Skilled Worker Visa

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What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

The Skilled Worker visa came into force on 1st December 2020 and replaced the old Tier 2 (General) work visa. It allows successful applicants to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer (an employer that possess a sponsorship licence).

Who is Eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa?

Under the current points-based immigration system, with the exception of Irish citizens, anyone coming to the UK for work will need to possess certain characteristics in order to score points. Some of these characteristics are mandatory and others can be traded. To be eligible for the skilled worker visa, applicants must possess the mandatory characteristics and have at least 70 points.

Characteristics Mandatory/Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor Mandatory 20
Job at appropriate skill level of RQF 3 or above (A level and equivalent) Mandatory 20
Speaks English to the required standard Mandatory 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Tradeable 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Tradeable 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Tradeable 20
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In addition to the requirements connected to the points-based system, the Home Office must be satisfied that the role offered is a ‘genuine vacancy’. In assessing this, the Home Office will consider whether the role genuinely exists, whether the applicant will actually be performing the role put forward and whether the role has been created primarily for the purpose of the individual staying in or entering the UK. 

Applicants must also demonstrate that they have sufficient personal savings and are able to maintain themselves upon arrival to the UK. To do so, applicants will typically be required to have at least £1,270 in their bank account and demonstrate that they have had this money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for the Skilled Worker visa.

For a brief overview of the Skilled Worker visa requirements along with what you can and cannot do on the visa, please see our Skilled Worker Visa Summary (PDF).

How Can NA Law Solicitors Help with a Skilled Worker Visa Application?

The Home Office review all Skilled Worker visa applications extensively. At NA Law Solicitors, we ensure that your application is prepared to the highest of standards. Our counsel will prevent any unnecessary refusals and ensure a smooth application process.

We will assist you in every step of your application and give guidance with a successful outcome in mind. We can also help with the Sponsorship Licence application process, sponsor duties, applying for a COS application, the genuine vacancy test and the Skilled Worker sponsorship licence application renewal process. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for an initial assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The application fee for the Skilled Worker visa will depend on two factors. Firstly, whether the applicant is applying from outside the UK and secondly, how long the applicant is planning to stay in the UK on the visa.

If you’re applying from outside the UK, the application fee is:

  • £610 per person (up to 3-year stay)
  • £1,220 per person (more than 3-year stay)

If you’re applying from inside the UK, the application fee is:

  • £704 per person (up to 3-year stay)
  • £1,408 per person (more than 3-year stay)

If an applicant’s job is on the shortage occupations list, they will pay a reduced fee regardless of whether they are applying from outside or inside the UK.

If the application is accepted, individuals on the Skilled Worker visa will have to pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of their stay. This is typically £624 per year.

Yes, you can apply for an extension of your visa before your initial visa ends provided: 

  • You have the same job as when you were issued your previous visa
  • Your working in the same occupation code as when you were issued your previous visa
  • You are still working for the employer who assigned your certificate of sponsorship
  • You must be in the UK to extend your visa.

When applying for a Skilled Worker visa, applicants must provide:

  • their certificate of sponsorship reference number
  • proof of knowledge of English
  • a valid passport or other document that shows their identity and nationality
  • their job title and annual salary
  • their job’s occupation code
  • the name of their employer and their employer’s sponsor licence number

Applicants may also need to provide:

  • evidence, such as bank statements, showing that they have enough personal savings to support themself in the UK.
  • proof of their relationship with their partner or children if they’re applying alongside them.
  • tuberculosis test results if they’re from a listed country.
  • a valid ATAS certificate if their employer tells them that they need one because their job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher.
  • Their UK PhD certificate, or your unique Ecctis reference number if their qualification is from outside the UK. 
  • A criminal record certificate if they’re working in certain jobs.

Individuals on the Skilled Worker visa may have their partner and/or children join them in the UK as their ‘dependants’, provided they meet the government’s eligibility requirements.

Individuals can apply to come to the UK under this visa route for a period of up to 5 years. This can be extended for an unlimited number of times as long as the applicant continues to meet the eligibility requirements. Alternatively, after 5 years, applicants may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK.

Individuals on the Skilled Worker visa are permitted to undertake unpaid voluntary work. They are also able to perform supplementary work of up to 20 hours per week provided that the work is either:

  • in the same occupation code and at the same level as the job for which the visa was obtained; or
  • the profession is on the shortage occupation list found in Immigration Rules Appendix K. 

However, applicants are not permitted to apply for a second job until they have started working for their first sponsor.

To find out if your job is an eligible one under the skilled worker visa, you will need to know its four-digit occupation code. If you do not know your occupation code you can find it by searching for your job in the ONS Occupation Coding Tool. Once you know your code, you can view the table of eligible occupations to see if it is included.

Approved employers, also known as sponsors, are those employers that possess a sponsorship license. To find out if your prospective employer is an approved one, you can view the register of licensed sponsors.

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