Work visas update

Overseas staff make an important contribution to healthcare in the UK. We welcome our overseas colleagues and directly support 3,000 CSP members who qualified overseas.

Some of our members will be coming to the end of Tier Two (General) Visas. They may be facing the prospect of having to leave the UK. This is both personally difficult and could have negative impacts for patients, given the current shortage of physiotherapists across the UK.

The CSP Council will be reviewing our policy on overseas physiotherapy staff in March. This briefing sets out some of the issues relating specifically to Tier Two Visas. It is intended solely as background information and not as advice on individual circumstances.

Tier Two General Visas

Tier Two Visas give a temporary right to live and work in the UK for people from outside the European Economic Area[1]. Visa holders are sponsored by an employer who is registered with the Home Office. The total number of visas issued each year is capped as part of the UK Government’s policy of restricting net migration.

It may be possible, with extensions, to work in the UK on a Tier Two General Visa for up to six years. After five years, a visa holder may be able to apply for permanent settlement, if they earn at least £35,000pa and meet other conditions - see's Apply to settle in the UK.

Permanent settlement is problematic for physiotherapy staff. Only the highest paid Band 6s and above will reach the £35,000 salary minimum. Some professions are exempt from the £35,000 minimum, including nurses. This is because they are judged by the Home Office to be a shortage occupation.

Physiotherapy is not on the shortage occupation list. The CSP is reviewing the evidence for physiotherapy being added to the list, should Council wish to make a case for this. However some of the factors applying to nursing do not apply to physiotherapy.

The CSP is aware of a campaign by a non-member physiotherapist to reduce the £35,000 minimum for NHS staff to the average salary of £28,000. Council will be asked to consider its position on this in March.

Helping individual members

The CSP advises members from overseas on HCPC registration, employment and a range of other matters. However, the CSP is not permitted to provide individual immigration advice. We do help members find the information or advice they may need.

The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner regulates immigration advisers. This links will help you find OISC-registered advisers in your area. Note some advisors will charge for advice.

[1] EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland & Lichtenstein.