How do I extend my Skilled Worker visa?
You may wish to apply for a Skilled Worker visa extension and extend your authorised stay in the UK for a period of up to six years before your current status expires.
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa extension, you must meet specific conditions, such as being employed by the same company which sponsored your first visa application.
Get in touch with our Manchester immigration lawyers to learn more about your options to extend your Skilled Worker visa, or any other visa query. We help clients with all types of visa renewal, visa applications and all immigration matters.
Who is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa extension?
Holding a Skilled Worker visa does not in itself guarantee your extension will be granted. To qualify for such a visa renewal, you need to score 70 points:
- 30 points for the Certificate of Sponsorship, provided that you are doing the same job for the same sponsor
- 20 points for Earning, if your salary is above the minimum £20k threshold (unless exceptions apply)
- 10 points for Maintenance, although you do not need to prove that you can maintain yourself and your family financially
- 10 points for the English Language criteria, since you should have provided evidence of your eligibility as part of your first application
How do I apply for a Skilled Worker visa extension?
For a successful Skilled Worker visa extension application, first of all, your employer needs to apply for a new unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship. Once this has been granted, you can apply for a visa renewal within three months from the release of the Certificate of Sponsorship, or 60 days before your current leave to remain expires.
If you fail to apply for an extension before your Skilled Worker visa expires, you risk overstaying your immigration status. This can impact any future applications to the Home Office, or even result in deportation from the UK.
If applicable, you must apply for a Dependent Visa extension at the same time as your Skilled Worker visa renewal request.
Skilled Worker visa extension and change of employment
If you wish to change employment and renew your Skilled Worker visa, your new employer first needs to issue you a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
If you are staying employed by the same sponsor, but your role is changing, you need to submit a change of employment application if:
- Your core duties have changed, and a new Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) applies
- Although the same SOC code applies, your new salary is less than the appropriate rate
- You are changing from a job that is currently on the Shortage Occupation List to one which is not
- Your job and core duties change within the same SOC code, provided your pay remains the same
Skilled Worker visa extension documents
Your Skilled Worker visa extension application bundle must include your eligibility evidence submitted in the original format. The following are the required documents:
- Your current passport or any other valid travel document, with at least a blank page
- Your current visa, leave to remain or Biometric Residence (if applicable)
- Your National Insurance Number
- Proof of your immigration history, including any expired passports
- Certificate of Sponsorship and your reference number
Skilled Worker visa to Indefinite Leave to Remain: how do I settle in the UK?
At the end of your Skilled Worker visa extension period, you become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. In fact, one of the requirements for settling in the UK is to have spent at least five years in this country as a lawful resident.
Acquiring Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK is not automatic, meaning that if you wish to apply for it, you must submit your request to the Home Office. To ensure that you qualify for it, you can speak to one of our Manchester immigration lawyers who are specialists in permanent residency matters (you don’t have to come to our Manchester office, we can speak to you via phone or online.)
If you already hold Indefinite Leave to Remain and you wish to apply for British Citizenship, we can also help.
Is there a “grace period” after the expiration of my Skilled Worker visa?
If you do not wish to seek a Skilled Worker visa extension, you are expected to leave the UK before the termination of your current immigration permission.
In other words, you are not permitted to remain in the UK beyond the expiry date of your Skilled Worker visa, unless you have an outstanding application with the Home Office.
If your Skilled Worker visa is terminated, but you wish to return to the UK for any business-related activity for a short period, you can apply for a Business Visitor visa from your home country.
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It takes about eight weeks for the Home Office to process a Skilled Worker visa extension application. Postal applications usually take longer than online.
If you need to receive your response within a strict deadline, you can apply for the Home Office’s premium priority service, which will reduce your Skilled Worker visa extension processing time to ten days.
If you lose your job while on a Skilled Worker Visa, you must inform the Home Office as soon as possible. You will then receive a letter stating the details of your visa curtailment.
As a general rule, you have 60 days or until the end of your visa to either make a new job application or leave the UK. However, finding a new job may not be easy since your new employer may first need to apply for a Sponsor Licence.
To learn more about your options after a Skilled Worker Visa curtailment, you can speak with one of our Manchester immigration lawyers. Contact us now to book a session.
The maximum amount of time you can stay in the UK on the Skilled Worker visa is 5 years and 14 days or the amount of time given on your Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month.
To stay in the UK longer than this you will have to apply for a Skilled Worker visa extension.
Note that any dependents should be included on your visa renewal application.
The impact of overstaying without applying for an extension is that you could be deported by the Home Office.