Table of contents
- How to Apply for UK Skilled Worker Visa 2023
- What is the UK Skilled Worker Visa?
- UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements
- UK Skilled Worker Eligible Occupations
- UK Skilled Worker Skill and Salary Requirements
- English Language Requirement
- Certificate of Sponsorship Requirement
- Financial Maintenance Requirement
- Criminal Record Requirement
- How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa
- Application Process and Required Documents
- UK Skilled Worker Visa Costs
- UK Skilled Worker Visa Processing Times
- UK Skilled Worker Visa Duration
- UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements for Employers
How to Apply for UK Skilled Worker Visa 2023
The UK Skilled Worker visa, formerly known as the Tier 2 (General) visa, is the primary UK immigration route for non-UK resident workers. Whether you are an employer looking to hire a skilled worker from overseas or an individual seeking a sponsorship visa, it is crucial to comprehend the Skilled Worker visa’s eligibility and application requirements to avoid potential issues or delays with the Home Office application process. A refused application not only means the loss of the application fee but can also disrupt your plans for employment or relocation to the UK. Therefore, seeking legal advice and understanding the available migration options is essential for skilled workers and their sponsors.
What is the UK Skilled Worker Visa?
The UK Skilled Worker visa allows employers in the UK to hire non-UK resident workers for specific eligible and skilled roles. To be eligible for this visa, individuals need to accumulate a minimum of 70 points by meeting various specific requirements. These requirements include skill and salary level, English language ability, and having a qualifying job offer from a licensed UK sponsor.
Moreover, the UK Skilled Worker visa offers the provision for spouses, ‘durable’ partners, and dependent children to apply and join the main visa applicant in the UK. Additionally, it provides a route to settlement and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements
To be eligible for the UK Skilled Worker visa, applicants need to accrue a total of 70 points, which are divided into mandatory (non-tradeable) and tradeable criteria:
- A genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor: 20 points.
- English language proficiency to the required standard: 10 points.
- Job offer at a skill level of RQF3 or above: 20 points.
- Salary between £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher): 0 points.
- Salary between £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher): 10 points.
- Salary of £26,200 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher): 20 points.
- Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee: 20 points.
- Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job: 10 points.
- Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job: 20 points.
To determine if a job is eligible for the Skilled Worker route, sponsors should identify the relevant Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code for the role using the ONS occupation coding tool. The job description on the list should match the position being filled. Using the correct SOC code is crucial, as using an incorrect one may lead to visa application refusal.
UK Skilled Worker Skill and Salary Requirements
Roles that fall below the required skill level of RQF3 (equivalent to A-level) will not be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa route. There are specific salary thresholds that applicants must meet, and the salary must be calculated by the hour, not just annually.
In some cases, where the job on offer will pay less than the general salary threshold but at least £20,480, applicants may still be eligible to apply for a Skilled Worker visa by trading specific characteristics against a lower salary to attain the required number of points.
English Language Requirement
Applicants need to demonstrate English language proficiency at a minimum level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale for reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English. This requirement can be satisfied through various means, such as having specific academic qualifications or passing an approved English Language Test.
Certificate of Sponsorship Requirement
Before applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa, the UK sponsor must issue a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to confirm that the individual and role meet the sponsorship eligibility requirements. There are two types of CoS: defined and undefined CoS.
Financial Maintenance Requirement
Applicants must show they have sufficient funds to support themselves as they will not have access to public funds such as benefits. The financial requirement is at least £1,270 in their bank account, available for at least 28 consecutive days, with day 28 being within 31 days of making the visa application.
Criminal Record Requirement
Some applicants may need to provide a criminal records certificate if their occupation requires it.
How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa
To apply for a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK, follow these steps:
- Obtain the CoS from your employer.
- Submit an online application for the Skilled Worker visa on the UK government website, providing all necessary information in English.
- Upload the required documents during the online application process.
- Pay the visa fee and healthcare surcharge online.
- Schedule and attend an appointment at your nearest visa application center to provide biometrics.
Application Process and Required Documents
The process of applying for the Skilled Worker Visa involves several steps and requires specific documents:
- Job Offer: Obtain a job offer from an A-rated employer in the UK.
- Eligible Occupation List: Check the Eligible Occupation List and the Shortage Occupation List to find suitable job opportunities.
- English Language Test: If required, take an English language test from approved providers or provide proof of English language qualifications.
- Financial Requirements: Provide bank statements to prove maintenance funds if not covered by the employer.
- TB Test: Applicants from certain countries need to take a TB test.
- Criminal Record: Obtain a criminal record if applying for specific professions.
- Biometric Appointment: Once the application is filed, attend a biometric appointment at a VFS center.
UK Skilled Worker Visa Costs
The visa application fee ranges from £610 to £1,408, depending on the circumstances and whether the job is on the shortage occupation list. Additionally, applicants need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £624 per year of the visa. The same costs apply to any dependents applying with the main visa applicant.
UK Skilled Worker Visa Processing Times
COVID restrictions permitting, Skilled Worker visa applications generally take up to 8 weeks if applying from within the UK or up to 3 weeks if the application is made from outside the UK. Fast-tracked processing may be possible in some cases.
UK Skilled Worker Visa Duration
The Skilled Worker visa is typically granted for up to 5 years. After this period, the visa holder can apply to extend the visa or become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. There is no limit on the number of times the visa can be extended, provided the visa requirements are met.
UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements for Employers
Employers intending to hire EU and non-EEA nationals will need to apply for a sponsor license. To be eligible for a Skilled Worker sponsor license, the organization must provide evidence of being a genuine organization operating lawfully in the UK and must meet other specified criteria.
In conclusion, the Skilled Worker visa is a vital route for non-UK resident workers and employers seeking to recruit skilled talents from overseas. Understanding the visa requirements and seeking legal advice is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful application process. The visa offers an excellent opportunity for skilled individuals to work in the UK and explore long-term settlement options. If you’re considering working in the UK as a skilled worker or an employer looking to hire skilled workers, familiarize yourself with the Skilled Worker visa requirements to navigate the process efficiently.
1. Is Tier 2 the same as the skilled worker visa?
The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa under the UK’s new single points-based immigration system. The new visa is broadly similar to the old visa, although there are some changes aimed at making the process more straightforward for sponsors and applicants alike.
2. Who is classed as a skilled worker?
A skilled worker is someone who will be working in a job role in the UK that is deemed to have a skill level of RQF3 or above, as set out under Appendix Skilled Occupations to the Immigration Rules.
3. Do EU nationals need a visa to work in the UK?
After 1 January 2021, except for Irish citizens, all EU nationals coming to work in the UK will need a visa in advance, unless they are eligible to apply for either settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
4: What are the requirements for the Skilled Worker visa?
To be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa, applicants need to meet various criteria, including a genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor, English language proficiency, and a job at a skill level of RQF3 or above. Additionally, they must meet specific salary requirements and have a Certificate of Sponsorship.
5: Can EEA nationals work in the UK without a visa?
After 1 January 2021, EEA nationals coming to work in the UK will need a visa, unless they are eligible to apply for either settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
6: How long does a Skilled Worker visa last?
The Skilled Worker visa is typically granted for up to 5 years, and it can be extended indefinitely as long as the visa requirements are met.