- What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
- Skilled worker eligibility and requirements
- How to apply
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Skilled worker visa extension
- Costs and fees
- Salary requirements
- The Shortage Occupation List
- Knowledge of English
- Family members
- How can Manchester Immigration Lawyers help?
- Frequently asked questions
What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker Visa was previously known as the Tier 2 Skilled Worker Visa and has now replaced this as part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system. The Tier 2 route only applied to non-EU nationals, but free movement in the United Kingdom ended on the 31 December 2020, now EU citizens also need a visa to get permission to stay and work in the UK. The new Skilled Worker Route requires applicants to be categorised as a worker at the appropriate skill level and to score at least 70 points.
Scoring the required points for this permit does not mean that your application will be automatically accepted or that you will be given entry clearance. The Home office will also review applications against the General Grounds for Refusal Criteria so applications may still be refused.
The process for applying can be complicated and costly, to ensure you get it right first-time seek professional guidance or hire one of our expert immigration lawyers.
It’s worth noting that those who are eligible for the EU settlement scheme do not need to apply for apply for a Skilled Worker Visa.
Nationals who may be eligible for the EU settlement scheme include citizens from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein who were already living inside the UK before the 1 January 2021.
Irish Citizens can work in the United Kingdom without this permit and do not need to apply for the EU settlement scheme.
Eligibility and Requirements
The Skilled Worker route is part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system and you will need to be score at least 70 points to be eligible for this route. The 70 points can be scored in different ways including:
- Valid certificate of Sponsorship – 30 points
- Appropriate salary rate – 20 points
- Knowledge of the English language – 10 points
- Maintenance funds – 10 points
As well as this you should ensure that you are able to meet the other requirements before applying. You can be eligible for this visa route if you:
- Have a job offer from a UK-based company for a role at the appropriate skill level
- Hold a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by a licensed sponsor
- Will be able to meet the appropriate salary threshold for the job
- Meet specific English language requirements
- Can support yourself and your family without relying on public funds.
How to apply
To apply for a for entry clearance under the Skilled Worker Visa Route you will first need to receive a job offer from a UK-based company that is a registered Skilled Worker Route sponsor. If they are not a registered sponsor already then they will need to apply for a Sponsor Licence.
Your employer will need to give you a Certificate of Sponsorship, once your CoS has been granted, you will be able to start your application. You must apply online via the gov.uk website.
You must apply within 3 months from the date your CoS was assigned. You should know that if your application is refused and you wish to make another request, you will need a new CoS.
As well as submitting the application from to the Home Office, you will also need to submit a portfolio of evidence to prove to the Home Office that you meet all of the relevant requirements.
Certificate of Sponsorship
One of the main requirements is that your employer is on the licensed Skilled Worker Sponsor list. You will need to show this in your application by providing proof through your CoS.
The CoS is not a physical document but a reference number that must be included in your application. Should your company have its Sponsor Licence revoked while you are an employee there, you will need to find a new sponsor and reapply for your visa.
If your employer is not a registered sponsor then they will need to apply to be on the sponsorship list.
Skilled Worker Visa extension
If you already have a Skilled Worker Visa and you would like to remain in the country after the 5 years are up, you will have to apply for an extension.
If you have any dependents on your visa, such as children, siblings or a spouse, then it’s important to ensure that they are also included on your extension application if they are still a dependent.
You will be eligible to apply for an extension if you meet the following criteria:
- You have remained at the same company as when you were previously granted your work permit
- You are still earning an ‘appropriate salary’
- You still meet the eligibility requirements
Costs and fees
The fees vary depending on where you are applying from and how long you plan to stay in the UK for. The current fees are as follows:
For applications from outside of the UK:
- up to 3 years – £610 per person
- more than 3 years – £1,220 per person
Applications from inside the UK:
- up to 3 years – £704 per person
- more than 3 years – £1,408 per person
If your job is on the Shortage Occupation list, then the fee is lowered to:
- £464 if you’re staying for up to 3 years
- £928 if you’re staying for more than 3 years
Citizens from some countries are also eligible for a £55 fee reduction.
It’s also important to consider other costs that you will incur when applying, these may include:
- English Test – £150
- Biometric fee (to have your fingerprints and photo taken for your Biometric Residents Permit) – £19.20
- Immigration Health Surcharge – unless on a Health and Care visa then you will be required to pay the health surcharge for access to the NHS, this costs £624 a year.
To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, you must be able to meet the minimum salary threshold for your role. You’ll usually need to be paid at least £25,600 per year, or the ‘going rate’ for your job, whichever is higher.
The going rate varies depending on the type of job, you can find out the going rate for your job using your occupation code.
In some circumstances, you may not need to meet the salary threshold of £25,600 or the going rate of your job, this applies to you if:
- your job is in a shortage occupation
- you’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate
- you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,040)
- you have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
In these circumstances you can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,480 per year.
The Shortage Occupation List
The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is a list of jobs compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that identifies roles in the United Kingdom that are in short supply of employees.
The aim of the list is to set out the types of jobs that immigrants are needed to fill in Britain. Your application fee will be reduces if your role is on the Shortage Occupation List.
Just some of the jobs on the SOL include: Medical practitioners, electrical engineers, nurses, artists, biological scientists and many more.
There is also a list that is specifically for jobs in Scotland.
Knowledge of English
You may need to prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. You can prove your knowledge by either:
- passing an approved test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening
- having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD
You don’t have to prove your knowledge if you are from a majority English speaking country.
You may also be exempt from proving your knowledge if you have a disability.
Your family members (‘dependants’) can come with you when you come to the United Kingdom.
A ‘dependant’ is any of the following:
- your husband, wife or partner
- your child under 18
- your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependant
The costs remain the same for any dependent you wish to bring with you to the UK.
You must also show that your dependants can be supported while they’re in the UK. Each dependant must have a certain amount of money available to them. You must have proof you have the money, and that it’s been in your bank account or your dependant’s bank account for at least 90 days before you or they apply.
How Manchester Immigration Lawyers can help
At Manchester Immigration Lawyers we know just how complicated the application process for the Skilled Worker Visa can be. Our expert immigration lawyers are here to help make the process as smooth as possible and give you the best chance of success.
With over 50 years of experience and training in all aspects of immigration law, you can be sure your application is in the right hands with our immigration lawyers.
Whether you are an applicant or an employer, Manchester Immigration Lawyers has a wealth of experience in securing Skilled Worker Visas. Our Manchester offices are staffed by a highly-skilled team of experienced immigration lawyers who are fully equipped to advise you on your UK immigration options.
Our services include:
- confirming that all documents are adequate before submitting the application;
- preparing a detailed Letter of Representation;
- managing contact with the Home Office during the application process;
- facilitating the assignment of the CoS;
- and completing the application form to a highly professional standard before submitting it.
For more information, contact us now on or make an enquiry online to receive expert advice on your options from one of our immigration lawyers.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
You can make a change of employment while in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa. However, you must obtain a new CoS from your new sponsor, and meet all the points requirements.
A change of employment application is also required if you remain with the same employer, but there is a change to your core duties, translating into a change of job.
If necessary, your sponsor may be required to carry out a new Labour Market Test.
The length of time you can stay in the UK varies. The maximum amount of time you can stay in the UK on the Skilled Worker Visa is 5 years and 14 days or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month.
If you wish to stay in the UK longer than this then you will have to apply for an extension, you should also make sure that any dependents are included on your extension application.
If you overstay without applying for an extension then you could risk being deported by the Home Office.
Yes, you are allowed to undertake supplementary employment but it must either be:
- A job included on the Shortage Occupation List or a role in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work.
- No more than 20 hours per week
- Outside of the regular working hours of your primary occupation.
You can also undertake unpaid voluntary work in any sector. If you wish to work more than one job and it doesn’t fall under these categories then you will have to apply for another visa and have the organisation sponsor you.
To be eligible, you will normally need to have a job offer with a salary of at least £30,000 or the “appropriate rate” for the job you are offered – whichever is higher.
The salary requirement may be lower if you are a graduate or are eligible for the starter salary rate.
To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa to work in the United Kingdom you will need at least £945 in your bank account 90 days before you apply.
Your sponsor can cover this cost for you but they must confirm this on the certificate of sponsorship
If you are bringing dependents you will also need to prove you have savings to support them financially as well.
The COVID-19 has had a significant impact globally and is a worrying time for many. If you are concerned, take a look at our Coronavirus guide for Skilled Worker Visa holders.
The Tier 2 General visa is no longer part of the UK’s immigration system. Instead a new visa, that is part of the new points-based immigration system, has replaced it. The application for the Skilled Worker route is very similar to the previous Tier 2 Route. The main change is that now, citizens of the EU are also required to apply for permission to stay in the UK and work.