How to Get a Skilled Worker Visa in UK? Latest Guidelines

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UK Skilled Worker Visa

If you are planning to settle and work in the UK you must be aware of the requirement for a skilled worker visa in UK. Working in the UK is surely a rewarding experience with higher standards of living, better pay and lots of opportunities and work benefits. Nevertheless, one should always remain up to date with the latest guidelines for the work routes in the UK. This is utterly important for the smooth flow of events and to ensure that there is no misinformation on your end.  

What is a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

A skilled worker visa is a visa stamp that allows you to enter/stay and work in the UK for the mentioned period of time. To avail of this visa, you must have first secured an eligible job in the UK and that too with an employer approved by the UK Home Office. 

Also, it is important to note here that the Tier 2 (General) work visa in the UK has been replaced by this visa. Hence, candidates who fall under the category must possess this visa to be eligible to work in the UK. 

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Eligibility for the UK Skilled Worker Visa

Without being eligible for the visa, you won’t be able to get through the visa process, it is hence mandatory to check your eligibility before applying and fulfilling any requirements that might be lacking. Therefore, to qualify for a UK Skilled Worker Visa you must have the following; 

  • Must possess a work offer from a UK employer who is approved by the UK Home Office. 
  • You must also have a certificate of visa sponsorship from your employer. This certificate must detail your job role in the organisation.
  • Additionally, your job role must be on the list of eligible occupations for a UK skilled worker visa.  
  • Moreover, your employer must be paying a fair amount to encompass your expenses of living in the UK
  • The minimum salary requirements mentioned by the UK Home Office are £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour. 
  • Otherwise, it must be the minimum ‘going rate’ for the kind of job you have been shortlisted for. 
  • The job must also fall within the matrix UK rules for weekly working hours. 
  • There are different visas and rules for those in Healthcare. 
  • You must have a certain level of proven English proficiency. This includes the ability to speak, read, write and understand the English language. 

*Applicants must note that, if your job does not fall under the skilled visa category, there might be another visa type that you would require to work in the UK. You can check the UK visa types and choose the one that is eligible for your work requirement. 

English Language Requirements

One must know English upto level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale to be eligible for a skilled worker visa. Eligible tests include. 

  • Secure English Language Test (SELT) 
  • GCSE, A-level
  • Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5
  • Or a degree-level academic qualification in the English language.

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How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa in UK?

There are three subcategories to a skilled worker visa application in the UK. These include; 

  • Applying when you are outside UK. 
  • Application for an extension of your current visa. 
  • Lastly, if you are applying to switch from another visa. 

Let’s discuss the three of them one by one. 

Applying From Outside UK

This condition includes the scenarios where you are applying for a fresh visa in the UK or when you have moved back to your home country after your UK visa has expired. Here is the process. 

  • Make an online application to the UK Home Office. Create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account.
  • Get your biometrics (fingerprints and a photograph) done at a visa application centre. 
  • You can also use the UK Immigration ID Check app to upload documents for identity. 
  • The consulate or embassy in your home country will keep your passport and documents for evaluation. 
  • You might have to schedule and attend an interview appointment at the nearest consulate or embassy. 
  • An email with the status of your visa application will soon be sent to you. 

Applying for a Visa Extension 

This is only applicable if; 

  • You have the same job as when you applied for the previous visa and with the same occupation code. 
  • Also, you must be working for the same employer who sponsored your visa application. 
  • If not, you will have to re-apply for a visa. 

Follow the given steps to apply for an extension, 

  • Fill out an online application form for visa extension. 
  • Do not leave the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man till the time your decision is pending. 
  • You might require a new certificate of sponsorship, so better be ready with it. 
  • Submit all required documents and pay the application fees. 
  • Schedule and attend the interview if necessary. 
  • Wait for the results. 

Switching From Another Visa

To switch to a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK from any other visa, you will have to make sure you fulfil all the criteria based on the requirements of a skilled worker visa. This also includes English proficiency. If you are switching from a student visa, make sure; 

  • Your course for which you got the student visa is complete. 
  • The date of joining your job is after the completion of your course. 
  • If it is a PhD course, make sure you have studied for 24 months. 
  • Lastly, for switching from any kind of visa including the student visa, you must not leave the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. 

Apply for the switch at the UK government website before your current visa expires. Follow the given steps to apply for a switch; 

  • Get a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer. 
  • Complete the application on the website of UK Home Office. 
  • Pay application fees and provide identification documents. 
  • Submit all the required documents and wait for the decision. 

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Decision on A Skilled Worker Visa Application 

As for application, you can make an application for a skilled worker visa about 3 months before your joining date. Getting a decision takes shorter if your affairs are sorted. In case you need an appointment to submit documents and biometrics it can take a while longer.

Usually, it takes 3 weeks to get a decision on your visa application if you are applying from outside UK and 8 weeks if you are applying from inside the UK. An extra fee is charged to get your visa decision faster. 

UK Skilled Worker Visa Fee

Finances are to be considered before applying for a visa in the UK therefore, it is better to be aware of such expenditure. You will need funds for three main things, 

  • UK Visa fee which can be somewhere between  £719 to £1,500. 
  • Immigration Health Surcharge which is £624 per year. 
  • Proof of funds for sustenance. There should be at least £1,270 in your account. 

Visa fees are charged under different conditions, 

  • If you are applying from outside UK, the fee is £719 per person for up to 3 years and £1,420 per person for more than 3 years. 
  • If you are applying from within the UK to extend or switch your visa then it will be £827 per person for up to 3 years and £1,500 per person for more than 3 years. 
  • Moreover, if your job is in shortage on the occupation list the fee will be £551 for up to 3 years and £1,084 for more than 3 years. 

What is the Validity of a UK Skilled Worker Visa?

Initially, the validity of the skilled worker visa in the UK is 5 years. You can extend the visa or re-apply in case your employer or job changes. There is no limit to the number of extensions you can ask for on your visa as long as you match the eligibility criteria. However, you can also apply for other more permanent options, like Indefinite Leave to Remain after the expiration of this visa on completion of at least 5 years on the UK skilled worker visa. 

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Can I apply for a skilled worker visa for the UK without a job offer?

No, without a job offer, you can not apply for a skilled worker visa for the UK.

Can a holder of a skilled worker visa for the UK apply for permanent residence?

Yes, a holder of a skilled worker visa for the UK can apply for a permanent residence subject to 5 years of living in the UK and after 6 years apply for citizenship.

Can an applicant bring their family member under the skilled worker visa to the UK?

Yes, anyone with a skilled worker visa is eligible for bringing their family member as ‘dependents’ subject to fulfilling the eligibility criteria. However, the dependents have to complete the application process separately.

This was all about the application requirements and procedure for the skilled worker visa in the UK. Want to apply for a Visa for your study abroad journey? Drop us a comment in the section below or you can connect with a visa expert at Leverage Edu and we will guide you on your dream journey!

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