Skilled Workers Visa Solicitors

Skilled Worker Visa Solicitor

The primary pathway to immigration to the UK for non-UK resident employees is the Tier 2 (General) visa, which has been replaced by the Skilled Worker visa.

Understanding the criteria for the Skilled Worker visa will be crucial if you want to prevent problems or delays with the Home Office application, whether you are a company trying to hire a skilled worker from abroad or a person requesting a sponsorship visa. You will forfeit the application money if your application is rejected.

With so much on the line, it is crucial for skilled workers and their sponsors to get legal counsel to understand their alternatives for immigrating and to confirm that the skilled worker visa is the best option.

We provide extensive experience and well-known skill when helping companies and employees on UK employment sponsorship and the Skilled Worker visa application. Contact us for knowledgeable immigration guidance.

What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

Employers are permitted to hire non-UK residents for specific skilled positions under the Skilled Worker visa.

The visa is available to anyone who get 70 points by fulfilling criteria such obtaining a qualified employment offer from a UK sponsor, having the required skill and pay level, and being able to speak English.

The Skilled Worker visa allows dependant children, spouses, and “durable” partners to apply to join the primary visa applicant in the UK. It also provides a path to settlement and Indefinite Leave to Remain.

What are the Skilled Worker visa requirements?

A new Appendix Skilled Worker lays out the guidelines and specifications for the path for skilled worker visas. For consideration under this route, applicants—including EEA citizens hired from outside the UK after 1 January 2021 and who are ineligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme—will need to accumulate a total of 70 points.

The required 70 points for a skilled worker visa are divided into 20 points for “tradeable” conditions and 50 points for necessary criteria (such as a job offer, English proficiency, and the required skill level for the position being offered).

Skilled Worker eligible occupations

The sponsor should locate the appropriate SOC code for the role in order to assess if the position qualifies for the Skilled Worker route. The ONS occupation coding tool is typically used for this. The position being filled should be described in the list’s job description.

Once the code has been found, it must be cross-referenced with the list of positions that qualify in order to make sure it is included and falls under the Skilled Worker route.

If the wrong SOC code is used, the Home Office may reject the visa application.

Instead, healthcare professionals should choose the Health and Care Worker visa if they want to work in the UK’s health or adult social care sectors. This route, which is tailored for jobs in the health industry, provides visa holders with a number of advantages over those granted via the Skilled Worker programme, including a cheaper application cost and an exclusion from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Requirement for Skilled Workers

Roles with skill levels below RQF3, which is equal to an A-level, will not be accepted via the skilled visa route.

There are no standard work permits or immigration routes for “low skilled” employees or jobs below this level, while other immigration routes may be taken into consideration.

Required minimum pay for skilled workers

The usual minimum income level for skilled worker visas is £25,600 per year, unless the “going rate” for the specific position is greater. There is a going rate for each occupational code.

The compensation level must be determined hourly rather than merely yearly. Even if the yearly income is more than the necessary minimum, the minimum wage cannot be less than £10.10.

In some circumstances, where the job on offer will pay less than the general salary threshold or specific salary requirement for that role—but no less than £20,480—the applicant may still be eligible to apply for a Skilled Worker visa by bartering some of their desirable qualities for a lower salary in order to gain the necessary number of points.

If the candidate has a job offer in a specific shortage occupation, a postdoctoral position in science or higher education, a STEM PhD level qualification relevant to the job (if they have a relevant PhD level qualification), or all three, they can expect to be paid between 70% and 90% of the relevant going rate for the position as long as their salary is at least £20,480 per year.

A new entrant is someone who, as of the date of their application, is younger than 26 and who is seeking a maximum of three years of leave as a skilled worker, postdoctoral researcher funded, fresh graduate, in professional training, or in the process of earning a professional qualification.

Even if a minimum wage of £20,480 must still be fulfilled, the pay requirement for new hires is 30% lower than the rate for experienced workers in any occupation. Additionally, there are distinct minimum wage requirements for employees in specific health or education professions.

English language requirement

The minimal level of English proficiency for reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension is level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Unless they have already demonstrated their English language proficiency as part of a prior UK immigration application or if they are a citizen of one of several exempt nations, most candidates for a skilled worker visa will need to show that they fulfil the language criterion.

Language proficiency must be demonstrated, unless exempt, by passing an approved Secure English Language Test, having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English, or having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher, or Advanced Higher in English (SELT).

Certificate of sponsorship requirement

Before the worker can file an application for a visa, their UK sponsor must first provide them with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), attesting that the person and their job qualify for sponsorship.

The CoS is a reference number that must be included with the Home Office application for a skilled worker visa. A CoS may only be issued by authorised sponsors.

The defined Certificate of Sponsorship and the undefined Certificate of Sponsorship are the two types of certificates available today. These take the place of the previous restricted and unrestricted CoS that were in effect before December 1, 2020.

  • Undefined CoS are for either: employees who are currently in the UK on a valid visa and are applying to transfer to the skilled worker category from another immigration route, or for those applying under one of the other visa channels from the UK or abroad.
  • Defined CoS are for applications for foreign skilled worker visas (not ICT applications).

Sponsors must apply for a specific CoS. There must be detailed information about the employment and remuneration because this is an application to the Home Office.

Sponsors for undefined CoS will either be requested to request an annual allocation prior to April, or they will be automatically allotted a quantity. Throughout the year, it is also possible to apply for more COS.

Financial maintenance requirement

The applicant must demonstrate that they have the necessary financial resources to maintain themselves as they will not have access to public funding like benefits.

According to the criteria, candidates must have at least £1,270 in their bank accounts at the time of application. The money had to be accessible for at least 28 days straight, with day 28 occurring no later than 31 days after submitting the visa application. Unless they have had legal status in the UK for 12 months or if their sponsor agrees to cover their costs of up to £1,270 during their first month in the country, the applicant must show proof of their funds.

The sponsor must attest on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will satisfy the financial requirements in the part that reads, “Sponsor confirms Maintenance.” This is listed as “Additional data.”

If dependents are applying, more payments will be required.

Criminal record requirement

If their line of work necessitates it, certain candidates could additionally be required to present a criminal history record certificate.

What is the cost of a skilled worker visa?

Depending on your circumstances and if the work is on the shortage occupation list, the applicant will need to pay the visa application cost of between £610 and £1,408 as well as the immigration health surcharge, the primary amount of which is £624 each year of the visa.

Any dependents applying with the primary visa applicant will incur the same fees.

Skilled Worker visa processing times

Applications for skilled worker visas can typically take up to 8 weeks if submitted from inside the UK or up to 3 weeks if submitted from outside the UK, subject to COVID limits.

Depending on the location where your application is being handled, it could be possible to pay for a fast-tracked procedure.

How long does a Skilled Worker visa last?

Typically, a skilled worker visa is given for a maximum of five years. The visa holder would then need to apply for a visa extension or, after fulfilling the five-year residency requirement, they could be qualified to apply for UK indefinite leave to stay.

The skilled worker visa can be extended an unlimited number of times, so long as you continue to adhere to its conditions.

The visa holder must apply for a fresh leave duration if they switch employers or sponsors.

Skilled Worker visa requirements for employers?

Employers must apply for a sponsor licence if they want to hire EU and non-EEA citizens who will be working in the UK as of January 1, 2021. This is the authorization required for UK companies to hire foreign nationals to work in the country in a particular position in a qualified skilled vocation.

In order to hire someone from the resident labour market who already has permission to work in the UK, such as a holder of indefinite leave to remain or a British citizen, an employer does not require a licence. The EEA nationals who have been given settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are also included in this.

The Skilled Worker visa should be a welcome change for non-EEA citizens and employers of non-EEA citizens who may be accustomed to the previous UK visa process. Although the fundamental requirements are largely the same, some of them are less onerous than they were for the previous style of visa under Tier 2 of the points-based system. For instance, the restriction on the total number of skilled worker visas that may be awarded has been suspended, and the Resident Labour Market Test has been eliminated.

The Skilled Worker visa will be unknown ground for EEA citizens travelling to the UK to work from 1 January 2021 and for UK firms used to hiring EEA nationals without any limitations under the pre-2021 EU freedom of movement regulations. Before potential migrant workers may submit their visa applications, employers who wish to hire either EEA or non-EEA citizens for skilled labour must be in possession of a sponsoring licence.

Note that in order to get established or pre-settled status, EEA citizens who were already residing in the UK as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2020, must register under the EU Settlement Scheme by June 30, 2021. This will protect their legal standing and their ability to live and work in the UK beyond this time, including doing so in a skilled capacity. By the end of June 2021, EEA workers in the UK as of December 31, 2020, will have the opportunity to apply for EU settled status.

An organisation must show that it is a legitimate organisation that operates legally in the UK and that it is qualified to sponsor skilled migrant workers in order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker Sponsor License. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), while determining eligibility, will take into account:

  • The company may provide legitimate work in the UK that pays a wage of at least £25,600 or the market rate for the position, whichever is greater, and fulfils the requisite skill requirement of RQF3 or above.
  • If the organisation has the necessary key employees and HR processes and procedures in place, it can fulfil its sponsorship obligations. The essential individuals will be in charge of running the sponsor management system (SMS) and carrying out the obligations of a registered sponsor.
  • Any history of immigration violations or pertinent, pending criminal convictions involving persons involved in the day-to-day operation of the business, or the key personnel indicated on the sponsor licence application, might have an impact on the organisation’s capacity to sponsor foreign workers.

FAQs about skilled worker visa

Is it difficult to get a Skilled Worker visa UK?

Obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa may take longer and include more difficulties than in other popular expat destinations, but it is not impossible. The truth is that more talented foreigners are receiving UK work permits while fewer applications are being turned down.

What type of visa is Skilled Worker?

You are able to enter or remain in the UK with a skilled worker visa if you want to work for a recognised firm. The Tier 2 (General) work visa has been replaced by this one.

Can Skilled Worker visa get rejected?

If a skilled worker visa application does not match the pay standards for their position, they may face rejection. This might be as a result of their improper application of the lower income criteria and misreading the regulations.