The Skilled Worker Visa has now replaced the Tier 2 (general) work visa as of 1st December 2020 and went into action from 1st January 2021.
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 Worker Visa are processed by the Home Office.
As the skilled worker visa has entirely replaced the Tier 2 visa we will be discussing the Skilled Worker Visa in this article.
This visa not only qualifies you to work on UK soil but also on their seas.
What are the differences between a Tier 2 Visa and a Skilled Worker Visa?
There are some differences between the Tier 2 work Visa and the Skilled Worker Visa and they are as follows:
- The threshold for skill level has been lowered.
- The threshold for salary has been lowered
- The criteria for new people wishing to enter have been widened.
- The cooling-off period requirement has been removed.
- The threshold of the ILR Salary has been lowered.
- The monthly cap has been removed.
- The Resident Labour Market Test has been abolished.
All of these differences should make it much easier to obtain a skilled worker visa compared to what it was like trying to get a Tier 2 work Visa. The process is simpler and shorter and we hope that our blog can help you to navigate this.
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 job’s 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.
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 send you your sponsorship certificate. 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 Worker 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.
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.
This is one of the things that will qualify your sponsor to be able to sponsor you as well.
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 the following;
- £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.
Your sponsor will also have some fees that they have to pay. Have a look at our article detailing if the company will need to pay anything towards the Sponsor Licence.
Synergy Immigration Solutions
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.
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