- What is the Skilled Worker visa?
- Skilled Worker Visa UK requirements
- Employer requirements
- Job requirements
- What is the points-based immigration system?
- Skilled Worker Visa list of roles
- Skilled Worker Visa documents and financial requirements
- Apply for Skilled Worker route
- Skilled worker visa processing times
- English language requirement exemptions
- What are the Skilled Worker Visa UK fees?
- Skilled Worker Visa UK: How to change employer
- Skilled Worker Visa extension
- When can I apply for UK settlement?
- How we can help
- Frequently Asked Questions
Skilled Worker Visa Application
The new Skilled Worker Visa UK (2021) replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa in December 2020. To be eligible, skilled workers must have been offered a job at a UK company that holds a sponsorship licence.
Importantly, applicants must get at least 70 points on the new points-based system.
The rules and specificities around the 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.
What is the Skilled Worker visa?
The Skilled Worker visa allows employers in the UK to sponsor non-UK citizens for skilled positions.
People who score 70 points by meeting specific requirements, like skill level, salary, English ability, and having a valid job offer from a UK employer with a sponsorship license, can apply for this visa.
The visa lets spouses, long-term partners, and dependent children of the main applicant come to the UK as dependents.
Lasting for up to five years, the visa also offers the opportunity to be eligible for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain after its validity ends.
Skilled Worker Visa UK requirements
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.
Skilled Worker Visa employer requirements
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 old Tier 2 (General) Visa, employers now do not need to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test when they wish to employ an overseas national.
This is because the Resident Labour Market Test rule was officially removed from the immigration rules in 2020.
Note that employers must still meet these conditions to hire foreign skilled workers:
- The job must be a genuine existing role
- The job must not have been created for the purpose of allowing the applicant to come to the UK
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 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.
The general salary threshold for the Skilled Worker route is a salary of at least £25,600 (or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher) unless the going rate for the job is higher than this.
There are some reasons why you can be paid less:
- Some healthcare/ education roles
- If your role is on the shortage list
- If you are aged under 26 years, a graduate, or in professional training
- If you have a STEM PhD qualification
- If you have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
The absolute minimum possible salary for skilled workers is £20,480.
What is the UK's points-based immigration system?
The new UK 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.
View the official Home Office publication on the Skilled Worker Visa guidance.
Skilled Worker Visa list of eligible jobs
What skilled workers are needed in the UK?
There are over 1,100 roles on the list of jobs available for skilled workers. While there are too many to list here, here is a sample list of some of the eligible roles:
|Occupation code||Job type||Example job title|
|1115||Chief executives and senior officials||Chief executive, Chief medical officer, Civil servant, Vice president|
|1172||Senior police officers||Chief superintendent, Detective inspector, Police inspector|
|1241||Health care practice managers||Clinic manager, GP practice manager, Veterinary practice manager|
|2111||Chemical scientists||Analytical chemist, Chemist, Development Chemist, Industrial chemist, Research chemist|
|2121||Civil engineers||Building engineer, Civil engineer, Highways engineer, Petroleum engineer, Structural engineer|
|2136||Programmers and software development professionals||Analyst programmer, Database developer, Games programmer, Software engineer|
|2216||Veterinarians||Veterinarian, Veterinary practitioner, Veterinary surgeon|
|2231||Nurses||District nurse, Health visitor, Mental health practitioner, Nurse, Practice nurse, Psychiatric nurse, Staff nurse, Student nurse|
|2413||Solicitors||Managing clerk, Solicitor, Solicitor partner|
|6125||Teaching assistants||Classroom assistant, School assistant, Teaching assistant|
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.
How to apply for the UK Skilled Worker Visa
The steps involved in applying for the Skilled Worker route are:
- Receive an eligible job offer from a UKVI-approved employer in the UK
- Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for the visa
- Gather your supporting documents (and translations if necessary)
- Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa online
- You can apply for the visa outside the UK, or inside the UK if you are switching or extending a current work visa
- Prove your identity by submitting your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document
- 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
- If you apply from inside the UK, you may have to wait up to 8 weeks to receive a decision
The application process may take longer if the documents and information which you provide are insufficient. Also, you might be asked to verify documents or attend an interview.
Skilled worker visa processing times
For skilled worker visa applications, the processing time is typically around 8 weeks when applying within the UK, and about 3 weeks if applying from outside the UK.
The option to fast track visa applications in 24 hours is an available option at an additional fee.
English language requirement exemptions
There are certain countries exempt from meeting the UK English Language requirement is not needed for citizens of these countries:
Skilled Worker Visa Fees
The Skilled Worker Visa fees vary depending on the particular circumstances of the applicant and their application.
In the table below is a detailed explanation of the cost of the visa for skilled workers:
|Type of application||Length of application||Application fee|
|Apply from outside the UK||Up to three years||£625|
|More than three years||£1,235|
|Apply from inside the UK||Up to three years||£719|
|More than three years||£1,423|
|Shortage occupation roles (inside and outside the UK)||Up to three years||£479|
|More than three years||£943|
You may also need to pay the immigration health surcharge which is typically £624 per person annually.
How to Change Employer on Skilled Worker Visa UK
You will need to apply to update your UK Skilled Worker Visa (the former Tier 2 Skilled Worker 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 a Skilled Worker Visa extension if you meet the following criteria:
- 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.
Use our document checklist for ILR to determine whether you are eligible to apply for settled status.
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.
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.
Last modified on August 29th, 2023 at 11:13 am
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The specific requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa route will depend somewhat on your personal circumstances.
That being said, the main requirements are:
- You must score at least 70 points on the points-based immigration system
- Must have been offered an eligible 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 minimum salary offering is typically £25,600 or in some cases, £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 must pay the Skilled Worker Visa fees
There are certain situations in which a 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.
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.
Additionally, if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
You can expect to receive a decision on your application within eight weeks of submitting it.
The UK Shortage Occupation List is routinely updated. Your job offer may come from this list (but it is not necessary).
Obtaining a job offer from this list means that you will receive an additional 20 points (tradeable), meaning that you just need 50 points to be eligible.
There is a separate list for education and healthcare workers.
All applicants must also meet the Skilled Worker Visa UK requirements, regardless of whether their role is on the shortage list.
No, there is no need to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa if you applied for the free 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 the Skilled Worker route.
Bear in mind that all Irish citizens are exempt from any rules affecting EEA nationals.
A Skilled Worker visa typically has a validity period of up to 5 years. However, the exact duration can vary based on individual circumstances, the length of the employment contract, and other factors. After the initial period, visa holders might be eligible to apply for an extension or, under certain conditions, for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain.