Congratulations on securing your Skilled Worker visa to the UK! Your journey toward living and working in the UK is about to begin, and it’s essential to ensure a smooth transition. Beyond the excitement of arrival, there are crucial steps you must take to settle in comfortably. In this post, we discuss some essential steps for Skilled Worker visa holders upon arrival in the UK.
When make a successful application outside the UK, you will be issued a sticker on your passport, called a vignette. The vignette will contain basic information about you and the permission you have been granted. Usually, the vignette is stamped upon arrival in the UK, which forms part of the evidence of your entry as a skilled worker. In the absence of an entry stamp, for example, if you entered through Ireland (which forms part of the Common Travel Area) or through an eGate, other evidence such as a boarding card or travel itinerary will need to be presented to your employer.
Collect Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
Once you arrive in the UK, the clock starts ticking to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This important document acts as proof of your immigration status and is usually required to be collected within 10 days of your arrival or before your vignette sticker expires, whichever is later. The process involves picking it up from a designated Post Office or an Alternative Collection Location (ACL).
You must check your BRP card to ensure that your details are accurate. In case there is an error in your details, such as the length or conditions of your stay, you must report it to the Home Office within 10 days. You do not need to report an error if your BRP expires on 31 December 2024, but the length of your leave is longer. This is part of the Home Office’s effort to digitise the process of proving your immigration status, by bringing the process online. You will not need a BRP from 1 January 2025, as you’ll be able to prove your immigration status online, without a BRP.
Prove Your Immigration Status
To smoothly navigate your professional and living arrangements, ensuring you can work legally and rent accommodation is crucial. Employers and landlords now conduct online right-to-work and right-to-rent checks.
Recent changes to the rules on right-to-work checks and right-to-rent checks mean that employers and landlords can no longer accept some physical documents such as BRPs as proof of your status. Instead, they will need to carry out the necessary checks online. This is also the case if you have an eVisa. Likewise, before you can enter into a tenancy agreement to rent a property in England, your landlord will need to carry out a right-to-rent check.
To enable your employer or landlord to carry out an online check, they will ask you to provide them with your date of birth and your ‘share code’. Your share code is a 9-character long unique code which you can generate online and will enable your employer or landlord to access the necessary information on the Home Office system.
Visa holders who only have a digital immigration status, and do not receive a vignette and BRP will need to provide a ‘share code’ to enable access to their visa information online.
Set Up a UK Bank Account
Opening a UK bank account is fundamental for your financial stability in the country. Many employers require this for salary payments, and it’s essential for managing bills and services such as mobile phone contracts.
To open a bank account in the UK, you will usually need to provide proof of your address in the UK and confirm your identity using documents such as your passport and BRP, if you have one. Some banks offer international bank accounts which can be opened overseas before you travel. You can start the process either before or after arrival, using documents like your passport and BRP for identity verification.
The process may differ depending on your bank, so it is advisable to contact your bank directly.
Apply for a National Insurance Number
The National Insurance number is a number used in the United Kingdom in the administration of the National Insurance or Social Security system. It is also used for some purposes in the UK tax system.
Securing a National Insurance (NI) number is vital for employment purposes. While it’s possible to start work without it, obtaining the number ensures compliance with employment regulations.
Some individuals are automatically issued a National Insurance Number (NiNo) as part of their immigration application. This currently applies to most migrants and dependants who have been granted permission in any skilled worker category. In such cases, the NINo will appear in the remarks on the reverse of the BRP or on their online profile. In these cases, there is no need for the migrant or the employer to make a separate application to the Department for Work and Pensions to obtain one.
You are advised to speak to your employer’s HR team who may be able to help with a temporary NI number when you are added to the payroll. More information on obtaining a NI number can be found here.
Register with a doctor
Most people applying for a Skilled Worker visa are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of the application process. The IHS is a fee which allows migrants to access free healthcare on the National Health Service (NHS) for the duration of their stay. You will usually need to pay the health surcharge if you’re applying for a visa that’s valid for more than 6 months unless an exemption applies.
You can start using the NHS as soon as you arrive in the UK. It is a good idea to register with a General Practitioner (GP) surgery close to where you will be living. GP surgeries are usually the first contact if you have a health problem. More information on finding a local GP and how to register can be found here.
How we can help
For assistance with your immigration application or to discuss your situation with an experienced adviser, feel free to contact our professional team on 0208 757 5751 our use our contact form.
Frequently asked questions
You no longer need to register with the UK police after you: arrive in the UK, if you applied for a visa from outside the UK. get permission to stay longer, if you’re already in the UK.
If your National Insurance Number (NINo) is not automatically issued as part of your immigration process and is not mentioned on your BRP or online profile, you’ll need to apply separately.