Skilled Worker Visa 2023: A Pathway to Work in the UK

by | Jul 14, 2023 | UK Immigration, Work Visa

The Skilled Worker route allows approved employers to hire migrant individuals for specific jobs in the UK, including in UK waters. In this post, we discuss the requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa application. 

To qualify as a Skilled Worker, you must have a job offer from an employer or sponsor licensed by the Home Office, in an occupation that meets the required skill and salary criteria. 

Skilled Worker Visa Application Requirements

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are aged 18 or over on the date of application
  • Your job offer is genuine and at an appropriate skill level
  • Your salary will be paid at or above the general salary threshold
  • You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) for the job you are planning to do 
  • You have demonstrated proficiency in the English language to at least level CEFR B1 or IELTS 4.0
  • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if apply from a listed country 
  • You have provided a criminal record certificate if applicable

Genuine Job Offer

The role or position being offered should genuinely exist and should not be created solely for the purpose of facilitating entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK. 

If your work involves contract-based tasks, it should not primarily consist of performing ongoing routine roles or providing routine services to a third party unrelated to your sponsor.  It is essential to establish that your employment is directly connected to the sponsor and the job being offered.

The job should fall under an eligible occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations or Appendix Shortage Occupation List.

Appropriate Skill Level Requirement 

To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, it is essential that the job you are being sponsored for meets the criteria of being an eligible job at or above a minimum skill level of at least RQF level 3, which is roughly equivalent to A-levels. 

It is important to note that possessing a formal qualification is not mandatory to satisfy the skills level requirement. Instead, the skill level of the job itself will determine whether the threshold is met. Each eligible job is assigned an occupation code, and you must be sponsored for a job that falls within an eligible occupation code listed in the Appendix.

Choosing the appropriate occupation code for your sponsored job is the responsibility of your sponsor. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that your sponsor has not selected the most suitable occupation code, your application for a Skilled Worker Visa may be refused. 

In determining whether the chosen occupation code is appropriate, the Home Office will consider various factors. These factors include assessing whether your sponsor has demonstrated a genuine need for the job as described, ensuring that you possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience required to perform the job as described, and examining your sponsor’s compliance history with the immigration system.

Certificate of Sponsorship Requirement

Your employer (sponsor) must be authorised by the Home Office to sponsor your job under the Skilled Worker Route. And they must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors.

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is an electronic certificate that is necessary for each migrant worker applying under a relevant worker route, issued by the employer. In the case of applicants under the Skilled Worker route, they cannot proceed with their visa or permission to stay application without a valid Certificate of Sponsorship. The unique reference number from the CoS must be provided on the application form as a mandatory requirement.

When submitting an application, the following details need to be confirmed: the applicant’s name, the fact that they are being sponsored as a Skilled Worker, and specific information regarding the job and salary offered by the sponsor. Additionally, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) requires income tax and National Insurance to be paid through PAYE for the sponsored job, the PAYE details should be provided.

For entry clearance applications, it is important to note that the Home Office must have allocated the specific job and salary details to the sponsor. Furthermore, the application should include a start date, as stated by the sponsor, which must be within 3 months from the date of application. It is crucial that the provided details have not been used in a previous application that was either granted or refused, but they can have been used in an application that was rejected as invalid, made void, or withdrawn. Additionally, the sponsor must not have withdrawn the details, and the Home Office must not have cancelled them. Lastly, the application should specify whether the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirement in Appendix ATAS is applicable or not.

Salary Requirement 

The minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing is whichever is the highest out of the following 3 options:

  • £26,200 per year
  • £10.75 per hour
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing. Each occupation code has its own annual going rate. Check the going rate for your job in the going rates table. The going rate is calculated on the basis of a 37.5 hour working week.

Your employer must make sure your job pays at least the minimum wage and follows the UK rules for how many hours a week you work. If your employer does not do this, your application will be refused.

You might still be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa if your job is eligible but your salary is less than £26,200 or your job’s usual ‘going rate’. You must still be paid at least £10.75 per hour. You can be paid less than the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,960 per year, in the following circumstances:

  • If your job falls under a shortage occupation, you may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,960 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation and £10.75 per hour
  • An application for a job in a listed health or education occupation may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds £20,960 per year and the going rate for the occupation.
  • An applicant who is under 26 and is a new entrant to the labour market may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,960 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation and £10.75 per hour;
  • An applicant with a PhD qualification which is relevant to the job may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £23,580 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation and £10.75 per hour;
  • An applicant with a PhD qualification in a STEM subject which is relevant to the job may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £23,580 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation and £10.75 per hour;

English language requirement 

Applicants must demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) of at least level B1 (intermediate). You will satisfy the English language requirement if you:

  • Are a national of a majority English-speaking country;
  • Have passed a Secure English Language Test;
  • Have been awarded a degree taught in English;
  • Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK; or
  • Have already shown they met the requirement, of level B1, in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.

Financial Requirement 

If you are applying in the UK and have been here for 12 months or longer on the date of application, you will meet the financial requirement and do not need to show funds.

If you are applying for entry clearance or have been in the UK for less than 12 months at the time of application, there are two options for meeting the financial requirements:

  • you must have personal funds amounting to at least £1,270, or
  • A-rated sponsor must provide a certification stating that they will financially support and accommodate you, if required, until the end of the first month of your employment, with a minimum amount of £1,270.

Criminal record certificate 

When applying for entry clearance and being sponsored for specific jobs, which typically include positions in the health, care, welfare, and education sectors, it is generally required, unless impractical, to provide a criminal record certificate from any country where you have spent a cumulative total of 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) since the age of 18, within the 10 years preceding your application date.

TB certificate 

You may need a TB certificate depending on where you are applying from and how long you have lived in the country. 

Dependants of a Skilled Worker 

To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Dependent visa, partners must be at least 18 years old and meet one of the following criteria: be married to the Skilled Worker, be in a civil partnership with the Skilled Worker, or have lived together with the Skilled Worker for a minimum of two years prior to the application.

For dependent children applying for the Skilled Worker Dependent visa, both parents must either be lawfully present (excluding visitors) in the UK or be granted permission to enter or stay in the UK simultaneously with the applicant. Alternatively, if one parent is lawfully present in the UK and the other parent is being granted permission to enter or stay at the same time as the applicant, the child may be eligible. 

Settlement as a Skilled Worker 

Indefinite Leave to Remain, or settlement, grants an applicant the right to live and work in the UK without immigration restrictions. Generally, this means having spent five continuous years in the UK with lawful status and without excessive absences. With indefinite leave to remain, you can remain in the UK on an indefinite basis, free from restrictions on travel and immigration. 

How can we help

To discuss your Skilled Worker Visa application with an experienced Immigration adviser, call our team on +442087575751 or use our contact form

Frequently asked questions 

How to apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?

To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to follow a few steps. First, you must have a valid job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor. Then, you must demonstrate that you meet the required skill level and minimum salary threshold for the occupation. Finally, you will need to submit an application, including supporting documents, and pay the necessary fees.

Can I apply for UK Skilled Worker Visa without a job offer?

Before applying for a Skilled Worker visa, it is necessary to have a job offer from a UK employer who is approved as a sponsor. These approved employers, also referred to as sponsors, play the role of sponsoring your arrival or stay in the UK.

What are the shortage occupations for the Skilled Worker route?

The Home Office maintains a list of occupations where employers face challenges in finding a sufficient number of skilled workers with the necessary skills to fill their job vacancies. A job offer for a position on the shortage occupation list will have a lower salary threshold.

What is the policy regarding the number of people who can enter the UK on the Skilled Worker route?

There is no cap on the number of people who can enter the UK on the Skilled Worker route.

What is the Immigration Skills Charge?

The Immigration Skills Charge is a charge for each foreign worker that a sponsoring employer seeks to employ.  The Immigration Skills Charge must be paid each time a sponsoring employer assigns a Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant.

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