- What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
- Skilled Worker categories
- Skilled worker eligibility and requirements
- How to apply
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Skilled worker visa extension
- Costs and fees
- Salary requirements
- The Shortage Occupation List
- The labour market test
- The Cooling-off period
- 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.
The Skilled Worker Route also has several different categories, the most common category in the Skilled Worker Route is the general Skilled Worker visa, but there are several different types categories that correspond to different types of jobs.
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.
Skilled Worker Categories
As well as the general Skilled Worker Visa, there are several other categories that fall under this route. These include:
- Minister of Religion Visa: for religious officials from outside the UK coming to undertake preaching and pastoral work. This includes missionaries and members of religious orders.
- Sportsperson Visa: for elite sporting professionals or coaches whose activities will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport in the UK. To be eligible you must be sponsored by your sport’s governing body and they must recognise you as playing at the highest level of your sport.
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa: allows non-EEA migrants to transfer to their existing employers UK branch for a limited time or temporarily. There are two sub-categories of this visa:
-Long Term Staff – for those who have been worked for their organisation for at least 12 months before their transfer to the UK. Eligible applicants can stay in the UK for a maximum of 5 years.
-Graduate Trainee – for recent graduate recruits who are being transferred to a UK branch of their organisation for training purposes. Eligible applicants can only come to the UK for a maximum period of 12 months.
- Health and Care Visa: a new category, with applications opening on August 4th 2020.This permit is for those with a job offer from the NHS or any organisations that provide medical services to the NHS or adult social care. This includes those with job offers as; doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and senior level care workers. This category is faster and cheaper than the other Tier 2 categories. Workers on this visa will not be required to pay the NHS surcharge fee for access to health care.
Eligibility and Requirements
To score the requited 70 points you will need to have:
- 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
- Are over the age of 16 on the date of your application
- Pass the “Genuine Vacancy Test”, meaning that your skills must be appropriate for your role in the UK
- 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.
The company must also complete a Labour Market Test for the role that you have been offered. Once this test has been passed, your employer will be able to apply for your CoS
After 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’ (£30,000 or above depending on the industry/experience level)
- You still meet the eligibility requirements
Costs and fees
The fees vary depending on what category you are applying for. The current fees are as follows:
- General – £610 for up to 3 years or £1,220 for more than 3 years
- Sportsperson –£610
- Minister of Religion – £610
- Intra-Company Transfer – £482 for a Graduate Trainee or ranging from £610 to £1220 for long term staff
- Health and Care – £232 for up to 3 years or £464 for longer than 3 years
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 £400 a year.
To be granted a Skilled Worker Visa the job you have been offered must meet the relevant salary threshold, this is usually £30,000 per annum but can vary. The salary requirements are as follows:
- If you are under 26 years old then you can come under the new entrant salary threshold of £20,800 a year or the new entrant rate in the Codes of Practice for Skilled workers, whichever is higher.
- If you have completed a degree in the United Kingdom or are within three months of finishing your degree and are switching to a Skilled Worker Visa from a Student Visa you can also come under the new entrant rate of £20,800 per annum, or the new entrant rate in the Codes of Practice for Skilled Workers, whichever is higher. This also includes those who have completed twelve months of a course leading to a PhD, or those who have completed or have three months or less to completion of a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or Professional Graduate Diploma of Education.
- If you are 26 or older and are not switching from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK after completing a degree here, you will usually need to be paid £30,000 per annum or the experienced worker rate in the Codes of Practice for skilled workers, whichever is higher.
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.
It is easier to get a Skilled Worker Visa with a job on the SOL because employers do not have to conduct a Resident Labour Test for these jobs.
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.
The Resident Labour Market Test
In many cases organisations that hold a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence and wish to employ someone from outside the country will have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test.
The purpose of the test is to show that the job role can’t be filled by someone who is already in the Britain.
To complete the test the employing organisation must advertise the specific job role on at least two external platforms for a minimum of 28 days. The advertisement must list the job title, description of the job, salary, any requirements, location and a closing date for applications.
After this the employer must go through any applications and should keep a record of why any applicants were rejected in case the Home Office asks to check employer records.
Only once the Labour Market Test is passed can an employer issue a Certificate
The cooling-off period
Intra-Company Transfer applicants must leave the country at the end of their authorised period.
You will not be able to re-apply to return to the United Kingdom under the same immigration category until 12 months after you left Britain.
Exceptions apply for applicants who are have been offered a gross salary of £120,000 or higher, or that were sponsored for the first time for 3 months or less.
This condition is known as the cooling-off period. This time frame will start from the last day you spent in the UK. To calculate the start of your cooling-off period, you can support your case with evidence, such as travel tickets or entry stamps in your passport.
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.
If you are applying for the Sportsman Visa you will only need to pass an English Language Test at level A1.
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 £630 available to them whether they apply with you or separately. This is in addition to the £945 you must have to support yourself. 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;
- ensuring the Labour Market Test is undertaken correctly;
- 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.
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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.