Immigration

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NIMDTA is responsible for Tier 2 sponsorship of medical and dental trainees for all training posts in Northern Ireland.   The maximum duration of the Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship will be for the length of the training programme, up to a maximum of five years, as per Home Office regulations.

Once you have accepted an offer, please complete an Application for Certificate of Sponsorship and forward it, along with a copy of your current passport and visa to tier2.nimdta@hscni.netPlease ensure that you forward this information as soon as you accept your offer as a delay could impact upon your start date.

EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, resident in the UK by 31 December 2020, you and your family members need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK beyond 30 June 2021. This status also means you can continue to be eligible for:

• Public services such as healthcare and schools
• Public funds and pensions
• British citizenship, if you meet the requirements and want to apply

For more information and to apply, please visit www.gov.uk/eusettlementscheme

Understanding your right to work in the UK: EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

If you have any queries or require any assistance please contact the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions have been developed to answer most queries in relation to Skilled Worker Visa Sponsorship.  If you have any queries that are not addressed here, contact the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.

Please note that the NIMDTA Professional Support Team are not qualified immigration advisors, therefore they cannot offer immigration advice.

Pre-Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Application Process

1. What different Teams will be interested in my Sponsorship?

A number of different teams will be interested in the progress of your visa application.  These are as follows:

  • Professional Support department – this team manage the sponsorship of all doctors and dentists in training in Northern Ireland. They are required to update the Home Office on any changes to trainees’ circumstances to meet sponsorship requirements under NIMDTA’s Sponsor Licence.
  • NIMDTA Training department – this team will manage your training.
  • NIMDTA Single Lead Employer department – this team will manage the employment of all doctors and dentists in training who are under the employment of NIMDTA. They manage the payroll for NIMDTA.
  • Trust/Host Organisation Medical HR department – this team will manage the employment of all the doctors and dentists in training who are under the employment of the trust. 

Please ensure that all of these teams are kept updated on the progress of your visa application, any likely delays to your start date and on any change to your circumstances.

2. I have already renewed or obtained my Skilled Worker visa with another sponsor. Will I need to apply for another visa?

If your current visa is not sponsored by NIMDTA, you will need to apply for a new Skilled Worker Visa.  Please refer to the current immigration guidance on the UKVI website due to starting with or without your new BRP.  Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

3. I have a valid CoS with another employer, will this have an impact?

If you already have a CoS that has been issued by another sponsor, then NIMDTA will not be able to assign one for the same period, as the Home Office system will only permit one CoS to be assigned to you at any given time.  If this is the case, you will need to contact the other sponsor to ask them to withdraw their CoS to allow NIMDTA to proceed with your application.

4. What information do I need to supply as part of my application?

Please complete all the sections of the application form.  Your completed application should be forwarded to tier2.nimdta@hsnci.net with the following documents:

  • Scanned colour copy of passport (including all relevant pages)
  • Scanned copy of your current visa, including the front and back of your BRP (if applicable)
  • Copy of pay slip/relevant proof of National Insurance Number
  • Copy of medical degree certificate
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

Your application cannot be processed without these documents.

5. Can I apply for my CoS if my current passport is due to expire?

If you are applying from within the UK, as long as your passport is valid at the time of application with the Home Office there should not be any issues.  It is advisable to review when you may be making your Skilled Worker application to the Home Office to ascertain if a new passport is needed in the first instance.

If you are applying from outside of the UK, you need to ensure your passport is valid for more than 6 months so you will be able to travel after your visa has been granted.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Application Process

1. How do I apply for a certificate of sponsorship?

Please complete the ‘Application for a Certificate of Sponsorship’ and forward it, along with the documents listed in Q4 to tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.  Your application cannot be processed without all of the documents.  Please complete this form if you will be new to NIMDTA or if you will be requiring an extension of a current NIMDTA sponsored visa.  Please note, NIMDTA can only request a CoS 3 months prior to a start date as per Home Office guidance.

2. How long will my visa last?

A CoS can only be issued for the length of your training contract and only for a maximum of 5 years at a time. You will need to apply to extend your visa when it is due to expire.

3. I would like to work Less Than Full-Time (LTFT). Is this possible on a Tier 2 visa?

Yes, however the minimum salary requirements for a Skilled Worker or Tier 2 visa need to be met which will restrict what LTFT hours you can request.

Skilled Worker route

All trainees requiring sponsorship from the 1st January 021 will apply under the Skilled Worker route. Under this route you can only work at 80% LTFT. This meets both the requirements of the minimum salary and should be above £20,480 and 80% of salary at the going rate of your job occupation code.

Please refer to the link below for further details. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-shortage-occupation-list

Tier 2 route

If you applied for a visa before 1st January 2021 you will need to meet the minimum salary requirements for a Tier 2 visa. Please see attached guidance on minimum salary requirement for both Skilled Worker and Tier 2.

Part of the Shortage Occupation List stipulates that a CoS cannot be issued for anything less than 30 hours per week. Therefore, LTFT requests can only be made for 30 hours per week or more (this is base hours and would not include on call). The only exception to this is where a trainee is extending with NIMDTA, was previously issued a CoS under the Resident labour Market Test (RLMT) and wishes to work less than 30 hours per week.

Furthermore, to comply with Home Office regulations for Tier 2 sponsorship, you need to be earning a minimum of £30,000 per annum which is calculated on basic salary and excludes any allowances or bonuses.

When applying to work LTFT you will need to consider if your reduced hours will still enable you to earn £30,000 per annum (this is approximately 80% but will depend on your salary); please check this with NIMDTA when making your application for LTFT.

4. I would like to work Less Than Full Time (LTFT) and will be extending my visa with NIMDTA. Is this possible?

If you were previously issued a CoS by NIMDTA under the RMLT regulations, you will be able to work less than 30 hours per week providing you still meet the minimum salary requirements outlined above.

 5. I think my job title is wrong as the CoS states that I am a ‘Specialty Registrar’.

For the purpose of the Home Office requirements, the job title is standard in line with the Standard Occupation Code (SOC) code as per Appendix J of the Immigration Rules (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-j-codes-of-practice-for-skilled-work).

 6. The CoS you have issued states that my salary will be less than I expected. Does this matter?

The salary quoted on your CoS is the minimum guaranteed salary that a doctor or dentist in training will earn, as per Home Office guidance.  Your exact salary will be calculated by your employer, this can be discussed with the Single Lead Employer team (if you will be under NIMDTA employment) or Medical HR within your employing trust.  If you are working Less Than Full Time (LTFT) this figure will be calculated on your basic salary and pro rata for your LTFT hours; evidence of pay slips may be required.

7. I have applied for an extension of my current visa, but the start date isn’t the start date of my next rotation.

When an extension CoS is issued, the start date will be the day after your current visa expires.  You will be able to continue working on your current visa as long as you submit your extension application before the end date of your current visa.

8. My CoS has already been issued, but I have renewed my passport. How do I update my passport details on my CoS?

If you send a copy of your new passport to tier2.nimdta@hscni.net this can be updated on your CoS using a sponsor note.  This can only be done if you have not applied for your visa, if the certificate is marked as used on the UKBA Sponsorship Management System (SMS), this will not be possible.

9. What should I do if I notice something is wrong on my CoS?

When you receive your CoS, please check all details thoroughly.  If you notice a mistake, please contact the Professional Support Department on tier2.nimdta@hscni.net or 028 9536 0224.  A sponsor note will be added to the CoS to correct the error, which will appear in a section at the top of the certificate.  An updated copy will be emailed to you.  Please note that the error on the CoS cannot be removed, therefore it will still appear in the body of the certificate. 

10. What should I do if I decide I no longer want/need a Tier 2 CoS?

Please inform the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net as soon as possible.

11. What updates will I expect to receive from the Professional Support Department during the CoS application process?

Due to the significant volume of certificates being processed it is difficult to provide updates. You should however expect to receive an automatic response confirming that your application has been received and your CoS will be emailed to you once it has been processed.  If the Team have any queries regarding your application, they will email you directly.

Please only contact the Professional Support Department with urgent queries so that the team can process applications as quickly as possible. Please state ‘Urgent’ in the subject box so that we can try to address these as soon as possible.

12. How long will it take for my Cos to be issued?

Sponsors can only request a CoS 3 months prior to a start date as per Home Office guidance, therefore for August start dates the earliest that a CoS can be issued is the beginning of May.  Certificates for February starts can only be issued from November.  Following these dates we will aim to issue CoS within 2 weeks of receiving all the required documentation. 

13. How do I contact the Home Office?

The Home Office can be contacted via their website at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration or via the UKBA Visa and Immigration Contact Centre on 0300 123 2241.

Submitting a Visa Application to the Home Office

Please note that the Professional Support Department are not able to participate in the visa application process, however we have provided some useful information below.  It is your responsibility to review all Home Office information when making your application.

1. When making my application to the Home Office, should I apply under the Health and Care visa route?

Yes, you can and should make your visa application under the Health and Care visa route. We will confirm your eligibility for this on your COS issued to you. You will find this in the ‘Summary of job description’ field of the COS. The requirements for Health and care visa are contained in this guidance and can be found at: Health and Care Worker visa – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

2. Will I have to pay less application fee for Health and Care visa?

Individuals applying for the Health and Care visa will be pay the reduced application fees. All visa application fees, including for the Health and Care Visa, can be found at Health and Care Worker visa – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

3. Are my dependants also eligible for Health and Care visa?

 The visa fee reduction will also apply to your partners and dependants of Health and Care Visa applicants. Partners and dependants of Health and Care Visa applicants should therefore also tick this box. In addition to the reduced visa fee, applicants applying for the Health and Care Visa, and their family will be exempt from having to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge

4. Do I have to pay the ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’ (IHS)?

All applications should be made under the Health and Care visa route and therefore the IHS is not required. For further information, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/who-needs-pay

5. How do I request a refund for my Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as I have overpaid this.

 NIMDTA do not deal with IHS. This is a Home Office requirement. Trainees who have made their application since March 2020 may need to apply for refund, please see the following link for further information: Get an immigration health surcharge refund if you work in health and care – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

6. When making my application to the Home Office, should I apply under the Shortage Occupation List?

Yes, all Medical Practitioners (SOC code 2211) can and should make your visa application under the Shortage Occupation list.

7. What is NIMDTA’s sponsor rating?

NIMDTA is an A rated sponsor.

8. What is NIMDTA’s sponsor number?

You will find the sponsor number at the top of your CoS once this has been issued to you.

9. Is NIMDTA a limited company?

NIMDTA is a public body, not a limited company.

10. Do NIMDTA offer maintenance funding?

 No, as a public body NIMDTA cannot provide maintenance funding. Some applicants must meet the maintenance criteria set out by the Home Office and should ensure that they are aware of the regulations set out for Skilled Worker route applications. Please note, applicants who are already on a Tier 2 visa/Skilled Worker visa (whether extending or changing employment) do not need to prove maintenance.

 11. Do I have to provide evidence of my criminal records?

The Home Office require those applying to come to the UK under Skilled Worker as doctors and dentists in training, and their adult dependants, to produce a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have been resident for 12 months or more, consecutively or cumulatively, in the previous 10 years, aged 18 or over.

If you are successful in being appointed to a training programme in the UK, require Skilled Worker sponsorship, and are applying to come to the UK, you will be required to provide the criminal record certificate to the Home Office when you make your visa application. As it can take some time to obtain a criminal record certificate, it may be helpful for you to begin the process of seeking certificates, if required, at the earliest opportunity.  Details of how to obtain such a check from the relevant authorities abroad is available on the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas-applicants   If the country concerned is not listed, please contact the relevant embassy or consulate for further details. Contact details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foreign-embassies-in-the-uk

Please note that NIMDTA will require a copy of your Criminal Records Certificate as part of the pre-employment check process to supplement NI criminal records checks which will be carried out through AccessNI.  For further information in relation to AccessNI checks please visit: http://www.nimdta.gov.uk/professional-support/human-resources/access-ni-checks/

12. Do I require a Criminal Records Check if I already have a Tier 2 visa?

You do not require a criminal records check if you already have UK entry clearance.

13. Can I have my CoS issued until the end of my Period of Grace?

The CoS is not issued taking the period of grace into account as this is not taken up by all trainees.  If you do require an extension, please complete the ‘Application for a Skilled Worker Certificate of Sponsorship’ and forward it, along with a copy of your current passport and visa to tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.

After Making an Application to the Home Office

1. How long will it take for me to receive the outcome of my application?

The Home Office publish their service standard processing times and will depend on which application and route you have taken. Please refer to the following link for processing times: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration/about-our-services

If you are applying from outside the UK you can also use the link below: Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK

2. I have not received my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). What should I do?

If your application is still within the Home Office service standard processing times (see above) then there is nothing further that can be done at this stage.

If your application has gone over the Home Office service standard processing times you can contact the Home Office directly to query this with them using the link below: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk

If your application is over the service standard processing times, you have contacted the Home Office and not been able to progress this further, you can contact tier2.nimdta@hscni.net and the Professional Support Department will ascertain whether they can assist.

3. Can I start my new post while a decision is pending with the Home Office?

This will be dictated by the type of visa that you have, please see table below:

Current Visa Status

Ability to work prior to receiving your T2 visa

Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa sponsored by NIMDTA (applying for an extension)

You will be able to start working in your new post while a decision is pending on your visa as long as you apply before your current visa expires.

Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa but changing sponsors (change of employment)

You must have your new Skilled Worker visa before commencing your new post

Tier 4/Student visa and you were granted leave after 6 April 2012.

You will be able to start working in your new post as soon as you have completed your Foundation Programme/Masters/Degree while a decision is pending on your Tier 2 /Skilled Worker visa. You must however apply for a Tier 2 /Skilled Worker visa before your Student visa (Previously Tier 4 visa) expires. You should have submitted an application prior to commencing your training post.

Any other visa status or if you hold no visa status in the UK.

You must have your Skilled Worker visa before commencing your new post.

 

Please also refer to the current immigration guidance on the UKVI website in regard to starting with or without your new BRP.    Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

4. What should I do once I have received my new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

You will need to notify NIMDTA that you have received your BRP via tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.  Following this, you will have to complete a right to work check at NIMDTA, which must take place prior to starting work (at least the day before taking up your new post).  You will be required to present the following original documents:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • Degree
  • English Language Qualification (if applicable)
  • Criminal Records Certificates (if applicable)

You will also need to bring details of your accommodation within Northern Ireland.  When this check has completed the Professional Support Department will communicate with your employing trust/host organisation and let them know that you have a right to work, therefore can take up your post (subject to the satisfactory completion of all other pre-employment checks).

5. My BRP has been lost/stolen/damaged. What should I do?

You will need to report your BRP has been lost as soon as possible on the UKVI website. Please see https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/lost-stolen-damaged

6. The end date on my BRP is 31st December 2024 although it was requested for longer, what should I do?

This is correct, and you do not need to do anything at this time. The Home Office have informed NIMDTA that the reason for the leave being capped at 31/12/2024is due to existing EU regulations around the maximum amount of time that BRP cards can be issued.

 This has no impact on an individual’s leave, and any leave approved beyond 2024 will remain valid and applicable. At some point closer to the time information will be provided by the Home Office on obtaining a replacement BRP to cover the full period of leave beyond 2024.

7. I am new to Northern Ireland, what support is available from NIMDTA to help with the transition?

The Professional Support team understand that moving to a new country and training environment can be challenging including negotiating a new culture, work environment, relocating family and all of the practicalities that go with a location move.  We would like to support you by offering the opportunity to be connected with a peer mentor.  Your mentor would be a senior trainee currently training in NI who has completed our mentoring training course.  They will connect with you to support you in the practical aspects of your move and help orientate you to medical training in Northern Ireland.  Mentors will support you through informal meetings at a time and location that fits both your schedules.  Visit the NIMDTA website for further information in regard to the mentoring scheme at Coaching and Mentoring – Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency (nimdta.gov.uk).

Responsibilities during Sponsorship by NIMDTA

1. What changes do I need to inform NIMDTA of?

It is your responsibility to keep NIMDTA informed of any changes in circumstances that occur throughout your sponsorship.  You will need to notify the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net at the earliest opportunity, but no later than 5 working days of the change being implemented so that we can notify the Home Office within the appropriate timescale. Please see the list below for the type of changes you will need to inform us:

  • Your immigration status changes
  • Your training ends earlier than expected
  • Your Inter Deanery Transfer (IDT) application is approved
  • You are changing your hours i.e. Less Than Full Time (LTFT) application is approved
  • An Out Of Programme (OOP) application is approved
  • You are planning to go on maternity or adoption leave
  • You have had a period of long-term sickness (1 month of longer)
  • You are taking a period of authorised unpaid leave
  • You have changed your specialty
  • You are resigning from training

2. I have changed my personal contact details (i.e. home address, contact telephone numbers, email address). What do I need to do?

Please ensure that you update NIMDTA of any changes via tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.  You will also need to update the Home Office of changes to your home address or correspondence address using the following form: https://visa-address-update.service.gov.uk/

3. What are the implications if I do not notify NIMDTA of changes to my circumstances?

If NIMDTA are not made aware of changes to circumstances (as detailed above), this could have implications for NIMDTA’s sponsorship licence which could ultimately lead to the withdrawal of your sponsorship.

4. What information do I have to supply to the Professional Support Department on a regular basis?

As NIMDTA are not your employer (except for trainees within foundation, histopathology, radiology and surgical specialties) you will need to forward copies of your payslips on a monthly basis and copies of your contracts of employment at the beginning of each new rotation.  These documents should be forwarded to tier2.nimdta@hscni.net.  This allows NIMDTA to verify that you continue to earn the salary specified on your certificate of sponsorship.  NIMDTA are subject to unannounced audit visits from the Home Office.  During this visit trainee immigration files are inspected and it is expected that they should include payslips and contracts of employment. 

5. Can I apply for an Inter-Deanery Transfer (IDT)?

Trainees who hold a Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa who are applying to a different region under a different sponsor, will require additional paperwork if the conditional offer of an IDT is made and accepted.  No additional paperwork is required before this time. The trainee will need to obtain a formal signed letter issued on headed paper by their current region, which includes their current region, their future region, their specialty, the agreed post start date and end date (CCT).  This will then need to be forwarded to the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net, copied to your current sponsor so that a change of employment application can be completed.

For example: when a trainee is transferring to NI from sponsorship by Health Education England (HEE), Wales or Scotland, they will need to apply for a new CoS directly from the Professional Support Department at NIMDTA after an IDT offer has been made and accepted.

6. Can I work locum shifts while on a Tier 2 visa?

Trainees on a Skilled Worker can undertake other work in addition to that which their CoS is assigned for.   This is known as supplementary employment and it must:

  • be in the same profession as your main job
  • be for no more than 20 hours per week
  • be outside the normal working hours for which the CoS was assigned

You can also undertake unpaid voluntary work.  It is your responsibility to advise your new employer that the employment is supplementary to the work you are being sponsored for, so that your new employer can make the necessary checks in relation to the prevention of illegal working.  If you wish to undertake work that does not meet the conditions above you will need to get a new CoS and visa under the sponsorship of your second employer.

7. I would like to go Out of Programme (OOP). Will NIMDTA still sponsor me?

The impact upon your visa is dependent upon the situation, therefore please contact the Professional Support Department via tier2.nimdta@hscni.net for further information.

 8. What do I do if I wish to resign from my post?

You will need to inform the Professional Support Department via tier2.nimdta@hscni.net as soon as possible.  NIMDTA have a responsibility to inform the Home Office of any trainees who terminate their contract of employment before the end date of their CoS.

9. When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

To find out when you can apply for your ILR, please visit the Home Office website for further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/indefinite-leave-to-remain-calculating-continuous-period-in-uk

10. I want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), what do I require from NIMDTA?

If you are applying for ILR, you will require a letter from the Professional Support Department. Please email the team on tier2.nimdta@hscni.net to request the letter; you will need to include the following information with your request:

  • a copy of your last 3 months payslips
  • periods of absence from the UK
  • evidence of your absences from work during the period of your certificate of sponsorship from the relevant HR departments
  • evidence of your annual leave from the relevant HR departments
  • If you are on maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave: the date this commenced and evidence of your salary (payslip) immediately before your leave started.

We will endeavour to send the letter to you via email within 5 working days.

Once you have received a decision from the Home Office, you must inform the Professional Support Department at tier2.nimdta@hscni.net and email a copy of your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 5 working days of receiving it. NIMDTA will update your records and cancel your Tier 2 as per Home Office guidance.

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