Skilled Worker Visa
The Skilled Worker visa, which has replaced Tier 2 (General) Migrant visa, is open to individuals of all nationalities who have an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor. The route can lead to settlement, and dependent partners and children can join applicants.
To secure a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to be sponsored to do a specific job, which meets particular skill and salary requirements, by an employer that the Home Office has licensed. You must be issued a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by your UK employer, who holds a valid Sponsor Licence. Your job must meet the suitability requirements, including the minimum salary requirement.
There is no cap on the number of people entering the UK on the Skilled Worker route.
REQUIREMENTS FOR SKILLED WORKER VISAS
Certificate of Sponsorship
To apply for and obtain a Skilled Worker visa, you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer. Your sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office's register of licensed sponsors unless you were last granted permission as a Skilled Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor as before.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued not more than three months before the date of your Skilled Worker application.
Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information to be valid.
Job Offer and Genuine Vacancy
You will need to satisfy the Home Office that you are being sponsored to undertake a genuine vacancy and are capable of performing the role specified on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
The Home Office will also need to be satisfied that you will not undertake any ongoing temporary, permanent or contract work or provide services for a third party who is not your sponsor.
Appropriate Skill Level
The underlying principle of the Skilled Worker route is that you must possess the minimum skill level to be eligible for sponsorship.
Under the Skilled Worker visa route, the role you are looking to fill must be skilled to at least RQF level 3, which is roughly equivalent to A-levels. It is essential to understand that you do not need formal qualifications to satisfy the skills level requirement. The skill level of the job that you will be doing will determine whether the threshold is met.
All eligible jobs are set out by the Home Office in the list of skilled occupations; each job is given an occupation code. You must be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code listed in the Appendix.
Your sponsor must choose the most appropriate occupation code for the job you will do. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that your sponsor has not determined the most suitable occupation code, your application for a Skilled Worker visa will be refused.
All employers seeking to recruit workers under this route must usually pay their skilled workers a salary that equals or exceeds a general salary threshold and the 'going rate' for the occupation (as set out in the relevant occupation code mentioned above), whichever is higher.
Under the Skilled Worker route, the general salary threshold is £25,600 a year. Therefore, in most cases, an applicant for a Skilled Worker visa must be paid a salary that equals or exceeds £25,600 a year or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher. The salary assessment is based on guaranteed basic gross pay.
Some sponsored skilled workers applying under the Skilled Worker route may be paid less than the above amount, where they are awarded additional so-called 'tradable points' for other attributes.
If you do not meet the standard salary requirements and do not work in healthcare or education, you might still be eligible if you earn at least £20,480 per year and at least £10.10 per hour. You will need to meet one of the following conditions:
• your job is in a shortage occupation
• you are under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
• you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that's relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject, your salary must be at least £23,040)
• you hold a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
You must have at least £1,270 for your maintenance in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you can apply. You do not need to evidence maintenance funds if you have been in the UK for at least 12 months before your application or if your employer certified your maintenance on your CoS. If you are applying with your dependent family members, you will need to show additional funds for their maintenance. You must have £285 for your dependent spouse, £315 for a dependent child, and £200 for each additional dependent child.
English Language Requirements
You will need to demonstrate English language proficiency on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all four components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).
Switching to a Skilled Worker visa
Suppose you currently have a visa in another immigration category. In that case, you may switch to a Skilled Worker visa unless you have or were last granted permission as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside of the Immigration Rules.
Cooling off period
Under the old Tier 2 (General) route, you could not apply to switch to this visa if you had been in the UK during the previous 12 months.
Under the Skilled Worker route, this 12-month 'cooling-off period' restriction has been removed.
Skilled Worker Settlement
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;
• The 5-year continuous period consisted of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes: Skilled Worker, Global talent, Innovator, Tier 2 Minister of Religion, Tier 2 Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business or as a Tier 1 Migrant (other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant);
• 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 sponsor is still a Home Office approved sponsor;
• Your sponsor still requires you to work for them for the foreseeable future;
• You are being paid and will be for the foreseeable future, at least the general salary threshold or the going rate requirement, whichever is higher.
ILR Salary Threshold
To be granted ILR, your salary must typically be at least £25,600 per year or the 'going rate' for the occupation (as set out in the relevant occupation code), whichever is higher. However, in certain circumstances, applicants need only demonstrate that they receive a salary of at least £20,480 per year or the 'going rate' for the occupation, whichever is higher. Other salary reductions permitted through tradable points do not apply to settlement applications.
Most immigration applications have strict factual and evidential requirements that are not necessarily straightforward to comprehend or satisfy. LS Legal Solicitors are well versed and highly experienced in providing advice and assistance on immigration applications. We appreciate that many of the requirements may seem overly complex and onerous. However, we guarantee to make your experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.
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