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Immigration

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.

If you require a Skilled Worker Visa, please complete an Application for Certificate of Sponsorship

Please ensure that you do this as soon as you accept your offer as a delay could impact upon your start dateIf you are changing sponsor, you will need to be in receipt of your visa before you can commence work as the COVID concession allowing applicants to start before they get their decision has ended. 


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.

 

 FAQs - Pre-Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Application Process

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. They will also communicate immigration related information to the teams listed below.
  • NIMDTA Training department – this team will manage your training and need to be made aware of your right to work status
  • NIMDTA Single Lead Employer department – this team will manage the employment of all doctors and dentists in training who are on NIMDTA payroll, therefore they need to be advised of your right to work status/start date/any changes in circumstances.
  • Host Organisation Medical HR department – as you will be posted to a trust/practice, they will need to be aware of your right to work status and need to be kept updated on any changes to your circumstances.

 

The Professional Support team will keep all relevant individuals updated on the progress of your visa application; therefore you need to ensure that you keep the team informed via immigration.nimdta@hscni.net

If your current visa is not sponsored by NIMDTA, you will need to apply for a new Skilled Worker Visa.  All trainees are eligible to apply for a health and care 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 – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

 

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.

Please complete all the sections of the application form.  Your completed application should be forwarded to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.  Additional documents required are listed on the CoS application form.

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.

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. NIMDTA do not certify maintenance as standard.  If you are experiencing difficulties providing evidence of your own maintenance, please advise the Professional Support team via immigration.nimdta@hscni.net when you apply for your CoS.  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.

 

FAQs - Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Application Process

Please complete the ‘Application for a Certificate of Sponsorship’ and forward it, along with the required documents listed on the application form 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, NIMDTA can only request a CoS 3 months prior to a start date as per Home Office guidance.

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.

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

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

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 ).

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 are working Less Than Full Time (LTFT) this figure will be calculated on your basic salary, pro rata for your LTFT hours.  Evidence of pay slips may be required.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Please inform the Professional Support team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net as soon as possible.

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 a CoS within 2 weeks of receiving all the required documentation.

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 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 Home Office information when making your application.

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: https://www.gov.uk/health-care-worker-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 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table

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

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

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

Dental Practitioners are not included in the Shortage Occupation List, therefore should not apply under this.

NIMDTA is an A rated sponsor.

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

NIMDTA is a public body, not a limited company.

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/

 

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

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 Certificate of Sponsorship’ and forward it, along with a copy of your current passport and visa to immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.

 

What happens after making a Visa application to the Home Office

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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visa-decision-waiting-times-applications-outside-the-uk

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 immigration.nimdta@hsnci.net and the Professional Support team will raise a query directly 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: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

You will need to forward the Home Office receipt for your visa application.

This will include your application reference number, which the Professional Support Team will use to carry out a check on your immigration status via the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS).

This should result in a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) that confirms that you have a right to work.  Once this has been received you will need to attend a Right to Work check via zoom with a member of the Professional Support Team.

This MUST take place prior to starting work (at least one day before you take up your new post). 

Following completion of this check, the Professional Support Team will confirm if you can start work in the absence of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

When this check has completed the Professional Support team will communicate with your host organisation to 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).

If the ECS check results in a Negative Verification Notice (NVN) you will not be permitted to start work; therefore the check will be re-submitted to the Home Office.

Please check that all the details on your biometric residence permit are correct, including that they Cos reference number matches the reference on the Certificate of Sponsorship that you used to apply for your visa.

If you find a problem with your BRP you must report it (via https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/report-problem) within 10 days, otherwise you may have to apply and pay for a replacement card.  Please also notify the Professional Support team of the problem.

 

If the details on your BRP are correct, you will need to forward a colour copy of both sides of the card to the Professional Support team (immigration.nimdta@hscni.net) and forward a share code which can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work

The Professional Support team will use this code to check your immigration status via the Home Office website; once complete no further checks on your status will be required by NIMDTA.

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

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 31/12/2024 is 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.

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.

Please visit the International Graduates webpage for some useful resources to help you settle into life in Northern Ireland: International Graduates – Northern Ireland Medical & Dental Training Agency (nimdta.gov.uk)

 

We would also 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: https://www.nimdta.gov.uk/professional-support/mgt-of-trainees-req-support/coaching/

 

Your Responsibilities during Sponsorship by NIMDTA

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 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 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

Please ensure that you update NIMDTA of any changes via immigration.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/

If NIMDTA is 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.

Trainees who hold a Tier 2/Skilled Worker visa can apply for an inter-deanery transfer, however they will need to arrange a new CoS/visa through the region that they are relocating to.

Sponsorship via NIMDTA will be withdrawn from the date of leaving the NIMDTA training programme.

Trainees on a Skilled Worker/Tier 2 visa 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

 

Please refer to the current immigration guidance on the UKVI website in regard to the limit on working hours - Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents

 

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.

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

You will need to inform the Professional Support team via immigration.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 by withdrawing sponsorship through the UKVI Sponsorship Management System.

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

If you are applying for ILR, you will require a letter from the Professional Support team. Please email immigration.nimdta@hscni.net to request the letter.  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 team 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 Skilled Worker/Tier 2 visa as per Home Office guidance.

 

Process for Visa Extension post GP CCT

Process for Visa Extension post GP CCT

As of June 2023, GP trainees who are completing training are able to avail of a 4-month post CCT extension at the end of their current visa, to give extra time to secure a work with a new employer and arrange sponsorship.

This is not an alternative to securing sponsorship with a new employer after completing training; the scheme is only to allow GP trainees to legally remain in the UK while looking for employment and waiting to start work.

The immigration team will contact eligible trainees in advance of their CCT to offer the extension.  All trainees should ensure that they respond to the immigration team to advise whether they wish to avail of the extension or not.

                                                                                                   

Who should/shouldn’t apply?

  1. It will be your decision about whether you should apply for the additional four months post CCT extension.
  2. If you have already secured employment and sponsorship with a new sponsor by the end of your training, you will not need to apply.
  3. If you have a new immigration status by the end of your training (for example ILR), you will not need to apply.
  4. If you do apply and your application is successful, the additional four months will be added to the end of your current visa, however a new BRP will not be issued.
  5. You cannot apply more than 1 month prior to the expiry date of your current visa or your CCT date. Applications submitted too early will be rejected by the Home Office.

 

How to apply

When it is time to apply, please follow the steps below:

If your visa is due to expire at your CCT date

 

  1. Make a Skilled Worker Visa application (using the health and care route) via the UKVI website: https://www.gov.uk/health-care-worker-visa/extend-your-visa Please note you will need to pay the associated visa application fees at this time, but will be refunded later - see point 7

 

  1. As part of this application, you will need to use the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) number currently issued to you for your training (or the most recent one if you’ve had an extension before your CCT date) and NIMDTA’s sponsor licence number (you will also find this on your CoS).

 

  1. Add the start date as the day after your visa expires (i.e. if your BRP is due to expire on 01/02/2024 please add 02/02/2024).

 

  1. Add the end date as your start date plus 4 months (i.e. if your start date is 02/02/2024 the end date will be 01/06/2024).

 

  1. Notify NIMDTA at nimdta@hscni.net that you have applied for the 4-month extension.  Forward your UKVI application reference number and the full name and reference numbers for each dependant (as per the application form/passport).  NIMDTA are required to inform the UKVI of trainees who wish to take up the offer.
  2. The Home Office will then ‘hold’ your application for a period 4 months.  Please note they will not assess your application and you will not be given a decision or a new visa. Your application will just be placed in a holding position so that your stay in the UK will not be curtailed and you will not be asked to leave.

 

  1. When you find a new employer, they will issue you a CoS for you to apply for a further Skilled Worker Visa. You will then need to make an application for a further Skilled Worker visa directly with UKVI, with the relevant start and end dates of your new employment and pay the associated fees.

 

  1. Once your second application is received, the Home Office will refund the cost of one of the applications directly back to you.

 

If you have additional leave remaining on your current visa

 

  1. Notify the immigration team at NIMDTA at nimdta@hscni.net that you would like to avail of the 4-month post CCT extension. The immigration team will notify the UKVI that you have completed training and will be switching to the post CCT extension.

 

When you secure employment and a new sponsor, please notify the immigration team at immigration.nimdta@hscni.net


Frequently Asked Questions

 

What happens if I don’t submit a new CoS before the end of the grace period?

Your visa application will be considered on the basis of the information you have already provided, and may be refused.

 

Should my dependants apply at the same as me?

Yes. Your dependants should apply at the same as you to extend their visas. If your dependants apply later their applications may not be considered in line with your application, and may be refused.

 

Will this affect my application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

No. Any extension taken under this scheme submitted before the expiry date of your visa will extend your permission under Section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971, and this time period within the UK will be counted as Skilled Worker permission for the purposes of calculating eligibility for settlement. Section 3C extends the person’s existing permission until the application is decided (or withdrawn).

 

Can I continue my training using the additional four months offered by this scheme?

No. If your training is extended (i.e. your CCT date is delayed), you will need to apply for a normal extension visa with NIMDTA. You can then use the additional 4 months post CCT date should you need it (and follow the process above) once you have successfully completed your training.

 

Can I undertake locum work during the additional four months offered by this scheme?

Yes. You will be able to work as a locum GP whilst you are seeking permanent employment in the field. However, the purpose of this scheme is to find permanent employment at a Skilled Worker licenced employer.

Can I travel overseas during the additional four months offered by this scheme?

 

If your current visa is due to expire at your CCT date

No. If you were to leave the Common Travel Area (consisting of the UK, Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands) whilst your application is outstanding it will be treated as withdrawn and you will be unable to return the UK.  Any ongoing immigration status you have under Section 3C (see above) will lapse as soon as you leave the UK, even if you remain within another part of the Common Travel Area.  If you were to leave the Common Travel Area during this period you will need to make an application from overseas once you have been offered a job.

 

If you have additional leave remaining on your current visa

As you don’t need to submit another visa application to take up the extension, you can travel during the extension period for the purposes of a short holiday, however the purpose of the extension is to remain in the UK to secure further employment.

 

What happens if I change training specialty before my CCT date?

This scheme is only being offered to those who complete their training in the GP specialty. If you change specialty before this, you will no longer be eligible.

 

Will I receive confirmation that my post-CCT extension has been approved?

You will not receive confirmation from the UKVI, however the immigration team will confirm when they have notified the UKVI that you have submitted an application.


If you have any queries, please contact the immigration team at 028 9536 0224 or  immigration.nimdta@hscni.net.


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