What is the Shortage Occupation List?
The UK’s Shortage Occupation List is put together by the Migration Advisory Committee and details the various job roles that are regarded as in short supply across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
All of these roles are able to be filled by foreign workers as part of the Skilled Worker Visa scheme. There are a number of other criteria attached to the Skilled Worker Visa such as English Language skills. In addition, the role being offered by the UK employer must meet certain conditions such as minimum salary.
Current Job roles on the UK Shortage Occupation List
- Health services and public health managers and directors
- Residential, day, and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
- Chemical Scientists (only jobs in the nuclear industry)
- Biological scientists and Biochemists
- Physical Scientists
- Humanities Scientists
- Bricklayers, plasterers and other construction industry roles
- Fishing occupations
- Civil Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Electrical Engineers
- Design and Development professionals
- IT Business Analysts
- Programmers and Software Development Professionals
- Quality Control and Planning Engineers
- Laboratory Technicians
- Cyber Security Specialists
- Skilled Classical Ballet Dancers/skilled Contemporary Dancers- for a company recognised as a UK industry body
- Musicians (only skilled Orchestral Musicians) – across internationally recognised UK Orchestras
- Graphic Designers
- Welding trades
- Carers and Home Carers
- Senior Care Workers
- Only the following jobs in the Oil and Gas industry: Geophysicist, Geoscientist, Geologist, Geochemist, Technical Services Manager
- Communications professionals
- Nursery Education Teaching professionals
- Systems Designers
- Modern Foreign Languages Teachers
- Process Engineers
- Development Engineers
- Computer Science
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
How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa?
You can apply online for a Skilled Worker Visa and you must back sure you have all the correct documentation and are able to pay the application fee before applying. You may wish to see the advice of immigration lawyers to avoid any potential delays or refusal.
You can file applications for Skilled Worker Visas up to 3 months before the start date of your new job in the UK. If you applying from outside the UK, you will usually receive a decision within 3 weeks.
You might still be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa if your job is eligible but your salary is less than £25,600 or your job’s usual ‘going rate’. You must still be paid at least £10.10 per hour.
You can be paid between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of the “usual going rate” for your job if your salary is at least £20,480 per year and you meet one of the following criteria:
- your job is in a shortage occupation and is included on the shortage occupation list
- you’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
- you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,040)
- you have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
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 shortage occupation list, or if you’re from one of the eligible countries which can benefit from a reduction of £55.
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
- Proof of your knowledge of English
How Can We help?
Our immigration lawyers in London offer professional and confidential help for all your UK immigration needs.
As a part of our services, we offer:
- UK visa application guidance and eligibility check;
- Comprehensive advice on filling your application forms;
- Liaison with the Home Office until your case is solved;
- Immediate help for those who are facing problems with coming to or staying in the UK;
- Support with any application for entry clearance, leave to enter or remain, or residence permits;
- Dedicated immigration advice services for those who wish to apply for British citizenship.
Last modified on July 26th, 2023 at 11:50 am
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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.
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
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.