What is the Skilled Worker Visa?
The UK Skilled Worker Visa is a type of work visa that allows individuals with specific skills and qualifications to work in the United Kingdom. To be eligible for the visa, applicants must have a job offer from a UK employer in a skilled occupation, meet the required English language proficiency level, and have the necessary qualifications and experience for the role. The visa application process involves several steps, including submitting an online application, paying a fee, and attending an in-person appointment at a visa application centre. The visa length and the stay conditions will depend on the individual’s circumstances and the nature of their employment in the UK. Jobs on this list include IT people, engineers, nurses and many other occupations. The occupation needs to be on the Skilled Worker Visa: eligible occupations and codes occupation list.
The route can lead to indefinite leave to remain, and dependent partners and children can join applicants.
What skills are required for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?
To be eligible for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must have a job offer from a UK employer in an occupation considered skilled. The definition of a skilled occupation varies, but generally, it refers to jobs that require a high level of training, knowledge, or experience. Examples of skilled occupations may include positions in engineering, healthcare, IT, finance, education, and other fields.
In addition to having a job offer in a skilled occupation, applicants for a UK Skilled Worker Visa must also meet specific other requirements. These may include having the necessary qualifications and experience for the role, speaking English to a required level, and showing that they have the means to support themselves financially while in the UK. It is important for applicants to carefully review the specific requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa and ensure that they meet all of the necessary criteria before applying.
The Home Office sets out eligible jobs and skill levels in Appendix Skilled Worker to the Immigration Rules. Each eligible job has an occupation code. You must be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code listed in the Appendix.
UK Skilled Worker Visa Rules
Several rules apply to an application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa. Some of the rules to be aware of include the following:
To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must have a job offer from a UK employer in a skilled occupation. They must also meet the required English language proficiency level and have the qualifications and experience for the role.
The job offer must be from a licensed sponsor, and the applicant must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer. The job must also meet the appropriate salary threshold, which is currently set at £20,480 per year for most occupations.
English language proficiency
Applicants must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English to a required level. This may involve taking an approved English language test and achieving a specific score.
Qualifications and experience
Applicants must have the necessary qualifications and experience for the role they have been offered. This may include having a degree or professional qualification in a relevant field or having a certain number of years of experience in the occupation.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the means to support themselves and any dependents financially while in the UK. This may involve showing proof of savings or income or having a sponsor willing to provide financial support.
Length of stay
The length of the Skilled Worker Visa will depend on the individual’s circumstances and the nature of their employment in the UK. A skilled worker who has spent five years working in the UK may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (permanent residence).
Conditions of stay
Holders of a Skilled Worker Visa will generally be allowed to work, study, and bring certain family members to the UK. However, there may be restrictions on specific activities, such as claiming public benefits, and visa holders need to understand and comply with the conditions of their stay.
UK Skilled Visa Requirements
The requirements you will need to satisfy will vary based on your circumstances. To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UKVI that:
- You are aged 18 or over
- You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do
- Your job offer is a genuine vacancy
- Your sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge
- Your job is at an appropriate skill level
- You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1
- You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation
- You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds
- You have provided a criminal record certificate if required, and
- You have provided a valid TB certificate if required.
If you are unable to meet the salary requirement but will earn more than £20,480, then you may still be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa if you have:
- An employment offer for a job listed on the shortage occupation list
- A PhD which is relevant to your potential role, or
- A PhD in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
UK Skilled Worker Visa Application Supporting Documents
There are several documents that applicants for a UK Skilled Worker Visa will need to provide as part of their application. These may include:
Valid passport or travel document
Applicants will need to provide a copy of the biographic page of their passport or travel document, which should be valid for their stay in the UK.
Certificate of sponsorship
Applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their UK employer, which serves as proof that they have a job offer in a skilled occupation.
Evidence of English language proficiency
Applicants may need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency, such as a test result from an approved English language test.
Qualifications and experience
Applicants will need to provide copies of any relevant qualifications or certificates and proof of their work experience in the skilled occupation.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have the means to support themselves financially while in the UK. This may involve providing evidence of savings or income or a letter from a sponsor stating they will provide financial support.
Depending on the individual’s circumstances, they may also need to provide additional documents as part of their Skilled Worker Visa application. These could include marriage or birth certificates, evidence of accommodation in the UK, or any other relevant information.
It is important for applicants to carefully review the specific document requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa and ensure that they submit all of the necessary documents with their application. Failure to do so could result in delays or a rejected application.
The financial requirement applies to out-of-country applications. You will need to have cash funds of at least £1,270 available. You will need to have held the money for at least 28 consecutive days ending not more than 31 days before your Skilled Worker Visa application date.
You will be exempt from the financial requirement if you have a fully ‘A-rated’ sponsor willing to meet your maintenance costs up to the end of the first month of your employment, to at least £1,270, if necessary. Your sponsor will need to confirm this on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
If you are applying for permission to stay and have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application, you will meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds.
What is the cost of a UK Skilled Worker Visa?
In addition to the Home Office UKVI application, applicants must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will be added at £624.00 per year, per applicant. This must be paid upfront in one sum. If you are eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa as a health and care worker, you will benefit from a reduced rate on application fees and Immigration Health Surcharge fees.
Can I apply for a Skilled Worker Visa from within the UK?
An in-country application for permission to stay on the Skilled Worker Route can be made if you are in the UK, with valid leave, and do not fall into any of the below categories:
- On a visitor visa of any kind
- Parent of a child student
- Domestic worker in a private household
- Seasonal worker
- On immigration bail
- Outside the immigration rules.
Skilled Worker Settlement
To permanently settle as a skilled worker in the UK, you must apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). To be eligible for ILR, you must have held a visa in the Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 5 category for at least five years and meet the requirements of the specific tier you are in.
To apply for ILR, you must complete an application form and provide various supporting documents, including evidence of your continuous residence in the UK, your knowledge of the English language, and your current employment or business activity. You will also need to pay a fee to cover the cost of processing your application.
To qualify for settlement as a Skilled Worker, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
- You have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK with permission on any of, or any combination of, the permitted work routes
- You have not been outside for more than 180 days during each year of the 5-year continuous period
- You have passed the Life in the UK test (unless aged 65 or over)
- Your Employment sponsor is still a Home Office-approved sponsor
- Your sponsor still requires you to work for them for the foreseeable future
- You will be paid for the foreseeable future, at least the general salary threshold or the going rate requirement, whichever is higher.
How can we help
We can also advise on the various visa categories available in the UK work routes and help individuals determine which category is most suitable for their circumstances. This may involve helping them understand each tier’s specific requirements and providing guidance on how to meet these requirements.
To discuss your situation with an experienced professional, call us at 0208 757 5751 or use our contact form.
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