Skilled Worker Visa
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SKILLED WORKER VISA
The Skilled Worker category allows overseas citizens including European Economic Area nationals (arriving in the UK from 01 January 2021), who have secured an offer of employment for a specific skilled job from a Home Office approved Sponsor, to apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK.
The Skilled Worker category replaces the existing Tier 2 (General) category. If you currently have leave to remain as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant, you will need to submit any further application for extension of leave, application or indefinite leave and changes of employment under the Skilled Worker Category.
Requirements for a Skilled Worker Visa
In order to succeed in an application for Skilled Worker visa, you must demonstrate to the UKVI that:
- You can score 20 points from mandatory non-tradeable points (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-an-introduction-for-employers
- You can score 20 points from Tradeable points;
- You are over the age of 18 at the time of your application;
- You are able to travel to the UK and provide your travel history for the 5 years prior to the date of application;
- You are able to provide a Criminal Record Certificate if your employment in the UK involves working with vulnerable people;
- You are able to provide a valid TB Certificate if you are from a country listed in Appendix T (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-t-tuberculosis-screening)
The specific requirements, that may be applicable to you, will differ depending on your circumstances. You may wish to seek expert advice from an immigration lawyer.
If you wish to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa speak to one of our specialised immigration lawyers for expert advice by completing our “Enquiry Form”.
Mandatory non-tradeable points
In order to qualify for leave as a Skilled Worker, you must satisfy the UK Visas and Immigration that you score 50 mandatory non-tradeable points as set out below:
Job at appropriate skill level
English Language Skills at Level B1 CERF
Mandatory Sponsorship Points (20 points)
You will awarded 20 mandatory points if you can demonstrate the following:
- You hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for a skilled job in the UK;
- You are proposing to take up an offer of employment for which there was a ‘genuine vacancy’;
- Your Sponsor is authorised by the UK Home Office to Sponsor your proposed employment under the Skilled Worker category;
- Your Sponsor must be rated as A-rated by the Home Office, unless your last leave was granted as a Skilled Worker and you are applying for leave to continue working with the same Sponsor;
- Your UK Sponsor has settled in full any Immigration Skills Charges;
- You hold sufficient funds to support yourself without recourse to public funds or your Skilled Worker Sponsor has certified your maintenance;
Mandatory Points For Appropriate Job Skill Level (20 Points)
You will awarded 20 mandatory points for appropriate job skill level if you can demonstrate the following:
- You are sponsored for a job in eligible occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-skilled-occupations
- Your Sponsor has chosen an appropriate occupation code which is of the required level of skill for a Skilled Worker visa;
- Your Sponsor has not chosen a less appropriate occupation code for any of the following reasons:
- To artificially make the sponsored job look more skilled so that it meets the ‘appropriate skills criteria’; or
- To enable your Sponsor to pay you a lower going rate; or
- To enable you to claim points (tradeable points) under the Skilled Worker Visa category for a job in a shortage occupation;
- To enable you to claim points (Tradeable points) under the Skilled Worker Visa for ‘PHD Qualification’ and the occupation code is not listed as ‘eligible for PHD point’.
In carrying out their assessment the UK Visas and Immigration will consider the following factors:
- The extent to which your Sponsor has demonstrated a ‘genuine need’ for the Sponsored Job;
- The extent to which you have demonstrated that you have the appropriate skills, qualifications and experience needed to carry out the sponsored job;
- Whether the Sponsor has a positive history of compliance with the terms of its Sponsorship Licence and the immigration system in general;
- Any addition information regarding the Sponsor that may be relevant to the application.
Mandatory Points For English Language (10 Points)
You will awarded 10 mandatory points for English Language if you can demonstrate the following:
- You must demonstrate your proficiency in English Language – in reading, writing, speaking and listening – at level B1 (CEFR).
- You must demonstrate that you meet the English language requirements as set out in Appendix English Language. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-english-language
You will be deemed to have satisfied the English Language requirements if you can demonstrate that:
- You are a citizen of a majority English speaking country;
- You have been awarded a degree certificate taught in English;
- You have the required grade in GCSE or A Level at school in the UK;
- You have already provided evidence of meeting the English Language test at Level B1 in a previous application for leave to enter/remain;
Tradeable Points (20 Points)salary
In addition to the 50 mandatory points, to succeed in an application for UK Skilled Worker Visa, you must also be awarded 20 points from one of the categories in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations as set out on the table below:
You must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £25,600 per annum; or
· exceeds the going rate for that occupation code.
If you have a PhD qualification in a subject relevant to the job you are planning to do in the UK, you must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £23,040 per annum; or
· equals or exceeds 90% of the going rate for that occupation code.
If you have a PhD qualification in a STEM subject relevant to the job you are planning to do in the UK, you must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £20,480 per annum; or
· equals or exceeds 80% of the going rate for that occupation code.
If you are applying with a job offer which is in a shortage occupation, you must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £20,480 per annum;
· equals or exceeds 80% of the going rate for that occupation code.
If you are applying as a new entrant to the labour market, you must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £20,480 per annum;
· equals or exceeds 70% of the going rate for that occupation code.
If you are applying with an offer of a job in a listed health or education occupation, you must be paid a salary which:
· equals or exceeds £20,480 per annum; or
· the going rate for that occupation code.
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
One of the main requirements of an application for Skilled Worker Visa is that you must hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to undertake in the UK. Your employer must be authorised by the UK Home Office to Sponsor you for the proposed job under the Skilled Worker category.
The UK Sponsor must also be A-rated in the Home Office’s register of licenced sponsors, unless your last leave was granted as a Skilled Worker and you are applying for leave to continue working for the same employer. The Certificate of Sponsorship submitted in support of your application for a Skilled Worker visa must not have been issued more than 90 days before the date of the submission of your application.
For the Certificate of Sponsorship to be valid, it must have the following details:
- Your full name, employment details, salary level, and PAYE details; and
- Confirmation of the start date of your employment which must not be more than 3 months after the date of application; and
- Confirmation that your Certificate of Sponsorship has not been used in a previous application for leave to enter/remain; and
Confirmation that the Certificate of Sponsorship has not been withdrawn by the Sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office.
In order to succeed in an application for Skilled Worker Visa, the UK Visas and Immigration must be satisfied that there is a ‘genuine vacancy’ for the job you are proposing to take up in the UK and you must have the required level of skills to be able to adequately perform the role for which you have been Sponsored.
If the UK Visas and Immigration find reasonable grounds, having considered your application, that the job for which you are being sponsored does not exist, is a sham or has been created to enable you to apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, then your application will be refused.
Where the UK Visas and Immigration has reasonable grounds to believe that the vacancy for which you are sponsored may not be genuine, your application can be placed on hold by the UKVI pending a compliance visit by the UKVI to the sponsor. If the UK Visas and Immigration has reasons to believe that you are complicit in creating a vacancy for the purposes of a Skilled Worker Visa application, you may be invited for an interview with the UKVI so that they can obtain the necessary information to make a final determination.
What is a job in shortage occupation?
The shortage occupation list (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-shortage-occupation-list) is an official document, maintained by the UK Visas and Immigration, which sets out a list of occupations which UK employers find it difficult or competitive to fill with UK resident employees.
For those jobs that appear on the shortage of occupation list, the UK Visas and Immigration reduces the salary threshold requirements so that it is easier to employ foreign citizens for those jobs.
Who is a ‘new entrant to the labour market’?
A ‘new entrant to the labour market’ is someone who is under the age of 26, has entered the labour market or is at the beginning of their career and is applying for a period of no more than 3 years leave in the UK. New entrants to the labour market includes individuals who are coming to the UK to take up postdoctoral research positions, to complete professional qualifications, or work towards chartered status.
Those who qualify as new entrants will benefit from a reduced level of salary threshold for the purposes of their immigration applications as Skilled Workers.
To qualify for leave to enter/remain as a Skilled Worker, you must meet the financial requirements by showing that you have held funds of at least £1,270 for a 28 days period prior to the date of your application. You claim exemption from the financial requirements if you have an A-rated Sponsor who is willing to cover your maintenance costs for the first month of your employment up to an amount of £1,270 and is able to confirm this in your Certificate of Sponsorship.
You will automatically meet the financial requirements if you can demonstrate that you have been lawfully living in the UK for 12 months prior to the date of your application for a Skilled Worker Visa.
Criminal Record Check
If you are applying for leave to enter the UK (Entry Clearance) and you are being sponsored in an occupation code set out in SW 16 Appendix Skilled Worker https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-skilled-worker you will need to provide a Criminal Record Certificate from any country that you have lived in for the 12 months prior to the date of your application for a Skilled Worker Visa.
If you are unable to provide a Criminal Record Certificate, you be granted an exemption from meeting this requirement if you are able to provide a reasonable explanation as to why it is impractical to provide a Criminal Record Certificate.
Immigration Skills Charge Requirements
To be eligible for leave to enter/remain in the UK as a Skilled Worker, your sponsor must have paid the required level of Immigration Skills Charge.
The Immigration Skills Charge is a fee that a sponsoring employer must pay for ever foreign worker he/she employs and it must be paid in respect of every Certificate of Sponsorship that a sponsor issues.
Duration of Skilled Worker Visa
If you are successful in your application for Skilled Worker Visa, you will be granted leave to enter or remain for a period until 14 days after the expiry of your Certificate of Sponsorship (which may be for a maximum of 5 years after the start date of your Certificate of Sponsorship).
Conditions of stay
If you are granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, your leave will be subject to the following conditions:
- You are only allowed to work in the job you are being sponsored for;
- You are permitted to take up supplementary employment provided that you continue to fulfil the role for which you have been sponsored;
- You are permitted to study (subject to providing an ATAS Certificate as set out in Appendix ATAS);
- You may be required to register with the police in some circumstances.
How our lawyers can help you with your Skilled Worker Visa Application
Our lawyers are specialists in UK immigration law with almost a decade of experience. We have assisted hundreds of Skilled Worker Visa applicants to prepare and submit successful Skilled Worker Visa applications.
Our immigration lawyers can provide you expert advice on meeting the requirements of the Immigration Rules, carry out a detailed assessment of your prospects of qualifying for a Skilled Worker Visa and can assist you with the preparation and submission of your immigration application.
Our lawyers combine creative energy with deep technical legal expertise to uncover innovative, out-of-the-box and unconventional strategies that help you succeed in your application even when you’re facing inherent challenges in meeting the requirements of a Skilled Worker Visa.
We do this by deploying the following:
- Taking a holistic approach to analysing every facet of each case and formulating strategies to comprehensively address every element of the case;
- Bringing deep technical and substantive legal expertise;
- Collaborative strategizing among specialist lawyers, who operate at different levels of seniority, bringing a wealth of technical expertise, tactical know-how and diversity of perspective on your matter;
- Using Design Thinking to reframe the challenges you face with a view to redefining value and opening up the scope of solutions;
- Designing customised strategy to meet your specific challenges.
What this means for you?
If you instruct us to take on your case, our scope of work will comprise of the following:
- Taking detailed instructions to carry out a thorough analysis of your case;
- Assessing your eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa in line with the requirements as set out in the Immigration Rules, the accompanying Policy Documents and the wider case-law jurisprudence;
- Notifying you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case;
- Advising you on strategies, where possible, to remedy the weaknesses in your case and better evidence the strengths of your case;
- Providing you detailed and customised advice on the documents you need to provide in support of your application;
- Reviewing your documents to assess whether they meet the evidential requirements of your application and to advise you if further documents are required;
- Drafting the application form to provide to you for review and, if required, amending the application in line with your observations;
- Preparing a detailed letter of representations to be submitted in support of your application;
- Submitting the application form online and arranging an appointment for the enrolment of your biometrics;
- Responding to any queries from the Home Office regarding your application
- Addressing any queries that you may have regarding your application and any issues arising relating to your immigration status;
- Corresponding with the UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) to ensure a timely decision on your application.