Extending your Skilled Worker Visa
The UK Skilled Worker Visa is the primary immigration route through which overseas nationals take up employment in the UK. If your application for a Skilled Worker Visa is approved, it is usually valid for an initial five-year period.
However, it is possible for holders of the visa to apply to extend their stay in the UK beyond this five-year period. To do this, you must apply for a visa extension before your current leave to remain comes to an end.
After five years, you may apply for indefinite leave to remain (permanent settled status) if you meet the eligibility requirements.
Because the Skilled Worker Visa category has changed, how you extend your visa depends on how your visa was issued.
If your certificate of sponsorship was issued prior to or after November 2016, check the Gov.uk visa extension page for further details about the extension requirements you must meet.
Our legal team are adept at assisting with the Skilled Worker Visa extension application process. We will work alongside you and your employer to ensure you receive your desired outcome.
Get in touch on 0121 667 6530 or enquire online- we’re here to assist you.
Can I extend my Skilled Worker Visa?
When you apply to extend your visa, your eligibility is dependent on whether you continue to meet the requirements for the visa category. With this in mind, it is crucial that your job role and annual salary qualify you to work in the UK.
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa or a Tier 2 (General) extension, you will need to prove the following:
- Your job has not changed since your visa was granted
- Your job still has the same occupation code
- You are working for the same employer
Further requirements to extend your visa include:
- Proof that you have the necessary level of English language ability
- Biometric information (fingerprints and a digital photograph of yourself)
- Evidence that you have enough funds available to support yourself and your dependents
- A new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- An appropriate salary for your role
How long will it take for an extension application to be processed?
In the vast majority of cases, a Skilled Worker Visa extension application will be processed within eight weeks of its submission.
However, failing to submit appropriate evidence in support of your application could lead to delays.
This is because the Home Office will need more time to review your case.
Additionally, there are certain circumstances in which you will be required to attend an interview to confirm your eligibility and this can also lead to delays.
You are able to submit your extension application up to 60 days prior to the expiration of your current leave to remain.
If your application is time-sensitive, you may be able to opt for the Home Office’s super-priority service- this enables you to receive a decision within one working day.
Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for an extension and continue to work in the UK.
How to extend a Skilled Worker Visa
If you are a skilled worker who wishes to remain in UK-based employment, it is possible to apply for a visa extension.
You must submit your extension application prior to the expiration of your current visa. In addition, you must apply from within the UK.
If your employer decides to extend your contract, they will need to apply for an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Skilled Worker Visa extension application form
The Skilled Worker extension application form can be found on the Gov.uk page. You will be required to submit supporting documentation to demonstrate how you meet the eligibility criteria.
As well as this, you should be prepared to pay the application fee, the immigration healthcare surcharge, submit your biometric information, and your CoS.
Can I apply for ILR with a Skilled Worker Visa?
In order to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), an individual must have been continuously resident in the UK for at least five years.
Applying for ILR can be a lengthy and complex process. You will be required to have a minimum level of English language skills (unless exempt), pass the Life in the UK test, and meet other eligibility requirements in order to have your application accepted.
As the visa is issued on a five-year basis, you may be able to apply for ILR after the first visa expires. You may choose to extend the visa if you do not wish to settle in the UK or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements for ILR.
You may extend the Skilled Worker Visa as many times as you wish, but if you wish to settle permanently in the UK, it may be more convenient for you to apply for ILR.
The benefit of holding settled status means that you are not bound by any visa restrictions. You may work for any employer you wish, in any role, and access public benefits if you need them.
I want to change my job – can I still extend my visa?
If you no longer work for the employer that sponsored your original Skilled Worker Visa application, you will not be eligible to extend your visa.
This is because the extension is based on you working at the same job. If your job changes, you cannot apply for an extension.
If you wish to change your current role or work for a different employer entirely, you must apply to update your visa.
You should apply to update your visa in the following cases:
- You want to move jobs and employer
- Your job changes to a different occupation code
- You want to move from a job on the shortage occupation list to one not on the list
You will be required to demonstrate how you meet the eligibility requirements and also obtain a new certificate of sponsorship.
Similarly, you must also update your visa if you decide to take on a second job (under certain circumstances).
Extending dependents’ visas
It is possible for visa applicants to bring their dependents to the UK with them (if they meet eligibility requirements).
This is done through applying for a Skilled Worker Dependent Visa. ‘Dependent’ in this sense refers to the partner or child of the main visa applicant.
It is also possible to include your dependents on your extension application. If your child has turned 18 during your time in the UK, they will need to apply separately.
It is important to ensure that all dependents have the correct visa to remain in the UK and that they extend their visas at the same time as the main applicant.
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If your employer decides to extend your contract, they will need to apply for an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). You should apply for the visa extension either within three months of your new CoS being issued or 60 days before the expiration of your current visa (whichever is sooner).
If your dependents are included on your current visa, they can also be included on your visa extension.
However, if they reach the age of 18 during your time in the UK, they will need to apply for a separate visa.
Once your application to extend your visa has been submitted, it should usually be processed within eight weeks.
If you need a decision on your application quickly, you can opt for the priority service. This should provide you with a decision within ten days. It may be possible to pay extra for a same-day result.
Yes, although it may seem unusual, it is possible for Skilled Worker Visa holders to study in the UK. The Home Office allows skilled workers to do the following activities:
- Work in a job according to the terms of their visa
- Bring eligible dependents
- Take on a second job (under specific circumstances)
- Undertake voluntary work
- Travel to and from the UK
- Apply for settled status after five years (where eligible)
A Skilled Worker Visa is valid for five years. After this time, if you wish to stay in the UK, you may extend the visa, apply for indefinite leave to remain, or switch to a new visa category, depending on your eligibility and circumstances.
If you wish to change jobs or employer during the term of your visa, you must apply to update it.
Any children of Skilled Worker Visa holders born in the UK are not automatically granted British citizenship.
The parents of a child born in the UK while on a Skilled Worker Visa must apply for a dependent visa to enable travel to and from the UK.
There are eligibility criteria for dependent visas and it is recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer if you need assistance with your application.
We understand the importance of securing continued employment in the UK. For this reason, we do everything within our power to help our clients through the Skilled Worker Visa extension process.
If you opt for our services, your dedicated immigration lawyer will:
- Complete your Skilled Worker visa extension application form in full to the highest standard
- Frequently liaise with the Home Office throughout the application process until a decision is reached
- Conduct a thorough documentation check to ensure that all your paperwork is correct
- Ensure that all of your dependents have the correct documentation in place
- Prepare a Letter of Representation outlining the strengths of your application to the Home Office, drawing attention to relevant laws in support of your case
- Review your sponsoring business to ensure that they are compliant with Home Office guidelines
- Assist a business in obtaining the Sponsor Licence required to employ non-British workers
We offer immigration advice sessions to help you with all your immigration needs. We are ready to provide comprehensive advice and support on your case, no matter how complex it is.
Get in touch with us today to get help with your Skilled Worker Visa renewal.