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Skilled Worker Visa UK For Nigerians

UK Skilled Worker Visa allows international workers with the necessary skills and qualifications to come to the UK and work for an approved employer. Nigerian citizens must legally obtain a visa or permit to work in the UK. A Skilled Worker Visa is available to non-EU citizens fulfilling the required eligibility criteria.

For more information, call IAS today on +23413438882 or our UK phone number at +44 (0) 3316300929. You can also contact our team through online chat.

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    Benefits of Choosing IAS For Your Work Visa

    Our team of immigration lawyers can provide the right support to ensure you secure a work visa for yourself or your employees.

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    Your immigration lawyer will consider your case and offer bespoke advice, and they will advise you on the optimum route to take to achieve your desired result.

    By working with IAS for your or your employee’s work visa, you make sure that you have an expert eye and hands on your case to boost your chances of success.

    We ensure you are applying for the most suitable work visa to boost your chances of success.

    We provide advice on the appropriate documentary evidence required to support your case.

    You get a personalised approach from a qualified and experienced immigration lawyer

    You work with you and liaise with the Home Office on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.

    Regardless of what your personal immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

    Services we Provide

    Are You Looking to Come to the UK Through the Skilled Worker Route?

    We have helped many non-EU nationals with their Skilled Worker immigration route to the UK. If you are looking to work in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa but you’re unsure where to start, contact us to receive professional assistance. Our immigration lawyers can answer any questions regarding your visa application

    Contact Us

    Nigerian Emigration

    For Nigerian emigration matters, please call +44 (0) 3316300929 or +23413438882

    Other Immigration and Emigration Matters

    For immigration/emigration to/from other countries, please call:

    US –  +1 844 290 6312

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    UK –  (+44) 333 4149244

    What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

    The Skilled Worker Visa is a popular immigration route for Nigerian nationals who wish to take up employment for eligible roles within the UK labour market.

    If you are a Nigerian national looking to come to the UK to work and live, you may be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa if you can prove to the Home Office that you fulfil the required eligibility criteria and have adequate skills and qualifications.

    Why is the Skilled Worker Route Important for Those Looking to Work in the UK?

    The Skilled Worker Visa is an important immigration route to those who are looking to build their careers in the UK. The UK labour market provides various work opportunities that recognise foreign qualifications, allowing individuals from outside the UK to obtain employment in an eligible occupation and contribute to developing the UK economy.

    Subsequently, Skilled Worker Visa holders will be able to apply for a permanent residence if they choose to, and eventually, they can bring their family to join them in the UK through the Skilled Worker Dependent Visa.

    Skilled Worker Visa vs Tier 2 Work Visa

    It is important to note that the Tier 2 Work Visa was replaced by the Skilled Worker Visa in 2020. This brought significant changes that took effect in April 2023, including:

    Lowered Going Rates

    Under the Skilled Worker Visa, the going rates are based on a 37.5-hour working week. On the Tier 2 Visa, it was a 39-hour working week.

    Increased Minimum Salary Threshold

    The minimum salary threshold has increased for most applicants. It was £26,200, but has since increased in 2024 to £29,000 and will increase further to £38,700.

    Lowered Skill Threshold

    The Skilled Worker Visa route requires applicants to have a job offer at RQF Level 3, equivalent to A-Levels. The Tier 2 Visa required applicants to have at least RQF Level 6 or higher, equivalent to a degree level.

    Abolishment of the Resident Labour Market Test

    There is no requirement for applicants to take the Resident Labour Market Test, unlike the Tier 2 Visa.

    No Cooling-Off Period

    Under the Skilled Worker Visa, there is no cooling-off period requirement. The Tier 2 Visa used a 12-month cooling-off period to prevent applicants from re-applying for another Tier 2 Visa for those 12 months. This has now been abolished.

    Eligibility and Requirements for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

    Overview

    The Skilled Worker Visa is made up in a way that requires applicants to score 70 points. Applicants with an approved job offer with the necessary skill level and adequate English language proficiency will receive 50 points. The remaining 20 points are for fulfilling the minimum salary requirement.

    Specific Requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa UK

    In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to meet the following requirements:

    • A UK-based employer must sponsor you – this means that your employer will need to be on the list of licensed sponsors approved by the Home Office, and you need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for your job.
    • Your job must be genuine – it has to be one of the eligible occupations. You can find the complete list of eligible occupations on the UK Government website.
    • Your role must be a required level and meet the skill level requirement.
    • Your minimum salary must be at least £29,000 per year.
    • Your English language must be adequate – for example, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at level B1. However, having a degree or other academic qualification taught in English will also be enough.
    • You must meet the financial requirements and prove that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK.

    Job Offer Requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa

    In order to qualify for this visa, you must have a  job offer from an A-rated business on the list of licensed sponsors. You can determine whether the job you have been offered is eligible through the Skilled Occupations Code (SOC) for the role and check the list of eligible occupations to see if it is included.

    Common Issues and Misunderstandings Related to Skill Worker Visa Application

    One of the most common errors applicants make in their application is using an incorrect SOC, which leads to the refusal of their visa application.

    Knowing whether you fulfil the required eligibility criteria for the Skilled Worker Visa can be complex. However, if you are unsure whether the job offer you have received from the UK employer meets the required criteria for a Skilled Worker Visa, you can get advice from IAS to determine your eligibility.

    We can help you determine your eligibility and guide you through the process of the Skilled Worker Visa application. Contact IAS at +23413438882 or on our UK phone number at+44 (0) 3316300929 to receive more information.

    The Skilled Worker Visa UK opens doors to unparalleled opportunities, and our expert team is here to guide Nigerians through a seamless application process.

    UK Skilled Worker Visa Sponsorship Requirements

    Another key requirement for a Skilled Worker Visa is a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).  There are two types of Certificate of Sponsorship (the Defined Certificate of Sponsorship and the Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship).

    What is the Certificate of Sponsorship?

    The Certificate of Sponsorship is an electronic record of your job, including title, type, start and end dates, gross salary, sponsor licence number and the expiry date. In addition to your employer issuing you with a Certificate of Sponsorship, there are other requirements that they have to fulfil.

    What is the Sponsored Licence under the Skilled Worker Route?

    Overview

    To hire international workers under the Skilled Worker route, UK employers are required to have a valid sponsore licence. You should check the Register of Worker and Temporary Worker Licensed Sponsors on the UK Government website to see if your employer is included.

    If your employer is not currently approved, they can apply for a sponsor licence if eligible. However, they will need to pay a fee depending on the nature and size of business and it takes around 8 weeks for a licence application to be approved.

    How to Ensure That a Sponsor Meets the Visa Requirements?

    The employer who will sponsor you under Skilled Worker Visa will need to meet the following requirements:

    • The employer must be a genuine organisation operating legally in the UK.
    • The role must be a job offer with duties and responsibilities adequate to the required skill level and for the necessary salary.
    • The employer must comply with sponsor licence duties related to record-keeping, monitoring and reporting.
    • The employer must be honest and reliable. The Home Office in the UK will carry out background checks on the organisation and the employer must provide adequate documents to prove their eligibility.

    Do you need a UK skiilled worker visa or are you an employer looking to sponsor a Nigerian? We can help.

    Skill Level Requirement for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

    You can be considered as a Skilled Worker if the job role you are offered requires skills at level RQF 3 or higher. Your job offer should specify the skill level. However, if you need more clarification, contact your employer to assess whether your job meets the skill level requirement

    Minimum Salary Requirement for a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK

    Overview

    The general salary threshold under the Skilled Worker route is £29,000 per year. The going rate for the Skilled Worker Visa is based on a 37.5-hour working week. Each occupation has the going rate set by the government, reflecting the amount paid for a particular work. If the going rate for your occupation is higher, your salary will need to match this larger amount of the going rate.

    Can I Apply If I Don’t Meet the General Salary Threshold?

    You may still be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa if you don’t meet the minimum salary requirement. In this case, the applicants will still be considered if they:

    • Have a job offer in a shortage occupation role, or
    • Are a ‘new entrant’ in the UK labour market (you are under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training), or
    • Have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education, or
    • Have science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualifications relevant to the job. However, please note that if the applicant has relevant PhD level qualifications, their salary must be at least £23,580

    The eligibility requires can get confusing. Let us assess your eligibility and advice you on the next steps.

    Funds Required for a Skilled Worker Visa

    Overview

    You will need to provide evidence that you can cover your stay and costs of the visa.  You will need to have enough funds to be able to pay for the following:

    • The application fee – is £719 if you are applying to stay in the UK for up to 3 years or £1,639 for more than 3 years.
    • The Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) – £1,035 per every year that you have been granted on your Skilled Worker Visa
    • Maintenance funds – at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 consecutive days unless you are exempt. Please note that day 28 must be within 31 days of the visa application.

    How to Calculate the Required Amount of Funds?

    If you’re applying from Nigeria for 2 years on a Skilled Worker Visa and your job is not on a shortage occupation list, you will pay £719 for the visa application, plus £1,035 each year for the IHS. Therefore, you will pay a total of £1,754 for your application.

    In addition, as a Skilled Worker Visa applicant, you will be required to prove you have an additional £1,270 available to support yourself during your stay. Please note that some employers cover these costs, so you should only pay them if your employer cannot pay for them.

    If your employer can support your stay financially, your certificate of sponsorship should confirm it so that you can prove this to the Home Office.

    You should also keep in mind that if you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, you won’t need to show evidence of your maintenance funds

    English Language Proficiency for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

    In order to qualify for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to meet the English language requirement. The required English level is B1 on the CEFR scale for reading, writing, speaking and understanding English. There are various ways you can demonstrate your English language skills to be eligible under the Skilled Worker route.

    How to Demonstrate English Language Proficiency?

    To prove that you meet the English Language requirement and qualify as a Skilled Worker, you would need to provide evidence of one of the following:

    • Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) – you can only take SELTs with approved providers. Please check the UK Government website for a list of approved SELT providers.
    • Having a GCSE, A Level, Scottish National Qualification Level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English – these have to be gained through study in the UK.
    • Having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English – if you did not study in the UK, you’ll need to apply through Ecctis to confirm that your qualification is equivalent to a degree-level.

    Our lawyers can help you navigate the entire Skilled Worker visa process from Nigeria.

    Required Documents for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

    Overview

    You will need to provide the following documents to prove your eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa:

    • A valid passport or other documents to show your identity and nationality
    • Your certificate of sponsorship number
    • The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number
    • Your job title and annual salary
    • Your job occupation code
    • Proof of your knowledge of English

    Additional Documents You Might Need to Provide

    You might also be asked to provide other documents, depending on your circumstances, such as:

    • Evidence of your maintenance funds – bank statements or a certificate of sponsorship which shows your employer can support you.
    • Your tuberculosis test results if you are from Nigeria – check the UK Government website for clinics in Nigeria that are approved by the Home Office to provide a medical certificate confirming that you are free from TB.
    • A criminal record certificate – if you’re working in an occupation that requires it.
    • A valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, if your job requires you to research sensitive subjects in the UK at a PhD level or higher.
    • Your UK PhD certificate or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly known as UK NARIC reference number).

    How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?

    Overview

    To apply you will need to submit an online application along with supporting documents and pay the cost of your application. To prove your identity, as part of your application, you will have your biometric information taken (fingerprints and photograph) for your biometric residence permit at a visa application centre nearest to you.

    If you are applying from Nigeria, there are three UK Visa application centres in Abuja, Lagos Ikeja and Lagos Victoria Island.

    UK Skilled Worker Visa Application Stages

    You should ensure that you complete the following steps when applying for your visa:

    1. Eligibility check
    2. Secure a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK
    3. Receive your Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
    4. Gather all the necessary supporting documents for your visa application
    5. Complete your visa application form
    6. Pay the associated fees (application fee, biometric fee, healthcare surcharge)
    7. Submit all the required supporting documents
    8. Arrange an appointment at your local visa application centre to give your biometric information

    Embark on a journey of professional achievement with the Skilled Worker Visa UK for Nigerians. Contact us now!

    Processing Times for a UK Skilled Worker Visa Application

    Overview

    Usually, it takes 3 weeks to get a decision on your visa. In some cases, your application processing time will take longer. This can be due to:

    • Your supporting documents need to be verified
    • You need to attend a visa interview
    • Your circumstances require additional background checks; for example, you have a criminal record

    Priority Service and Super Priority Service for a Faster Visa Decision

    You may get a faster decision on your visa if you pay an additional fee for priority service. However, not all visa application centres offer faster decisions, so you should check with your local visa application centre to see if the option is available.

    With a ‘Priority Service’, you can get your decision within 5 working days, while with a ‘Super Priority Service’, you can get it by the end of the next working day.

    You will find out if you can get a faster decision when you apply for a visa. You will need to pay one of the following:

    • £573, if your visa gives you the option to settle permanently in the UK
    • £500, if your visa does not give you the option to settle permanently in the UK

    ‘Super Priority Service’ costs £800.

    Extending a UK Skilled Worker Visa

    Overview

    You can apply to extend your Skilled Worker Visa if you have the same job as when you obtained your previous visa.

    In addition to this, your job needs to be in the same occupation code as when you obtained your previous visa, and you must still be working for the employer who issued you with your current Certificate of Sponsorship.

    Note that you should apply extend your visa before it expires otherwise you may have to reapply from Nigeria.

    Supporting Documents Required for a UK Skilled Worker Visa Extension

    You may need to provide the following documents to extend your permission to stay in the UK as a Skilled Worker:

    • A new Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
    • A valid passport
    • Updated biometric information
    • Evidence of at least £1,270 in your bank account to support yourself on a Skilled Worker Visa route. However, this is not a requirement if you have been in the UK for 12 months or more
    • Evidence of an adequate level of English language
    • An updated criminal record certificate. However, it is only necessary if your occupation requires it
    • Skilled Worker Route Extension Fees

    If your visa is about to expire you will need to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa extension, you will need to pay an extension fee. The extension of visa costs £827 for up to 3 years and £1,636 for over 3 years.

    In addition to this, anyone who wishes to extend their visa is required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge to access healthcare in the UK. This cost is the same as for initial visa application (£1,035 per year).

    Our lawyers can help you navigate the entire Skilled Worker visa process from application to ILR.

    ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) Through the Skilled Worker Route

    After your visa extension you may be able to extend your stay further or apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after 5 years of living in the UK.

    To apply for ILR, you must have not been outside the UK for more than 180 days within 12 months of any of the 5 years.  In addition, you must meet certain requirements.

    To be eligible you will need to prove to the Home Office that you are receiving the minimum salary required and prove that after obtaining ILR, you will still be needed for your job and will continue to meet the general salary threshold required under the Skilled Worker route.

    Indefinite Leave to Remain will allow you to live and to work in the UK without restrictions. If you hold your ILR status for 12 months, you will be able to apply for UK citizenship.

    How Can IAS Help?

    IAS is a team of professional immigration lawyers with experience in guiding many Nigerians through the visa application process to get their visas approved. Our sympathetic and expert legal advisers can assist you if you have any queries regarding your visa, and they can ensure that your application is completed to the highest standards to increase your chances of visa approval.

    To learn more about our services and how we can help you, call IAS on +23413438882 or our UK phone number, +44 (0) 3316300929 or contact one of our advisers online.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at our Lagos office, all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    If you change your job or employer, you must apply to update your Skilled Worker Visa. However, if you are doing a different position for your current employer, you will only be required to update your visa if your new job has a different occupation code. Updating your visa will cost £827 for up to 3 years or £1,636 for over 3 years.

    You can apply to update your visa up to 3 months before you start your new job. However, please note that it may take up to 8 weeks to receive a decision on your application, so it is important to apply as early as possible.

    If you lose your job on a Skilled Worker Visa, you cannot remain in the country with your current visa. However, depending on your eligibility, you can switch to a different type of visa or apply for another Skilled Worker Visa with a new job offer. You can remain in the UK while your application is being processed.

    You can spend up to 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months. Record of absence must be readily available and if your salary changes as a result of taking sick leave, maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption leave or annual leave, this must be reported to the Home Office,

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