- What is a skilled worker visa?
- Skilled Worker visa requirements
- Job eligibility
- English language requirement
- Financial requirements
- How much is a Skilled Worker Visa?
- Applying with your family
- How to extend your Skilled Worker visa
- If you hold a Tier 2 Visa
- How long does a skilled worker visa application take?
- What is the minimum salary for skilled worker visa?
- Can you switch job in skilled worker visa?
- Skilled Worker Visa refusal
- Frequently asked questions
What is a Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. This permit allows eligible applicants to stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved sponsor/employer.
If you or your close family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and you started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, you can apply for the free EU Settlement Scheme. This means that you would not need to get a visa to work in the UK. Irish citizens do not need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme or a visa.
If you are a skilled worker and you want to enter the UK to do a specialized job, you can seek the help of IAS immigration lawyers. Call us on 0333 305 3750 to speak with our team.
Skilled Worker Visa Requirements
To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to be sponsored by a UK-based employer. Besides, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- You must be aged 18 or over
- You need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the job you are going to do
- Your job is a genuine vacancy
- Your role is at an appropriate level
- You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds the general salary threshold and the “going rate” for your occupation
- Your sponsor has paid the required Immigration Skills Charge
- You can demonstrate your English proficiency (at least CEFR Level B1)
- You can financially sustain yourself and your family without relying on public funds
- You can provide a criminal record certificate
- You can provide a valid TB certificate (if needed)
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, you should receive a job offer from a UK employer which must meet all the following requirements:
- The job must be eligible for the visa, under the new Skilled Worker Visa route, your role must be skilled to at least RQF level 3 (roughly equivalent to A-levels).
- You must be paid the minimum salary or “going rate” for the type of work you will be doing. The minimum salary is at least £25,600 per year.
- Your employer must have been approved by the Home Office and hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
- You must hold an occupation code. If you have already received a job offer, you must ask your employer for your code.
English language requirement
To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you must demonstrate your English proficiency. This must be at least at level B1 (intermediate). To satisfy this requirement, you can either:
- Be a national of a majority English-speaking country
- Have passed a Secure English Language Test
- Have obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK
- Have been awarded a degree taught in English
- Have already met this requirement as a part of any previous application for entry clearance
The general salary threshold under the Skilled Worker Visa route is £25,600 a year. This means that your salary must equal or exceed this number and 100% of the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher. The assessment will be based on guaranteed basic gross pay.
Workers falling into specific categories might be paid less than the above amount, provided that they score additional “tradable point” for other attributes, such as:
- Holding a PhD qualification which is relevant to the job or in a relevant STEM subject
- Accepting an offer for a job in the shortage occupation list
- Applicants who are new entrants to the labour market
- Applications for job listed as health or education occupations
As well as meeting the minimum salary threshold, you will also need to meet other financial requirements. You must have cash funds of at least £1,270 available to sustain yourself while in the UK. This money must be held in your bank account for at least 28 consecutive days prior to your application.
How much is a Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker visa application fees range from £610 to £1,408, depending on your circumstances.
When applying for your visa, you also need to take the following expenses into account:
- Healthcare surcharge – £624 per year
- You must have at least £1,270 available to demonstrate that you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK. You might be exempt if you have already been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months, or if the employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK.
Applying with your family
Your partner and children can apply to join you in the UK provided that they are eligible as your dependants. You can include the following members of your family in your application:
- Your husband or wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- Your children under 18
- Your children over 18 if they are already staying in the UK as your dependants and are not married.
When submitting your application, you must provide evidence of your relationship.
How to extend your Skilled Worker visa
Your Skilled Worker visa is due to expire after a certain number of years, depending on your circumstances. You can apply to extend your permit if you meet the following requirements:
- You have the same job as when you were first granted your visa
- Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were given permission to enter the UK
- You are still working for the same employer who sponsored your current application.
Your family can apply for a visa extension, but they will need to submit a separate application.
If you hold a Tier 2 Visa
If you got CoS before 24th November 2016
If you have already applied to extend your visa before 24 May 2023, your minimum salary requirement is fixed at a lower rate. This means that you need to be paid at least £20,800 per year.
If you got your CoS on or after 24th November 2016
If you apply to extend your visa before 1st December 2026, you need to meet the new salary requirements. Your salary may also include allowances, if they are guaranteed for the length of your stay.
Skilled Worker Visa refusal
There are a number of reasons why your Skilled Worker Visa application may be refused. Some of the most likely reasons include:
- Not fully completing the application form
- Not fully paying the application fee or other associated costs
- Not including an accurate certificate of sponsorship reference number or job code
- Not submitting the appropriate, relevant supporting documents to accompany your application demonstrating your eligibility
- Not meeting the 70 points requirements on the points-based system
- Not having a clean immigration and criminal history
Alternatively, you may experience a Skilled Worker refusal if your employer does not have the correct sponsor licence and necessary documentation.
What can you do if your Skilled Worker Visa is refused?
If your Skilled Worker Visa application is refused, you have a number of options available, depending on your circumstances. The most common option is administrative review.
Applications may be refused in the following situations:
- Initial application for the Skilled Worker Visa
- Switching to the Skilled Worker Visa
- Renewing or extending the visa
If you receive a notice of refusal on your application, you have a limited period of time to apply for an administrative review of the decision. You have 28 days to file the request if you applied outside the UK, or alternatively, 14 days if you applied inside the UK.
The Home Office (UKVI) will respond to your request within 28 days with a decision. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome of this decision, you may have the option to file a pre-action protocol for judicial review. You may be eligible to submit a request for a judicial review if you are unsatisfied with this decision.
If your Skilled Worker Visa is refused, we recommend speaking to an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible to explore the available options. We can assist you with submitting the form for administrative review, preparing the case grounds, and representing you until the matter is resolved.
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You can submit your UK visa application up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date can be found in your certificate of sponsorship.
Depending on your circumstances, the Home Office may need extra time to review your documents and prove your identity. For this reason, you should always allow extra time and submit your application in time.
It usually takes about 3 weeks to receive a decision from the Home Office if you are outside the UK. If you are already living in this country, you may need to wait up to 8 weeks.
As a Skilled Worker visa holder, you can:
- Work and study in the UK
- Bring your family (your partner and your children) if they are eligible for a dependant visa
- Do voluntary work or take on additional work (in certain circumstances)
- Apply to settle in the UK after 5 years of lawful residence in this country.
What you cannot do:
- Change job or employer, unless you submit an updated visa application
- Apply for public funds, benefits, or the State Pension
You need to be paid at least £25,600 per year, unless the “going rate” for your job is higher. Depending on your occupation code, your role might have an annual going rate, which you and your employer can check online.
Different salary rules apply for those working in healthcare or education jobs.
The Skilled Worker Visa only grants you permission to work for the employer that originally sponsored your application in the role that you were sponsored for.
If you wish to work for a new employer or if you want to switch to a job of a different occupation code with the same employer you will need to apply to update your Skilled Worker Visa.
You must also apply to update your visa if you move from a job that was on the Shortage Occupation List to one that is not on the Shortage Occupation List.
If you stay in the same job, but this role is taken off the Shortage Occupation List, you do not need to update your Skilled Worker Visa.