The Skilled Worker Visa immigration route offers excellent opportunities for persons to live and work in the UK. The route is also highly beneficial to UK companies that want to employ overseas workers, as it allows UK employers to acquire skills from outside the UK.
How to qualify for the Skilled Worker Visa
To qualify for the Skilled Worker visa, an applicant has to have a certificate of sponsorship from an approved UK employer. An approved UK employer is also known as a Sponsor.
The job on offer has to be on the list of eligible occupations. The employee has to be paid a minimum salary. This minimum salary will depend on the type of work they do.
The specific eligibility in every case will depend on the particular job offer. We therefore highly recommend that applicants seek the advice of a Breytenbachs consultant.
You will normally need to be paid at least £25,600 per year. However, if the ‘going rate’ for your job type is higher than this amount, you have to earn at least that specific higher amount.
There are certain exceptions. You might still be eligible if your job is eligible, but the salary is less than the minimum amount or going rate. You can qualify if you are paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job, and your salary is at least £20,480 per year, and you also meet the following requirements:
- The job is on the shortage occupation list
- You are under 26 years of age, studying, a recent graduate or are a professional in training.
- You have a Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths (STEM) PhD qualification that is relevant to your job.
- If you have a PhD in any other subject, your salary must be at least £23,040 per year.
- You have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education.
Please note that there are different salary rules from some healthcare and education jobs. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to advise you on the going rate for your occupation.
Knowledge of English
All applicants are required to fulfil the English language requirement. You will be exempt if you have already fulfilled this in a previous application.
It is possible to fulfil the English Language Requirement in one of the following ways;
- You are a national of a majority English speaking country.
- Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English.
- Have a degree-level academic qualification that was taught or researched in English. If you studied abroad, you have to confirm this through UK NARIC.
- You have passed a Secure English language test (SELT) from an approved provider.
Applicants who are sponsored to work as doctors, dentists, nurses or midwives, and have already passed an English Language assessment by the relevant regulated professional body, do not have to prove their knowledge of English.
You have to show that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show that you can support yourself in the UK.
However, it is not required if you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months.
It is also possible for your employer to cover your costs during your first month in the UK. In such cases, your certificate of sponsorship must confirm this.
Length of Stay
The Skilled Worker visa is granted for a period of up to five years. Applicants will be able to extend or update their visa without restriction, provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
However, after five years on this immigration route, an applicant should be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Right to Work
While on a Skilled Worker visa, you will be able to:
- Take on additional work under certain circumstances
- Do voluntary work
You will be not allowed to:
- Apply for most benefits or the State Pension.
- Change jobs or employers without following the visa procedures in this regard.
Switching to the Skilled Worker Visa
It is possible to switch to the Skilled Worker visa from within the UK, from certain types of visas. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant to find out whether you qualify to switch.
Spouses and Dependants
You will be able to apply to bring your partner and children with you to the UK.
Your partner and children will need to prove that they can support themselves while in the UK via the maintenance requirement.
Immigration Health Surcharge
Applicants will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application, for every year of your stay.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
The good news is that the Skilled Worker Visa leads to Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Holders of Skilled Worker visas have to fulfil very specific requirements regarding the minimum salary threshold when they apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for specific advice in your case.
How Breytenbachs can help you
If you are interested in applying for the Skilled Worker visa or require more information, please contact one of our consultants to guide you through the process. We have a dedicated team of consultants dealing with Skilled Worker visas and sponsorship licensing!