Applying for a visa can be an exciting but unnerving time for any applicant hoping to travel or relocate. The process can be complicated, and an incomplete application will result in a declined visa proposal.
There are a set of criteria that an applicant must meet to obtain a skilled work visa, which can leave potentially talented overseas workers scratching their heads, wondering if they fit the mould. One of the questions applicants regularly ask is whether they need a degree for a skilled worker visa, what the requirements are and what documentation is required.
In this article, we discuss the skilled worker visa, whether or not you need a degree and other criteria you will need to meet to be successful. We also introduce ourselves at Synergy Immigration Solutions, as we’re here to help and give you the best chances of obtaining a UK visa.
Synergy Immigration Solutions
Synergy Immigration Solutions are here to help. We offer various UK visa immigration services for corporate and individual clients.
We help small to medium-sized businesses obtain sponsorship licences to enable them to recruit overseas talent. We also provide extensive support for individuals applying for visas, including skilled worker visas.
We understand the importance of seeking reliable help and professional services regarding immigration, and our trained professionals will take the time to understand your needs to provide you with the best possible outcome.
Contact us for help and support with your skilled worker visa, and someone from our friendly team will gladly assist you.
What is meant by a skilled worker visa?
But first, what is a skilled worker visa? A skilled worker visa is a legal document enabling qualifying individuals from overseas to come to the UK for an eligible job with an approved employer. It is the main immigration route into the UK for non-UK workers.
Not every employer and every job qualifies an applicant for a skilled worker visa in the UK; the employer must have a sponsorship licence to provide a job offer to a non-UK worker for a skilled worker visa.
Some things must be in place before your application and visa approval are accepted. For example, you must already have a job offer from an approved employer for a job on the list of eligible occupations.
What are the requirements to meet the skilled worker criteria?
So, what are the requirements? To qualify for a skilled worker visa, you must:
- Have a job offer from a UK employer approved by the home office.
- Have a certificate of sponsorship from your approved employer with information about the role you will be doing in the UK.
- The job offer must be on the eligible occupations list.
- Prove you can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
- Be paid a minimum salary, which will vary depending on your work type.
- Have the right level of skill and experience for the job you have been offered.
Is a degree necessary for a skilled worker visa?
So, as you can see, you do not necessarily need a degree for a skilled worker visa; however, it depends on the job you are applying for and the experience and qualifications required to get an offer from an eligible employer.
If the job you will be doing in the UK requires a degree, then yes, you will need a degree to be offered it, but if the work you do doesn’t require a degree, then no, you don’t need a degree.
Do I still need sponsorship from an employer if I meet the skilled worker criteria?
Yes, even if you meet the criteria of a skilled worker, you still need a job offer from an approved employer as part of your visa application.
Your proposed employer will provide you with a sponsorship licence reference number. Without this, your application for a skilled worker visa will be rejected.
Minimum Salary Requirement
Alongside a job offer from an approved employer, you will need to meet the minimum salary requirement by doing a job from the skilled worker list.
The skilled worker visa has a minimum salary requirement of £26,200 which is applicable unless the occupational code assigned has a higher going rate. The salary total must be calculated by the hour, with the minimum rate being £10.75 per hour. This ensures that all jobs being recruited using the UK shortage occupation list offer fair remuneration, allowing the employee to live successfully in the UK.
You must always be paid the going rate for the role you are offered, even if it is more than the minimum requirement for the visa.
Is the skilled worker visa the same as the tier 2 visa?
The skilled worker visa has replaced the tier 2 visa as of 1st December 2022, introduced in line with the UK leaving the EU and countrywide measures in place following the pandemic.
The new requirements are designed to improve employment levels in industries that require additional support, therefore, easier for a potential skilled worker to access the UK work system.
What documents do I need to apply for a skilled worker visa?
When you apply, you’ll need to provide the following:
- your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this
- proof of your knowledge of English
- a valid passport or other documents that shows your identity and nationality
- your job title and annual salary
- your job’s occupation code
- Your employer’s name and sponsor licence number will be on your certificate of sponsorship.
How to prove English proficiency
There are several ways to prove your knowledge of English besides a secure English language test. If you have a GCSE, A-level or any equivalent qualification on the same level or higher studied in English, it can be used as English language proficiency proof.
A UK Bachelor’s or Master’s degree and PhD can be used to prove a good level of English also, as long as it was studied in English. If you have a qualification from abroad, you must prove it was studied in English to use it as proof of English language proficiency.
Do I need IELTS?
Many people applying for the skilled worker visa ask, ‘Do I need IELTS for a skilled worker visa?’ The IELTS is an international standardised test that measures fluency in the English language, so this is one way to prove English proficiency for a skilled worker visa.
You can also take another approved secure English language test (SELTS) as part of your application. To conclude, you don’t need IELTS for a skilled worker visa but an alternative language test to prove you are proficient.
What IELTS score is needed for a skilled worker visa? If you decide to use the IELTS to prove you’re proficient in English, you must achieve a minimum of B1 to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
What is considered skilled work?
A skilled worker is an umbrella term for a wide range of eligible UK jobs. Skilled jobs require highly trained, experienced or qualified people to do them effectively, and UK employers often seek overseas employees to diversify their workforce.
The UK government can add jobs to the list and take them away. They are added to the list if there is a need for more people to fill the positions in the UK.
Examples listed on the skilled worker job list
- Chief executives and senior officials
- Product managers and directors in many fields, such as manufacturing, construction, energy and health
- Senior officers in fire, ambulance, prison and related services
- Barristers, judges and solicitors
- IT technicians and support
- Artists, authors, dancers, entertainers, musicians and other art and media professions
- Business and marketing professionals
- Gardeners, landscapers, groundsmen and greenkeepers.
For the complete list of skilled workers, see skilled workers visa-eligible occupations.
What Is the points-based immigration system?
The UK immigration procedure works on a points system. A total of 70 points is required, and attributes such as English language proficiency, qualifications, age and financial stability all count towards your points.
- Salary offered either gains 0, 10 or 20 points, depending on the amount. A job offer from an approved employer equates to 20 points.
- A proposal from a job at the appropriate skill level equates to 20 points.
- Qualifications such as a PhD could equal 10 additional points and 20 in a STEM subject.
- English language proficiency awards 10 points.
So, do you need a degree for a skilled worker visa? Not necessarily no, but you need a job offer from an approved employer, which may require a degree, depending on the work. You do not need a degree for the visa itself as long as you meet the other criteria.
For professional help and support with your application, contact Synergy Immigration Services.