Skilled Worker Visa

From 1 December 2020, the ‘Skilled Worker’ visa will replace the previous Tier 2 (General) Visa. 

The Skilled Worker route allows foreign nationals from outside the UK and Ireland to fill a wide range of skilled vacancies in the UK. 

If you are an EEA National and you enter the UK after the end of the implementation period (11 pm on 31 December 2020), you will need to be sponsored under the Skilled Worker visa route if you wish to work in the UK.  

 How do I qualify as a Skilled Worker? 

To qualify as a Skilled Worker, you must be offered a skilled job in the UK at a minimum RQF Level 3 level from an approved UK Visas and Immigration (‘UKVI’) licenced sponsor.  

You will also need to score 70 points under the ‘new’ Points Based Immigration System (‘PBS’) criteria.  

This includes 50 points for the mandatory ‘non-tradeable’ criteria, and 20 points for the ‘tradeable’ criteria. 

Mandatory 50 points: 

 Certificate of Sponsorship – 20 points 

You must have received an offer of employment from an approved UKVI licensed sponsor.  

Once you have been offered a position within the company, the employer will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (‘CoS’).  

You will be required to state the relevant CoS reference at the time of submitting your Skilled Worker visa application.  

 Job at an appropriate skill level – 20 points 

From 1 December 2020, the Standard Occupational Codes (‘SOC’) codes for the Skilled Worker route will downgrade from a minimum RQF level 6 (degree level) to RQF level 3 (A-level).  

By lowering the SOC level, this will broaden the range of roles available under the ‘Skilled Worker’ visa category.  

 English language requirement – 10 points 

You will be required to satisfy the English language requirement by passing a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) test at the B1 level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 

 Tradeable points (Salary) – 20 points 

The minimum salary threshold has been lowered from £30,000 to £25,600 per annum.  

You must, however, be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both the minimum salary threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation, whichever is higher.  

Nevertheless, under the new PBS requirements, you may be awarded the remaining 20 tradeable points through a combination of tradeable points as explained in the chart below. 

Your salary equals or exceeds both £25,600 and the ‘going rate’ for the job’s SOC code. 

20 Points 

You have a PHD in a subject relevant to the job and your salary equals or exceeds both £23,040 and 90% of the ‘going rate’ for the SOC code. 

20 Points 

You have a PHD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 and 80% of the ‘going rate’ for the SOC code. 

20 Points 

The job is in a shortage occupation and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the ‘going rate’ for the SOC code. 

20 Points 

You are a ‘new entrant’ to the labour market and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the ‘going rate’ for the SOC code. 

20 Points 

The job is in a listed health or education and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and the going rate for the SOC code.  

20 Points 

Maintenance requirement  

Apart from satisfying the required 70 points, you must also show that you have personal savings of least £1,270.00 which must have been held for at least 28 days before the date of your application. 

If your sponsor is an ‘A-rated sponsor’, they can also ‘certify your maintenance’ up to the end of your first month of employment in the UK. If your sponsor certifies your maintenance on the CoS, you will not be required to provide any evidence of your finances.  

Furthermore, if you have had permission to stay in the UK for more than 12 months, you will not be required to meet the maintenance requirement.  

 When to apply? 

You must also apply no more than 3 months before the start date on your CoS. 

 Length of a Skilled Worker visa? 

Unlike the previous Tier 2 (General) Visa, there is no limit on the amount of time you can spend in the UK as a Skilled Worker.  

You can, however, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) once you have reached 5 years continuous leave in the UK as a Skilled Worker. 

 Dependent Family members of Skilled Worker 

The Skilled Worker route allows dependent family members to join you in the UK or remain with you if you’re already in the UK. 

 Can I switch into the skilled worker route? 

If you are in the UK on another immigration route, you are now permitted to ‘switch’ (change route) to the Skilled Worker route if you meet all the relevant immigration requirements and are not in the UK on any of the following routes:  

  • Visitor  
  • Short-term student  
  • Parent of a Child Student  
  • Seasonal Worker  
  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household  
  • Outside the Immigration Rules 

Our process 

  1. Assess your suitability and eligibility for a Skilled Worker visa. Please note that we cannot assist you in finding employment in the UK; 
  2. Provide you with an advice on how to meet the PBS requirements; 
  3. Provide a comprehensive document checklist; 
  4. Complete any application as necessary on your behalf; 
  5. Draft any affidavit as necessary on your behalf; 
  6. Book your biometrics appointment; and 
  7. Prepare a complete bundle to be sent to UK Visas and Immigration on your behalf including a detailed cover letter. 

If you would like to apply for a Skilled Worker visa or require further information, please contact us on 0161 826 6922.