You might be able to switch your visa to a Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK if your visa category allows you to switch to the UK work visa category. You must have a job offer from a UK employer who is a licensed sponsor and meet all the eligibility requirements.
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.
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 UK Skilled Worker visa?
- Requirements to switch to a Skilled Worker visa
- Minimum salary requirement
- Financial maintenance requirement
- Certificate of sponsorship requirement
- English language requirement
- Skilled worker visa points calculator
- Who cannot apply to switch to this 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 UK Skilled Worker visa?
The Skilled Worker visa is a long-term UK work visa category that allows Skilled workers to come to the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. The Skilled Worker visa is designed to attract skilled workers who can contribute to the UK's economy and fill shortages in certain occupations.
This visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa in December 2020 as part of the UK's new immigration system.
Requirements to switch to a Skilled Worker visa
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK, an applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Job offer: The applicant must have a job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor license. The job offer must meet the skill level requirement and be on the list of eligible occupations for skilled work.
- Certificate of sponsorship: The employer must provide a certificate of sponsorship, which confirms that the applicant has a genuine job offer.
- Salary requirement: The applicant must be paid at least the minimum salary threshold for the job they are offered, which varies depending on the occupation and skill level.
- Skill level: The job must be at RQF level 3 or above, which generally requires at least A-levels or equivalent qualifications. Some skilled jobs require higher qualifications.
- English language: The applicant must meet English language requirements, either by passing an approved English language test, or by holding a degree taught in English, or by being a national of a majority English-speaking country.
- Financial requirement: The applicant must show that they can support themselves in the UK without relying on public funds.
- Criminal record: 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.
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.
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:
- Job offer from a licensed sponsor: 20 points The individual must have a job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid sponsor license.
- Job at an appropriate skill level: 20 points The individual must have a job that is at the required skill level (RQF level 3 or above), as specified in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code.
- English language proficiency: 10 points The individual must provide evidence of their English language proficiency. This can be done by taking an approved English language test or by meeting one of the exemptions.
- Salary: 0-20 points The individual can score points based on their salary. If their salary is at or above both the general salary threshold and the going rate for the job, they can score the maximum 20 points. If their salary is lower, they will score points based on the actual salary offered.
- Shortage occupation: 0-20 points If the individual's job is on the shortage occupation list, they can score an additional 20 points.
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.
Who cannot apply to switch to this visa
You cannot apply to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK:
- on a visit visa
- on a short-term student visa
- on a Parent of a Child Student visa
- on a seasonal worker visa
- on a domestic worker in a private household visa
- on immigration bail
- because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds
You must leave the UK and apply for a Skilled Worker visa from abroad if you're in one of these categories.
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:
- 8 weeks, if applying 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.
Applicants are advised to check the latest information about UK visa application processing time on the official UK government website.
UK Skilled Worker visa application fees
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 length of the stay 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:
- £715 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 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.