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UK Skilled Worker visa

A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. The new Skilled Worker Visa UK (2021) replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa in December 2020. The Skilled Worker route can lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years of residency in the UK.

The new UK Skilled Worker Visa is based on a points-based immigration system. Applicants must score at least 70 points on the points-based system to be eligible for the visa. Applicants can accrue points through their level of education and a shortage occupation role. The Skilled Worker visa makes provision for spouses, ‘durable’ partners, and dependent children to apply to join the main visa applicant in the UK, and is also a route to settlement and Indefinite Leave to remain.

The ‘mandatory’ points are as follows:

  • Offer of a job from a UK company with a sponsorship license (20 points)
  • Job at the appropriate skill level (20 points)
  • English-language ability at the level of B1 (10 points)
  • If the job is offering a salary of at least £25,600 per year/at the going rate (whichever is higher), the applicant will accrue another 20 points to reach the required 70 points.

There are a number of requirements which you need to meet in order to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa. To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • Be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do You’ll usually need to be paid at least £25,600 per year or £10.10 per hour, whichever is higher. If the ‘going rate’ for your job is higher than both of these, you’ll usually need to be paid at least the going rate.
  • You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.
  • Must be able to prove that your English language ability is to at least the level of B1 as set by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages Must have enough money to support yourself whilst you are in the UKK (you will need to provide documentation to prove this)
  • Must provide criminal record and valid TB certificate (if applicable)
How to Apply?

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant will need to submit an online application, together with their supporting documentation, and pay the relevant fee. They will also need to provide their biometric information at the visa processing centre local to them, either overseas or in the UK.
Applications can be made up to 3 months before the day the worker’s intended employment start date in the UK, as stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
The applicant will need to submit an online application within three months of being assigned their certificate of sponsorship. Each certificate has a unique reference number that they will need to apply.
They will also be required to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to enroll their biometric information and to submit various documents in support.

How much it costs

When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to have enough money to:

  • Pay the application fee - the standard fee ranges from £625 to £1,423 depending on your circumstances
  • Pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £624 per year
  • Support yourself when you arrive in the UK - you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

You’ll pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list.
You’ll be told how much you need to pay when you apply.

How long it takes to get a decision

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision within 3 weeks.
You’ll be contacted if your application will take longer, for example because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • Of your personal circumstances, for example if you have a criminal conviction

You’ll get a letter or an email with the result of your application. It will explain what you need to do next.

The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa under the UK’s new single points-based immigration system. The Skilled Worker visa will apply to EEA nationals wanting to come to the UK to work after 1 January 2021, and for non-EEA nationals who apply for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK on or after 1 December 2020. The new visa is broadly similar to the old visa, although there are some changes aimed at making the process more straightforward for both sponsors and applicants alike.