Skilled Worker Visa

UK Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Visa is aimed at overseas skilled workers who have been offered a position in a UK company which holds a sponsorship licence. Applicants need to score at least 70 points on the points based system to be eligible.

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Skilled Worker Visa Application

The new Skilled Worker Visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa in December of 2020. To be eligible, the applicant must have been offered a job at a UK company which holds a sponsorship licence, and they must at least 70 points on the points-based system.

The rules and specificities around Skilled Worker Visa entirely depend on the applicant’s individual circumstances and the nature of the job they have been offered.

The Skilled Worker route can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years of residency in the UK.

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Skilled Worker Visa UK Eligibility

There are a number of requirements which you need to meet in order to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa.

The main eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Must have been offered a job by a UK employer which holds a sponsorship licence
  • The job offer must be a ‘genuine vacancy’ and at an appropriate skill level
  • Must have been given a certificate of sponsorship from the employer, which details information about the job being offered in the UK
  • The job must offer a certain minimum salary, which differs depending on the job role
  • Must be able to prove that your English language ability is to at least the level of B1 as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  • Must have enough money to support yourself whilst you are in the UK (you will need to provide documentation to prove this)
  • Must provide criminal record and valid TB certificate (if applicable)

If your application is successful, you can stay in the UK for up to five years under this immigration permission.

What are the Requirements of the Employer?

If you want to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, your employer (sponsor) must assign you a certificate of sponsorship. The employer can only assign certificates of sponsorship if they hold a sponsorship licence.

The certificate of sponsorship must have been issued no more than three months before your Skilled Worker Visa application date.

In order to sponsor you, your employer needs to pay the Immigration Skills Charge too.

  • Smaller businesses or charitable organisations are required to pay £364 for any period of employment up to 12 months, followed by £182 for each subsequent 6-month period
  • Other businesses and organisations are required to pay £1,000 for any period of employment up to 12 months, followed by £500 for each subsequent 6-month period

In contrast to the Tier 2 (General) Visa, employers do not need to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test when they wish to employ an overseas national.

What are the Job Requirements?

The job which you intend to work must meet certain requirements.

In most circumstances, the job role must be skilled to at least RQF level 3, which is roughly equivalent to A-levels. The skill level is determined by the job itself, and you will not need to necessarily hold a formal qualification.

Each eligible job for the Skilled Worker route has an occupation code, and your prospective employer must choose an appropriate occupation code for your role.

As part of the application process, you will need to satisfy the Home Office that you are being sponsored to undertake a genuine vacancy, and that you are capable of fulfilling the role.

It is not a requirement for the job to be on the shortage occupation list. However, the minimum salary threshold is reduced if the job which is going to be filled is on the shortage occupation list.

What is the Minimum Salary Threshold Requirement?

The job which you will be fulfilling must be offering a salary which equals (or exceeds) the general salary threshold, and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation, whichever is higher.

Generally, the job needs to be offering a salary of at least £25,600 per year, unless the going rate for the job is higher than this. However, there are exceptions to this owing to the new points-based system.

The absolute minimum possible salary to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa is £20,480.

What is the Points Based Immigration System?

The new Skilled Worker Visa is based on a points-based immigration system. Applicants must score at least 70 points on the points-based system to be eligible for the visa. Applicants can accrue points through their level of education and a shortage occupation role.

The ‘mandatory’ points are as follows:

  • Offer of a job from a UK company with a sponsorship licence (20 points)
  • Job at the appropriate skill level (20 points)
  • English-language ability at the level of B1 (10 points)

If the job is offering a salary of at least £25,600 per year/at the going rate (whichever is higher), the applicant will accrue another 20 points to reach the required 70 points.

However, tradeable points enable you to reach the 70-point threshold without necessarily having a salary of at least £25,600.

The tradeable points work as follows:

  • A salary of at least £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is highest): 0 points
  • A salary of at least £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is highest): 10 points
  • A salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is highest): 20 points
  • Job in a shortage occupation: 10 points
  • PhD in a subject relevant to the job: 10 points
  • PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job: 20 points

It is important to bear in mind that for jobs in healthcare and education, the salary rules are different. The going rates for these jobs are set by the relevant independent body.

Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to learn how to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Contact us

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What are the Required Documents?

You will need to submit certain information and documentation to the Home Office as part of the application process.

You will need to provide the following information:

  • A valid passport or other document which shows your identity and nationality
  • Your certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • Proof of your English language ability (unless exempt)
  • Your job title, occupation code and salary
  • The name of the employer and their sponsorship licence number

You may also be asked to provide the following information:

  • Bank statements which demonstrate you can financially support yourself, as explained below
  • Proof of your relationship to your partner, children or dependents if they are applying with you
  • Tuberculosis test result (if applicable)
  • Criminal record certificate if applying for certain jobs. (Broadly speaking, this is jobs in healthcare, education and welfare sectors
  • Your UK PhD certificate or unique UK NARIC reference number if qualification is from outside the UK (if applicable)

Any documents which are not in English or Welsh must be translated by an accredited translator. You need to include both the original version and translated version in your portfolio of evidence.

The specific documents which you need to provide will depend on your own unique circumstances. For this reason, we highly recommend enlisting the services of an experienced immigration law firm.

Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we can advise you on the documents which you will need to include in your application, and work with you through the entire Skilled Worker Visa application process.

Over the years, we have helped many people to secure their UK work visas and begin a new life in the UK.

Our experienced and highly skilled immigration lawyers understand what it takes to formulate a successful application. To find out more about how we can help you, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.

What are the Financial Requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa?

As mentioned, you will need to prove to the Home Office that you can financially support yourself whilst you are in the UK.

You need to prove that you have at least £1,270 available and that you have held the money for at least 28 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of the application.

You will be exempt from the financial requirement if you are being sponsored by an A-rated sponsor who has offered to meet the maintenance cost of at least £1,270 to the end of the first month of employment.

The employer will need to confirm that they will support you financially on your certificate of sponsorship.

Skilled Worker Visa Application Process

You must apply for a Skilled Worker Visa online. You can apply for the visa outside the UK, or inside the UK if you are switching from an eligible visa or extending a current work visa.

As part of the application process, you will need to prove your identity. You will need to either provide your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document. You will be informed of what you need to do when you complete the application.

You can apply for the visa up to three months before the day you are due to start your job. If you apply from outside the UK, you can expect a decision within 3 weeks. Those applying from inside the UK may have to wait up to 8 weeks to receive a decision on the application.

The application process may take longer if the documents and information which you provide is insufficient.  Also, you might be asked to verify certain documents or attend an interview.

Skilled Worker Visa Fees and Costs

The fees for the Skilled Worker Visa vary depending on the particular circumstances of the applicant and their application.

If you apply from outside the UK, the fees are:

  • £610 per person for an application of up to three years
  • £1,220 per person for an application of more than three years

If you apply from inside the UK, the fees are:

  • £704 per person for an application of up to three years
  • £1,408 per person for an application of more than three years

If your job is on the shortage occupation list, the fees are:

  • £464 if staying for up to three years
  • £928 if staying for more than three years

This applies regardless of if you apply from inside or outside the UK.

If you are from one of the following countries, your application fee will be reduced by £55:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey

You will also need to pay the immigration health surcharge as a Skilled Worker Visa holder. Usually, you will need to pay £624 per year annually.

It is important to keep in mind translation fees and English language test fees too, if they apply to you.

What is the English Language Test Requirement?

As a Skilled Worker Visa applicant, you will need to be able to demonstrate that your English language ability is at the level of B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

You can prove you meet the English language requirement if:

  • You have passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • You have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English
  • You hold a degree-level academic qualification (or higher) which was taught in English
  • You have already shown that you meet the requirement when you made another UK visa application
  • You are from a majority English-speaking country

Can my Family Join me in the UK?

Yes, certain family members can join you in the UK as your dependents. A dependent is classed as one of the following:

  • Your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • Your child who is under 18. This includes children who were born during your UK residency
  • Your child who is over 18, if they are currently in the UK as your dependent

If their application is successful, their visa expiry date will be the same as yours.

You will need to provide documents and information to prove the relationship between you and your dependents.

Also, your family members will need to prove that they have a certain amount of money to financially support themselves. You, your partner or your child will need:

  • £285 as partner
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each additional child

If you are looking for information on the UK Skilled Worker Visa, please do not hesitate to get in touch Contact Us

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What Can I Do if I Change Employer?

You will need to apply to update your Skilled Worker Visa (or Tier 2 (General) Visa) if one of the following applies:

  • You want to change your job and your new job is with a different employer
  • Your job changes to a different occupation code and you are not on a form of a graduate training programme
  • You leave a job which is on the shortage occupation list for and job which is not on the list

Your new job will still need to meet the eligibility requirements, and you will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship to prove this.

However, you will not need to provide evidence again if you have been in the UK for more than a year.

You can apply to update your visa up to three months before your new job is due to start. You can continue working in your current job whilst the application is being considered.

Is it Possible to Extend the Skilled Worker Visa?

Yes, it is possible to apply for an extension to your visa if:

  • You have the same job as when you applied for your original visa
  • Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were given your previous immigration permission
  • You are working for the same employer who assigned your current certificate of sponsorship

The current fees for an extension are as follows:

  • £704 per person for up to 3-year extension
  • £1,408 per person for more than a 3-year extension

You will need to provide the Home Office with certain information and documentation as part of the application process.

You will usually get a decision within 8 weeks of your application date.

When Can I Apply for UK Settlement?

You can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which is a form of settlement status, after you have spent five years living in the UK under a Skilled Worker Visa, provided your circumstances haven’t changed significantly.

With Indefinite Leave to Remain status, you can remain in the UK without any immigration conditions imposed on you. After one year of residency in the UK under ILR, you can apply for British citizenship by naturalisation.

The main requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain are as follows:

  • Must have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK
  • You must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in a 12-month period during your five-year residency period
  • Your sponsor is still a Home Office approved sponsor and they still require you to work for them for the foreseeable future
  • You achieve a pass in the Life in the UK test. This is a set of multiple-choice questions about the history, traditions and culture of the UK

How Can Birmingham Immigration Lawyers Help?

Birmingham Immigration Lawyers is a leading immigration law firm which takes pride in the service it offers to the people of the West Midlands.

We are extremely well versed in UK work visa applications and the complications they may bring. We have dealt with all forms of Tier 2 Visas, including the former Tier 2 (General) Visa.

We can help you to formulate your Skilled Worker Visa application to the very highest standard. One of our experienced immigration lawyers can work with you through the entire application process.

We will take the time to understand your individual circumstances and help you to gather all the necessary information and documentation for your crucial portfolio of evidence. We will ensure that your application adheres to all necessary Home Office administrative standards too.

Your immigration lawyer will write a letter of representation, highlighting the merits of your case in accompaniment with your application.

To find out more about how we can help you to secure your Skilled Worker Visa and begin a new life here in the UK, please call us now on 0121 667 6530.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The specific requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa will depend somewhat on your personal circumstances.

That being said, the main requirements for a UK Skilled Worker Visa are as follows:

  • You must score at least 70 points on the points-based immigration system
  • Must have been offered a job by a UK employer with a sponsorship licence
  • Must have received a certificate of sponsorship number from your UK employer
  • The job offer must meet the ‘genuine vacancy’ test
  • Your job must offer a certain minimum salary, which differs depending on the job role. (The absolute minimum possible salary offering is £20,480)
  • Need to prove that you have had at least £1,270 available for 28 consecutive days prior to your application, ending no more than 31 days before the date of the application
  • Must be able to prove that your level of English in speaking, writing, listening and reading is at least at the B1 level as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (unless exempt)

You will also need to provide a criminal record certificate and valid tuberculosis test, if applicable.

There are certain situations in which a Skilled Worker Visa holder can do freelance work whilst in the UK.

A freelance role can only be taken if it is on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and is at the same CoS level as your main role.

Additionally, the freelance role must sit within the supplementary work category and adhere to the Skilled Worker Visa regulations. These regulations state that you can only work an additional 20 hours per week, and that any additional role must not interfere with your main job.

If your time in sponsored employment comes to an end, you will not be able to remain in the UK as a self-employed person. You may however be able to apply for a different form of leave to remain.

Yes, it is possible to undertake extra work, should you wish. You can do additional paid work as long as you will still be doing the job which you are being sponsored to do.

You can work up to 20 hours a week in a job which is either in the same occupation code and at the same skill level as your current job, or is a shortage occupation role.

You can also undertake unpaid work and voluntary roles too.

You are exempt from the English language requirement if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

You can switch to the Skilled Worker Visa from certain other UK visas. You will need to go through the same application process as you would with a standard Skilled Worker Visa application.

You cannot apply to switch to this visa if you are currently in the UK under one of the following immigration permissions:

  • Visitor Visa
  • Short-term student visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa
  • Seasonal worker visa
  • Domestic worker in a private household visa
  • On immigration bail

You won’t be able to switch to the Skilled Worker route if you were given permission not stay outside standard immigration rules either.

You can expect to receive a decision on your application within eight weeks of submitting it.

The UK Shortage Occupation List is routinely updated.

You can find a current list of the Shortage Occupation List here. The Shortage Occupation List for education and healthcare workers can be found here.

No, there is no need to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa if you applied for the EU Settlement Scheme.

However, anyone from the EU (and EEA) area who is applying to work in the UK for the first time and didn’t apply for the EU Settlement Scheme must apply for a Skilled Worker Visa.

Bear in mind that all Irish citizens are exempt from any rules affecting EEA nationals.

The Skilled Worker Visa replaced the old Tier 2 (General) Visa. The requirements for the Tier 2 (General) Visa were similar to the new Skilled Worker Visa.

The Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer Visa, Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa and Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa are all still in operation.

  • The Tier 2 Intra company Transfer Visa is for those who have been offered a position in the UK branch of a multinational company
  • The Tier 2 Minister of Religion Visa is for those who wish to work in a UK faith-based community
  • The Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa is for professional sportspeople