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A guide to converting your Student visa

Are you a Student visa holder in the UK who is about to graduate and register as a healthcare professional? Are you already looking for work in healthcare with a Graduate visa? Learn how to switch to a Health and Care Worker visa and find a meaningful and rewarding career in the NHS in Scotland.

Graduate visa

If you’d like to live and work in Scotland after you’ve successfully completed your course, you can convert your Student visa to a Graduate visa. This will give you permission to stay in the UK and look for work for up to 2 or 3 years, depending on your qualification level.

Find out more about applying for a Graduate visa.

If you find employment in the NHS within the first few months of graduating, you can switch directly to a Health and Care Worker visa.

Eligibility for visa conversion

To convert your Student visa or Graduate visa to a Health and Care Worker visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have a job offer from an NHSScotland Health Board with a Worker licence.
  • The salary must meet the minimum requirements.
  • The job on offer must be on the eligible occupation list.
  • You must meet the necessary English language requirements.
  • In some cases, you must have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK.

All registered nursing, midwifery, AHP, and medical roles meet the minimum salary requirements and can be found on the eligible occupation list. 

Most health boards have a sponsorship license in place.

Steps to convert your visa

Follow these steps to switch to a Health and Care Worker visa.

Once you have received a job offer, you need to apply for registration with the relevant professional body.

If you are not already registered with your relevant professional body, the process for registration can be found on one of the following websites:

When you receive your certificate of sponsorship from your employer, you can apply to the UK Government for a Health and Care Worker visa. You must do this before your Student visa or Graduate visa expires. 

As part of your visa conversion application, you may need to demonstrate your knowledge of the English language. Check the UK Government website to find out if you’ll need to prove your knowledge of English.

Your visa application can take up to 3 weeks to be processed by the UK Government. Once you have successfully secured a Health and Care Worker visa, you can live and work in the UK for up to 5 years.

If you want to stay for longer, you can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like. However, you must continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

After 5 years in Scotland or elsewhere in the UK, you may be able to apply to settle permanently. This is also known as indefinite leave to remain.

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