Skilled Workers Visa: A Pathway to UK Opportunities
The UK Skilled Worker Visa route offers a great pathway to explore well paid employment opportunities in the United Kingdom. This visa is open to individuals of all nationalities, except British and Irish citizens, who have received a job offer from a Home Office UKVI-approved sponsor to perform an eligible skilled role in the UK. Not only does this route lead onto settlement, it also allows applicants to be accompanied by their dependent partners and children, making it a favourable choice for skilled professionals looking to come settle and build a new future in the UK.
To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, certain criteria needs to be met. Only by meeting UKVI eligibility requirements will you ensure a visa is granted to individuals who possess the necessary skills and meet the standards set by the UKVI.
Age and Certificate of Sponsorship
You must be 18 years old or above.
You need to have a valid CoS Certificate for the specific job your sponsored to do in the UK.
Genuine Vacancy and Skill Level
Your job offer must be a genuine vacancy, meaning it must be a legitimate and available job position.
Your job must met an appropriate SOC code requirement, usually at least equivalent to RQF level 3 recognised under the industry standard occupation code associated to the employment.
Salary and Immigration Skills Charge
You must be paid a salary that meets or exceeds the general salary threshold and the SOC code recognised "going rate" associated to the relevant industry. The salary should also meet the minimum hourly rate, if applicable.
Your sponsor (employer) must paid the required Immigration Skills Charge.
English Language and Financial Capability
You must demonstrate English proficiency requirements at least at CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0). Some UK industries governed by regulatory bodies may require a higher level of proficiency
You need to have enough funds to support yourself financially without relying on public funds.
Criminal Record and TB Certificate
Depending on the role you're being sponsored to perform. You may need to provide a criminal record certificate.
Valid TB certificate might be required depending on your circumstances and where you apply for your visa.
It's important to note that specific requirements can vary based on individual and employer circumstances. To ensure a smooth application process occurs, it's advisable to seek our advice and clarify what are the best practises to achieve success for help contact our immigration Consultant.
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement
A valid Certificate of Sponsorship is essential to obtain a UK Skilled Worker Visa. Certificates are issued by employers authorized by the Home Office to sponsor specific job roles under UK SOC Skills routes. To ensure compliance, a sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the UKVI register of licensed sponsors. Additionally, all Certificate of Sponsorship must meet certain criteria, including:
• Details of your name, job, and salary.
• A start date normally within three months of your visa submission.
• Confirmation that the certificate hasn't been used in a previous granted, refused, or withdrawn visa application.
Genuine Vacancy Requirement
To be granted a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you must satisfy the Home Office that you are being sponsored for a genuine vacancy and have the capability to fulfil the role assigned in your Certificate of Sponsorship. It's crucial to demonstrate that the job is not created solely for the purpose of obtaining a visa and that it's not a temporary or ongoing routine role for a third party unrelated to your sponsor.
Immigration Skills Charge Requirement
Your sponsor must fulfil the required Immigration Skills Charge for each foreign worker they wish to employ. This charge applies every time a Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned to a migrant worker. By paying this charge, employers contribute to the funding of skills development programs here in the UK.
Appropriate Skill Level Requirement
Under the UK Skilled Worker Visa route, the job you are being sponsored for must meet certain attributes and requirements. The minimum skills level for a role is RQF level 3, which is roughly equivalent to A-levels under the UK education system. It's important to note that you don't necessarily need a formal qualification to meet the skill level requirement. Instead, it’s the skill level of the job itself that determines whether the threshold is met.
To ensure compliance with the immigration rules, the Home Office provides an Appendix that lists eligible jobs and their corresponding skill levels. Each eligible job is assigned an SOC code, and you must be sponsored for a job that falls under an eligible standard occupation code listed in the Appendix.
Your sponsor, the UK employer who is offering you the job, is responsible for choosing the appropriate SOC code for the role. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that the chosen standard occupation code is not the most suitable or accurate representation of the job, your application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa may be refused.
In assessing whether the sponsor has chosen the most appropriate standard occupation code, the UKVI considers various factors. These include whether the sponsor has demonstrated a genuine need for the job as described, whether you possess the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience required for the job, and the sponsor's compliance history with the Sponsorship Management System where they assigned the Certificate of Sponsorship.
It's crucial for both you and your sponsor to carefully review the Appendix and ensure that the chosen occupation code accurately reflects the nature of the job you will be performing. This helps to establish your eligibility for the UK Skilled Worker Visa.
English Language Requirement
To qualify for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you must demonstrate your proficiency in the English across all four components: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The required level of proficiency is at least B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which corresponds to an intermediate level.
There are several ways to satisfy the language requirement when applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa:
• Nationality: If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, you automatically meet the language requirement. The list of majority English-speaking countries is determined by the UK government.
• Secure English Language Test (SELT): You can take a Secure English Test approved by the UK government to demonstrate your language proficiency. Passing the test at the required level fulfils the requirement.
• Degree Taught in English: If you have completed a degree-level qualification that was taught in English, you meet the English language requirement. The degree must be from a recognized institution.
• GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers: If you obtained a GCSE, A Level, or Scottish Highers qualification in English while studying in the UK, this satisfies the English language requirement.
• Previous Successful Application: If you have previously demonstrated that you met the B1 level English language requirement in a successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK, you are considered to have already satisfied the requirement.
• It's important to note that meeting the English language requirement is essential for obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa. You should carefully review the specific requirements and ensure you provide the necessary evidence to support your English language proficiency in your visa application.
Salary Threshold Requirement
Under the UK Skilled Worker route, employers must pay their skilled employees a salary that meets certain requirements. The salary should equal or exceed both a general salary threshold and the "going rate" for the standard occupation code associated to the role, or the minimum hourly rate if applicable, whichever is higher.
Here are the key points:
1. General Salary Threshold: For most jobs, the general salary threshold is at least £26,200 per year. However, if the worker scores "tradable points, under Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE)" it can be at least £23,580 or £20,960 per year. The general salary threshold is based on actual gross earnings, up to a maximum of 48 hours per week. If the worker's regular hours vary each week, resulting in uneven pay, work in excess of 48 hours in some weeks can be considered toward the salary thresholds, as long as the average over a regular cycle (up to 17 weeks) does not exceed 48 hours per week.
2. Going Rate for the Occupation: The going rate is determined based on a 37.5 hour working week and is set out in Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations. If the general salary threshold is higher than the going rate for the occupation, the worker must be paid at least the general salary threshold. If the general salary threshold is lower, the worker must be paid at least the going rate.
3. Minimum Hourly Rate: If applicable, the minimum hourly rate is at least £10.75 per hour.
Tradable Points: Some Employment roles may be eligible for lower salaries if they earn additional "tradable points" for certain attributes. These points can be earned in the following cases:
• Applicant with a relevant PhD qualification: The salary should equal or exceed £23,580 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation, along with £10.75 per hour.
• Applicant with a relevant PhD qualification in a STEM subject: The salary should equal or exceed £23,580 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation, along with £10.75 per hour.
• Applicant with a job offer in a shortage occupation: The salary should equal or exceed £20,960 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation, along with £10.75 per hour.
• New entrant to the labour market: The salary should equal or exceed £20,960 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation, along with £10.75 per hour. New entrants include individuals under 26 years old (or switching from a Student or Graduate Visa), those in postdoctoral research positions, and those working towards professional qualifications, registration, or chartered status.
A "job on the shortage occupation list" refers to skilled roles where employers have difficulty finding enough labour with the required skills. If you have a job offer on the shortage occupation list, the salary threshold requirement will be reduced.
A "new entrant to the labour market" includes individuals meeting certain criteria such as age, postdoctoral research positions, or working towards professional qualifications. If you qualify as a new entrant, the salary threshold requirement will be reduced.
It's important to note that there are limitations on the total duration of permission for work visas, Tier 2 Migrant, and/or Graduate, which should not exceed 4 years in total to qualify as a new entrant.
Please keep in mind that these requirements may be subject to change, so it's advisable to consult the latest guidelines and rules provided by the Home Office when applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa.
To meet the financial requirement for a UK Skilled Workers Visa, you must have cash funds of at least £1,270 available. These funds should have been held for at least 28 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of your visa application.
If your sponsor is rated as 'A-rated' and agrees to cover your maintenance costs up to the end of the first month of your employment, with a minimum amount of £1,270 if necessary, you will be exempt from the financial requirement. Your sponsor needs to confirm this on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
Exemption for Long-Term Residents:
If you are applying for permission to stay and have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the time of your application, you will automatically meet the financial requirement and will not need to show funds.
Criminal Record Certificate Requirement:
If you are applying for entry clearance and being sponsored for certain jobs in sectors such as health, care, welfare, and education, you will generally need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country where you have been present for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the 10 years before your application date. There may be exceptions if it is not reasonably practical to obtain these certificates.
Resident Labour Market Test:
Employers sponsoring work visas under the UK Skilled Worker Visa route are not required to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), unlike the previous route. However, sponsors still need to demonstrate that they have a genuine vacancy to fill.
Switching into the UK Skilled Worker Route:
If you currently have permission to stay in another immigration category, you can extend your stay by switching into the UK Skilled Worker route, except if your last permission was as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household, or outside the Immigration Rules.
Cooling Off Period:
Under the previous Tier 2 (General) route, there was a 12-month "cooling off period" for individuals applying for entry clearance or switching into the route. However, under the UK Skilled Worker route, the cooling off period has been removed. There are no restrictions on when applications for the UK Skilled Worker Visa route can be made.
Duration of UK Skilled Worker Visa:
If your application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa is approved, you will be granted entry clearance or permission to stay for a period ending 14 days after the end date of your Certificate of Sponsorship. The maximum duration of the visa can be up to 5 years from the start date of your Certificate of Sponsorship. You can also bring dependents who can apply with you at the same time or come later under the PBS Tier 2 Dependent Visa application process.
Under the UK Skilled Worker route:
the maximum length of stay in the route has been removed. Unlike the former Tier 2 (General) route, there is no specific restriction on the length of stay for individuals on the UK Skilled Worker Visa.
As a UK Skilled Worker Visa holder:
you are allowed to work in the job for which you have been sponsored. You may also engage in supplementary employment as long as you continue to work in the sponsored job. Studying is permitted, but you may need to provide an ATAS Certificate if required for certain sensitive subjects. It's important to note that access to public funds is not permitted, meaning you cannot rely on government welfare benefits during your stay.
To qualify for Settlement (also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain) as a UK Skilled Worker, you will need to meet the following criteria:
1. Continuous Residence: You must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.
2. Eligible Routes: The 5-year continuous period can consist of time spent with permission on any combination of the following routes: Skilled Worker, Global Talent, Innovator, T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business, Tier 1 Migrant (excluding Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur) or Scale-up.
3. Absences from the UK: You should not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in each year of the 5-year continuous period.
4. Life in the UK Test: Unless you are aged 65 or over, you will need to pass the Life in the UK test, which assesses your knowledge of British customs, traditions, and society.
5. Sponsor Approval: Your sponsor must still be an approved sponsor by the Home Office.
6. Ongoing Employment: Your sponsor must still require your services for the foreseeable future, and you must continue to be paid at least the general salary threshold or the going rate requirement, whichever is higher.
Salary Threshold Requirement for Settlement:
• Most applicants: Salary of at least £26,200 per year or the 'going rate' for the occupation, whichever is higher.
• Applicants qualifying for a lower threshold: Salary of at least £20,960 per year or the 'going rate' for the occupation, whichever is higher. This applies if you were sponsored in a shortage occupation or a specified health or education occupation code in your most recent application, or if your 5-year qualifying period includes time as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant in specific science, research, or education-related occupation codes.
Dependents of UK Skilled Workers:
UK Skilled Workers can be accompanied by their dependent partner (over 18 years old) and/or dependent child (under 18 years old).
Our immigration adviser can provide valuable assistance to both employers and skilled workers in navigating the UK immigration system.
1. Planning and Compliance: Our adviser can help you plan your immigration journey, ensuring that you meet the necessary requirements and timelines. They will assist in determining the appropriate visa category, preparing the required documentation, and ensuring compliance with immigration laws and regulations.
2. Skilled Worker Sponsor Licences: For employers, our adviser can guide you through the process of obtaining a Skilled Worker sponsor licence. They will provide expert advice on meeting the necessary criteria, preparing the application, and ensuring compliance with sponsor duties.
3. Licence Maintenance and Compliance: Once you have obtained a sponsor licence, our adviser will help you maintain the highest rating for your licence. They will assist with compliance management, including record-keeping, reporting duties, and ensuring that your HR practices align with immigration requirements.
4. Career Progression and Immigration Goals: Our adviser understands the importance of aligning your career progression with your immigration goals. They can provide guidance on opportunities for growth and advancement within the UK immigration framework, ensuring that your career path supports your long-term immigration objectives.
5. Clear and Reliable Advice: Our immigration adviser, Marc, is committed to providing clear and reliable immigration advice. They will stay up-to-date with the latest immigration policies and regulations, ensuring that you receive accurate information tailored to your specific circumstances.
6. Professional and Friendly Service: We take pride in offering an approachable and proactive service to our clients. Our adviser, Marc, is highly driven and dedicated to meeting your needs. They will provide support throughout the process, addressing any concerns or queries you may have and guiding you with professionalism and friendliness.
By working with our experienced immigration adviser, you can navigate the complexities of the UK immigration system with confidence, ensuring a smooth and successful process for both employers and skilled workers.