Important News for Employers in the Health, Social Care and Educational Sectors

Those making applications for entry clearance under certain Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes for skilled work sponsored (Tier 2) visas for the UK will now be required to provide overseas criminal record certificates.

Previously the requirement to provide an overseas criminal record certificate only applied to individuals applying for entry clearance under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Investor categories. However from 6 April 2017, this requirement has been extended to include those that are working with vulnerable adults or children in the medical, social and education sectors. Applicants are required to provide a criminal record certificate for any country (excluding the UK) where they have resided continuously or cumulatively for 12 months or more, in the 10 years prior to their application. Their adult family members are also subject to this requirement.

Which SOC codes are affected?

The requirement to have an overseas criminal record certificate is mandatory and a list of those affected within the health sector includes medical practitioners, psychologists, pharmacists, ophthalmic opticians, midwives and nurses; health services directors, social workers, probation officers in the social care sector; and those working as primary, secondary and nursery education teaching professionals are also included in the list.

What does this mean for employers within the education and health and social care sectors?

  • Inform applicants that they will need to have the certificate before making an entry clearance application and introduce the certificate as an essential pre-employment check and at the beginning of the offer process
  • Make applicants aware that applications could be refused if an applicant or their adult dependant does not have a certificate
  • Consider timeframes for recruitment to the post i.e. how start dates could be affected if an applicant is not able to obtain a certificate within due time and impact on staffing and resources
  • Ensure that recruitment, safeguarding and related policies are updated appropriately

How to obtain a certificate

Instructions on how to obtain a certificate differ from country to country. The Home Office has published detailed guidance on how to obtain a certificate. The guide can be found by clicking on the following hyperlink


This measure creates another layer of protection for children and vulnerable adults in connection with those recruited to trusted positions in respect of their care and assists employers in these essential public services regarding safer recruitment. It must not be forgotten, though, that criminal records checks are only part of appropriately safeguarding service users and learners in connection with recruitment.

As a consequence of this new requirement, employers in education and health and social care should consider planning recruitment farther in advance where they plan to sponsor applicants from outside of the EU so as to avoid unfilled positions within their services for lengthy periods, to the potential detriment of the quality and efficiency of their provision.


This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of June 26, 2017.