Skilled Worker Visa

Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Visa was introduced on the first of December 2020 under the new points-based immigration system as a replacement for the Tier 2 (General) visa. This is now effectively the main immigration route for all nationalities wishing to work in the United Kingdom with the exception of British and Irish nationals. Providing the applicant has an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK by a Home Office approved sponsor. This particular immigration route can lead to settlement and there is no cap on the number of people who can enter the UK under the skilled worker route. Applicants can be accompanied by their partners and dependents.

Eligibility for the Skilled Worker Visa

In order to qualify under the Skilled Worker route applicants must demonstrate they have a verified employment offer from an approved Home Office Licensed Sponsor and the employment offer meets the required skill level in addition applicants will also need to prove they meet the required standard of English language.

·      The employment offer must meet or exceed the general salary threshold and the going rate for that particular occupation

·      The employment offer is a genuine vacancy

·      Applicants hold a valid certificate of sponsorship for the job they intend to do

·      Competent in English Language to at least CEFR level B1

·      Applicants Sponsor has paid the required Immigration skills charge


Salary Threshold Requirement 

The general salary threshold for the skilled worker route is £25,600 per year unless the going rate for the job is higher than this. Applicants under the skilled worker route must be paid a salary equivalent to or exceeding £25,600 per annum. 

Applicants who do not meet the salary threshold but will earn in excess of £20,480 may still be eligible for a skilled worker visa if you have the following:

·      A PhD which is relevant to your job role; or

·      A PhD in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics); or

·      Employment offer of a job listed on the shortage occupation list.

The going rate ensures fair pay for migrant workers, in comparison with resident workers, in order to prevent migrant workers being used as a source of cheap labour. As with the existing system, going rates for individual occupations can be pro-rated depending on the applicant’s working pattern, as long as the total applicable general salary threshold (£25,600, £23,040 or £20,480) is met. The general threshold is a measure of the economic contribution an applicant will make to the UK. It applies regardless of the number of hours worked and will not be pro-rated. 


Appropriate Skill Level Requirement:

For applicants to qualify for the skilled worker visa the job that they are being sponsored for must be an eligible job at or above the minimum skill level. The employment position that the applicant is looking to fulfil must be skilled to at least RQF level 3. Applicants are not required to hold any formal qualifications in order to satisfy the skills level requirements as it is the level of skill of the job that will determine whether or not the skills level requirements are met.


New entrants

New entrants to the UK labour market are currently entitled to come to the UK on a lower salary than their more experienced counterparts are required to earn. They currently benefit from this reduced salary threshold for three years. Migrants will be defined as new entrants under the Points-Based System if they meet one of the following requirements:

a) They are switching from the Student or Graduate route to the Skilled Worker route;

b) They are under the age of 26 on the date of their application; or

c) They are working towards a recognised professional qualification or moving directly into postdoctoral positions. 


Genuine Vacancy

In order for a successful grant of the Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy the Home Office that you are being sponsored to commence a genuine vacancy and that the role assigned to you on your Certificate of Sponsorship is a role you are capable of filling. If the Home Office believes that the job is being offered to you or been created mainly for you to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa then your application will be refused.

Cooling off period

Previously, applicants applying for entry clearance or looking to switch under the former Tier 2 (General) visa had to make an out of country application, however, the cooling off period has been removed for the Skilled Worker visa route. 

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