There are 8 key requirements of UK Skilled Worker visa (long-term work visa) in order to make a successful UK Skilled Worker visa application to work in the UK.

The UK Skilled Worker visa allows overseas skilled workers to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. You must have a confirmed job offer in a UK company that holds a sponsorship license.

The Skilled Worker Visa is open to individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who have an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor. The route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children. Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa category from 1 December 2020.

UK Skilled Worker visa requirements

Below is a list of 8 Key requirements of UK Skilled Worker visa:

  1. You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do;
  2. Your job offer is a genuine vacancy;
  3. Your sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge;
  4. Your job is at an appropriate skill level;
  5. You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
  6. You will be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation;
  7. You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds; and
  8. You have provided a criminal record certificate, if required;

You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements. Please contact us for initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

Contact an expert UK immigration lawyer at Rex Law Chambers for initial assessment to ensure you meet the stringent requirements set out by the Home Office.

What is the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Requirement?

In order to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa, you must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do. Your Certificate of Sponsorship will need to have been issued by an employer that is authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question under the Skilled Worker route.

Your sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors unless you were last granted permission as a Skilled Worker and are applying to continue working for the same sponsor as in your last permission.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must have been issued not more than 3 months before the date of your Skilled Worker application.

Your Certificate of Sponsorship must include certain mandatory information, including:

  • details of your name, job, and salary;
  • a start date which is no more than 3 months after the date your Skilled Worker visa application;
  • confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application which was either granted or refused and has not been withdrawn by the sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office;

What is the Genuine Vacancy Requirement?

In order to be granted a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy the Home Office that you are being sponsored to undertake a genuine vacancy and are capable of undertaking the role for which your Certificate of Sponsorship has been assigned.

If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job you are being sponsored to do does not exist, is a sham, or has been created mainly so that you can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa then your application will be refused.

The Home Office will also want to be satisfied that you have not entered into an arrangement whereby you will fill a temporary or permanent position or undertake contract work that involves undertaking an ongoing routine role or providing an ongoing routine service to a third party who is not your sponsor.

What is Immigration Skills Charge Requirement?

Your sponsor must also have paid in full any required Immigration Skills Charge. The Immigration Skills Charge is a charge for each foreign worker that a sponsoring employer seeks to employ. The Immigration Skills Charge must be paid each time a sponsoring employer assigns a Certificate of Sponsorship to a migrant.

What is an Appropriate Skill Level Requirement?

In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, the job you are being sponsored for must be an eligible job at or above a minimum skill level. Under the Skilled Worker Visa route, the role you are looking to fill must be skilled to at least RQF level 3, which is roughly equivalent to A-levels. You do not need to hold a formal qualification in order to satisfy the skills level requirement. It is the skill level of the job that you will be doing that will determine whether the threshold is met.

The Home Office sets out eligible jobs, along with their skills levels, in an Appendix to the Immigration Rules. Each eligible job has an occupation code. You must be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code listed in the Appendix. Your sponsor must choose an appropriate occupation code. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that your sponsor has not chosen the most appropriate occupation code then your application for a Skilled Worker Visa will be refused.

In assessing whether your sponsor has chosen the most appropriate occupation code, the Home Office will consider factors such as whether they have shown a genuine need for the job as described, whether you have the appropriate skills, qualifications, and experience needed to do the job as described and the sponsor’s history of compliance with the immigration system.

What is the English Language Requirement for Skilled Worker Visa?

In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).

Prospective employees applying for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Skilled Worker will satisfy the English language requirement if they:

  • Are a national of a majority English-speaking country;
  • Have passed a Secure English Language Test;
  • Have been awarded a degree taught in English;
  • Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK; or
  • Have already shown they met the requirement, of level B1, in a previous successful application for entry clearance or permission to stay.

What is the Salary Threshold Requirement for Skilled Worker Visa?

Employers seeking to recruit under the Skilled Worker route must (subject to being able to trade points as set out below) pay their skilled workers a salary that equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation (as set out in the relevant occupation code mentioned above), whichever is higher.

The general salary threshold under the Skilled Worker route is £25,600 a year. Therefore, in most cases, an applicant for a Skilled Worker Visa must be paid a salary that equals or exceeds £25,600 a year and 100% of the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher. The assessment of salary is based on guaranteed basic gross pay.

Some sponsored skilled workers applying under the Skilled Worker route may be paid less than the above amount, where they are awarded additional ‘tradable points’ for other attributes:

  • An applicant with a Ph.D. qualification which is relevant to the job may be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both £23,040 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation;
  • An applicant with a Ph.D. qualification in a STEM subject that is relevant to the job may be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation;
  • An applicant with a job offers for a job in a shortage occupation may be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation;
  • An applicant who is a new entrant to the labour market may be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation;
  • An application for a job in a listed health or education occupation may be paid a salary that equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation.

What are the Financial Requirements for Skilled Worker Visa?

In addition to 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 ending not more than 31 days before the date of your Skilled Worker Visa application.

You will be exempt from the financial requirement if you have a fully ‘A-rated’ sponsor who is willing to meet your maintenance costs up to the end of the first month of your employment, to an amount of at least £1,270, if necessary. Your sponsor will need to confirm this on your Certificate of Sponsorship.

If you are applying for permission to stay and have been in the UK with permission for 12 months or more at the date of application, you will 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 (broadly comprising jobs in the health, care, welfare, and education sectors) then, unless it is not reasonably practical to do so, you will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which, since the age of 18, you have been present for 12 months or more (whether continuously or in total) in the 10 years before the date of your application.

Switching into the Skilled Worker Visa Route

If you currently have leave to remain in another immigration category, you may extend your stay by switching into the Skilled Worker route unless you have, or were last granted, permission as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household or outside the Immigration Rules.

Can family members apply to join?

Your partner and children can apply to join you in the UK if 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 can I extend my Skilled Worker visa?

If your Skilled Worker visa is due to expire, 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 permitted to enter the UK.
  • You are still working for the same employer who sponsored your current application.

Your family can also apply for a visa extension, but they will need to submit a separate application.

How to get Settlement as a Skilled Worker?

In order to qualify for Settlement as a Skilled Worker, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK;
  • The 5-year continuous period consisted of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes: Skilled Worker, Global talent, Innovator, Tier 2 Minister of Religion, Tier 2 Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business or as a Tier 1 Migrant (other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant);
  • You have not been outside for more than 180 days during each year of the 5-year continuous period;
  • You have passed the Life in the UK test (unless aged 65 or over);
  • Your sponsor is still a Home Office approved sponsor;
  • Your sponsor still requires you to work for them for the foreseeable future;
  • You are being and will be paid for the foreseeable future, at least the general salary threshold or the going rate requirement, whichever is higher.

Our fee

Our expert UK immigration lawyer at Rex Law Chambers will guide you through every step of the UK Skilled Worker visa application process including advice about legal requirements, eligibility criteria and required documents.

Our fixed fee

We charge a fixed fee starting from £800 for our professional legal services in relation to Skilled Worker visa application. The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the matter.

Do you need legal help?

Contact Rex Law Chambers, if you have any questions or need legal help with any UK immigration law related matter. At Rex Law Chambers, we specialise in a wide range of UK visas and nationality applications and our principal immigration lawyer has wealth of experience and expert knowledge to deal with all types of UK visas and immigration applications. He has successfully handled many complex and high-profile cases and also represented clients in their immigration matters.

We can provide one-off FREE general legal advice via live chat or our "Enquiry Form". The FREE advice does not cover the advice in relation to complex legal issues or advice about documents to be submitted in support of the application. If you would like to to get detailed legal advice then please schedule an in-person, Zoom, Skype or phone consultation by using our "Appointment Request Form".

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