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Senior Or Specialist Worker Visa Vs Skilled Worker Visa

A majority of eligible visa roles in the UK can fall into one of two categories: they can be either Skilled Workers or Senior or Specialist Workers. Figuring out which of these is best, or which is most suited to you or the employee you wish to hire, is very important. However, it is not easy.

For this reason, it can be very useful to have the help of a legal advisor. At IAS, our legal team is well-versed in immigration law, and we can help you understand which visa is best for you. Whatever you need, our team can help. Give us a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us to get started.

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    Senior Or Specialist Worker Visa Vs Skilled Worker Visa

    A majority of employees would typically have a preference for a Skilled Worker visa rather than a Senior or Specialist Worker visa, as Skilled Worker visas can lead to settlement, while Senior or Specialist visas do not.

    Senior or Specialist Worker visas are temporary, meaning that those who hold them will be required to leave the UK when it expires.

    However, Senior or Specialist Worker visa holders do have the ability to switch to Skilled Worker visas, which means that they will be able to apply for ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after they have held their Skilled Worker Visa for five years.

    Senior or Specialist Worker visas are easier and faster to obtain for employers, however. Applicants also have no requirement to meet eligibility criteria for the English language meaning that there is a wider range of applicants available. However, that being said, the Senior or Specialist Worker visa is usually met with a higher minimum salary than the Skilled Worker visa.

    Benefits Of A Skilled Worker Visa Vs Senior Or Specialist Worker Visa

    Many specialist workers move to the Skilled Worker visa route as the requirements are more favourable. These are some of the reasons why it is preferred:

    • ILR: Skilled Worker visas are perfect pathways to settlement for applicants who have held this visa for five years. After the sixth year of holding this visa, an applicant can also become a UK citizen. Alternatively, Senior or Specialist Worker visas are only temporary.
    • Affordability: Skilled Worker visa applications are slightly less expensive than Specialist Worker Visa applications. While both have a standard fee, the Skilled Worker route does have a shortage occupations list that is cheaper.
    • Requirements for Education: Skilled Worker visa applicants require lower prerequisites in education than Specialist or Senior Workers do. Although the Global Business Mobility routes require RQF Level 4, you do need to have RQF Level 6 for the Skilled Worker route.
    • Work Experience Requirements: Applicants require 12 months prior experience unless they are paid a UK package of over £73,900 for a Senior or Specialist Worker Visa. Skilled Worker visa routes do not require work experience to apply.

    Whether you are a business or an individual, our team of immigration specialists can help you.

    Senior Or Specialist Worker Visa Vs Global Business Mobility Visa

    The overall requirements for these visa options are different. The Global Business Mobility: Senior or Specialist Worker visa application does have some perks to its requirements. It is only a temporary visa, and it can be changed, but it is an ideal visa for many, especially those in certain industries.

    The requirements for the senior or specialist worker route are as follows:

    • The applicant is over the age of 18.
    • The applicant is working for a business or organisation that is linked to the UK sponsor by ownership or control or by a joint venture for which they are sponsored to work.
    • The applicant has worked outside of the UK for the linked business or the organisation for at least 12 months overall unless they earn an annual salary over £73,900.
    • The job the applicant intends to do is genuine.
    • The job the applicant intends to do is skilled to at least an RQF level 6.
    • The salary the applicant will receive will be £45,800 per year or above, or the ‘going rate’ for the job.
    • The applicant has enough funds to support themselves in the UK without relying on public funding.
    • The UK sponsor of the applicant has paid any of the required Immigration Skills Charges.
    • The applicant has provided a valid TB Certificate.

    Alternatively, the requirements for the Skilled Worker visa are as follows:

    • The applicant has a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from their prospective employer.
    • The job they will be doing is a genuine vacancy.
    • The role they will be filling is at an appropriate level.
    • The applicant will be paid a salary equal to or above the ‘going rate’ salary threshold for their occupation.
    • The sponsor has paid the Immigration Skills Charge fees as required.
    • The applicant can demonstrate English proficiency at Level B1 CEFR.
    • The applicant can provide a criminal record certificate.
    • The applicants can sustain themselves financially without any reliance on public funding.
    • The applicant can provide a genuine TB certificate if required.
    • The applicant fulfils the genuineness requirement, will only take on the proposed role, and won’t engage in additional UK employment.

    Senior Or Specialist Worker Visa Vs Skilled Worker Visa: ILR

    Many roles could be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa or a Senior or Specialist Worker visa holder; however, in most cases, Skilled Worker visas are considered the better option as they also work as a path to settlement within five years of the visa being granted. GBM visas do not do this.

    Before 2010, Tier 2 ICT visas were used to lead to settlement; however, this is not the case anymore.

    However, many state that now that the government is no longer trying to cut net migration and has abolished any quotas on Skilled Worker visas, it is rather tricky to understand why a senior executive who has been posted to the UK needs to leave after five years.

    That being said, the entire issue is mostly theoretical, as individuals and employers can easily opt for a Skilled Worker visa instead and will therefore secure a path to settlement in five years.

    Which Type Of Visa Is Better?

    A majority of employees will prefer to be sponsored via the Skilled Worker visa route due to its ability to lead to UK settlement, while the Senior or Specialist Worker visa does not. For employers, the latter is usually easier, but it does have higher salary requirements for the applicant.

    Overall, Skilled Worker visas are generally the preferred visa type for employers and individuals alike. However, deciding which one is the better option is dependent on the situation of the individual and the employer.

    It also depends on the eligible occupations, as while many roles fit into both categories, not all do.

    The consensus is that the Skilled Worker visa is the best choice; however, it is imperative to understand the visa options available for the role first and foremost.

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    Speak to our immigration team, who can tailor a advice and support depending on your situation and case.

    Not Sure Which Visa Is Right For You? How IAS Can Help

    If you are not sure which visa type is best for you or a prospective employee, it is best to seek out an immigration lawyer.

    The Skilled Worker visa route and the Senior or Specialist Visa route have a lot in common but also have some very distinct differences, so it is important to make the right decision.

    Both have pros and cons for the sponsoring employer and applicants, but they also fit different jobs and have different eligibility criteria. If you are unsure which is the right fit, contact a lawyer at IAS today.

    The IAS legal team is made up of expert immigration lawyers and can help you understand the visa options available to you. Just give us a call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or send us a message to get started.

    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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