The skilled worker visa is among the first three visas granted to immigrants from the UK.
According to the UK Government Immigration Statistics, 668,979 visas were granted in the year ending March 2021; of all the visas granted within 12 months, 38% were for study, 26% were for a visit, 18% were for work, 6% were for family, and 12% for other reasons.
Per Total Law, the Tier 2 visa, also known as the skilled worker visa, allows you to live and work with an approved employer in the UK.
This visa allows you to stay in the UK for five years.
The Skilled Worker visa applies to employers who hold a sponsorship licence to employ people from overseas to work in the UK in specific jobs.
To get a skilled worker visa, applicants must have a minimum of 70 points on the new points-based system.
1. Eligibility Criteria
The specific eligibility criteria for a skilled work visa depend on your job. Generally, before applying for a skilled worker visa, you must meet the following requirements:
You must have genuine employment in the UK at the appropriate skill level.
The employer who offered the job must hold a sponsorship licence.
Certificate of Sponsorship
You must have been given a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer and other information regarding your role in the job offered in the UK.
The job must be on the eligible occupation list in the UK.
The job offer must have a minimum salary; the amount paid depends on the type of work.
You must have evidence that you can support yourself during your stay in the UK.
Confirmed Job Offer
You must have a confirmed job offer before applying for your visa.
You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English, at least the B1 level set by the common European framework of reference for languages.
Meet Supporting Criteria
You must be able to provide a criminal record and other supporting documents.
2. Skilled Worker Visa Employer Requirements
After applying for the job, the next process is to apply for your visa. However, your employer must meet some criteria that validate your visa eligibility. These include:
- Sponsorship licence
- Certificate of sponsorship
- Immigration skills fee
Your employer must hold a valid sponsorship licence. Plus, also be able to assign you a certificate of sponsorship not more than three months before your visa application date.
Lastly, your employer needs to pay the immigration skills charge to sponsor you. These charges differ, and this depends on the type of organisation.
3. Job Requirements
The job offered must meet specific requirements. A skilled job role must be at least RQF level 3 or equivalent to A-levels.
The skilled worker route job must have an occupation code that your employer must choose for your role, and your skill must be able to meet the job role requirement.
The general salary threshold for a skilled worker visa is 20,480 Euros/annum; hence, the job role must be able to offer a salary equal to or more than this general salary threshold.
4. Point-Based Immigration System for the UK
The skilled worker visa is granted based on a point-based immigration system. The point is based on their level of education and a shortage of occupation roles, and applicants must score at least 70 points to be eligible for this visa.
The main points are:
- 20 points for a job offer from a UK organisation with a sponsorship licence
- 20 points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level
- 10 points for English language proficiency at the B1 level
- 20 points for a job offer with over 25,600 Euros per year
- 10 points if the job offer is in a shortage occupation
- 10 points if you have a Ph.D. related to the job role
- 20 points if you have a Ph.D. in a STEM-related subject relevant to the job role
5. Required Documents
When applying for a skilled worker visa, you must submit some documents for processing. These documents must be in English and depend on your job offer. The required documents are:
- A valid passport and other documents for identification
- Proof of English Language ability, if necessary
- Details of your job title, salary and occupation code
- Name of employer and their sponsorship licence number
- Financial documents like Bank statements
- Proof of relationship with your family if they are travelling with you
- Criminal record certificate
- Tuberculosis test results
- Other supporting documents like school certificates
6. Application Process
The application process for getting a skilled worker visa involves getting a job offer from an eligible organisation from a UKVI-approved employer in the UK. Also, gather all your supporting documents and apply for the skilled worker visa online.
You will also need to submit your biometric information like fingerprints and photos at a visa application centre. Plus, apply for the visa three months before your due date to resume your job.
The Processing time and receiving a decision depends on your location and other factors like submitting wrong documents. For example, if you apply outside the UK, you can expect a response within three weeks and if you apply inside the UK, expect a decision within eight weeks.
7. Skilled Worker Visa Fees
The skilled worker visa fee is 610 Euros for up to 3 years and 1,220 Euros if you apply for more than three years.
An application inside the UK costs 704 Euros for up to 3 years and 1,408 Euros for more than three years.
For shortage occupation roles, the application fee either inside or outside the UK is 464 Euros if applying for up to 3 years and 928 Euros if applying for more than three years.
Getting a skilled worker visa can be very tedious and longwinded. However, the complexities can be simplified with the right guide, and the process is straightforward.
Remember why you’ve applied for the visa – and that you’re one step closer to getting your dream job and moving to the UK.