Immigration

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

Once you have accepted an offer, please complete an Application for Certificate of Sponsorship and forward it, along with the documents listed on the application form to immigration.nimdta@hscni.netPlease ensure that you forward this information as soon as you accept your offer as a delay could impact upon your start datePlease note the previous COVID concessions allowing trainees to start work before they receive the decision on their application has ended for anyone changing sponsor.

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 immigration.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 Immigration Team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net .

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

Pre-Certificate of Sponsorship

  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:

  • Immigration Team (Professional Support department) – this team manage the sponsorship of all doctors and dentists in training in Northern Ireland. They are required to update the UKVI 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 payroll and employment of all doctors and dentists in training..
  • Trust/Host Organisation Medical HR department – this team will manage the service requirements for all doctors and dentists in training who are posted to their 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.

  1. 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)

  1. 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 UKVI  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.

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

Please complete all  sections of the application form.  Your completed application should be forwarded to immigration.nimdta@hscni.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)
  • If you only have an e-Visa, please forward a share code to confirm your current status to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net
  • Copy of pay slip/relevant proof of National Insurance Number
  • Copy of medical degree certificate (if you haven’t received your medical degree certificate yet, please submit your application and forward your medical degree to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net at a later date)
  • Proof of English language (if applying to enter the UK to work for the first time)
  • Oriel offer letter

Your application cannot be processed without these documents.

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

If you are applying from within the UK, your passport must be valid at the time of applying for your visa.  .  It is advisable to review when you may be making your Skilled Worker application  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 immigration.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, you can only apply for a visa  3 months prior to your  start date as per UKVI guidance.

  1. 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.

  1. I would like to work Less Than Full-Time (LTFT). Is this possible on a Tier 2 visa/Skilled Worker 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.  Please contact the immigration team to discuss your request at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net or 028 9536 0224.

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

For the purpose of the UKVI  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).

  1. 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 and is based on basic salary only, as per UKVI  guidance.  Your exact salary will be calculated by the Single Lead employer team when you submit your payroll documents.     We will notify the UKVI of your actual salary if it is increased following review of your payroll documents.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 immigration.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.

  1. 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 immigration team  on immigration.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 and 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.

  1. What should I do if I decide I no longer want/need a CoS?

Please inform the Immigration Team  at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net as soon as possible as another sponsor will not be able to assign a new CoS for the same period until it has been withdrawn

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

Trainees can only apply for their visa  3 months prior to their  start date as per UKVI  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 the CoS within 2 weeks of receiving all the required documentation.  Please only contact the immigration team after the 2-week period has elapsed, or with urgent queries.  For urgent queries please put ‘Urgent’ in the subject box so that the team can easily identify these requests.

  1. How do I contact the UKVI ?

The UKVI can be contacted via their website at Contact UK Visas and Immigration for help – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk or via the UKVI Visa and Immigration Contact Centre on 0300 123 2241.

Submitting a Visa Application to the UKVI

Please note that the Immigration Team 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 UKVI information when making your application.

  1. When making my application to the UKVI , 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 the  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)

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

Individuals applying for the Health and Care visa will eligible to  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)

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

The visa fee reduction will also apply to  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

  1. 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

  1. When making my application to the UKVI , should I apply under the Shortage Occupation List?

All ll Medical Practitioners (SOC code 2211) can and should make their  visa applications under the Shortage Occupation list.  Dental Practitioners (SOC code 2215) should not apply under the Shortage Occupation list.

  1. What is NIMDTA’s sponsor rating?

NIMDTA is an A rated sponsor.

  1. 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.

  1. Is NIMDTA a limited company?

NIMDTA is a public body, not a limited company.

  1. 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 UKVI  and should ensure that they are aware of the regulations set out for Skilled Worker route applications. If you have any difficulties meeting the maintenance requirement, please inform the immigration team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net as soon as possible.  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.

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

You might need to provide a certificate from each country you’ve lived in, depending on your age and how long you stayed in each country.

  • If you’re under 28, you’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more since you turned 18.
  • If you’re 28 or over, you’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in over the last 10 years.

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

  1. Do I require a Criminal Records Check if I already have a Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa?

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

  1. 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 immigration.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 UKVI  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

You may want to consider applying using a priority route to ensure that you have your decision on time.

  1. I have not received the decision on my visa application. .  What should I do?

If your application is still within the UKVI  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 UKVI  service standard processing times you can contact them 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 UKVI  and not been able to progress this further, please contact immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.  NIMDTA have a dedicated Account Manager at the UKVI and can follow up on your application on your behalf (with your consent).

  1. Can I start my new post while a decision is pending with the UKVI?

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 and NIMDTA have received a Positive Verification Notice from the UKVI
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 Skilled Worker visa. You must however apply for a Skilled Worker visa before your Student visa (Previously Tier 4 visa) expires and NIMDTA must be in receipt of a Positive Verification Notice from the UKVI. You must  have submitted your visa  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)

  1. I am new to the UK but can enter the country as a visitor without a visitor visa. Can I enter the UK as a visitor before I get my e-Visa and be able to work when I receive my Skilled Worker Visa?

In order to be able to work in the UK, you must have entered the UK using your skilled worker visa.  If you enter as visitor, before you get your skilled worker visa, you will be asked to leave the UK/common travel area and re-enter using your Skilled Worker Visa.  If you have any queries, contact immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.

  1. Can I travel before I have received the decision on my application from the UKVI?

If you are already in the UK and you have submitted your visa application, you should not travel until you have received the decision as the UKVI will withdraw your pending application.  If you need to travel before you take up your post it is recommended that you apply using a priority route to ensure you have the decision before travelling.

  1. Will I get a BRP or an e-Visa?

If you would require a visa to enter the UK as a visitor, it is expected that you will receive a physical biometric residence permit card.  If you do not require a visa to enter the UK as a visitor it is expected that you will receive an e-Visa only, which can be accessed through a share code.

  1. I have received an email from the UKVI confirming that my visa application was approved. What should I do now?

You will need to forward a share code to the immigration team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.  You can access a share code at: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work. If you will also be receiving a biometric residence permit, you will also need to forward a colour copy of both sides to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.

  1. When do I need to complete a right to work check?

If you are already sponsored by NIMDTA and are applying to extend your visa or you are switching from a Tier 4/Student visa, you will need to complete your right to work check when NIMDTA is in receipt of a Positive Verification Notice.  You do not need to wait for the decision on your visa application.

If you are new to the UK or are changing sponsor you will need to have the decision on your application before you can commence work.  Once NIMDTA is in receipt of your share code, the Immigration Team will contact you to arrange a right to work check.

The right to work check will take place over Teams and should only take approximately 10-15 minutes.

You will also need to bring details of your accommodation within Northern Ireland.  When this check has been completed the Immigration Team  will advise your host organisation and the employment team that you have a right to work therefore can take up your post (subject to the satisfactory completion of all other pre-employment checks).

  1. 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

  1. 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 UKVI  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 UKVI  on obtaining a replacement BRP to cover the full period of leave beyond 2024.

  1. 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 immigration team  at immigration.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 UKVI  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 considering changing your hours i.e. Less Than Full Time (LTFT)
  • 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
  1. You are resigning from training – 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 immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.  You will also need to update the UKVI  of changes to your home address or correspondence address using the following form: https://visa-address-update.service.gov.uk/

  1. 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/suspension of NIMDTA’s sponsorship licence.

  1. What information do I have to supply to the immigration team on a regular basis?

You will need to forward copies of your payslips on a monthly basis to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.   This is a requirement from the UKVI.  NIMDTA are subject to compliance visits from the UKVI; during which officers will inspect trainee files to ensure that we meet requirements detailed in the UKVI Appendix D: Keeping Documents.

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

You can apply for an inter-deanery transfer.  If successful you will have to change sponsors; please notify the immigration team when the date of the transfer has been confirmed so that NIMDTA sponsorship can be withdrawn.

  1. Can I work locum shifts while on a Tier 2/Skilled Worker 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.

  1. 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 Immigration Team at   immigration.nimdta@hscni.net for further information.

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

You will need to inform the immigration team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net  as soon as possible as NIMDTA are required to withdraw sponsorship for any trainees who resign.

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

To find out when you can apply for your ILR, please visit the UKVI  website for further information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/indefinite-leave-to-remain-calculating-continuous-period-in-uk  If your application is successful please inform the immigration team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net so that your sponsorship can be withdrawn.

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