The Skilled Worker visa enables individuals to enter or remain in the UK and undertake eligible employment with an authorized employer. This visa category has replaced the previous Tier 2 (General) work visa and additionally permits individuals to work in the waters of the United Kingdom.

Eligibility:

Job:

In order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, the following criteria must be met:

  1. You need to be employed by a UK-based employer who has received approval from the Home Office.
  2. You should possess a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer, which contains details about the specific role you have been offered in the UK.
  3. Your occupation must be listed as eligible for this visa category.
  4. The minimum salary requirement varies depending on the nature of your work.

Please note that the specific eligibility requirements may vary based on the nature of your job. It’s important to secure a confirmed job offer before you proceed with your visa application.

Knowledge of English:

Proficiency in English, encompassing speaking, reading, writing, and comprehension, is a requirement. Typically, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency when submitting your application.

How long you can stay:

Your visa can remain valid for a duration of up to 5 years before necessitating an extension. It’s important to apply for an extension or update your visa when it approaches its expiration date or in the event of changing your job or employer.

If you want to stay longer in the UK: You have the flexibility to apply for visa extensions repeatedly, provided you continue to meet the eligibility criteria. After a period of 5 years, you may become eligible to apply for permanent settlement in the UK, known as ‘indefinite leave to remain.’ This status grants you the right to reside, work, study, and potentially access benefits in the UK for an indefinite duration.

What you can and cannot do:

Your visa can remain valid for a duration of up to 5 years before necessitating an extension. It’s important to apply for an extension or update your visa when it approaches its expiration date or in the event of changing your job or employer.

Under a Skilled Worker visa, you have the following privileges:

  1. Engage in eligible employment.
  2. Pursue academic studies.
  3. Bring your eligible partner and children along as ‘dependants.’
  4. Take on supplementary employment in specific situations.
  5. Participate in voluntary work.
  6. Travel internationally and return to the UK.
  7. Apply for permanent settlement in the UK, referred to as ‘indefinite leave to remain,’ if you have resided in the UK for 5 years and fulfill other eligibility criteria.

Here are some restrictions associated with a Skilled Worker visa:

  1. You are generally not eligible to apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension.
  2. Changing jobs or employers is not permitted unless you apply to update your visa.

Upon a successful application, you will receive a comprehensive list detailing what is allowed and not allowed with a Skilled Worker visa.

Your job

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Your occupation must be eligible for this visa category.
  2. You will be employed by a UK-based employer approved by the Home Office.
  3. You will receive a minimum salary that corresponds to the type of work you will be performing. The minimum salary is determined by the highest amount among these three options:
    • £26,200 per year
    • £10.75 per hour
    • The ‘going rate’ for the type of work you will be engaged in.

Your employer is responsible for ensuring that your job adheres to the minimum wage requirements and complies with UK regulations regarding weekly working hours. Failure to meet these criteria by your employer may result in your visa application being declined.

Documents you'll need to apply

When submitting your application, you will be required to furnish the following documents and information:

  1. The reference number from your certificate of sponsorship, which will be provided by your employer.
  2. Evidence of your English language proficiency.
  3. A valid passport or another document that verifies your identity and nationality.
  4. Details regarding your job, including your job title and annual salary.
  5. The occupation code corresponding to your job.
  6. Information about your employer, including their name and sponsor licence number (this information can be found on your certificate of sponsorship).

If you do not possess a certificate of sponsorship, kindly request a copy from your employer.

Depending on your specific situation, you may be required to provide additional documentation, such as:

  1. Proof of sufficient personal savings to support yourself in the UK, which may include bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship indicates that your employer will provide financial support).
  2. Evidence establishing your relationship with your partner or children if they are applying for visas alongside you.
  3. Tuberculosis test results if you come from a country listed for this requirement.
  4. A criminal record certificate, especially if your occupation falls under specific job categories.
  5. A valid ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) certificate if your employer specifies that you need one, particularly if your job involves research on sensitive subjects at PhD level or higher.
  6. Your UK PhD certificate, or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly known as the unique UK NARIC reference number) if your educational qualification is obtained outside the UK. You will need to apply through Ecctis in this case.

Additionally, ensure that there is an empty page in your passport for your visa if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You are from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein.
  • You are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein but do not possess a biometric passport with an embedded chip.

Criminal record certificate:

If you are applying from outside the UK and your employment falls within the following sectors, you will be required to submit a criminal record certificate:

  1. Education, which includes roles such as teachers, education advisers, school inspectors, childminders, and teaching assistants.
  2. Healthcare, encompassing positions like nurses, doctors, paramedics, healthcare managers, pharmacists, dentists, and dental nurses, as well as ophthalmic opticians.
  3. Therapy, which comprises professions such as psychologists, speech and language therapists, and counselors.
  4. Social services, which includes social workers, managers, probation officers, as well as welfare and housing officers.

If you’ve lived in more than one country:

If you have a history of residing in multiple countries, it may be necessary to furnish a certificate from each country where you have lived. The specific requirements depend on your age and the duration of your stay in each country.

If you are under the age of 28, you will need a certificate from any country where you have stayed for a cumulative total of 12 months or more since you turned 18.

If you are 28 years of age or older, you will need a certificate from any country where you have resided within the last 10 years.

Children born in the UK

If you give birth to a child while you are in the UK, it’s important to note that they do not automatically acquire British citizenship. To travel in and out of the UK with your child, you must apply for a dependant visa on their behalf.

The specific application form you need to complete depends on whether your child is currently inside or outside the UK. Your child can either:

  • Apply online as a child inside the UK.
  • Apply online as a child outside the UK.

When applying, you will be required to provide a complete UK birth certificate for each child, indicating the names of both parents.

It’s crucial to apply for their dependant visa before your child reaches the age of 18 if they intend to remain in the UK.

What your partner or child can and cannot do

Regarding what your partner or child can or cannot do while accompanying you in the UK:

They are allowed to:

  1. Work, with the exception of roles as sportspersons or coaches.
  2. Pursue academic studies.
  3. Travel internationally and return to the UK.
  4. Apply for permanent settlement in the UK, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain,’ if they have resided in the UK for 5 years and meet the necessary eligibility criteria.

However, they are generally not eligible to apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension. Upon the approval of their application, they will receive a comprehensive list detailing what they are allowed and not allowed to do.

You can typically apply to extend your Skilled Worker visa or a Tier 2 (General) work visa if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. You are still employed in the same job as when you were initially granted permission to enter or remain in the UK.
  2. Your current job falls within the same occupation code as when you were initially granted permission to enter or remain in the UK.
  3. You are still employed by the same employer who provided you with your current certificate of sponsorship.

It’s important to note that the visa for your partner or child will not automatically extend when you extend yours. If they choose not to extend their visa, it will remain valid until its original expiration date. They have the option to apply for an extension either simultaneously with your application or before the expiration of their current visa.

Furthermore, you should refrain from traveling outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until a decision on your extension application is reached. If you travel outside of these areas before receiving a decision, your application may be withdrawn.

Extend your visa

If you are currently in the UK on a different type of visa, you may have the option to apply to switch to a Skilled Worker visa.

Please note that the visa status of your partner or child will not automatically change to a Skilled Worker visa if you switch yours. If they do not opt to switch their visa, it will remain valid until its originally scheduled end date. They have the flexibility to apply for a switch either simultaneously with your application or before the expiry of their current visa.

Additionally, it’s crucial not to travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until a decision on your switch application is received. Traveling outside of these areas before a decision is made may result in the withdrawal of your application.

Taking on additional work

On the Skilled Worker visa, you have the flexibility to engage in additional paid work as long as you continue to perform the job for which you are sponsored. Furthermore, you are permitted to undertake unpaid voluntary work.

For paid work, you can work up to 20 hours per week, provided the job falls into one of the following categories:

  1. It is in the same occupation code and at the same level as your primary sponsored job.
  2. It is classified as a shortage occupation.

To work beyond 20 hours a week or in a different occupation code, you will need to apply to update your visa so that you are sponsored for both jobs. This process involves obtaining a new certificate of sponsorship from your second employer and including a letter with your application explaining your intention to modify your current permission to stay.

Assessment Form: