SKILLED WORKER VISA

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What is a Skilled Worker visa?

The Skilled Worker UK visa route allows employers to recruit European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and non-EEA nationals to work in the UK in a specific job in an eligible skilled occupation. This visa has replaced the
Tier 2 (General) work visa

This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill occupations as defined in the Home Office’s Immigration Salary List where a reduced salary threshold applies.

What are the business requirements for the Skilled Worker visa route?

  • A company must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor Skilled Worker visa holders and hold a valid Sponsor Licence for the Skilled Worker route
  • If you do not already hold a sponsor licence, you must apply for one by completing the online application form, paying the relevant application fee, and submitting the supporting evidence specified in the sponsor guidance
  • If you already hold a valid licence to sponsor workers, but it does not include the Skilled Worker route, you can apply to add the Skilled Worker route to your existing licence
  • You must be able to offer employment that meets the skill level and salary requirements for the Skilled Worker route, is genuine and which does not amount to the hiring of the worker to a third party to undertake an ongoing or routine role
  • You must be able to explain (and, where appropriate, provide evidence of) how a sponsored worker was recruited to assist the Home Office with assessing whether a vacancy is genuine

    Further Information and FAQs

    • How do you know if your role is on the Immigration Salary List?

      The Home Office has published the Immigration Salary List which lists those jobs in the UK where the Government considers it sensible to offer a discounted salary threshold, rather than being a list of all occupations experiencing labour shortages.

      Included occupations have a 20% discount to the general salary threshold.

      Occupations listed are typically within the fields of agriculture, forestry and fishing, science, the arts, construction, care and animal care.

      Jobs included on the Immigration Salary List are different across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with Scotland having the largest majority of roles included on the list.  In particular, managers and proprietors in forestry, fishing and related services, boat and shop builders and repairers and chemical scientists in the nuclear industry are listed for Scotland only.

    • Is a Resident Labour Market Test required for a Skilled Worker visa?

      Although a formal Resident Labour Market Test is no longer required for a Skilled Worker visa application, employers must still be able to explain (and, where appropriate, provide evidence of) how you were recruited to assist the Home Office with assessing whether your vacancy is genuine.

    • Do you need to satisfy an English language requirement for a Skilled Worker visa?

      You must satisfy a basic English language requirement in reading, writing, speaking and listening to at least level B1 (unless an exemption applies). Exemptions apply if you are a national of a majority English speaking country such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA or if you met the same level of requirement in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.

    • Do you need to satisfy a financial requirement for a Skilled Worker visa?

      You must have held £1270 in your bank account for a 28-day period before you apply unless you are applying for permission to stay in the UK and have been living in the UK with permission for 12 months or longer on the date of application. You also do not need to evidence this if your UK job role is with an ‘A-rated’ sponsor who can certify your maintenance.

    • Do you need a criminal record certificate for a Skilled Worker visa?

      There is no general requirement to submit a criminal record certificate with your Skilled Worker application. However, if you are applying for entry clearance to the UK and are being sponsored for a job in certain health or education occupation codes, you must provide a criminal record certificate from the relevant authority in any country in which you have been present for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the 10 years before the date of application, and while aged 18 or over.

    • Can you change employer in the UK if you hold a Skilled Worker visa?

      Yes, you can change employer in the UK if you hold a Skilled Worker visa. However, your new employer will need to issue you with a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) and your new role must meet all of the requirements as detailed above.

      You’ll also need to apply to update your visa with the Home Office and receive your new visa before you can work with your new employer compliantly in the UK.

    • Can you do any supplementary work in the UK if you hold a Skilled Worker visa?

      In addition to the job specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), you can do additional work in the UK if it is either a job listed in Appendix Immigration Salary List, a job in the same profession and at the same professional level as the job for which your CoS was assigned, or in any eligible SOC 2020 occupation code, provided it is no more than 20 hours a week and outside your CoS working hours.

      If the extra work meets the above requirements, you do not need to inform the Home Office before taking extra work.

    • Can you switch from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa in the UK?

      You can apply to switch in the UK from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa if you have completed your course.

      Alternatively, if you are studying on a full-time course at degree level or above with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance, you will be able to apply to switch before course completion, as long as your employment start date is not before your course completion date, and those studying full-time towards PhDs with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance will be able to switch after 24 months’ study in the UK on the PhD course.

    • How long is a Skilled Worker visa valid for?

      The Skilled Worker visa can be granted for up to 5 years. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

      You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

    • Can you apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) as a Skilled Worker visa holder?

      Yes, the Skilled Worker visa route provides the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after having spent a 5-year continuous period in the UK.

    • How long will your Skilled Worker visa application take to process – inside of the UK?

      If you apply from inside the UK, the application can take up to 8 weeks to process.

      You can get your visa faster within 5 working days if you pay an extra fee of £500 for the priority visa service or by the next working day if you pay an extra fee of £1000 for the super priority visa service.

    • How long will your Skilled Worker visa application take to process – outside of the UK?

      If you apply from outside the UK, a decision is typically made within 3 weeks.

      You may be able to get your visa faster within 5 working days if you pay an extra fee of £500 or by the next working day if you pay an extra fee of £1000, subject to availability at your visa application centre.

Why Viaje

Why use VIAJE for Skilled Worker visa matters?

Excellent technical knowledge of all aspects of Skilled Worker visa applications

It’s all taken care of: we provide expert legal advice specific to your matter

Cost effective service with upfront fixed fees so that you know what to expect

Being able to contact your lawyer out of traditional office hours, assisting clients globally

Unwavering commitment to delivering excellent client care

Meticulous preparation of all supporting documentation to expedite the approval process

Whether you’re seeking a Skilled Worker visa for England or Scotland,
we’re here to help

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