What is a Skilled Worker Visa?
The skilled worker visa has now replaced the Tier 2 (general) work visa.
A skilled worker visa is the main way for a non-UK worker to get a working visa in the UK.
To apply for a skilled worker visa you must already have applied for and have confirmed employment for when you arrive in the UK.
The visa is only applicable for the time you are in the UK working in the same role with the same employer as the sponsor.
ALL applications for a skilled work visa are processed by the Home Office.
What Qualifies You for a Skilled Worker Visa?
To be eligible for a skilled worker visa the following must apply;
- Knowledge of English – you must be able to speak, read and write English, which you will usually be asked to prove. Your English should be at level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
- Work for an employer that has been approved by the Home Office.
- Have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ – this will be given to you by your employer and should entail what job role you have been offered in the UK.
- The job must be on the list of eligible occupations.
- Paid at least minimum wage- this also depends on the job role. The minimum can also be based on the minimum ‘going rate’ for your specific job role in the UK.
Check if Your Job is Eligible
Checking to see if your job is eligible is not too difficult. You can go to the gov.uk site and look at the table of eligible jobs.
There is a quicker and easier way to do this though.
Look Up Your Jobs Occupation Code
Finding out if your job is eligible is much easier with the four-digit code that is assigned to different job roles. This should make navigating the table of eligible jobs much simpler.
If you do not know what code matches your job role you can look it up using the ONS occupation coding tool.
On the ONS occupation coding tool, not every single job role is included. If you cannot find your role try looking up something similar.
Do double-check that the job description accurately describes your job role as there are discrepancies. For example; chefs are eligible for a skilled work visa, but cooks are not.
Once you have obtained your four-digit number you can access the table of eligible jobs to see if yours is included there.
This should make your life much easier as the table is vast. You may be lucky and your browser may support you in looking up your individual number. If you are not so lucky the table starts with the smallest numbers at the top and you will have to scroll to find yours. Still having the code will make this much easier.
Approved UK Employers
The job offer you hold has to be from an approved UK employer. This employer is also known as your sponsor because they, as your employer, will be the one sponsoring you to come and work and stay in the UK.
Your employer does not have to be currently approved. They can become approved by applying for a sponsor licence if they are eligible.
The sponsor licence does cost, and it costs more for medium to large businesses than small ones. Small businesses would only have to pay £536 for a sponsor licence, whereas medium to large businesses pays more than double this at £1476. Charities also pay the lower fee of £536. There are other factors that come into the pricing however that can slightly change it.
The sponsor licence usually takes around eight weeks to be processed.
If You Work in Healthcare or Education?
You should look into and consider the health and care worker visa instead as this is much less expensive to apply for and you do not have to pay the annual health surcharge.
How Long Will it Take to Get a Skilled Worker Visa?
Once your employer is an officially licenced sponsor, and therefore an approved UK employer, they should then send you your certificate of sponsorship. You have three months from the date on your sponsorship certificate to apply for your skilled worker visa.
Obviously, during this process, you will need to provide all your documentation and prove your identity. Sometimes an appointment is needed for this, in which case you will be informed when you start your application process and will be given a little extra time.
Once you have waded through all of this the wait time is different depending on where you are;
- Outside the UK – 3 weeks.
- Inside the UK – 8 weeks.
Can You Bring Your Family with You on a Skilled Worker Visa?
You can absolutely bring your family with you on a skilled work visa as ‘dependents’. Your partner and/or children must be eligible to accompany you.
They, as well as you, must;
- Pay the application fee.
- Pay the healthcare surcharge annually.
- Prove that they have enough savings.
How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor a Skilled Worker Visa?
When you apply for a sponsor licence how much it will cost you depends on a couple of things. First, the type of sponsor licence you are getting and second, your business size. Note that the pricing for small organisations is the same for charities.
Whether a worker or a temporary worker the fee for small businesses and charities is £536. If you are adding a worker licence to an existing temporary worker licence (or the other way around) there is no fee.
For medium and larger sponsors it becomes a little more complex. If it is for a worker/ worker and temporary worker licence it will cost £1,476, whereas for simply a temporary worker licence it costs £536.
Also for larger organisations adding a worker licence to an existing temporary worker licence would cost you £940. However, adding a temporary worker licence to an existing worker licence does not cost a penny.
Type of Sponsor Licence
Fee for small or charitable sponsors
Fee for medium or large sponsors
Worker and Temporary Worker
Add a Worker Licence to an existing Temporary Worker Licence
Add a Temporary Worker Licence to an existing Worker Licence
What is the Minimum Salary for a Skilled Worker Visa?
Salary requirements are an important part of a skilled worker visa. If your salary is too low your application could get rejected. The lowest salary will be worked out to be equivalent to whichever is higher;
- £25,600 annual salary
- £10.10 hourly wage
- the ‘going rate’ for the job role you will have.
For example, if the going rate of your job is usually £29,000 but you are going to be making £27,500, your application will be rejected. You would be failing to meet the requirement for the skilled worker visa.
How Much Money Do You Need for a Skilled Worker Visa?
The first cost you will be faced with when getting a skilled worker visa will be the application fee. This usually costs between £625 and £1,423 depending on your circumstances.
In some circumstances, they will want to know that you have enough money to initially support yourself on entering the country. You should be able to show you have at least £1,270 unless you are exempt. This could be as simple as showing a bank statement.
On top of this, there will be more to pay if you have dependents. This comes down to;
- £285 for your partner.
- £315 for one child.
- £200 for each child after the first.
The next charge you will face will be the annual health surcharge which usually costs around £624 per year.
There are less expensive ways to get a skilled worker visa. There are certain jobs in the UK at the moment that are facing a shortage and if your job happens to be on the ‘shortage occupations’ list you will be in luck.
These fees are the same whether you are inside or outside the UK.
If you are lucky enough to find your job role on the list you will only pay;
- £479 for staying up to 3 years.
- £943 for staying more than 3 years.
We highly recommend that you choose to use a specialist such as Synergy Immigration Solutions to help manage this process for you and make your life easier.
Click here to contact Synergy Immigration Solutions and submit your query.
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