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Skilled Work Visas: How to get a Skilled Worker Visa in UK?

Updated: May 9

General Work Visa App Guidance: All The Basics You Need to Know

In reading this guide in full to the end you with have a basic understanding of the application requirements relating to skilled worker visa applications.

If you believe your application requirements are more complex and need help.

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In 2021 Tier 2 general work visas were overhauled and become skilled worker visas, the application route still falls under Tier 2 sponsorship it's technically a change of name.

In order to be eligible to receive a skilled worker visa from a UK employer, UK employers must demonstrate you are eligible to sponsor and receive a certificate of sponsorship. Before an employer is able to assign either an allocated COS (certificate of sponsorship) or apply for a defined COS certificate used on out of country applications, they are expected to undertake a compliance assessment as part of their sponsorship license obligations. When undertaking a compliance assessment they must demonstrate the role on offer has an eligible SOC code (standard occupation code) associated to the role they are offering you.

For example a Health and Care worker visa falls under SOC 6146 which defines the job specification including an industry wide recognised minimum entry salary level, including defining salary levels of applicants with 3 or more years experience including if the role is recognised as a shortage occupation role. On completion of their compliance assessment a UK Employer can either apply directly to UKVI for a defined COS certificate when sponsoring an overseas applicant, or assign an ordinary COS certificate from the employer's annual allocation which allows allocated certificates to be used to sponsor applicants already working in the UK or eligible to switch from within the UK.

Established UK sponsorship license holders receive an annual allocation of certificates around the anniversary from when their license was first approved. The number of certificates a UK employer will be eligible to use depends on the number of certificates the UKVI have allocate them. Only UK employers holding an current allocation of certificates will be eligible to sponsor without making a further allocation request.

To apply on your behalf for a Skilled worker visa you first need to meet the following core application requirements.


To apply for Work visas:

  1. You need to be at least 18 years old

  2. Your UK Employer has been approved a UK sponsorship license

  3. Your UK Employer has given you a certificate of sponsorship confirming the job on offer

  4. The role offered must have a listed eligible SOC code (Standard occupation code)

  5. Salary must meet minimum income requirements associated to the selected code

  6. UK Sponsor must have provided a formal job offer before you can apply for a visa

  7. You must show you can maintain yourself without accessing public funds

  8. You can generally switch into this category as long as you entered the UK with permission to stay longer than 6 months. Anyone on visitor visas cannot apply within the UK neither can anyone who was previously granted leave to remain outside the immigration rules


What you need to demonstrate:

  1. You must demonstrate you have knowledge of English in 4 areas of discipline Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening. Your industry sector may also set a minimum English level entry requirement.

  2. Demonstrate you can maintain yourself without access to public funds

  3. You can bring your partner and children as your dependents if they are eligible and only if you can demonstrate you can maintain your dependents without accessing public funds.

  4. If changing job or employer you must obtain a new COS document & re-apply for a new visa.


The financial requirements:

You must meet the minimum income requirements under Skilled workers Appendix to be awarded a visa. Skilled workers generally must earn a minimum gross annual income of £25,600 but this can be lower for shortage occupation roles.

The Sponsored skilled workers must demonstrate they have maintenance funds to support themselves on arrival.

  1. £1,270 Sponsored skilled worker

  2. £600 Partner & first child dependent

  3. £200 each additional child


How long can you stay:

When you apply to come to the UK for the first time you will receive an entry clearance visa your BRP card will be awarded after you arrive in the UK normally 10 days after entry. Out of country applicants are initially granted an entry clearance vignette stamped into there passport allowing travel up to 28 days from the date of issue.

When entering the UK for the first time on your vignette visa stamp don’t use e-passport gates in doing so, you will not trigger the issuing of your new “BRP” ID visa card which is requested by normally by the entry clearance officer at the arrival hall from where you enter the UK for the first time. After being granted entry into the UK it normally takes up to 10 working days for your new BRP ID visa card to arrive at the UK address confirmed within your online application form.

When applying from within the UK under an extension application or further leave to remain if switching from a different category you will be awarded a visa dependent on the amount of time your employer is sponsoring you for on their COS document the same applies on entry clearance visas too.


Natural progression to Permanent Residence:

Before your "Entry clearance" or "further leave to remain" expires you will need to apply for an extension again, if successful you will receive a further period of leave to remain based on the amount of time your employer indicates they want to continue sponsoring you for using a new COS document.

Once you have accrued 60 months in the UK, you can apply for Indefinite leave to remain otherwise know as settlement or permanent residence provided you can demonstrate you met the application requirements.

Once you receive your ILR and depending on your personal circumstances you may be eligible to apply for Naturalisation (British Citizenship) immediately after receiving your Permanent residence BRP card.

Lets get your application started together

Disclaimer: The information provided above is for general purposes only relating to Immigration visa application procedures and these rules change regularly. I highly recommended you contact me directly for more in-depth advice and assistance. All enquiries receive a free initial application assessment to clarify how you meet the general application requirements of the above application route.

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Adam Wandler
Adam Wandler
Feb 26

A skilled Immigration Consultant will not only help you gather and organize the necessary documentation but also prepare you for any interviews or assessments that may be part of the visa application process. This preparation can be crucial to your success.

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