- A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer. This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.
- This route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children. In order to secure a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to be sponsored to do a specific job, which meets certain skill and salary requirements, by an employer that has been licensed by the Home Office. There is no cap on the number of people who can enter the UK on the Skilled Worker route.
Eligibility for skilled worker visa
- You are aged 18 or over.
- You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do.
- Your job offer is a genuine vacancy, and your job is eligible for this visa.
- Your sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge.
- Your job is at an appropriate skill level.
- You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0).
- Your salary will be equal to or higher than a general salary threshold for the occupation, as well as the ‘going rate’.
- You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds.
- You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.
You must apply online for a Skilled Worker visa.
- When you apply you will need to provide:
- Your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this.
- Proof of your knowledge of English.
- A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality.
- Your job title and annual salary.
- Your job’s occupation code.
- The name of your employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship.
Inside UK (extending the current visa or switching from a different visa)-
- You can usually apply to extend a Skilled Worker visa if all of the following are true:
- You have the same job as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK.
- Your job is in the same occupation code as when you were given your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK.
- You are still working for the employer who gave you your current certificate of sponsorship.
- Your partner or children will need to apply separately.
- You must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until you get a decision. This will result in the withdrawal of your application.
- You might be able to apply to change (‘switch’) to a Skilled Worker visa if you are already in the UK on a different type of visa, as long as your job meets the eligibility requirements you can speak, read, write, and understand English.
You cannot apply to switch to this visa if you are 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.
- When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to have enough money to pay the application fee – the standard fee ranges from £610 to £1,408 depending on your circumstances. The healthcare surcharge is usually around £624 per year. You will usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you are exempt) to support yourself when you arrive in the UK.
- If you are applying from outside the UK, the standard fee depends on whether you will be in the UK for up to 3 years – £610 per person and more than 3 years – £1,220 per person.
- If you are applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the standard fee depends on whether you will be in the UK for up to 3 years – £704 per person and for more than 3 years – £1,408 per person.
How long does it take
- You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship. As part of your application, you will need to prove your identity and provide your documents. You may need to allow extra time if you need an appointment to do this. You will find out if you need one when you start your application.
Once you have applied online, proved your identity, and provided your documents, you will usually get a decision on your visa within:
- 3 weeks, if you are outside the UK
- 8 weeks, if you are inside the UK
What you can and cannot do
- With a Skilled Worker visa you can:
- Work in an eligible job
- Bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible
- Take on additional work in certain circumstances
- Do voluntary work
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you have lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements
- Apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
- Change jobs or employer unless you apply to update your visa
- Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You will need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employers. You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.
- After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as indefinite leave to remain). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like and apply for benefits if you are eligible.
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