UK Skilled Worker Visa
The new UK Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) Visa. If you wish to enter and stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approver employer, you will need to apply for this permit.
If you or your family are from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein or Iceland:
If you started living in the UK before 1st January 20201, you may apply for the free EU Settlement Scheme. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a visa to work in the UK.
If you wish to seek legal advice, you can get in touch with our team of professional and reliable London Immigration Lawyers.
Who is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa
To qualify to work in the UK, you must:
- Have received and accepted a job offer from a UK employer
- Work for an employer that has been approved by the Home Office
- Hold a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) with detailed information about your role
- Do a job that is on the list of eligible occupations
- Be paid a minimum salary, which will vary based on your occupation
- Prove your knowledge of English
Skilled Worker visa eligible occupations
To apply for this permit, you must have received and accepted a job offer from a UK employer. The role must meet the following requirements:
- Be in the list of eligible jobs
- You must be paid the minimum salary or the “going rate” for that specific type of work – whichever is higher
- You must be working for a UK employer that has been approved by the Home Office
- You must receive a copy of your occupation code from your employer
The minimum salary to be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa is £25,600 per year, unless the “going rate” for that role is higher than this.
Each occupation code has a different annual going rate, that you and your employer can check online.
Different salary requirements apply to those working in certain healthcare or education jobs, where the going rate is based on national pay scales.
Skilled Worker visa application fees
The application fees for a Skilled Worker visa range between £610 to £1,408.
When submitting your application, you will also be charged the following:
- £624 per year – healthcare surcharge
- Additional money (at least £1,270) is required to demonstrate that you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK. You may be exempt from this requirement if you have already lived in the UK for at least 12 months on a previous visa, or if your employer can prove that they can cover your cost during your first month in the UK.
You might be eligible for lower application fees if your job is on the UK occupation shortage list, or if you’re from one of the eligible countries which can benefit from a reduction of £55.
Applying for a working visa with your family
You can include the following family members in your application, provided that they qualify as your dependants:
- Your wife, husband, civil partner and unmarried partner
- Your children under the age of 18
- Your children over 18 if they are currently living in the UK with you, aren’t married and are still financially supported by you
If your family application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.
Applying to renew your Skilled Worker visa
Before your current working visa is due to expire, you can renew your Skilled Worker permit provided that:
- You have the same job as when you first entered the UK
- Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were first granted your permission
- You are still working for the employer who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship
If you want to change your job or employer, you must submit your new application, even if your current visa isn’t expired yet.
If you originally applied with your family, they must submit a separate application if they want to remain in the UK with you.
Last modified on July 31st, 2023 at 1:53 pm
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Once approved, your Skilled Worker visa will be valid for up to 5 years. At the end of this period, you can apply for a renewal or, if you are eligible, you can settle in the UK on Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You can submit your application up to 3 months before the date you are due to start work in the UK. You can find this date in your CoS. However, it is always recommended to allow some extra time, since the Home Office may need additional documentation to confirm your identity and your circumstances.
The Skilled Worker visa application process takes between 3 to 8 weeks, depending if you applied from outside or within the UK.
Dependents of skilled worker visa holders can apply for a UK Skilled worker dependent visa (previously known as the Tier 2 dependent visa).
Dependent family members of a Skilled Worker visa holder include:
- husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
- children under the age of 18 – including children who were born in the UK during the Skilled Workers visa holder’s time in the UK
- children over the age of 18 living in the UK who are dependent on the Skilled Worker visa holder
A dependent child or partner can apply for a Skilled Worker dependent visa at any time before the Skilled Worker visa expires or when extending or switching their own visa.
Yes- a Skilled Worker visa does allow you to study while staying in the UK.
To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, you should receive a job offer from a UK employer which must meet all the following requirements:
- The job must be eligible for the visa, under the new Skilled Worker Visa route, your role must be skilled to at least RQF level 3 (roughly equivalent to A-levels).
- You must be paid the minimum salary or “going rate” for the type of work you will be doing. The minimum salary is at least £25,600 per year.
- Your employer must have been approved by the Home Office and hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship
- You must hold an occupation code. If you have already received a job offer, you must ask your employer for your code.
The Skilled Worker Visa grants you permission to work for the employer that originally sponsored your application in the role that you were sponsored for.
If you wish to work for a new employer or if you want to switch to a job of a different occupation code with the same employer you will must apply to update your Skilled Worker Visa.
You must also apply to update your Skilled Work visa if you move from a job that was on the Shortage Occupation List to one that is not on the Shortage Occupation List.
You might be able to apply to switch to a Skilled Worker visa if you’re already in the UK on a different type of visa. You will need to meet the requirements for the Skilled Worker visa including having a job that meets the criteria as well as having the required English Language standards.
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
if you plan to switch to this visa from a Student visa, one of the following must apply to you:
- You’ve completed the course you were sponsored to study on your Student visa
- The start date of your job is after the completion date of your course
- You’ve been studying for a PhD for at least 24 months
Skilled worker visa holders may take on freelance work only in limited situations. The freelance position must be on the Shortage Occupation List and be at the same SoC code level as the main work you have received your sponsorship for.
Skilled Worker visa holders are not allowed to become self-employed or set-up a business without permission from the Home Office.
Following Brexit , any EU citizen who is living outside the UK wants to work in the UK must apply for a UK skilled worker visa before they work in the country and must meet all the criteria of the skilled worker visa application.
You must be paid the minimum salary or “going rate” for the type of work you will be doing. The minimum salary is currently at least £25,600 per year.
Recent changes means the Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 visa. Since the start of 2021, all EEA nationals and non-EEA nationals must apply for a Skilled Worker visa before starting work in the UK.
The new Skilled Worker visa is largely the same as the Tier 2 but the Home Office has made some changes to the process to allow it to be more straightforward for sponsors and applicants.
Yes, in most cases it is possible to switch from a Youth Mobility visa to a Skilled Worker visa. You will of course need to meet all of the eligibility requirements for the Skilled Worker route.
To learn more about this, please refer to our “How to switch from Youth Mobility to Skilled Worker visa” article.
If you have lost your current job while in the UK on a skilled visa, either through regular dismissal or being made redundant, your employer is required to notify the Home Office so that your visa can be curtailed. You will then be required to leave the UK within 60 days or before the expiry date of visa, whichever is shortest.
For those who are made redundant, it’s important to note that you may only apply for employment in roles that are either at the same or higher skill level of the job you were offered when originally applying for your visa.
If you find a new employer, you will need to make a new skilled worker visa application. This must be done within 60 days of losing your job and will also require a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your new employer, which will need to be provided as part of your application.