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Tier 2 sponsors – Criminal record certificates required for health, social care and education workers

Applicants for Tier 1 investor and entrepreneur visas are currently the only class of applicants required to provide criminal record certificates from previous countries of residence. However, the requirement will be extended to applicants applying for a Tier 2 visa from outside of the UK from April 2017.

The Home Office has announced that from 6 April 2017, those applying to come to the UK for employment under certain SOC codes will be required to produce a criminal record from any country they have resided in for 12 months or more, consecutively or cumulatively, in the previous 10 years.

This requirement will apply to applicants aged 18 or over and adult dependants.

This will have ramifications for Tier 2 visa applicants, as well as for employers planning to sponsor those applicants. We have yet to be issued guidance as to the specifications for the certificate, however it is likely that – as with the requirement on applicant for Tier 1 visas – the certificates will only be valid if they have been issued within six months of the visa application. This may cause difficulties for applicants and sponsors as processing times for obtaining said certificates can vary, depending on which country or countries the applicant has lived in. Indeed, it may take longer to process a certificate when the applicant no longer resides in that country.

As we await further guidance from the Home Office, we recommend that employers planning to sponsor Tier 2 applicants assess the potential implications and begin to inform prospective employees that they may be subject to this requirement when they commence their entry clearance application. Employers should consider not only the potential delay for future Tier 2 applications, but also who will bear the costs associated with obtaining the certificate or certificates, including any costs for translating certificates into English.

The affected SOC codes are:

  • 1181 – Health services and public health managers and directors
  • 1184 – Social services managers and directors
  • 2211 – Medical practitioners
  • 2212 – Psychologists
  • 2213 – Pharmacists
  • 2214 – Ophthalmic opticians
  • 2215 – Dental practitioners
  • 2217 – Medical radiographers
  • 2218 – Podiatrists
  • 2219 – Health professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 2221 – Physiotherapists
  • 2222 – Occupational therapists
  • 2223 – Speech and language therapists
  • 2229 – Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 2231 – Nurses
  • 2232 – Midwives
  • 2312 – Further education teaching professionals
  • 2314 – Secondary education teaching professionals
  • 2315 – Primary and nursery education teaching professionals
  • 2316 – Special needs education teaching professionals
  • 2317 – Senior professionals of educational establishments
  • 2318 – Education advisers and school inspectors
  • 2319 – Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 2442 – Social workers
  • 2443 – Probation officers
  • 2449 – Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified.

We will monitor the implication of the requirement for criminal record certificates over the coming months and will provide further updates.


This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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