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Skilled Worker Visa

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What is a Skilled Worker Visa?

Formerly called the the Tier 2 (General) work visa, this visa is now called the Skilled Worker Visa instead.

Skilled Worker Visa is a legal document which enables qualifying individuals from overseas to come to the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

This visa is the main immigration route into the UK for non-UK workers. It has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

You must have a job offer before you apply for a skilled worker visa.

You apply online – click here to view the guidance and fill in the application form.

Your visa is only valid for the time you stay in the same role with your sponsoring employer. The visa can last up to 5 years.

Read more about skilled worker visas on our blog post here.

To find out why there are delays for skilled worker visa applications, read our blog article here.

What Are the Requirements of a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

To qualify for a skilled worker visa, you must:

There is also a salary requirement to be eligible for a skilled worker visa.

Your job will usually have to pay you at least £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour (whichever is higher.)

If the going rate for your job is higher than both of these, you’ll usually need to be paid at least the going rate.

Each occupation has its own annual going rate. Click here to view the going rate for jobs.

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What Are the Costs of a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

 

You will be told what the exact fees are when you apply.

Click here to read our blog articles on this topic:

If you are applying from outside the UK, you will pay £625 per person (if you are staying in the UK for up to 3 years), or £1,235 (if you are staying in the UK for more than 3 years).

If you are applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the fee is £719 per person (if you are staying in the UK for up to 3 years), or £1,423 per person (if you are staying in the UK more than 3 years).

Do you need IELTS for a UK Skilled Worker visa?

 

For any type of visa, you will have to prove your knowledge of English when you apply. You will only not need to do this if you have already done this before in a successful visa application.

You will also need to prove the level of English that you can speak, read, write and listen at. For a Skilled Worker visa, this is at least level B1 on the CEFR scale.

English proficiency can be proved in a couple of ways other than a Secure English language test you can have a GCSE, an A-level or any other qualifications that are on the same level or higher in English. If these qualifications come from abroad you will need to prove whether they are equivalent.

You can also prove this with a UK Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD or any other equivalent qualification that was studied in English.

Financial Maintenance Requirement

 

One of the points-based requirements of a Skilled Worker visa is confirming financial stability.

To do this, the applicant must show that they have enough funds to support themselves and any dependents so that public benefits are not needed to be accessed.

The candidate must have at least £1,270 available in their bank at the time of their application, and it has to have been consistently accessible for the past 28 days.

Evidence of the amount will need to be shown, with the alternative being a written confirmation from the approved sponsor that they will meet the minimum threshold for the applicant.

Certificate of Sponsorship Requirement

A Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) must always be obtained before a skilled worker visa application is submitted. This component is vital to obtaining enough points and showcases that both the individual and sponsoring company are eligible for approval.

The CoS is used to record the status of an employer and is intrinsically linked to both the company and the employee. An employer can only obtain a CoS if they already have an approved Sponsor Licence.

There are two types of CoS available which are the following:

  • Defined CoS, which is applications from skilled workers based outside of the UK at the time of their application.

  • Undefined CoS is the option you need if your worker is already in the UK or if they are applying under any other type of visa.

It is the employer’s responsibility as the official sponsor to apply for the certificate, which is a simple process that we can sort out for you.

Minimum Salary Requirement

The Skilled Worker visa has a minimum salary requirement of £26,200 which is applicable unless the occupational code assigned has a higher going rate. This ensures that all jobs being recruited using the UK Shortage Occupation List offer fair remuneration, allowing the employee to live successfully within the UK.

The salary total must be calculated by the hour, with the minimum rate being £10.75 per hour. This total must also be met even if the annual salary is above the required level. 

The lowest total salary that can be attributed to a successful skilled worker visa is £20,480 per year. As this is lower than the standard amount, the shortfall must be made up of points in other areas. You will also find that the salary rate for junior staff is 30% lower than the rate for experienced staff. Despite this, the minimum £20,480 must still be met.

Salary requirements do also differ by industry so you must always ensure you are aware of the right remuneration when selecting a job.

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What Supporting Documents Do I Need to Provide for a Skilled Worker Visa?

When you make your application, you will be asked to submit supporting evidence, including:

  • a valid passport or documents to prove your identity and nationality.

  • your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number – this should be on your Certificate of Sponsorship, which your employer must provide you with.

  • proof of your knowledge of English.

  • 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.

  • Any other documents that the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) asks for.

Depending on your circumstances, you may also be asked to provide any of these supporting documents:

  • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself in the UK (e.g. bank statement which shows you have at least £1,270).

  • proof of your relationship with your partner and children if they are applying with you (e.g. marriage certificate, or child’s birth certificate.)

  • Tuberculosis test results.

  • A criminal record certificate.

  • A valid ATAS certificate.

  • Your UK PhD certificate or your unique Ecctis reference number.

  • Certified translation of your documents if they are not in English or Welsh.

  • A blank page in your passport for your visa.

The Skilled Worker has been available for employment in the UK since it replaced Tier 2 in December 2020. Created to offer a process of bringing in talent from overseas post-Brexit, the application process requires input from both the hiring manager and the applicant.

Employers must meet the following criteria to fulfil their obligations in achieving skilled worker visas for their new hires from outside of the UK:

  • Obtain an official Sponsor Licence title as 20 points are given to an applicant if they have a genuine job offer from a licenced company. When the application is ready to submit, employers will also need to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

  • Your job must be of skill level RQF3 or higher. 

  • All jobs must also have a salary of £25,600 at a minimum to secure the full 20 points. The lowest salary can be £20,480, but this would need to be supplemented with points in other areas, so you will need to consider the strength of your candidate’s application if this is the case.

  • Skilled worker visas are only eligible for positions that are featured within the UK Shortage Occupation list. You should therefore assign your job to one of the approved codes before starting the recruitment process to ensure it will be eligible for this form of visa.

Under the latest skilled worker rules, employers have more responsibility to assist in the application process. This is designed to ensure that workers are eligible before the process starts, saving everyone time overall and improving the chance of success.

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English Language Requirement

It is essential that when applying for most types of UK visas, the English language level requirements have been met. This is a critical criterion when applying for a Skilled Worker Visa, with all applicants needing to prove knowledge of the language at the time of submission.

The term English language refers to writing, reading, speaking and understanding the language, as these are all activities that successful applicants will need to be able to undertake daily. For skilled workers, this is even more important as the Home Office wants to be sure that all successful applicants are fully equipped to carry out the roles for which they have been employed.

When applying to live in the UK, the government also wants to ensure that people become part of local communities. Having a solid level of English in all forms is essential for this. Other situations in which the English language level is vital to include dealing with legal entities such as the bank or obtaining access to healthcare.

If the applicant has already applied and received a skilled worker visa, they will not need to prove their level of English again.

There are a few ways of proving current English level, with the most popular being via a GCSE, A-Level, SELT or by having a degree-level qualification which was taught in English as the first language. When applying, the level of English proficiency is being tested, which is why a level B1 is required at the very minimum.

Certain countries are not required to confirm their English language level, which is the following:

  •     Antigua and Barbuda

  •     Australia

  •     the Bahamas

  •     Barbados

  •     Belize

  •     The British Overseas Territories

  •     Canada

  •     Dominica

  •     Grenada

  •     Guyana

  •     Jamaica

  •     Malta

  •     New Zealand

  •     St Kitts and Nevis

  •     St Lucia

  •     St Vincent and the Grenadines

  •     Trinidad and Tobago

  •     USA

Skilled Worker Visa vs Tier 2 work visa

The Skilled Worker Visa replaced the Tier 2 Work Visa on the 1st of December 2020. Introduced in line with the UK leaving the EU and countrywide measures in place following the pandemic; the new requirements are designed to improve employment levels in industries that require additional support. 

If you were aware of the Tier 2 visa or had been looking online for guidance on the Skilled Worker visa, you will have likely noticed a few updates to consider. 

Salary Previously, salaries were £30,000 but now stand at £26,200. The salary can also be lower than this number if other criteria are met, which is different to the previous rules. 

With the Skilled Worker visa, the salary must be above the legally defined ‘going rate’ or minimum threshold outlined for the job position. This can be either a salary of £26,200 per year, an hourly rate of £10.75 or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work. The government also defines salaries for different job roles, so only jobs that are hiring in line with this are eligible for a Skilled Worker application.  

Eligibility The skill level is now RGF level 3 instead of the previous level 6 requirement. This considers the various jobs that are hired for by this type of visa as they all have varying skill levels required. The English level must be level 4. 

Application Schedule New graduates and students can apply for relevant job roles under the Skilled Worker visa, which was not allowed under the Tier 2 alternative.

There is also no RLMT (Resident Labour Market Test) but, instead, a points-based system considering all aspects of the application and candidate suitability. 

Finally, under the Tier 2 visa, a cooling-off period of one year was in place before applying for a new form of work visa which is now not the case. 

Where can I get help on my Skilled Worker Visa UK application?

The immigration professionals at Synergy Immigration Solutions understand the complexity of the UK’s immigration laws and the issues that can arise during the application process.

That is why we house all the support services you need for immigration applications, under one roof. This means one cost, for complete support on your visa application.

We enjoy working with individuals who need assistance with their visa applications- whether it is a worker visa, sponsorship visa, student visa or visitor visa.

  • We will liaise with the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on your behalf- saving you time, effort, workload, and stress.

  • We will answer your questions and address any concerns. We are proud to offer a bespoke personalised service, tailoring our advice to suit your needs and ensure that your application has the best chance of success.

  • We process all applications in an efficient and timely manner and keep our clients well-informed throughout the process.

Rest assured, you are in good hands if you leave your visa application to us.

It is vital that the correct documentation is in place to ensure the application is approved. We would always recommend that you appoint a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to manage this process for you.

Synergy Immigration Solutions is an OISC-registered company, offering a wide range of UK immigration visa services for both corporate and individual clients needing assistance with their visa issues and concerns.

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