Why are there delays for skilled worker visa applications?

skilled worker visa applications

Whether you are in the process of applying for a skilled worker visa application or are just interested to know more about how it all works, you are likely aware of the delays being experienced currently. Despite the UK shortage occupation list offering a clear view of what type of employment will likely lead to a successful application, the process is still subject to delays. 

Skilled worker visas are more important than ever before as the UK is experiencing a continued period of excessive job vacancies. In fact, as of May 2022, there were more than 1.3 million positions that employers were desperately trying to fill. With this in mind, it is clear that the priority behind approving these visas is not at fault, but what is then causing the delays? Continue reading to find out more and how support from Synergy Immigration Solutions can help get your application across the line quicker. 

What are the reasons for delays being experienced for skilled worker visa applications?

The main situation that the Home Office is dealing with at present is the Homes for Ukraine visa influx. As a result of the current war, the UK has opened visa applications for anyone who meets the following criteria:

To apply to the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme you must be Ukrainian, or the immediate family member of a Ukrainian national who has been granted permission under, or is applying to and qualifies for, the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

You must also:

  • have been residing in Ukraine on or immediately before 1 January 2022 (including those who have now left Ukraine)
  • be outside of the UK
  • have an eligible UK-based sponsor, or you can choose the Scottish or Welsh Government as your sponsor

The scheme has received more than 213,000 Ukraine visa applications in just a few months, which does mean that standard applications are being given a longer lead time. The pace at which the Home Office are getting through the applications can be represented by the fact that as of August 2022, 115,000 Ukraine scheme visa holders had already made it to the UK

An additional reason for this which is a side effect of the Ukraine scheme is that the UK visa priority service was suspended back in March 2022. This affects all visa applications made outside of the UK across study, work, and family applications. Due to the large-scale humanitarian crisis, all efforts and resources have been applied to the Ukraine scheme, which means that all other applications are subject to the exact waiting times. 

Whilst we appreciate that this can be frustrating, it echoes the importance that we place on planning for your skilled worker application ahead of time. As this is also an issue being experienced across the board, this delay should not influence the job offer that you currently have. Many UK companies are aware of these delays as they also mimic other setbacks being experienced by the country due to pressure on resources. 

How long on average are skilled worker visa applications taking?

The published standard waiting time for skilled worker visas that are applied for outside of the UK is eight weeks. This time includes all processing and interview that needs to be managed directly by the applicant for a third-party company if you decide to bring in professional support. The speed at which companies are seeing applications come back as of September 2022 ranges from the expected maximum lead time of 8 weeks to 14 weeks in the worst cases. 

The government has not released any official guidance or information about the increase, which is understandably frustrating. Instead, their latest guidelines just confirmed that applying with all the expected information is the best way to ensure an application is dealt with quickly. 

How should I manage my skilled worker visa application when delays are expected?

As we have mentioned, priority applications are currently unavailable, so you rely on the government processing times to receive a decision. We advise that it is, therefore, more important than ever for applicants to manage their visa requests in a professional and organised manner otherwise, the wait times could be much longer.

If you are applying for a skilled worker visa application in 2022, we recommend that you factor in each of the below points:

Communicate efficiently with your sponsor or job offer to ensure they are aware of the delays. Employers across the UK will be mindful of the current pressure that the Home Office is under. You will also be at an advantage as employers will be willing to wait longer for the right person due to a lack of home-based talent. It is, therefore, essential that you set realistic expectations for when you are likely to be able to start to ensure that your potential employer is willing to wait for your application to be approved. The last thing you want to have to deal with is the need to start your process again from scratch with a new employer because your job has fallen through. 

Ensure your application is fully compliant before you submit it. To apply for a skilled worker visa application, you will need:

  • 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
  • the name of your employer and their sponsor licence number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship

These are the pieces of information needed as the minimum to start your application. Without these, you will not likely pass the application process. You would usually be made aware of a failed application in a few weeks, but due to the delays, this could be months. This would mean you would have been waiting around unnecessarily when you could have just ensured your information was all-inclusive from the outset. Our guidance for skilled worker visa applications also includes the other various pieces of information you will need to provide and the criteria you will need to meet to succeed.

Only apply for jobs that are on the UK shortage occupation listThe government has approved these vacancies as being the ones that will add the most value to the UK economy. Whilst other working requests may be approved, applying for a skilled visa is your best chance. It would help if you also did your research in the sector you are skilled in to understand where the vacancies lie on a regional basis. This will improve your chance of securing a job and, in turn, being able to start the process. 

Use a professional application company, such as our own. Applying for a visa can be complex and time-heavy, so your best chance of speeding up the process is to use a professional service to support you. At Synergy Immigration Solutions, we can bring all of the various services that you could possibly need help from under one roof. This means one cost for complete support. 

Not only do we benefit from being kept up to date with the latest government guidance, but we can also ensure your application is likely to be approved. If you look online, you will see that there is no shortage of support and personal accounts for skilled worker visa applications, but this can mean you risk interacting with incorrect information. By using our service, we GUARANTEE that you will only be provided with information that is accurate and relevant. We also help you streamline spending; as professionals in-house don’t handle the support that we provide, you will end up paying multiple different bills. 

Start the process for application at your earliest opportunity. Timing is everything, especially at the moment. By ensuring you are considering all these stages and applying at your earliest opportunity, you stand the best chance of receiving an answer promptly. Whilst the main delay is currently due to the Ukraine scheme, the last few years have shown us the UK is just one of many countries dealing with adding pressure and a lack of resources. The times are guaranteed, so we always recommend starting to understand what is needed for an application as soon as possible.

Do you feel more confident about your skilled worker visa application?

The delays are frustrating for everyone, with companies screaming out for help and employees ready on the blocks to get going. Whilst ensuring you are taking guidance from the UK Shortage Occupation List is a brilliant way to enhance the chance of success for your application, it is more important than ever before to ensure you have a professional application.

The delays are out of control, but we can promise that when you apply for your skilled worker visa through us, we will provide you with first-class support that gives you the best hopes of success. Call us on 020 315 053598, email info@synergy-immigration.com, or fill out our online form to find out more. 

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