- What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
- Who Can Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa?
- What Jobs Are Eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa?
- What Are the Salary Thresholds?
- English Language Requirements
- Financial Requirements
- How to Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa
- Required Documents
- Fees and Processing Times
- How to Change Employment on a Skilled Worker Visa
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Extension
- How Can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker visa is a type of work visa that allows an eligible applicant to come to the UK to work in an eligible skilled occupation with an approved employer.
Since the changes to the immigration system in January 2021, every Skilled Worker visa applicant will need to achieve 70 points under the new points-based system in order to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa route. Amongst the new changes, employers will also not need to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test, though they still need to obtain a Skilled Worker sponsor Licence.
Applicants will also have to meet certain financial, salary and language requirements in order to be eligible.
If you need support from Newcastle Immigration Lawyers with your UK Skilled Worker Visa application, you can get in touch with us on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers and receive immediate support with your case.
Who Can Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa?
To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you should ensure you meet the following requirements. These include the following:
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must hold a valid certificate of sponsorship for your job
- The job you’re filling must be a genuine vacancy
- Your sponsor must have paid the immigration skills charge (where relevant)
- The role must be at the appropriate skill level for your expertise
- You must have speak English to at least Level B1 on the CEFR scale
- Your salary must equal or exceed the minimum salary threshold and the average going rate for the position
- You must prove that you meet the minimum financial requirements to support yourself
There are other specific Skilled Worker visa requirements that applicants must prove they meet based on individual circumstances.
What Jobs Are Eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa?
As the Skilled Worker visa is intended to be the UK’s “default” work visa for general skilled work, a wide range of jobs are eligible for this visa.
The only jobs that are not likely to be covered by the Skilled Worker visa are those that have their own dedicated visa pathway, such as the case with the Minister of Religion visa or the International Sportsperson visa.
All applicants for the Skilled Worker visa must receive a formal job offer from an approved UK employer in an approved occupation.
Every occupation has a corresponding occupation code, and this code will be used in your visa application. If the Home Office does not believe that your sponsor has chosen the correct code for your application, then it may be refused.
Skilled worker visa applicants applying for an eligible job on the shortage occupation list can be paid 80% of the going rate and will still be eligible to apply for Skilled Worker Visas.
The shortage occupation list can be viewed at the Gov.uk website.
What Are the Salary Thresholds?
The general salary threshold requirements must be met in order to meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker visa application.
In most cases, you will either have to be paid at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. However, if the “going rate” for your job is higher than either of these, you’ll need to be paid at least the going rate as the base minimum.
You may be able to be paid less and still obtain a Skilled Worker visa if any of the following apply to you:
- Your job is in a shortage occupation
- You have an eligible postdoctoral or PhD level qualification
- You’re under the age of 26
- You’re currently studying or a recent graduate
- You’re undertaking professional training
In addition, note that there are slightly different salary requirements for certain healthcare or education jobs.
English Language Requirements
In order to be granted a Skilled Worker Visa, you must demonstrate that you can speak English to a minimum standard.
There are a few ways that you can do this, such as any one of the following:
- Pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider in at least B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
- Hold a GCSE, A Level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or higher, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English qualification
- Having an approved degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English
Alternatively, you will not have to prove your knowledge of English if you’re a national of one of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, the British overseas territories, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the USA.
Lastly, you will not need to prove your English language skills if you are being sponsored to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife or vet and you already hold an English language assessment accepted by the appropriate professional body
The Skilled Worker visa will also require you to meet certain financial requirements. Specifically, you must show that you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK.
In most cases, this will be at least £1,270.
You will need to show that you’ve had this money for at least 28 days, with the 28th day being within 31 days of your date of application for a Skilled Worker visa.
You must also show proof of this when you submit your application, unless you’ve either already been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or your employer has stated that they can cover your costs during your first month in the UK.
If your employer can cover your costs, this must be stated on your certificate of sponsorship.
How to Apply for the Skilled Worker Visa
Whether you are applying from inside the UK, outside the UK, or extending the UK Skilled Worker visa, you must apply online through the gov.uk website.
If you have been told by your future UK employer that you have met the points requirement for sponsorship and you have accepted the offer of employment, you will be asked to provide information so that your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) can be issued.
Once the CoS has been issued, you will have 90 days to apply for your visa. As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a range of personal information about yourself, your job and your personal circumstances. You will also have to provide the relevant documents that prove you meet the eligibility criteria for the Skilled Worker route.
You may also have to attend a visa appointment at a local visa application centre to give your biometrics information for your biometric residence permit.
If you have dependents (spouse or children), you should apply for your own visa first. Following this, your partner and dependents can apply separately.
It’s essential that you get your application for the Skilled Worker right the first time in order to avoid any unnecessary costs or hassle further down the line. A professional immigration lawyer can help you through the process and ensure that you get it right the first time. Call us on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers and receive immediate assistance.
The documents that you’ll need to submit for the Skilled Worker visa may include (but not be limited to) the following:
- Certificate of sponsorship unique reference number
- Proof of knowledge of English
- Valid passport or travel document that verifies your identity
- The title of your job, annual salary, and the occupation code
- Name of employer and their sponsor licence number
- Evidence of savings or finances to support yourself (e.g. bank statements)
- Proof of your relationship with a partner or dependent children if you’re bringing them to the UK as your dependents
- Tuberculosis test results (where relevant)
- Criminal record certificate (where relevant)
- Record of residence in other countries (where relevant)
- A valid ATAS certificate if your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
- Your PhD certificate or valid Ecctis reference number (where relevant)
Any documents not in English or Welsh must also be accompanied with a certified translation.
Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be asked for further information.
We can advise you on the documents to provide and assist you with applying for the Skilled Worker route. For immediate support or advice, you can get in touch with our immigration lawyers on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers.
Fees and Processing Times
Skilled Worker Visa cost
There are a number of costs associated with the Skilled Worker route. These include the application fee, healthcare surcharge and evidence of your ability to support yourself.
As of February 2023, the application fee is between £625 to £1,423 depending on your situation, £624 for the immigration healthcare surcharge, and at least £1,270 in personal savings to show that you can support yourself in the UK.
If you are applying from outside the UK, you can switch or update your visa. The standard fee depends on whether you intend to stay in the UK for up to three years (£719) or more than three years (£1,423).
As well as this, if your job is on the shortage occupation list, your application fee will be lower (£479 or £943 respectively).
Skilled worker visa applications have different expected waiting times mostly based on where the application was made from. In the majority of cases, skilled workers receive a decision on their application within three weeks if they apply from outside the UK or eight weeks if they apply from inside the UK.
In some cases, you may be able to pay for a priority service in order to receive a faster decision on your application for a Skilled Worker visa UK. When you make your application, you will be informed if this is an option for you.
How to Change Employment on a Skilled Worker Visa
There is a process that you must follow if you wish to change employment after coming to the UK with the Skilled Worker route. This is because your visa was granted on the basis of holding a particular job.
You will need to apply to update your visa if the following applies:
- You want to change your job (and employer)
- If your job changes to a different occupation code, or if you leave a job on the shortage occupation list for a job that is not on the list
If you are still working with the same employer, but you have changed your role to a different occupation code, you also need to update your visa.
Your new job must meet the eligibility criteria and a new certificate of sponsorship (CoS) will be required to prove this.
If you take on a second job and you are working for more than 20 hours per week, or it is in a different occupation code, you must update your visa. Any second job will need to meet eligibility requirements and you will be issued a new CoS.
If you are applying to change your employment or update your conditions of work, there are a number of documents required. Depending on what type of passport or travel document you have, you must confirm your identity by providing your biometric information (fingerprints and a facial photograph) at a visa application centre or using a smartphone app to scan your identity document.
For immediate support or advice, you can get in touch with our immigration lawyers on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers.
Certificate of Sponsorship
The certificate of sponsorship (CoS) is one of the most important documents needed as part of the Skilled Worker application.
Your sponsor (normally your employer) will issue you with a CoS when a formal job offer has been made to you and accepted. Your employer must hold a valid sponsor licence in order to issue the CoS.
You will be provided with a defined or undefined CoS.
Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship
An undefined CoS is issued for those already in the UK and who are eligible to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa.
Defined Certificate of Sponsorship
A defined CoS is issued to applicants who apply for their Skilled Worker Visa from overseas. When issued, this type of CoS lasts for only three months and it is necessary to use it to apply for the visa within that time.
How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Extension
Skilled workers can apply for a Skilled Worker visa extension if their visa is due to expire soon. To do so, they must submit a renewal application by filling out the application form on the gov.uk website from within the UK, and before their current Skilled Worker visa expires.
To qualify for the renewal or extension of your Skilled Worker permit, your UK employer must have agreed to extend your contract. This employer must be the same as the one that issued the initial Certificate of Sponsorship with which you obtained your current Skilled Worker visa, and they must still be a Home Office approved sponsor.
Also, you must have the same job that you used to obtain your entry clearance into the UK. The job must also be in the same occupation code as when you entered the UK – only a few jobs are exempt from this.
Furthermore, you must still qualify for a Skilled Worker visa. You will be required to submit supporting documents to prove you still meet the minimum salary requirement and that your English language ability and finances still meet the requirements.
When applying, you will be asked to prove your identity and submit supporting documentation to prove you still meet the requirements for the Skilled Worker route. You can prove your identity by giving your biometrics at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point or through the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.
If you have dependents on your visa, they will need to apply separately to extend their stay.
How Can Newcastle Immigration Lawyers Help?
The Skilled Worker visa is a key visa route for the UK economy and immigration system as it allows hundreds of thousands of foreign workers to come to the UK each year to work in their specific professions.
If you’re a foreign worker looking to come to the UK with a Skilled Worker visa, or any other type of UK work visa, Newcastle Immigration Lawyers can help.
We are capable, professional and understanding immigration lawyers working to serve Newcastle, the wider UK area and beyond. Regardless of what your immigration question, query or issue is, we have the tools and the knowledge to help.
Whether you want extra reassurance that your application and documents have been completed and compiled correctly, looking to take care of legal professionals to complete the process for you, or just unsure of how to make the first step in applying for a visa, we can help.
We can also help if you’re an EU citizen who needs to apply to come and work in the UK, including if you’re looking to apply as a late applicant for the EU Settlement Scheme.
For more information about the services we offer and what we could do for you, take the first step and reach out to us by phone. Call us on 0191 303 8965 or use the contact form to speak to one of our advisers and receive immediate support with your case.
Last modified on July 31st, 2023 at 2:22 pm
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Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to switch to the Skilled Worker Visa. The requirements are as follows:
- You must be on a valid existing visa or have leave to enter which allows you to switch categories
- You must score at least 50 points from mandatory non-tradeable points
- You must score at least 20 points from tradeable points
- You must have evidence of maintenance funds
- You must meet the general eligibility criteria for switching your visa
- E.g. if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, you must have completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa, or the start date of your job must after the completion date of your course, or you must have been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
You must score at least 70 points under the new UK points-based immigration system to be eligible for the visa.
Some of these points are mandatory, while others are tradeable.
Mandatory points: Having a job offer from an approved sponsor counts as 20 points, if the job is at the appropriate skill level, this is another 20 points, while having the required level of English language skills will earn 10 points.
Tradeable points: There are three categories of tradeable points based on the salary of the role. The higher the salary, the more points that you can earn. If you are applying for a job on the shortage occupation list, this is another 20 points, and education qualifications at PhD level will also result in further points.
Like most visa categories, there are restrictions on the activities of Skilled Worker Visa holders to ensure that they abide by immigration rules. These include:
- You cannot access state benefits or other public funds
- It may be necessary to register your stay with the police if you are from a certain country
- You can only complete work as outlined in your Certificate of Sponsorship, otherwise, you must apply to update your visa and be issued a new CoS
In order to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), you will need to prepare evidence that shows you have been resident in the UK for at least five years. Eligible candidates may be able to apply for ILR if they meet all the requirements of the scheme.
After holding indefinite leave to remain for 12 months, you may be able to apply for British citizenship.
We have looked at the process for applying for a Skilled Worker visa extension above. After applying, expect a decision from the Home Office within eight (8) weeks. If you fall in any of the below, your processing time may be longer:
- Your supporting documents need to be verified
- You need to attend an interview
- There’s an issue with your circumstances, such as having a criminal conviction.
It is crucial that you apply for an extension weeks ahead of your visa expiry date. If you apply close to the expiry date or need a faster decision, you may be able to use the Home Office’s priority service or Super Priority Service. The priority service costs £500, and you will get your decision within 5 working days, while the Super Priority Service costs £800, and you will get a decision within one or two working days.