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skilled worker visa uk

The skilled worker visa UK offers one of the fastest routes to full residency in Europe. The most attractive part of this proposition is the ease with which it can be obtained. While most work-related visas offered by other countries in Europe and even America require prospective applicants to take labor assessment tests, the opposite is the case for companies in the UK.

Related article: How to apply to study in the UK as an international student

Related article: UK charity work visa: The easiest way to move to the UK

Related article: Global talent visa UK: The easiest way to self sponsor your UK work visa

All that’s required of foreign nationals who seek to apply for open positions in companies located in the United Kingdom is proof of qualification which can be shown by using certification gotten while working for previous companies or results of professional exams taken in one’s line of work.

In this article, we will highlight all potential applicants need to know about the skilled visa for UK so as to get a favorable decision when an application for a visa is finally submitted to the UK embassy or high commission of the applicant’s country as well as how to use it to get full residency as fast as possible.

 

 

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Skilled Worker Visa UK

A skilled worker visa affords beneficiaries the opportunity to migrant to and reside in the UK to do jobs that they are eligible for, which has to be with an approved employer. This visa category was formed as a direct replacement for the general tier 2 general work visa.

Skilled Worker Visa UK Exceptions

Applicants from EU member countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are not required to apply for a visa to work in the UK. Infact individuals from the above zone who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 may be eligible to apply for the free EU settlement scheme.

However, to apply for this scheme, they needed to have put in an application before the deadline date of 30 June 2021. Applications are still being received for applicants who are joining their partners or family members who themselves had been living in the UK by 31 December 2020

 

skilled worker visa UK family reunion

 

Applications could still be accepted from EU citizens and those from Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, if they have reasonable grounds which can be used to stake a claim, such as the covid-19 pandemic or other forms of illness which might have prevented them from submitting an application before the due date or if they were victims of some form of domestic abuse during that period.

Members of this group who missed out on the deadline handed out by UKVIS will be required to apply for a visa to work in the UK.

Citizens of Ireland do not need a visa to work in the UK, neither do they need to apply for the EU settlement scheme

Public Sector Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses, or adult care givers might look to check their eligibility status for the health and care worker visa instead of a skilled work visa as it is more affordable to apply for. Also, there are no recurrent annual immigration healthcare surcharges.

 

public sector healthcare workers

 

Skilled Worker Visa UK Sponsor List

Individuals interested in working for UK employers will have to access the list of sponsors who are interested in hiring foreign workers. This are employers who are out to sponsor skilled worker visa UK applicants.

Applicants will have to find UK employers on the list of skilled worker visa UK sponsors, which are companies located in the United Kingdom and submit their resume’ as well as other support documents required to secure the position being applied for.

Skilled worker visa UK Eligibility

Not all individuals can apply for a skilled worker visa to the UK. To be able to apply, an applicant has to be eligible. To qualify for an application, a job must have been offered to the applicant by an employer who has been registered and recognized by the UK home office.

 

skilled worker visa UK recipient

 

It is possible to check up an employer’s status with the home office to see whether they are registered or not. Thus, ensuring that no error is made from the start. It is quite easy to access a list of UK approved employers.

It is important to be mindful of positions being applied for in companies located in the UK. It has to be work on the eligible list of occupations accepted and recognized by the home office, otherwise work visa application submitted could be denied.

Certificate Of Sponsorship

An applicant is required to receive a certificate of sponsorship which should contain a sponsorship number and a clear detailed description of the new recruit’s role within the company. This is an official document that shows the applicant is ready to be awarded a visa to come to the UK.

 

certificate of sponsorship for the UK

 

After running a job application through human resource, all supporting documents related to competence will be vetted to make sure that foreign nationals seeking to work for the UK employer meets all eligibility requirement to work in the UK. Some of these requirements are handed out by the home office.

Candidates that pass this scrutiny are given an electronic record which contains a reference number known as certificate of sponsorship. This will be used to apply for a skilled work visa by the primary applicant and his accompanying family members.

As soon as a foreign national receives a certificate of sponsorship, he/she has approximately 3 months to apply for a work visa to the UK before this document becomes invalidated.

 

applying for a skilled worker visa UK

 

There might be other specific eligibility criteria, but this will depend on the job description highlighted in a visa application.

A confirmed job offer is mandatory before a work visa application can be submitted.

Minimum Salary To Be Eligible To Apply For A Skilled Worker Visa UK

As a foreign national with intentions of working for an employer in the UK, there is a minimum amount of salary that has to be earned to be eligible to apply for a skilled work visa. Falling short of this wage cap renders a potential applicant ineligible to apply.

The amount of salary or remuneration that would be received for working as a member of staff of a UK company depends on payroll policy as well as the nature of work done. However, skilled work visa applicants must show that they will receive a salary for such work when they arrive in the country.

 

 

going rate under the skilled worker visa UK

 

Potential skilled worker visa applicants are required to have received a job offer for a position that pays;

  • £25,600 annually
  • £10 in hourly rates
  • The going rate for the position has to be at a competitive level

If the applicant’s expected monthly salary is £28,000, but the industry average is £35,000, then the foreign national falls below the salary requirement for this type of work and will not be granted a skilled worker visa when he/she applies. The applicant needs to be paid at the going rate.

Each occupation has going rates unique to that profession however, rates can be checked on the going rates table to ensure that the applicant meets the salary requirement.

 

skilled worker visa UK beneficiary using an atm machine

 

Occupational Code

To know if an offered position is eligible to be granted a skilled worker visa UK, applicants are required to secure a 4-digit occupation code which will be cross referenced by running a search on the ONS Occupation Coding Tool.

Not all occupations are included, running a check on a similar title could yield optimum results. The occupation code could be requested from an employer after a job offer has been received.

It is paramount that an applicant’s job description matches what they will be doing for the employer in the UK. Certain jobs might be similar, but have varying status of eligibility. For instance, chefs and cooks are similar, but Chefs can be granted a skilled work visa to the UK and cooks are not eligible for this visa.

 

importance of occupation code in a skilled worker visa UK application

 

Occupational eligibility can be checked by looking up the table of eligible jobs, by simply using an occupation code to identify the presence of an applicant’s occupation on the eligible jobs table.

Eligibility For Healthcare And Education Jobs

The salary rules for healthcare and education jobs for foreigners are different. In this case, the going rate is based on a national pay scale. An applicant must receive a salary of £20,480 or more if the going rate for the city or region is higher.

When Being Paid Less Still Qualifies An Applicant For A Skilled Worker Visa UK

There are instances in which an applicant is scheduled to be paid below the going rate and not working in jobs related to healthcare or education. This set of individuals could still be eligible for a skilled worker visa UK if they will earn up to £20,480 or an hourly rate of £10.10 in salary when they start work in the UK.

 

qualified applicant

 

They also are required to meet at least one of the eligibility criteria stated below to qualify as a less pay skilled work visa UK beneficiary;

  • The position offered by the UK employer has to be on the occupation shortage list to qualify as an accepted less pay job recipient
  • A student or recent graduate, who’s under 26 years of age. If not a student or graduate but at least undergoing professional training
  • Job beneficiaries who have advanced degree qualifications related to the work on offer such as engineering, math (STEM) PHD, technology or science degrees of relevance to the job
  • Applicants who are offered a science or higher education post-doctoral positions in the UK

Foreign nationals who have PHD qualifications in any other area different from that considered for the job will have to be earning at least £23,040 to be eligible for less pay.

 

PhD degree holder

 

Occupation Shortage List

This is a list of skilled jobs experiencing a shortage of workers in the UK. There are concessions that accrues to individuals who have been granted jobs that have been categorized as shortage occupations. They can;

  • Be paid at least 80% of the job’s usual going rate
  • Pay a lower fee when applying for their skilled work visa

Applicants are advised to look up the list of shortage occupations in other to know the amount they are required to be earn to be eligible.

A job might be experiencing shortage of workers in one part of the UK, but not in another. So foreign nationals looking to come to Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland must endeavor to find out if there’s a shortage of professionals for that work in the region they will be traveling to.

 

going through a UK occupation shortage list

 

Healthcare And Educational Jobs On the Occupation Shortage List

Beneficiaries who successfully receive work from a UK employer in the healthcare and educational sectors, are required to confirm that these jobs are listed on the occupation shortage list for the region they will be working in, before they apply for a skilled work visa UK.

Healthcare and educational jobs that are experiencing shortage, guarantees that successful applicants are eligible for subsidized application fees when it comes to applying for a visa. These candidates would also have to pay a healthcare surcharge and show proof that they are able to support themselves financially while in the UK. The summarized application fees are listed below;

  • For those staying for a period of up to 3 years the fee is £479
  • For those staying for a period of more than 3 years the fee is £943

The above fees are the same, irrespective of whether individuals are applying from outside or inside the UK.

 

educational jobs in the UK

 

Under 26, Student/Graduate Or In Professional Training

Foreigners can be paid less, meaning at least 70% of the industry going rate and still be eligible to apply for a skilled work visa;

  • If at the point of application, they are under 26 years of year
  • If studying in the UK for a bachelor’s degree and above while on a student visa. Also, individuals who have been living in the UK for a period of 2 years having entered the country recently with either a visitor or student visa
  • Foreign nationals presently in the United Kingdom on a graduate entrepreneur visa
  • Those working to obtain certification in a UK regulated profession
  • The work being sponsored would lead to full membership, registration or confer on the beneficiary a chartered status

If one of the above reasons was considered in granting a skilled worker visa to the applicant, then he/she cannot stay in the UK longer than 4 years. This is inclusive of time already spent on a general tier 2 work visa.

 

professional training

 

Relevance Of Qualification To Offered Job

Jobs offered might be eligible for a PhD salary discount, if this is the case, beneficiaries can be paid 80% to 90% of the occupation’s going rate this is dependent on the area of specialty in which the doctorate degree is based on.

Math (STEM), science, technology and engineering qualified beneficiaries can be paid at least 80% of the industry going rate as long as they will be paid an annual salary of £20,480.

Those with non-STEM qualification can be paid 90% of their occupations going rate, as long as they can be paid an annual salary of £23,040.

 

salary going rate

 

For the above listed scenarios, applicants are mandated;

  • To be UK PhD holders or be in possession of an equivalent degree in their home country. All applications will have to be made through Ecctis previously UK NARIC, this is to make sure that a foreign qualification is equivalent to a UK PhD
  • To prove their qualification is relevant to the job offered by the UK employer. The registered employer in the UK offering this work will have to confirm this

It is possible to check the list of jobs that qualify for a PhD salary discount to make sure the applicant’s job is included and to know how much he/she stands to make annually.

Academic or research leaders are eligible to apply for a global talent visa. The GTV has no minimum salary requirements

 

academic researchers

 

Beneficiaries Of Postdoctoral Positions In Science Or Higher Education

It is possible to get paid 70% of a job’s going rate for the region an applicant will be working in the UK, if the beneficiary will be working in postdoctoral positions related to science or higher education.

There are certain occupation codes designated by the UK home office for qualification under this salary discount requirement;

  • 2111: chemical scientists
  • 2112: biological scientists and biochemists
  • 2113: physical scientists
  • 2114: social and humanities scientists
  • 2119: natural and social science professionals that are ‘not elsewhere classified’, such as research fellows and sports scientists
  • 2311: higher education teaching professionals

 

postdoctoral positions in higher institution

 

Applicants that fall under the above occupation code would have to check the list of jobs to know the amount they will have to be earning to qualify under this salary discount scheme.

If one of the above reasons was considered in granting a tier 2 skilled worker visa to the postdoctoral job applicant, then he/she cannot stay in the UK longer than 4 years. This is inclusive of time already spent on a general tier 2 work visa.

English Language Required Proficiency

Depending on the country of origin of the applicant, there is a strict English language requirement that must be met before a skilled worker visa can be submitted. This varies across different countries. Some applicants might be required to show that English language was part of their educational curriculum at an advanced level.

 

knowledge of English as a requirement for a skilled worker visa UK

 

Others might be required to take English proficiency test and will not be granted visa to the United Kingdom unless they can show that their participation in this test was indeed successful. There are countries that do not require proof of English proficiency to get a visa to the UK.

A proof of English proficiency is required for applicants to show that they can read, write and comprehend the English language at least to the B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) scale.

How To Prove English Proficiency

There are different ways in which English language proficiency can be proven such as;

  • Registering, taking and passing a secured English language test with a provider who has to be approved
  • You will also have to present a GCSE, Scottish national qualification level 4 or 5, A level, Scottish higher or advanced higher in English which was obtained through study in a school located in the United Kingdom attended when the applicant was under 18 years of age

 

english requirement for a skilled worker visa UK

 

  • A degree level qualification that was completed in English could also be used as proof of English language proficiency. However, this has to be if the applicant studied abroad and application will have to be done through Ecctis (formerly called UK NARIC), this is of course to confirm that the qualifications obtained are equivalent to varying standards of degrees obtainable in the UK

Countries That Do Not Need To Proof English Language Proficiency

There are countries whose citizens enjoy the added advantage of being accorded English language waivers, these people are not required to show proof of English proficiency. These countries are;

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

 

countries that are not required to proof English proficiency for a skilled worker visa UK

 

Professions That Do Not Need To Prove English Language Proficiency

There are professions that enjoy English language proficiency waivers, members of these professions are not required to show evidence that they can speak English, this is because they had to have passed an English assessment test which was a requirement put in place by their regulating body.

These professions are;

  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Midwives

Vets might be mandated to show that they had taken an English language assessment prepared by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. There are counties and districts in the UK where this requirement is waived for vets.

 

vet

 

How Long Does A Skilled Worker Visa UK Afford A Beneficiary?

Skilled UK visa affords beneficiaries a period of stay in the country that could reach a maximum duration of 5 years depending on the type of job an individual holds within the company. Upon expiration of tenure of visa, an extension can be applied for.

A work visa in the UK must also be updated if a foreign national working in the country changes his/her job or switches employer. This is mandatory.

What If A Skilled Work Visa UK Beneficiary Wants To Stay Longer?

Beneficiaries of the skilled worker visa UK can stay as long as they want in the country in so far as they keep extending their work visa and meeting up with the stipulated eligibility criteria.

 

staying longer on a skilled worker visa UK

 

Indefinite Live To Remain

After legitimately living in the UK for 5 years, foreigners maybe eligible to apply to settle in the UK permanently, a procedure otherwise known as an indefinite live to remain. This confers on the individual the right of a regular UK citizen such as living, working and studying in the country as well as getting access to other benefits that this status qualifies the beneficiary for.

Skilled worker visa UK requirements

Before a skilled work visa can be applied for, there are mandatory documents that are to be made ready, it is important that applicants make these documents available so as not be denied visa when they apply. The documents required are;

  • A certificate of sponsorship reference number – which is contained in a certificate of sponsorship given by a UK employer
  • A proof of English knowledge
  • A valid travel document such as a passport or other document that shows applicant’s identity and nationality
  • Job title specification and stated annual salary

 

skilled worker visa UK requirement

 

  • An applicant’s job occupation code
  • The name of an applicant’s UK employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on the certificate of sponsorship

Depending on the prevailing circumstance, there are extra support documents that could be demanded by the UKVIS from applicants if more information is required to process a skilled work visa UK application. These are;

  • proof in the form of a bank statement or other applicable document that shows an applicant has enough personal funds to support staying in the UK (this can be waived if an applicant’s certificate of sponsorship shows the UK employer can support the individual’s stay in the UK)
  • proof of the applicant’s relationship with a partner and/or children if they’re applying with the primary applicant
  • A medical certificate that shows the applicant’s tuberculosis test results. This is for applicants from specified countries
  • Mandatory criminal record certificate for applicants traveling to the UK to take positions in certain UK companies

 

criminal check

 

  • A valid academic technology approval scheme (ATAS) which might be requested from applicants who have been accepted into a research institution which involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
  • A UK PhD certificate, or a unique Ecctis reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number) if the applicant’s qualification was obtained from outside the UK – An application might have to be made through Ecctis

It is worthy of note that 2 blank pages must be available on a passport for the applicant’s visa. This is particularly for applicants located;

  • Outside the EU region or outside countries like Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • In the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, but own passports without biometric chips in them

Support Documents In Foreign Languages

For support documents prepared in a foreign language, certified translated copies will have to be provided in English or Welsh to be admissible. This is mandatory and could cause a work visa rejection if not taken seriously.

 

support documents for skilled worker visa UK

 

Criminal Record Certificate

Applicants applying for a skilled work visa from outside the UK will need to submit a criminal record certificate when applying from outside the United Kingdom. Especially if they work in;

  • In the field of education as teachers, school inspectors, child minders, education advisers or teaching assistants
  • In the field of healthcare as doctors, nurses, paramedics, managers, dentists, pharmacists, dental nurses or ophthalmic opticians
  • The social services as social workers, managers, probation officers. Welfare and housing officers
  • Jobs that offer therapy such as psychologists, speech and language therapists or counsellors

Skilled Worker Visa UK Applicants Who Have Lived In More Than One Country

Visa applicants might be required to submit a criminal record certificate from individual countries they might have lived in the past. This of course depends on their age at the time and the duration of time spent in those countries.

 

staying longer with the skilled worker visa UK

 

Individuals under the age of 28 are required to submit a criminal record certificate for countries they have lived for a period of 12 months or more, from when they turned 18 years. For applicants over the age of 28, a criminal record certificate is required for every country stayed in over a period of the last 10 years.

Requirements For Partners And Children

Partners looking to travel with their significant other (primary applicant) have to prove their relationship by way of a certificate that shows legality of the union. They also have to show that they have been living together for a period of 2 years by the time they apply for their UK visa.

For dependents such as children over the age of 16, there need to be prove that they live with their supposed parents as well as being financially supported by them. They also must not be married or be in any civil relationships.

 

partners and children requirement for the skilled worker visa UK

 

To show that the applicant’s children live in the same house or address with the applicant a proof is required, such as;

  • a bank statement
  • credit card bills
  • driver’s licence
  • NHS registration document
  • an official letter from their university or college

Anyone of the above support document can be used to prove relationship with a dependent minor.

Skilled Worker Visa UK Cost

To apply for a skilled worker visa, an applicant will have to be financially prepared. There are mandatory fees that must be paid before a work visa to the UK can be granted. These are;

  • An application fee will have to be paid, which depends on the circumstance, situation and category of work visa that is being applied for. This ranges from £624 to £1,423

 

cost of securing a skilled worker visa UK

 

  • A healthcare surcharge of £624 must be paid. This premium is paid annually
  • Show financial evidence to the tune of £1,270 which means the primary applicant can support himself/herself for the first couple of months when he/she arrive in the UK

individuals applying for a skilled work visa UK having been beneficiaries of jobs listed on the occupation shortage list are eligible to pay a reduced application fee

Skilled Worker Visa UK Application Fee For Applicants Outside The UK

Persons applying for a skilled worker visa UK from outside this region will need to pay an application fee which depends on the duration of time they will be staying in the UK for. Applicants staying for;

  • A duration of up to 3 years are required to pay an application fee of £625 per application
  • A duration of more than 3 years are required to pay an application fee of £1,235 per application

 

application fee for the skilled worker visa UK

 

Skilled Worker Visa UK Extension, Switch Or Update Application Fee For Applicants Inside The UK

Individuals already in the UK, who seek to extend, switch or update their skilled worker visa UK will also be required to pay an application fee, which depends on the intended duration of stay in the UK. For applicants staying for;

  • A duration of up to 3 years are required to pay an application fee of £719 per application
  • A duration of up to 3 years are required to pay an application fee of £1,423 per application

Skilled Worker Visa UK Application Fee For The Occupation Shortage List

A primary applicant and his/her accompany family member will pay a reduced application fee if the primary applicant is a beneficiary of a job on the occupation shortage list. Even though the application fee paid is reduced, the final amount still depends on the applicant’s duration of stay in the country.

 

skilled worker visa UK for the list of occupation shortage

 

Applicants staying for;

  • A duration of up to 3 years are required to pay a reduced application fee of £479 per application
  • A duration of more than 3 years are required to pay a reduced application fee of £943 per application

This application fee applies for people inside and outside the UK, they both are required to pay the same rate.

Healthcare Surcharge For Beneficiaries Of The Occupation Shortage List

Beneficiaries of the occupation shortage list are required to pay a healthcare surcharge of £624 annually which remains the same for these applicants irrespective of whether the visa application fee was reduced or not.

 

healthcare surcharge

 

UK Skilled Worker Visa Application

As soon as all required support documents are ready, an applicant can apply for a skilled worker visa UK. However, this depends on the location of the applicant and whether he/she is applying for a tenure extension or to update visa information.

All applications for the high skilled visa UK must be filled and submitted online. There is no paper based option as is applicable in other countries.

Each applicant might have a different reason as to why the UK visa portal is being accessed, for instance, the procedure to change a visa status from a student visa to a skilled work visa is different from applying for a fresh work visa from outside the country.

So how an application is made depends on the reason why that application has to be tendered in the first place. Whether it is to extend current visa status while inside the UK, apply for a fresh work visa from overseas or switch visas while still in the country.

 

filling an online application

 

The right visa application has to be filled and submitted or an applicant risk being denied. Also, if a work visa beneficiary is in the process of switching jobs or employers, he/she must apply to update their visa so as to maintain eligibility.

Proving Applicant Identity And Submitting Support Documents

Foreign nationals are required to prove their identity which is a part of the online application process. Travel document necessary to prove identity depends on the applicant’s country of origin. As part of the identity process;

  • The applicant will need to get a biometric residence permit by having a fingerprint and photograph taken at a visa application centre
  • International applicants could also scan their identity document by using the UK immigration ID check app. They are also required to create or login to their UK visa and immigration account

 

proof of identity

 

Upon login, each applicant will receive instructions on how to begin their online application process.

Once a skilled work visa UK online application is begun, progress can be saved and returned to at a later date, by using the link sent to the applicant’s email.

Skilled Worker Visa UK Dependent Application For Partners And Children Outside the UK

Partners and children of the primary applicant can be included in a work visa UK application, particularly if the applicant wants them to stay in the UK. However, family members must be eligible to be included in a visa application. Eligibility can be proven by submitting the required supporting documents.

Skilled worker dependent UK visa application for partners and their children has to be done online. Both visa applications will need to be submitted separately and application fee paid individually.

 

partner and child application

 

An application number is also mandatory, which can be obtained at the point of application. The application number is also known as a Global web form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). This number can be gotten from correspondence such letters and emails from the home office relating to the application.

Partner And Children Proof Of Identity

Partners and their children are required to prove their identity as part of their application. This can be done through;

  • Getting a biometric residence permit by being fingerprinted and having applicant photographs taken at a visa application centre
  • Or scanning identity documents by using the UK immigration: ID check app. Using this method, partners and children applicant will be required to create and login to their UKVI account.

Information on what to do next will be made available when the application process begins.

 

partner and child biometric capture

 

What Happens If An Appointment Is Needed To Finish An Application?

Depending on the country of the applicant, an appointment might need to be made for a visa interview to finish the application process in other to get a decision. If this is the case, then the visa application centre may need to keep hold of the applicant’s passport and other support documents till after the appointment.

A visa application centre might not be close by, applicants will have to travel to the nearest VAC to meet up with the required obligation to attend an appointment. Sometimes, this could be in a different country.

This is also applicable to partner and children’s applications.

After Visa Application

When a skilled work visa application is submitted, it can be cancelled if the application hasn’t gotten to the stage of processing. If this is the case, a refund can be issued by the UKVI.

 

visa processing

 

When a decision on a visa application is reached, an email will be received with instructions of what to do next.

UK Skilled Worker Visa Processing Time

An allowance has to be made between when a skilled worker visa UK is applied for and when an applicant is due to start work for an employer in the UK. Some visa applications could take as long as 3 to 4 weeks to get processed before a decision can be given.

On average, skilled work visa applications for the UK take 3 to 8 weeks to get finalized. 3 weeks for applicants outside the UK and 8 weeks for those submitting an application from inside the UK. After a completed application has been submitted and identity proven, a decision will be gotten in the above stated timeframe.

To make sure that applications are submitted at the right date, applicants will need to be mindful of when they are to start work in the UK. This date is usually contained in the certificate of sponsorship sent to them by their UK employer.

 

processing an application

 

It is recommended that an allowance of 3 months be made from when a skilled work visa application is submitted online to when a new recruit is scheduled to start work in the UK. Applications would thus have to be submitted on time to avoid any inconvenience that might arise.

The waiting time for skilled worker visa UK for applicants applying from outside the country has been increased to 4 weeks so applicants have to plan accordingly

Partner And Children Processing

If partners and children can prove their identity after completing their online application and submitting their support documents. Then a decision is usually ready in 3 weeks.

If priority and super priority services apply to their country, partners and children could accelerate the time it takes to get a decision to just 5 working days or 24 hours.

 

processing partner and children application

 

Priority Service

It is possible to accelerate one’s skilled work visa application to get a decision in 5 working days, by taking advantage of the priority service afforded applicants by the United Kingdom visa and immigrations service.

The status of this service will have to be checked for the applicant’s country to find out if this is being offered. There are also different mechanisms to check for the availability of this service when a potential beneficiary is inside the UK.

Super Priority Service

A decision on a work visa application can be obtained in 24 hours of submitting an application. This is literally by the end of the second working day after applying.

 

24 hours processing time

 

To qualify for this service depends on whether an applicant will need to verify his/her identity or scan support documents using the UK immigration ID check app. Family visa applications do not qualify. However, applicants will need to find out their eligibility for priority service at the nearest visa application center.

Both the priority and super priority service does not apply for applicants who are citizens of the Gambia.

What Happens If A Visa Decision Is Delayed?

If a visa decision will be delayed, a notification is normally sent out to the applicant informing him/her that a delay is to be expected along with the reason for the delay. There could be a number of reasons as to why a decision might be delayed. This could range from;

  • Supporting documents needing to be verified
  • An interview that needs to be attended
  • To a criminal record that was discovered in an applicant’s security check

 

delays in processing

 

Partner And Children Visa Extension And Switch Application From Inside The UK

It is possible for partners and their children to apply for a visa extension or switch their visa at the same time the primary applicant is getting his/hers done. This can also be done before expiration of their current running visa.

This is applicable to children who turned 18 during the applicant’s stay in the UK.

It must be noted that partners and their children cannot switch to a skilled worker visa if they are already in the UK. This is especially applicable to partners and children on a;

  • Visit visa
  • Short-term student visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa
  • Seasonal worker visa
  • Domestic worker in a private household visa
  • Immigration bail
  • Applicants on compassionate grounds, who were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules

 

 

partner and child application
Mother With Baby Working In Office At Home With Laptop

 

Partners And Children Visa Extension & Switch Application

Visa extension and switch application for partners and their children to become dependents of a primary applicant under the skilled worker visa UK status has to be done online. Both applications will need to be submitted separately and application fee paid individually.

An application number is mandatory, which can be obtained at the point of application. The application number is also known as a Global web form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). This number can be gotten from correspondence such letters and emails from the home office relating to the application.

Partner And Children Proof Of Identity For Visa Extension And Switch

Partners and their children are required to prove their identity as part of their application. This can be done through;

  • Getting a biometric residence permit by being fingerprinted and having the photographs taken at a UK visa and citizenship application services (UKVCAS) point of service

 

biometric capture

 

  • Or scanning identity documents by using the UK immigration: ID check app. Using this method, partners and children applicant will be required to create and login to their UKVI account.

Information on what to do next will be made available when the application process begins.

Partners and children already in the UK and whose visa extension or status switch are being processed must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

When Can A Decision Be Expected?

If partners and children can prove their identity after completing their online application and submitting their support documents. Then a decision is usually ready in 8 weeks.

If priority and super priority services apply, partners and children could accelerate the time it takes to get a decision to just 5 working days or 24 hours. This service will have to be paid for.

 

waiting time

 

Children Born In The UK To Parents On A Skilled Worker Visa

Children born to parents already on a skilled worker visa do not automatically become British citizens. They are mandated to fill a child dependent visa application and get approved to come and go in the UK as they please.

The application form to be filled depends on the baby’s location, whether he/she is already in the UK or outside the UK.

A full UK birth certificate that shows the names of both parents is a key requirement for each child. Also, a child dependent visa must be applied for by the parents before the child turns 18, if the parent wants their child to stay in the UK

Proof Of Financial Support For The Primary Applicant

A financial statement that shows a skilled worker visa UK applicant has the sum of £1,270 in a bank account or its equivalent in the his/her home country. Showing the ability of the individual to support his/her stay in the UK.

 

proof of funds

 

This amount must have been saved in an account for 28 days in a row. If the applicant plans to apply for a skilled work visa, then day 28 must fall within a 31-day period before they are eligible to provide this statement as a support document.

Financial Support For Partners And Children

Partners and children of the primary applicant, will also be mandated to show that they have the financial wherewithal to support their stay in the United Kingdom. According to the UK home office, the amount required for partners and children is;

  • £285 for your partner
  • £315 for your first dependent child
  • £200 for any other dependent child

This amount will have to be declared in a financial statement to show proof that the amount exist, which is of course in addition to the funds the primary applicant will need as the main applicant.

proof of funds for partner and children

 

 

Just like with the primary applicant, the amount required for partners and children must be saved in an account for 28 days in a row. If partners and children plan to apply for their visa, then day 28 must fall within a 31-day period before they are eligible to provide this statement as a support document.

The funds must be readily available for withdrawal and legally acquired. They can also be held in;

  • current accounts
  • deposit accounts
  • savings accounts
  • pension savings
  • investment accounts

Applicants Using Their Own Money Has Proof Of Funds

Primary applicants using their own money to show proof of funds or funds from parent/partners are required to show that the funds are available in a designated account. The documents that can be submitted to proof this are;

  • Letter from bank or financial institution
  • Bank statements
  • Building society passbooks
  • Certificates of deposit

 

supporting one's family in a skilled worker visa UK application

 

Whichever of the above document used, must show;

  • Fund balance in the designated account
  • Applicant’s name (or names of the parent/partner if they are the holders of the account)
  • The name of the bank or financial institution
  • And the date in which the document was issued

An electronic copy of any of the above document can be downloaded and submitted as proof of funds. It is not required to be stamped by the bank. However, the financial institution where funds are stored have to be regulated by a body located in the country of the applicant.

Financial records might be verified with applicant’s bank or financial institution.

 

financial record of a skilled worker visa UK applicant

 

Proof Of Funds Documents Not Accepted

There are proof of fund documents that are not accepted by the UKVIS (United Kingdom visa and immigration services). These are;

  • overdrafts
  • bitcoin savings
  • stocks and shares
  • pensions
  • bank accounts that are not regulated by the financial regulatory body in the country the applicant is applying from
  • bank accounts that don’t use electronic record keeping

When Skilled Worker Visa UK Applicants Do Not Need To Show A Proof Of Financial Support

There are special circumstances in which applicants for a skilled worker visa UK are not required to show a proof of funds to apply for this visa. This is usually when they are already in the UK with a valid visa and have stayed in the country for a period of 12 months.

 

proof of funds exemption

 

The UK employer might have a relocation package that helps cover the foreign employee’s cost of living in the UK for the first month to the tune of £1,270. If this is the case, then the certificate of sponsorship sent to successful overseas recruits must carry this information.

The UK employer will also be required to fill out the section on the sponsorship certificate titled ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’. This can be found under additional data.

Status Of Limitation Afforded A Skilled Worker Visa UK Holder

Holders of skilled worker visa for UK have rights that accrue to them. These are privileges enjoyed by recipients of this visa category. Privileges such as;

  • Being eligible to be gainfully employed while living in the UK
  • Studying in any institution of choice while in the country
  • Working overtime or taking up extra paid work depending on the circumstances

 

statute of limitation for workers on a skilled worker visa UK

 

  • Offering one’s services pro bono on a voluntary capacity
  • Freedom to travel in and out of the UK at will
  • Being eligible to apply to settle in the UK on an infinite basis having already spent 5 years working in the country

Just as there are privileges, there are also things that cannot be done by holders of this visa. Taking part in any one of these activities will be seen as violating the terms of stay in the country. They are;

  • Applying for a state pension or seeking to be a beneficiary of a public funding scheme
  • Seeking to change jobs or employers without updating the visa records

When an applicant successfully gets granted a skilled worker visa for UK, a comprehensive list of dos and don’t will be provided so as to help the beneficiary air on the side of caution.

 

comprehensive terms of engagement under a skilled worker visa UK

 

Skilled Worker Visa UK Extension Requirements

It is possible to extend a skilled worker visa or a general tier 2 work visa if certain criteria are met. These are;

  • If the applicant is still under the employment of the employer under whose name the skilled work visa was granted in the first application for entry into the UK
  • If the applicant’s occupation code remained unchanged from the one used to make the first visa application used to enter the UK
  • If the applicant is still under the employment of the employer who issued the current certificate of sponsorship still in use

Visa extension applications for partners and children will have to be submitted separately. Partner and children extension application can be done at the same time or any time before current status of validity expires.

Primary applicants, their partners and children already in the UK and whose visa extension are being processed must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

processing a visa application

 

Tier 2 General Work Visa Extension

Applicants on a tier 2 general work visa in the UK might be required to meet a different set of criteria to be eligible for a visa extension. These eligibility criteria depend on whether;

  • The applicant’s certificate of sponsorship for the first tier 2 work visa was obtained before or after the 24 November 2016
  • The foreign national submitted an application for a tier 2 work visa or skilled work visa before 6 April 2021
  • Your occupation code is still the same even though they all have different going rates

The above requirement will apply if the applicant has a tier 2 general work visa or if the applicant had a tier 2 work visa which was extended as a skilled work visa.

Certificate Of Sponsorship Issued Before 24 November 2016

For this category of applicants, work visa extension applied for before 24 March 2023 requires that the minimum salary of the foreign national be pecked at a lower rate. The applicant is required to be paid a minimal salary of £20,800 annually, this of course unless the going rate for the applicant’s job is higher.

 

certificate of sponsorship

 

Certificate Of Sponsorship Issued On Or Before 24 November 2016

This category of applicants with work visa extension application submitted before 1 December 2026 are mandated to meet the new salary requirement. However, their salary could also include allowances, this must be guaranteed for the length of an applicant’s stay in the company.

Tier 2 General Work Visa Or Skilled Worker Visa Applied For Before 6 April 2021

For these applicants, the going rate does not apply neither does the minimum salary requirement of £10.10.

Different Going Rates For Jobs Under The Skilled Worker Visa

The going rates for some jobs under the skilled worker visa are different. As can be seen in the table below.

Occupation Code Skilled Work Visa Going Rate 90% Of Going Rate (for Relevant STEM PhD) 80% of going rate (for relevant non-STEM PhD or shortage occupation) 70% of going rate (for new entrants)
2113 Physical scientist £29,000 (£13.94 per hour) £26,100 (£12.55 per hour) £23,200 (£11.15 per hour) £20,300 (£9.76 per hour
2119 Natural And Social Science Professionals £29,000 (£13.94 per hour) £26,100 (£12.55 per hour) £23,200 (£11.15 per hour) £20,300 (£9.76 per hour)
2311 Higher Education teaching professionals £33,000 (£15.87 per hour) £29,700 (£14.28 per hour) £26,400 (£12.69 per hour) £23,100 (£11.11 per hour)

 

going rate in the UK

 

Job Or Employer Change

Applicants who have changed jobs or employers are required to apply to update their visa before its expiration, particularly if they are going to seek to apply for an extension.

Application For Skilled Worker Visa UK Extension

Skilled worker visa UK extension must be done online before current status expires. As soon as an applicant begins an application for extension, he/she is free to save their progress as they go on, take a break and come back to complete it later.

To continue a paused application, an applicant will be required to sign into their account using the sign-up link sent to their email address.

Visa Extension Application Decision

A decision should be expected in 8 weeks from when a completed skilled worker visa UK extension application is submitted. If a decision is being delayed, the applicant will be contacted and given a reason as to why there is a hold up. This is usually caused as a result of one of 3 things;

 

getting a visa decision

 

  • Support documents that might need to be verified
  • An interview that might need to be attended to complete an application for extension
  • Due to a statute of limitation caused by a personal circumstance such as evidence of a criminal conviction

This process can be accelerated by paying the necessary fees to expedite processing of visa extension application.

After A Visa Extension Application Has Been Submitted

Errors made while filling an application for skilled worker visa UK extension can be corrected after an application has been submitted by reaching out to UK visas and immigration.

An applicant can also ask to cancel an application for visa extension. In this case a full refund will be disbursed only when the application hasn’t reached the stage of processing.

 

cancelling a visa application

 

When a decision is reached after a visa extension has been processed, the applicant will get a notification via email, informing him/her of the next step.

Switching To A Skilled Worker Visa UK

Applicants on a different category of visa can switch to a skilled worker visa UK. Particularly if they are already in the UK. Partners and children of the primary applicant will need to apply separately if they intend on switching their visa.

Dependents of the primary applicant can either submit their application at the same time as the principal or hand in their application at a later date, which must be before it expires.

Primary applicants, their partners and children already in the UK and whose visa extension are being processed must not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until they get a decision. Their application will be withdrawn if they do.

 

switching to a skilled worker visa UK

 

Eligibility Criteria To Switch Visa

Before an UK visa beneficiary can successfully switch his/her visa to a skilled worker visa UK, they are required to be employed in a job in the UK that is eligible as well as meet the salary expectations in line with the going rate for that sector and region.

Foreign nationals looking to apply to switch their current visas to a skilled worker visa UK are required to know how to speak, read, write and understand the English language to be eligible.

People Not Eligible To Apply For A Visa Switch

There are limitations to people who can switch from their current visa category to the skilled worker visa, this is specific to people who are already in the UK. Other visa categories that are not eligible for a switch to the skilled worker visa are;

  • People on a visit visa
  • Those on a short-term student visa
  • Parent of a Child Student visa

 

not eligible

 

  • People on a seasonal worker visa
  • Domestic worker on a private household visa
  • Immigration bail
  • People who due to compassionate grounds are given permission to stay outside the immigration rules

Individuals in any one of the above categories will have to leave the United Kingdom and submit an application for a skilled worker visa UK from abroad to be considered eligible for this visa.

Requirement To Switch To A Skilled Worker Visa UK

People who seek to switch current visa status in favor of a skilled worker visa in the UK are required to get a biometric capture which entails getting fingerprinted as well as photographed.

Applicants who have stayed in the UK for less than 1 year will have to show that they have enough funds to support their stay in the country.

 

requirement to switch

 

Identity Proof And Support Documents To Switch

To apply to switch to a skilled worker visa, the applicant is required to prove his/her identity. The document required to do this depends on the type of passport held as well as the country the applicant might be from.

This can be done by obtaining a biometric residence permit, which is done by giving biometric information through fingerprinting and photographic capture at a UK visa and citizenship application services (UKVCAS) point of service.

Another way is scanning identity document using the UK immigration: ID check app. Then creating and signing into an account on the UK visas and immigration (UKVI) portal.

The next step will be communicated after the applicant’s identity is verified.

Application To Switch To A Skilled Worker Visa UK

An application to switch from a current visa to a skilled worker visa UK has to be done online before expiration of current status in the UK. Progress made in the application can be saved and returned to by following the sign-up link sent to the applicant’s email when the process was started.

 

switching visa status in the UK

 

Decision On An Application To Switch To A Skilled Worker Visa UK

A decision is usually sent out to the applicant in 8 weeks after a complete application is submitted. Some decisions might take longer due to challenges experienced such as support documents not being verified, a need for an interview or a criminal conviction found in an applicant’s record.

It is possible to get a decision made faster by paying for priority processing. Applicant’s can find out if they are eligible for this service from there visa application centres.

After A Skilled Worker Visa Switch Application Has Been Submitted

Errors made while filling an application for skilled worker visa UK switch can be corrected after an application has been submitted by reaching out to the UK visas and immigration services.

 

visa application submission

 

An applicant can also ask to cancel an application for a switch to a skilled work visa. In this case a full refund will be disbursed only when the application hasn’t reached the stage of processing.

When a decision is reached after a work visa switch has been processed, the applicant will get a notification via email, informing him/her of the next step.

Taking Up Additional Paid Work While Still On A Skilled Work Visa UK

A beneficiary of a skilled worker visa UK can take up additional paid work while in the UK. However, he/she has to still be employed by the UK employer who sponsored the work visa that brought the applicant into the country. Beneficiaries are eligible to do unpaid voluntary work.

While doing additional work, recipients of the skilled work visa for UK can work 20 hours a week if;

  • The additional work in question has the same occupation code and on the same level as the skilled worker visa beneficiary’s main job
  • Or if the additional work is on the list of shortage occupation

 

additional work in the UK

 

Special preference is given to additional work related to healthcare and education. There is also no limit to the number of hours skilled work visa recipients can put in as long as the individual is a NHS volunteer offering assistance due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Additional Work With More Than 20 Hours Weekly Commitment

If recipients of the skilled worker visa UK plan on working over 20 hours weekly in an additional job, they will need to apply to update their visa so that they get sponsored to do both jobs.

To be eligible to work over 20 hours weekly in a second job, applicants will need to;

  • Secure a certificate of sponsorship from the second employer
  • Include a letter of explanation stating the new terms in which the applicant wants highlighted to change their current stay in the country

 

working over 20 hours per week in an additional job

 

Conclusion

The skilled worker visa for UK is a visa category that replaced the tier 2 general work visa for skilled professionals looking to ply their trade in the United Kingdom while working for an employer in the country. It offers beneficiaries the fastest route to full residency in the UK.

There are special requirements for applicants from different countries, however all potential recipients of this visa class are expected to receive a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer which is suppose to highlight the terms of engagement in which the new recruit is going to work under.

The expected salary must meet the going rate for the industry as is obtainable for the region in which the skilled work visa applicant will be working in. Also, jobs sought in the UK have to be on the list of shortage occupations for applicants to stand a chance of being granted this visa.

Skilled worker visa UK dependent applicants who are partners and children of the primary applicant will be required to use the certificate of sponsorship reference number from the primary beneficiary to fill their visa application.

An application fee, healthcare surcharge will have to paid for skill work visa to the UK to be processed. There are also support documents that need to be submitted before applicants can get a favorable decision.

To accelerate the time taken to get a decision, whether it’s a skilled worker visa UK application, an extension or a switch of visa, potential recipients can take advantage of the priority and super priority services when they apply.

The cost of these services depends on availability and the country in which the applicants are from. Both services do not exist in some countries.

Beneficiaries of the skilled worker visa UK can take up additional work that meets the required limit of 20 hours work time per week. Those who want to work above 20 hours per week would have to request another certificate of sponsorship from the second UK employer that covers the new terms.

After legitimately living in the UK for 5 years, foreigners maybe eligible to apply to settle in the UK permanently, a procedure otherwise known as an indefinite live to remain. This confers on the individual the right of a regular UK citizen such as living, working and studying in the country

Do you qualify to be a skilled professional in the UK? Will you like to secure work with a UK employer?

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Fuse

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Chinedu Okoronkwo known fondly by friends as Fuse is a Father, husband, biochemist, certified business administrator and entrepreneur specializing in supply chain management and logistics, with vast experience in founding and building businesses in this space. Having worked in an embassy for a number of years and with a passion for traveling, he started Fuse Chronicles, a platform that offers information on everything related to global travels and issues confronting cultural acclimatization around the globe. 

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