A Skilled Worker visa is a type of long-term work visa that allows overseas skilled workers to come to the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.
Once granted, the Skilled Worker visa is typically issued for a period of up to five years, allowing the individual to live and work in the UK. During this time, they can switch employers and change job roles within the same occupation, as long as the new employer is also a licensed sponsor and issues a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
The application process and requirements for the Skilled Worker visa may change over time, It's advisable to seek legal advice to ensure you have the most up-to-date information and guidance for your specific circumstances.
If you need legal advice or help with your UK Skilled Worker visa application, our experienced immigration lawyer can provide you with the help you need.
Table of Contents
- What is a Skilled Worker visa?
- What are the Skilled Worker visa requirements?
- Skilled worker visa points calculator
- Minimum salary requirement
- Financial maintenance requirement
- Certificate of sponsorship requirement
- English language requirement
- Documents required for a Skilled Worker visa application
- How to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
- Extend your Skilled Worker visa
- Switch to a Skilled Worker visa
- ILR as a Skilled Worker
- Family members (PBS dependent visa)
- Visa application processing time
- Visa application fees & associated costs
- How can an immigration lawyer help you?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Need legal advice or help from an immigration lawyer?
What is a Skilled Worker visa?
The UK Skilled Worker visa (formerly known as 'Tier 2 (General) Work visa') is a long-term work visa that allows overseas highly skilled workers to come to the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer that holds a sponsorship licence.
It was introduced as part of the UK's new points-based immigration system, which came into effect on December 1, 2020, following the UK's departure from the European Union.
To be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa, an applicant must have a job offer from a UK employer that is on the list of eligible occupations and meet certain other requirements, including minimum salary thresholds and English language proficiency. The employer must also be a licensed sponsor and must provide a certificate of sponsorship.
The Skilled Worker visa allows successful applicants to live and work in the UK for up to five years. After that time, they may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK. The visa also allows visa holders to bring their dependents, including spouses and children, to the UK.
Overall, the Skilled Worker visa is designed to attract skilled workers who can contribute to the UK's economy and fill shortages in certain occupations.
What are the Skilled Worker visa requirements?
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant must have a job offer from a UK employer.
- The employer must provide a certificate of sponsorship.
- The applicant must be paid at least the minimum salary threshold for the job they are offered.
- The job must be at RQF level 3 or above.
- The applicant must meet the financial requirements
- The applicant must meet English language requirements (at least CEFR level B1).
- The applicant must not have any criminal convictions or a history of unacceptable behaviour.
Read this comprehensive guide for more information about Skilled Worker visa requirements.
You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements depending on type of application and your personal circumstances. Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.
Skilled worker visa points calculator
To calculate Skilled Worker visa points, an individual needs to meet certain eligibility criteria and score a minimum of 70 points in total. Here is how the points are calculated:
|Offer of a job by a Home Office approved sponsor||Yes||20|
|Job at appropriate skill level||Yes||20|
|Speaks English at the required level||Yes||10|
|Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||0|
|Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||10|
|Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)||20|
|Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee||20|
|Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job||10|
|Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job||Yes||20|
To calculate the total points, the individual should add up the points they score for each criterion. They must score at least 70 points in total to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa.
Skilled Worker minimum salary requirement
The Skilled Worker visa has a minimum salary requirement that an employer must pay to sponsor a migrant worker. The minimum salary requirement varies depending on the job the individual is applying for and their skill level.
The current annual general salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa is £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour, whichever is higher.
Each occupation code has its own annual going rate. Check the going rate for your job in the going rates table.
Financial maintenance requirement
The financial maintenance requirement is an important eligibility criterion for the Skilled Worker visa, which requires that an individual must be able to support themselves while living in the UK.
The applicant must have enough money to cover their living costs, including accommodation, food, and other expenses, without relying on public funds.
You'll usually need to have at least £1,270 for a period of 28 days if they are applying from outside the UK, or £945 for a period of 90 days if they are applying from inside the UK.
Certificate of sponsorship requirement
The Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) is a key requirement for the Skilled Worker visa. It is an electronic document that is issued by the employer who has offered the individual a job in the UK.
To obtain a Skilled Worker visa, the individual must have a valid CoS from their sponsoring employer. The CoS serves as evidence that the employer has met the requirements to sponsor an individual under the Skilled Worker visa category and that the individual has a genuine job offer in the UK.
To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, the individual will need to provide their CoS reference number, which will be included in the CoS. The CoS will also include details about the individual's job, including the job title, the job duties, and the salary.
English language requirement
The English language requirement for a Skilled Worker visa is an important eligibility criterion that an individual must meet in order to be granted a visa.
To meet the English language requirement, an individual must:
- Pass an approved English language test: The individual must take an approved English language test and achieve at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The approved tests include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, or the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test.
- Have a degree taught in English: If the individual has completed a degree-level course that was taught in English, they may be exempt from the English language test requirement.
- Be a national of a majority English-speaking country: If an individual is a citizen of a country where English is the majority language, they will automatically meet the English language requirement.
Required documents for the Skilled Worker visa application
To apply for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK, an applicant must provide several supporting documents, including:
- A valid passport or other travel documents
- Certificate of Sponsorship
- Evidence that you meet the financial requirement
- Evidence of your knowledge of the English language
- Proof of any dependent family members (if applicable)
- Tuberculosis (TB) test results (if applicable)
- Criminal record certificate
This is a general list of documents. Depending on type of application and your personal circumstances, you might also need to provide additional documents.
Please contact us for an initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and find out the required list of documents in support of your application.
It is recommended that you consult the immigration lawyer on applying for a Skilled Worker visa to ensure that you provide all the necessary documents for your application.
Read the guidance for the full list of documents you'll need to provide in support of your Skilled Worker visa application.
How to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
To apply for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK, an applicant must follow these steps:
- Check if you are eligible
- Get a certificate of sponsorship
- Collect the necessary documents
- Fill out the application form and apply online
- Book & attend a biometric appointment
- Wait for a decision
Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about the UK Skilled Worker visa application process in detail.
It's important to note that the application process and requirements for the Skilled Worker visa may change over time, so applicants should always consult the immigration lawyer to get the latest information.
Extend your Skilled Worker visa
If an individual is currently in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa and wants to extend their stay, they may be able to apply for a visa extension or renewal. The application process will depend on their circumstances.
To extend a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- You must apply before your current visa expires.
- You have the same job as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK.
- Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK.
- You're still working for the employer who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship.
Applicants must provide a new certificate of sponsorship from their UK employer and meet the same requirements they met when they applied for their initial visa, including English language proficiency, financial requirements, and skill level.
Read the guidance for how to extend your UK Skilled Worker visa and the requirements.
Switch to a Skilled Worker visa
You can switch to a Skilled Worker visa from certain other visa categories while in the UK, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. You must have a job offer from a UK employer who is a licensed sponsor.
It's important to note that switching to a Skilled Worker visa from some other visa categories may not be possible. Applicants should always consult an immigration lawyer for the most up-to-date information and specific eligibility requirements for switching to a Skilled Worker visa.
Read this guidance for how to switch to a UK Skilled Worker visa and the requirements.
ILR as a Skilled Worker
As a skilled worker, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after you have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa.
Once you are granted ILR as a skilled worker, you can stay in the UK indefinitely and work in any job or industry without the need for a work permit. You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship after a certain period of time.
Read this guide about how to apply for ILR as a Skilled Worker and the eligibility requirements.
Family members (PBS dependent visa)
Your family members (a partner or children) will need to apply for the Skilled Worker dependent visas separately. Your dependents can either apply at the same time as you or at any time before their current visa expires.
The family members include your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried/same-sex partner or your child under 18 years old (including if they were born in the UK during your stay).
Read the guidance about the PBS Dependent visa and the requirements.
UK Skilled Worker visa processing time
Once you have applied online and attended your biometrics appointment, you'll usually get a decision on your Skilled Worker visa within:
- 3 weeks, if applying from outside the UK using standard service
- 8 weeks, if applying from inside the UK using standard service
- 5 working days, if applying using priority service
- 24 hours, if applying using super priority service
Super Priority Service
You may be eligible to use the 'super priority service' to get a faster decision by the end of the next working day (within 24 hours). You'll need to pay £1,000 in addition to the UK visa application fee.
You may be able to choose the 'priority service' when you apply for a UK visa to get a faster decision within 5 working days. You'll need to pay £500 in addition to the UK visa application fee.
When you apply, you might be eligible to choose the 'super priority service' or 'priority service' to get your visa faster depending on the type of application and what country you're in.
UK Skilled Worker visa application fees
If you're applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK:
- £625 per person (up to 3 years)
- £1,235 per person (more than 3 years)
If you're applying to extend, switch or update your Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK:
- £719 per person (up to 3 years)
- £1,423 per person (more than 3 years)
Please note that these fees are subject to change, and you should always check the most up-to-date information on the UK government's official website before applying for a visa.
How much does it cost to apply for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK?
The cost of a UK visa application varies depending on the type of visa you are applying for, your location and the type of service such as 'standard service', 'super priority service', or 'priority service'.
Here are some common costs associated with applying for a UK visa:
- £625 to £1,423 Skilled Worker visa application fee
- Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)
- £19.20 Biometrics fee (if applying from inside the UK)
- £1,000 in addition to the visa fee if using the super priority service
- £500 in addition to the visa fee if using the priority service
- English language test fee (if required)
- Immigration lawyer fees (if using legal services to boost your chances of success & avoid mistakes)
Please note that the above is a general list of costs associated with UK visa applications. There may be additional costs such tuberculosis ( TB ) test fee depending on your circumstances.
Immigration lawyer fees
Our expert UK immigration lawyer will guide you through every step of the UK visa application process including advice about legal requirements and eligibility criteria.
At Rex Law Chambers, our immigration lawyer charges a fixed fee between £800-£1000 for our complete legal services in relation to your Skilled Worker visa application. The agreed fixed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the matter.
How can an immigration lawyer help you?
As part of our immigration services for your immigration application, our expert immigration lawyer will:
- assess your eligibility for the relevant visa type by fully considering your circumstances;
- advise you on the required supporting documents to be submitted in support of your immigration application;
- assess all the documents to ensure that the documents you provide are as per the requirements of the Immigration Rules;
- advise you on strengths and potential weaknesses in your visa application and how you can overcome such weaknesses if any;
- complete the online immigration draft application form to share it with you for cross-checking;
- submit your application online and schedule your biometrics appointments with the relevant commercial partner of the UKVI;
- prepare a detailed cover letter in support of the immigration application explaining in detail how you are meeting all the requirements of the Immigration Rules so that you have the maximum chances of succeeding in your visa application;
- upload all the supporting documents online in support of the immigration application in their correct format and order;
- dealing and responding to any caseworker enquiries or correspondence from the Home Office caseworker for any further documents or information concerning your pending immigration application;
- do all the follow-up work on your immigration application until a decision is received from the Home Office UKVI.
Contact our experienced and friendly immigration lawyer on 0161 989 9370 or fill in our enquiry form to get reliable & confidential immigration advice and legal assistance with a UK visa application or any other immigration matter.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are some commonly asked questions about Skilled Worker visa:
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have a confirmed job offer in a UK company that holds a sponsorship licence. You must meet all the eligibility requirements depending on your circumstances.
You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (known as 'Settlement'), once you have completed 5 continuous years in the UK as a Skilled Worker.
You must apply online for a UK Skilled Worker visa. You need to upload all the supporting documents, attend biometric appointment and pay the correct visa application & IHS fees.