SKILLED WORKER VISA
The Skilled Worker Visa is the main visa route for foreign workers to live and work in the United Kingdom under the new immigration system. This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.
You can apply for this visa if you have been offered a skilled job in the UK, or if your job is on the Shortage Occupations List (SOL). You must be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by your UK employer, who holds a valid Sponsor Licence, and your job must meet the suitability requirements including the minimum salary requirement.
Your Skilled Worker visa will be granted for up to 5 years, depending on the length of your employment on your CoS. You may be able to settle in the UK once you have spent 5 years on your Skilled Worker visa.
Certificate of Sponsorship
Your Certificate of Sponsorship will hold your personal details and information about the job you have been offered, including the salary and the start and end date of the employment.
Your employer will give you a CoS reference number that must be included with your application. You must apply for your Skilled Worker visa within three months from the date your CoS is issued.
A job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor. It must be a genuine position, and your employer must check that you qualify for this visa and have the relevant experience. They will assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to prove this.
Salary of at least £25,600 or the going rate (whichever is higher). If you work in healthcare or education, different salary rules will apply.
If you do not meet the usual salary requirements, and you do not work in healthcare or education, you might still be eligible if your salary will be at least £20,480 per year and at least £10.10 per hour. You will need to meet one of the following conditions:
- your job is in a shortage occupation
- 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
You must have sufficient funds of at least £ £1,270 for your maintenance in your bank account for 28 consecutive days before you can apply. You do not need to show maintenance funds if you have been in the UK for at least 12 months before you apply, or if your employer certified your maintenance on your CoS. If you are applying with your dependent family members, you will need to show additional funds for their maintenance. You must have £285 for your dependent spouse, £315 for a dependent child, and £200 for each additional dependent child.
As with most visa categories, you must be at least 18 years old to apply and meet the English Language requirement.
Once you receive your Skilled Worker visa, you should note that the following conditions will apply to your stay in the UK in this category.
You will be permitted the following activities on your Skilled Worker visa:
- Work for your sponsor in the job described in your CoS.
- Take up second employment of up to 20 hours per week if your job is in the same occupation code and at the same level as your main job, or in a shortage occupation.
- Take on voluntary work.
- Study if it does not interfere with the job you are sponsored for.
- Bring your dependent family members.
You will not be able to do the following in the UK on your Skilled Worker visa:
- Leave employment with your sponsor unless you wish to apply in-country to switch to a different employer that also holds a Sponsor Licence.
- You cannot own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year).
- Take up a second job until you have started working for your sponsor.
- Claim public funds (most benefits)
Fairmont Lawyers can help you navigate the requirements and provide you with professional legal assistance every step of the way to obtain a Skilled Worker visa.
Yes. We have extensive experience in obtaining sponsor licences for companies and organisations based in the UK. Please get in touch with us to receive a detailed advice on sponsor licence or visit the relevant section on our website.
This is a 4-digit occupation code. If you have been already offered a job, you can inquire this from your employer. If you do not know your occupation code, you can search for your job in the ONS occupation coding tool
Not every job title is included. If you cannot find your exact job title, try searching for similar jobs. Make sure the job description matches what you’ll be doing. Some similar jobs have different codes, for example chefs and cooks. Chefs are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, but cooks are not.
The shortage occupation list comprises jobs where employers face a shortage of suitable labour and where it is sensible to fill those shortages with migrant workers. You can check the current list of shortage occupation jobs here:
No, your job must be a full time job which means you should be sponsored to work for at least 30 hours per week. If you are sponsored to work for less than 30 hours per week, your application for Skilled Worker visa may be refused.
If you’re applying from outside the UK, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for:
- up to 3 years – £610 per person
- more than 3 years – £1,220 per person
If you’re applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for:
- up to 3 years – £704 per person
- more than 3 years – £1,408 per person
If your job is on the shortage occupation list, the fee will be lower:
- £464 if you’re staying for up to 3 years
- £928 if you’re staying for more than 3 years
The fee is the same whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK. You will also need to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS) of £624 per each year of the visa.
It takes around
- 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
- 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK
Priority service may be available at an additional cost.