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How to Switch from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

Foreign nationals in the UK on Student Visas can switch to Skilled Worker Visas if they want to work in the UK after their studies.

London Immigration Lawyers can help you switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa. We are available to help online, via the phone, or in person. Call us on 020 3051 3897 for immediate assistance.

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    Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

    The Skilled Worker Visa scheme is the main work visa scheme for skilled migrants seeking to enter the UK for a skilled worker job. The Skilled Worker visa is one of the fastest routes if you are also looking to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain.

    If you wish to take up employment in the UK after your studies, you’ll need to switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa. You can switch while in the UK, but you must have a genuine job offer from a UK company with a sponsor licence. You must also meet all the eligibility criteria for a Skilled Worker Visa in the points-based system.

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    Eligibility Requirements for Skilled Worker Visa Switching

    All international students within the UK, including EEA and Swiss citizens, must obtain a Skilled Worker Visa if they want to work in the UK. However, not all UK Student Visa holders can switch to a Skilled Worker Visa even when they have a valid job offer. To be eligible for making the visa switch while still holding a valid UK Student Visa, you must meet the following criteria:

    • You must be within the UK at the time of skill worker application and processing.
    • You must have been granted a Student Visa for a UK Bachelor’s degree course, Master’s degree, Ph.D., or other post-doctoral or post-graduate studies.
    • You have completed the course you were sponsored to study.
    • Your job start date must be after your course has finished.
    • If you’re studying for a Ph.D., you must have completed at least 24 months of study within the UK.

    Short-term Student Visa holders are not eligible for switching to a Skilled Worker Visa from within the UK. They’ll have to leave the UK at the expiration of their visa and apply for the skilled worker route from outside the UK. You’re also ineligible for a switch to a Skilled Worker Visa if you’re in the UK with a Visitor Visa.

    Requirements for Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

    You must meet the following requirements to switch from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa:

    • Have a job offer from a UK organisation with a sponsor licence.
    • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your UK employer.
    • Your job must be on the eligible occupations list and meet the required minimum skill level (RFQ 3).
    • Your job must meet the Skilled Worker Visa minimum salary threshold for your specific role. Exceptions are made for new entrants and Ph.D. holders.
    • Meet the English Language proficiency requirements. It is part of the requirements for studying in the UK, so Student Visa holders have already met this requirement and might not need to retake a language test.
    • Meet the financial requirements (applicants in the UK who have held their student visas for over one year do not have to meet this requirement).

    Additionally, those making a Skilled Worker Visa application from overseas will have to provide proof of funds, proof of vaccination against Tuberculosis, and a criminal record certificate.

    Meeting the Minimum Salary Requirements

    To qualify for Skilled Worker Visa, your job offer must meet the standard salary requirement of £25,600 per annum. However, specific exceptions have been made to allow lower-salary earners to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa. These exceptions apply if you fall into any of these categories:

    1. You are a new entrant: As a new entrant, you’re qualified for a Skilled Worker Visa if your salary is up to £20,470 or meets 70% of the general salary threshold for your job.
    2. You hold a UK Ph. D. in a relevant subject: Ph.D. holders in STEM and other relevant subjects can get a Skilled Worker Visa with lower salaries. If your job offer is eligible for Ph.D. points, your job offer will only have to meet at least 80% of the standard salary requirement.

    Who is Considered a New Entrant?

    A new entrant is a person entering the labour market for the first time. You’re automatically considered a new entrant if you’re 26 years or less at the time of your Skilled Worker Visa application. You might also be considered a new entrant if you are in any of these categories.

    • You hold a Student Visa and just completed a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, PH.D., or post doctoral studies in the UK. Or you’ll complete your course within three months of your application.
    • You have a job offer in a UK-regulated profession and are working towards a professional qualification in the same profession.
    • You’re working towards chartered status or full registration with the relevant professional body of the job you’re being sponsored for.
    • You held a UK Student Visa that expired less than 2 years before your application (for those applying from outside the UK).

    How to Switch from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

    Overview

    To switch your Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa:

    1. Obtain a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer.
    2. Complete the application form on the official Home Office website.
    3. Pay the required application fees.
    4. Upload all relevant supporting documents.
    5. Provide your biometric information during your appointment at the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) center.

    You should apply for a Skilled Worker Visa before your Student Visa expires. If you apply a few days before your Student visa expiry date, you may be unable to complete your application and run the risk of becoming an overstayer. An overstayer status will put you in breach of immigration rules and reduce your chances of getting a Skilled Worker Visa.

    You won’t be considered an overstayer if you applied for a Skilled Worker Visa while your student Visa was valid but didn’t get a decision before its expiration.

    Cost of Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

    The application fees for switching from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa are as follows:

    • £704 (per person) for three years valid visa.
    • £1,408 (per person) for a visa valid for over three years.

    The fees are slightly less for jobs in the shortage occupation list. If your role falls within this category, you’ll pay:

    • £464 for three years valid visa.
    • £928 for a visa valid for over three years.

    You’ll also have to pay an immigration healthcare surcharge of £624 per year, giving you access to the National Healthcare Service (NHS).

    Student Visa To Skilled Worker Switch Application Processing Time

    You will get a response regarding your application in about 8 weeks. If you want a faster response, you can pay for a priority or super-priority service in addition to the standard application fee. Priority service costs £500 and guarantees a response within 5 working days. For an £800 fee, the super-priority service will provide a response within 24 hours or 2 working days.

    After your application, you can stay in the UK while waiting for a decision, even when your Student Visa has expired.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers receive assistance on Switching from Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa. Contact us

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      Additional Notes on Switching From Student Visa to Skilled Worker Visa

      In applying for a Skilled Worker Visa switch, you’ll need expert guidance as well as the help of your employer, especially in providing the necessary supporting documents. Other important information to note about this application process is given below.

      Travelling

      You cannot travel out of the UK while waiting for the Home Office’s decision. If your current visa expires (while waiting for a decision) and you travel, you cannot re-enter the UK and must apply for a new immigration route from outside the country.

      If you still have leave on your Student Visa and travel abroad while waiting for your Skilled Worker Visa decision, you’ll be able to reenter the UK, but your previous application will be void, and your application fee will be lost. You’ll have to submit a new Skilled Worker Visa application and pay another application fee.

      Work Resumption

      Depending on your situation and your employer, you might be able to resume your new job before you get a decision from the Home Office.

      Government and International Agency Scholarships

      If you have received a scholarship from a Government or International scholarship agency covering tuition and living expenses within 12 months of your application, you’ll have to provide written consent from the Government or Sponsor agency as part of your supporting documents. Your application will not be successful without this document.

      Skilled Worker Route to Indefinite Leave to Remain

      You cannot combine your time in the UK on a Student Visa with your time on a Skilled Worker Visa to obtain an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). With your Skilled Worker Visa, you’ll have to spend a minimum of 5 years in the UK to qualify for an ILR. Fortunately, a Skilled Worker Visa is valid for four years and can be extended.

      How Can London Immigration Lawyers Help?

      Switching from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa is the best route to permanent residency. However, making the switch on your own can be stressful and time-consuming. You’ll need professional guidance for a stress-free and successful switch.

      London Immigration lawyers are experts in UK immigration law and have a track record of solving knotty immigration issues. We can help you with all the details of your application, ensuring that you avoid any mistake or error that can cause the Home Office to refuse your application.

      We are available to help online, via the phone, or in person. Reach us on 020 3051 3897 or via our online contact form for immediate assistance with your situation.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Yes, a student can switch to a Skilled Worker category in the UK provided they have a valid Student Visa, a job offer from a sponsor employer, and meet all other requirements for a Skilled Worker visa.

                Your leave extends automatically if you submit a Skilled Worker application before your Student Visa expires. In such a scenario, you can remain in the UK while you await the Home Office’s decision.

                Yes, you can. Ph.D. students can apply for a switch from a Student Visa to the Skilled worker route after 12 months of study in the UK. The earliest you can apply for the switch is three months before the completion date of your course.

                No, your stay in the UK as a Student Visa holder does not count in your ILR application. Your ILR-eligible stay in the UK starts counting after you switch to the Skilled Worker Visa category

                Yes. You become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years of legally holding the Skilled Worker permission.

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