Navigating UK Skilled Worker Visa Changes for You and Your Family

by | Aug 23, 2023 | Skilled Worker, UK Immigration

Are you considering changing jobs in the UK as a skilled worker? If so, you might be wondering how this change could potentially impact your immigration status. The UK’s immigration system is complex, and it’s essential to understand the implications for your family when switching jobs under the Skilled Worker Visa category. In this post, we’ll discuss the key factors to consider when changing jobs under the Skilled Worker category.

Is it possible for a Skilled Worker Visa Holder to Switch Employers?

You can apply to switch employers if your new employer has a Skilled Worker Sponsor License and are on the Home Office’s list of licensed sponsors. Additionally, you should have a new Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your new sponsor.

Do I need a new visa if I switch my job?

If you’ll be doing a different job for your current employer, you need to apply to update your visa if your new job is in a different occupation code. You’ll need to apply to update your Skilled Worker visa if:

  • you want to change your job and your new job is with a different employer
  • your job changes to a different occupation code, and you’re not in a graduate training programme
  • you leave a job that’s on the shortage occupation list for a job that is not on the list

Switching Jobs Within the Same Employer

When you’re considering changing your job within your current employer, you won’t have to go through a change of employment application if:

  • Your new job has the same SOC code as your current job.
  • Your current job is listed as a shortage occupation, and your new job is also on that list.

Switching Jobs to a New Employer

When you’re shifting to a different employer, you’ll have to complete a change of employment application. You’re able to apply to update your visa up to 3 months before starting your new job. The only case where this may not apply is if you’re moving to a new employer due to a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) situation. This happens when your job transfers to a new owner or business due to a merger or acquisition.

Requirements for a Skilled Worker Change of Employment Application

The requirements when changing your Skilled Worker Visa qualifying employment are:

  • You have a valid COS (certificate of sponsorship)
  • Your job offer is a genuine vacancy and at an appropriate skill level 
  • Your job offer meets the minimum salary threshold
  • You satisfy an English language requirement
  • You have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family 

When is the Right Time to Quit My Current Job?

Deciding when to quit your job requires careful planning. Consider the notice period you need to give and the time it takes for your new job application to be processed. This will help you set a realistic start date for your new job. While waiting for your new job decision or finishing your current contract, you can still work in your current role as long as you apply before your current permission expires. Your new Skilled Worker visa must be approved before you can start.

Impact on Dependents When Changing Jobs on a Skilled Worker Visa

When it comes to your dependents who are with you in the UK under your current visa, they can maintain their current dependent visa status throughout your job or employer change process. Once your application is successfully processed, your dependents can continue residing in the UK alongside you without disruption.

It’s worth noting that the validity of your family members’ dependent visas is linked to the validity of your Skilled Worker Visa. If your visa expires or becomes invalid due to a job change or other reasons, this could potentially render your family members’ dependent visas void.

Maintaining Continuous Residence

Maintaining continuous residence in the UK is vital for both the primary visa holder and their dependents. Gaps in employment or residence could impact eligibility for settlement or other long-term visa options

Indefinite Leave to Remain 

Main applicants will usually be eligible for settlement after 5 years of residence in the UK under the Skilled Worker route. During each year of this residential period, you must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days. Additionally, passing the Life in the UK test (unless exempt due to age or disability), having an ongoing Home Office-approved sponsor who plans to employ you in the foreseeable future, and meeting a minimum salary requirement of £25,600 per year (plus the appropriate rate for your occupation) are other prerequisites. There are some exceptions to the salary requirement.

How we can help 

To discuss your Skilled Worker Visa with an experienced adviser from our team, call us on 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions 

Can I start my new job while my new visa application is in progress?

No, under the Home Office guidelines, you will need to get approval from UKVI if you intend to change your job or employer. 

Can changing jobs affect our settlement plans in the UK?

Yes, changing jobs might influence your eligibility for settlement visas. 

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