Skilled Worker Visa UK: The Skilled Worker Visa is open to individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who have an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor. The route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.
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. Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.
Requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa
In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:
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;
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);
You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation;
You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
You have provided a criminal record certificate, if required; and
You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.
The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.
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’ve 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
If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Skilled Worker visa.
How long it takes
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’ll 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’ll find out if you need one when you start your application.
Getting a decision
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within:
3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK
8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK
Salary Threshold Requirement
Employers seeking to recruit under the Skilled Worker route must (subject to being able to trade points as set out below) pay their skilled workers a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation (as set out in the relevant occupation code mentioned above), whichever is higher.
The general salary threshold under the Skilled Worker route is £25,600 a year. Therefore, in most cases an applicant for a Skilled Worker Visa must be paid a salary which equals or exceeds £25,600 a year and 100% of the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher. The assessment of salary is based on guaranteed basic gross pay.
Some sponsored skilled workers applying under the Skilled Worker route may be paid less than the above amount, where they are awarded additional so-called ‘tradable points’ for other attributes:
An applicant with a PhD qualification which is relevant to the job may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £23,040 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation;
An applicant with a PhD qualification in a STEM subject which is relevant to the job may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation;
An applicant with a job offer for a job in a shortage occupation may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation;
An applicant who is a new entrant to the labour market may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation;
An application for a job in a listed health or education occupation may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation.
Skilled Worker Visa UK success rate
In 2020, 72,476 applications submitted, 78,215 decisions made, 77,760 Skilled (Tier 2) work visas granted, 280 applications rejected, The UK Skilled Tier 2 work visa success and refusal rate in 2020 was 99.42% and 0.36%, respectively.