The Skilled Worker visa is for non-UK citizens who have received a Skilled job offer from a UK employer holding a Skilled Worker Sponsor’s Licence. This visa classification has replaced the Tier 2 General Migrant visa since December 1, 2020. The employer in question must possess a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence and allocate a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the migrant to enable them to apply for the Skilled Worker visa.
As outlined in paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules, the definition of a “Skilled Worker” pertains to individuals who have obtained, or previously held, authorisation through Appendix Skilled Worker or as a Tier 2 (General) migrant under the previous rules enforced before December 1, 2020.
The Skilled Worker visa falls under the Point Based System (PBS) and allows for points to be granted based on several factors such as the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), level of job skill, English proficiency, suitable salary, possession of a PhD, a job in a shortage occupation, and the applicant is a new entrant. To qualify for the Skilled Worker visa, a total of 70 points must be obtained, with 50 points stemming from compulsory non-tradable points, and the remaining 20 points from tradable points.
The Skilled Worker visa is a pathway to settlement, and an individual who has spent five years in the UK on the Skilled Worker visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a Skilled Worker.
Requirements for Skilled Worker Visa
To get a Skilled Worker Visa, you must be Sponsored by an employer in the UK. Also, you must meet the following rules to be eligible:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You need a current Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the job you intend to perform
- Your job is a genuine vacancy
- Your position is at an appropriate level
- You will be paid a salary that is equal to or greater than the general salary threshold and the “going rate” for your occupation
- Your Sponsor has paid the necessary Immigration Skills charge
- You can prove that you speak English fluently (at least CEFR Level B1)
- You can support yourself and your family without needing help from the government.
- You can prove that you do not have a criminal record.
- You can provide a valid TB certificate (if needed)
English language requirement
You must prove your English proficiency in order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. This has to be level B1 or higher (intermediate). To satisfy this requirement, you can either:
- Be a citizen of a nation where the majority of the population speaks English
- Passed a Secure English Language Test or provide an ECCTIS Certificate
- Obtained GCSE/A Level or Scottish Higher in English while attending school in the UK
- Received a degree taught in English
- Already satisfied this requirement as part of any prior entry clearance application
A job offer from a UK employer must fulfil the following criteria in order for you to be qualified for a Skilled Worker visa:
- Your role must be skilled to at least RQF level 3 in order for the job to qualify for the visa under the new Skilled Worker Visa route (roughly equivalent to A-levels).
- The “going rate” for the kind of work you will be doing, which is the minimum wage, must be paid to you. The annual minimum wage is at least £25,600 if the applicant is coming from outside of the UK or £20,480 if new entrant.
- Your employer must have a current Certificate of Sponsorship and have been given Home Office approval.
- You must possess an eligible code of occupation. You must ask your employer for your code if you have already accepted a job offer.
Additionally, you must be able to demonstrate that the employer is Sponsoring your application to fill a genuine job opening. Your application will be rejected if the Home Office thinks the job was created solely to allow you to apply for the Skilled Worker visa or if it is a hoax.
The annual salary cap for those applying for a Skilled Worker visa is £25,600. This means that whichever is higher, your salary must be greater than or equal to both this figure and 100% of the industry standard. The evaluation will be based on the minimum guaranteed gross pay.
Workers who fall into certain categories might receive pay that is less than what is stated above if they receive more “tradable points” for other qualities, like:
- Possession of a PhD in a STEM field relevant to the position
- Acceptance of an offer for a position on the shortage occupation list
- Newcomers to the labour force
- Applications for positions in the fields of health or education
You will need to fulfil additional financial requirements in addition to meeting the minimum salary threshold. You must have enough funds to cover your expenses while coming to the UK, which must be at least £1,270. Prior to submitting your application, this money must have been kept in your bank account for at least 28 days straight. This could be avoided if your Sponsor certify your maintenance on your CoS.
How much is the cost of Skilled Worker Visa?
Depending on your situation, the cost of a Skilled Worker visa application can range from £625 to £1,423. When applying for your visa, you also need to consider the financial requirements as stated.
You are also obliged to pay Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months. The fee is payable by the main applicant and as well as their dependents.
Applying with your family
If your partner and kids are qualified, they can apply to join you in the UK as your dependents. The following family members are eligible for inclusion in your application:
- Your spouse, civil partner, or dating partner who is not married.
- Your children under the age of 18
You must submit proof of your relationship along with your application.
How to apply for a Skilled Worker visa
A Skilled Worker visa application must be submitted online.
You must provide identification after submitting your application. You can either scan your identity document using the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app or submit your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) at an approved visa application centre.
You must also provide the required documentation and pay the application fees.
If you are already in the UK, you must switch from your current leave to a Skilled Worker visa. Please take note that you cannot switch while holding any of the following categories:
- Visitor/Tourist visa
- A temporary student visa
- Student visa for Parents of children
- Visa for seasonal workers
- Visa for domestic workers living in private homes
- Immigration bail and authorisation to remain outside of immigration laws
If you are in possession of one of the above-mentioned visas, you must depart the UK and submit your entry clearance from abroad.
How long does a Skilled Worker visa application take?
Up to three months prior to the day you are scheduled to begin employment in the UK, you may submit your visa application. This information is contained in your CoS.
The Home Office may require additional time to review your documents and verify your identity depending on your specific situation. Because of this, you should always allow extra time and submit your application on time.
If you are outside of the UK, it typically takes 3 weeks to hear from the Home Office. You might have to wait up to 8 weeks if you are applying within the UK.
How to extend your Skilled Worker visa
Depending on your situation, your Skilled Worker visa is scheduled to expire after a specific period of time. If you satisfy the following criteria you may submit an application to extend your permit:
- You continue to work for the same employer who Sponsored your current application.
- You have changed your job but still working under an eligible Sponsor
- Your job is still classified under the same occupation code as when you were first granted permission to enter the UK.
Your family members are welcome to apply for a visa extension, but they must do so on their own behalf.
If you hold a Tier 2 Visa
If you got CoS before 24th November 2016
Your minimum salary requirement is reduced if you have already requested a visa extension before May 24, 2023. This implies that you must earn at least £20,800 annually.
If you got your CoS on or after 24th November 2016
Before December 1, 2026, if you want to extend your visa, you must meet the new salary requirements. If they are guaranteed for the duration of your stay, allowances might also be included in your salary.
Skilled Worker Visa refusal
Your application for a Skilled Worker visa may be rejected for various reasons. The following are some of the most likely causes:
- Not completing the application form completely
- Not paying the application fee in full or any additional fees that may apply
- Failing to include an eligible job code or CoS reference number.
- Failing to submit the necessary, pertinent supporting documents to prove your eligibility with your application.
- Not having a clean criminal and immigration record
Alternatively, if your employer lacks the proper Sponsor Licence and required paperwork, you might encounter a Skilled Worker refusal. Please visit our Sponsor’s Licence page if your current employer is looking to hire you on a Skilled Worker Visa.
What can you do if your Skilled Worker Visa is refused?
Depending on your situation, there are several reasons why your application for a Skilled Worker visa is rejected. Administrative review is the most typical choice.
Applications may be denied in the following circumstances:
- The entry clearance application for the Skilled Worker Visa
- Switching to the Skilled Worker Visa
- Renewing or extending the visa
You have a limited amount of time to request an administrative review of the decision if you receive a notice of refusal on your application. If you applied outside of the UK, you have 28 days to submit the request; if you applied inside the UK, you have 14 days.
Within 28 days, the Home Office (UKVI) will give you a decision regarding your request. If you are unhappy with how this decision turned out, you might be able to file a pre-action protocol for judicial review. If you disagree with this judgement, you might be qualified to request a judicial review.
We advise speaking with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options if your application for a Skilled Worker visa is denied. We can help you submit the application for an administrative review if it is straightforward.
Services Provided To Skilled Worker Visa
In our capacity as specialised immigration lawyers for Skilled Worker visas, we can offer speedy, affable, and trustworthy immigration guidance and legal representation at a predetermined and fixed fee. Our services encompass the following Skilled Worker visa applications:
- Entry Clearance
- ILR As A Skilled Worker
- Administrative Review (AR)
Services Provided To Dependants Of Skilled Workers
Our team of specialised solicitors for dependant visas is proficient in providing prompt, genial, dependable, and prearranged fee-based immigration counsel and representation for the ensuing applications pertaining to Skilled Worker dependants:
- Entry Clearance
- Administrative Review (AR)
The exact fixed fee for our legal services relating to your application will vary depending on the intricacy of the application and the quantity of casework required for the application. In addition to our fixed fee, the applicant will also be responsible for covering the Home Office UKVI fees applicable to the application.
How can we help
We take pride in having one of the Best Immigration Lawyer in the business, one with a wealth of experience and knowledge to handle all manner of UK Corporate & Personal Immigration matters.
Our expert would be delighted to help you out by conducting a mock audit of your HR processes and later assist you in managing your Sponsorship Management System (SMS). This will enable us to determine any potential weaknesses and implement an action plan to fix them before you make your formal application.
We look forward to working with you to make this experience successful!