Doctors, nurses and those taking up jobs in Britain‘s education sector will have to provide a police clearance certificate as part of their visa applications from April, and failure to do so will result in visa refusal, official sources here said on Friday.
The new requirement affects non-EU citizens and individuals applying for entry clearance under the Tier 2 General route to work in the education, health and social care sectors. It will also apply to partners of applicants and a partner applying to join an existing Tier 2 migrant in one of these work sectors.
So far, Indian and other non-EU migrants self-declare that they do not have criminal records. The new requirement will make it mandatory to provide a “criminal record certificate” from any country in which they have lived for 12 months or more in the previous 10 years.
Exceptions to the new rule are applicants under 18, and if providing the certificate is not “reasonably practicable” because the particular country or authority does not produce certificates or because the individual has successfully sought asylum from that country.
Several trusts in the National Health Service, which have been facing staff shortages, have ongoing recruitment from India and other countries. Several universities and education institutions also recruit Indian citizens for various roles.
The new measure is part of steps being introduced to curb immigration, including introducing higher salary thresholds for recruiting non-EU citizens and an “immigration skills charge” of £1,000 per employee per year that will affect Indian companies from next month.
Immigration minister Robert Goodwill said: “Our priority is keeping families, communities and our country safe. Foreign criminals have absolutely no right to be working with society’s most vulnerable.
“While we already reserve the right to refuse a visa to anyone who is convicted of a criminal offence, the introduction of overseas criminal record checks for those looking to work with children and vulnerable adults add an extra safeguard.”
This requirement currently applies to individuals over 18 applying for entry clearance under Tier 1 to come to the UK as entrepreneurs or investors, as well as their adult dependents.
“Under the immigration rules, we have the right to automatically refuse entry clearance for applicants with a four-year or more custodial sentence; at least a 12-month but less than four-year custodial sentence, for 10 years after the end of the sentence; a less than 12-month custodial sentence, for at least five years after the end of the sentence,” an official source said.