The ‘Skilled Worker’ Visa allows you to come and work in the UK with an employer approved by the Home Office. It has replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa with significant changes made in order to make the process smoother. The Salary Threshold is lowered, the Cap is suspended, and the Resident Labour Market Test is abolished.
To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa,
- You must have a job offer from a UK employer who is approved as a sponsor
- You must have a Certificate of Sponsorship containing information about the job
- You should be getting the minimum salary for that particular occupation
- The job you are offered must be on the list of occupations eligible for Skilled Worker Visa (the eligible occupation list can be found in the links below)
If you’re visa is approved, you can stay and work in the UK for up to 5 years. After 5 years, you can apply to settle permanently in the UK or you can extend the visa. However, if you are changing your job or employer even within the 5-year period, you have to update your visa.
After 5 years, if you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (settling permanently) and it gets approved, you can not only work and study in the UK but also apply and qualify for benefits depending on your eligibility.
The Eligibility of your Job
One of the most important factors that decides whether you get the visa is the eligibility of the job you are offered. Get the occupation code of the job and check if it is in the list of eligible occupations.
The employer offering you the job must be approved as a sponsor by the Home Office (you may check the link below for approved sponsors).
Finally, your minimum salary must be £25,600 per year, £10.10 per hour, or the ‘going rate’ of the job; whichever is higher.
If, for example, your salary is £30,000 per year but the ‘going rate’ of that job is £35,000, then you don’t qualify.
Note, though, that in the following situations, your salary can be between 70% and 90% of the going rate.
- The job is in shortage occupation or
- You are under 26 years of age and are still studying or have graduated recently or
- You have a PhD qualification in the field of science, math, technology or engineering or
- You have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education.
Although the salary can be less than the going rate in the above instances, you should still be getting a minimum salary of £20,480. For a PhD qualification in fields other than what are mentioned above, the minimum salary must be £23,040.
Applying for Skilled Worker Visa
To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to submit an online application. You can do so three months before your start date of the job.
When you apply, you will be asked to prove your identity and to provide the needed documents. Some individuals need an appointment to do this. Once you start the application, you will know whether you need an appointment or not. Usually the earliest you can acquire an appointment is 3 to 4 weeks from the date of submitting your application, despite paying for the Priority Service, however because of our close communications with the Home Office, in most instances we have secured Biometrics Appointments within 3 days of submitting the online application.
You will either have your fingerprints and photographs taken at the visa application centre or use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document.
You need to provide the following information during the application process:
- Reference Number mentioned in the Certificate of Sponsorship
- Passport and other documents proving identity and nationality
- Name and Sponsor Licence Number of your employer
- Job Title and Occupation Code
- Annual Salary
- Proof that you have knowledge of English at B1 Level on CEFR scale
Depending on your circumstances, you may be asked to provide other documents. For example, you need to provide a Criminal Record Certificate if you are working in education, healthcare, social services or therapy.
Aristone Solicitors can look at your particular situation and ensure that you have all the necessary documents in place so that you get the visa without any hassle.
After your complete application is submitted, you will know if you’re approved for the visa within 3 weeks if you’re applying from outside the UK and within 8 weeks if you’re applying from inside the UK. Or you can pay for a Super Priority Service, where you get a decision within 1 working day or you may for a Priority Service, where a decision arrives within 10 workings days (costs can be discussed during our consultation).
Cost Involved in the Process
When you apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to
- Pay the application fee – between £610 to £1,408 depending on the length of your visa
- Pay the health surcharge for the number of years of stay – usually £624 per year
- Show evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself – at least £1,270 for 90 days (or your Employer can certify your maintenance if they are A rated, meaning you do not have to show personal savings of the above amount)
The application fee is lower if your job is on the shortage occupation list.
If you are a doctor or a nurse, apply for the ‘Health and Care Worker’ Visa instead of the Skilled Worker Visa. It is cheaper and you can avoid paying Insurance health surcharge.
You can extend your visa how many ever times you want, provided you have the same job and employer and your job is in the same occupation code.
If you currently on the Tier 2 Visa, you have to meet different eligibility requirements to extend your visa and switch to the Skilled Worker route.
You need to update your visa if one of the following things takes place
- You changed your job or employer
- The occupation code of your job has changed and you’re not in the graduate training programme
- Your job was in the shortage occupation list and then got excluded from it
Please be aware that your new job must also meet all the eligibility requirements. You need a new Certificate of Sponsorship (which costs £199).
You can apply for your visa 3 months before the start date of the new job. You can continue working at your current job while the application is being processed. You can also continue working at your old job until your notice period finishes, but make sure you switch into the appropriate visa category before the expiry of your visa (meaning an application must be submitted before the expiration date of your visa).
Only when you get permission, you can start your new job.
Switching to Skilled Worker Visa
If you are already in the UK on a different type of visa, you can switch to the Skilled Worker visa if you and your occupation meet the eligibility requirements and you have the required English knowledge.
What you can and cannot do?
With a Skilled Worker Visa, you can
- Work at an eligible job or study in the UK
- Take on additional work in some situations
- Travel to other countries and return to the UK
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK
- Bring partner and children as dependants
If you are bringing dependants, please note that they need to apply separately for a visa as ‘dependants’, pay a separate fee and have a certain amount of money to support themselves.
With a Skilled Worker Visa, you cannot
- Apply for benefits like public funds or state pension
- Change your job or employer unless you update or switch visas.
From start to finish, our experienced immigration solicitors will provide the support and consultancy you need to understand your position and choose the best possible course of action. We’ll ensure your application is backed by the complete and compelling evidence necessary to ensure a prompt and positive outcome.
For more information or to discuss your case in more detail, book your obligation-free consultation with our specialists today.