent
We will not take enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences due to coronavirus.
You do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus.
This can include absences due to illness, their need to isolate or inability to travel due to travel restrictions.
You do not need to withdraw sponsorship because of coronavirus if:
- a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days
- an employee is absent from work without pay for more than 4 weeks
This will be kept under review.
UKVI Policy and Sponsor guidance:
Tier 2/Skilled Workers and 5/Temporary Workers sponsor guidance
S8.9 Workers sponsored on the Worker and Temporary Worker routes (other than the exceptions mentioned below) can undertake additional work other than that for which their CoS was assigned if they meet certain conditions. We call this supplementary employment.
S8.10 Supplementary employment must be:
- in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work for which the worker’s CoS was assigned or be a job which is in an occupation listed in Appendix Shortage Occupation List to the Immigration Rules – if the occupation is later removed from the list of shortage occupations, the worker must finish that employment
- for no more than 20 hours a week; and
- outside of the normal working hours for which the worker’s CoS was assigned
S8.11 Where supplementary employment is permitted, it does not have to be with a licensed sponsor. Sponsored workers do not need to advise us of any supplementary employment they undertake as long as it meets these criteria.
S8.12 If the worker undertakes additional employment that does not meet the supplementary employment criteria, and they have not been granted permission to allow them to take such employment, the worker will be in breach of their conditions of stay.
S8.13 A sponsored worker should advise their new employer that the employment is supplementary to the work they are being sponsored to do, so their supplementary employer can make the necessary checks recommended in our guidance for employers on illegal working. See ‘Right to work checks: employer guidance’ on GOV.UK for information on this.
S8.20 Those sponsored in the Worker routes are permitted to undertake voluntary work in addition to the work for which their CoS was assigned. This could include volunteering, without any contractual obligation, for a charitable organisation. Those undertaking voluntary work must receive no payment or other remuneration for this activity, other than reasonable expenses as outlined in section 44 of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (as amended by from time to time).
S8.21 Temporary Workers are not permitted to do voluntary work, unless they are on the Charity Worker route, or on the Government Authorised Exchange Worker route and volunteering is recorded on their CoS, in which case they may undertake that voluntary work only.
Tier 2/Skilled Worker guidance
Taking on additional work
You can do additional paid work on this visa as long as you’re still doing the job you’re being sponsored for. You can also do unpaid voluntary work.
You can work up to 20 hours a week in a job that’s either:
- in the same occupation code and at the same level as your main job
- in a shortage occupation
Check if your job is on the list of:
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19), there’s currently no limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer if you have a second job as an NHS doctor, nurse or paramedic.
Tier 5/Temporary Worker policy guidance
100. You can undertake work that is supplementary to that for which your Certificate of Sponsorship has been issued unless you are here as a private servant in a diplomatic household and your entry clearance was granted under the Rules in place on or after 6 April 2012.
Supplementary employment must meet the following criteria:
- must be in either a job on the shortage occupation list in Appendix K of the Immigration Rules or a job in the same sector and at the same level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned;
- must be no more than 20 hours per week;
- must be outside of your normal working hours for which your Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned
101. If you are granted leave as a sportsperson under Tier 5, you can also take work as a temporary sports broadcaster.
102. You must continue to work for the sponsor in the employment that the Certificate of Sponsorship records that you are being sponsored to do.
103. Applicants do not need to advise us of any supplementary employment they undertake as long as it meets the above stated criteria/