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What is a Skilled Worker visa?

A Skilled Worker visa enables you to enter or remain in the UK to work in an eligible job with an approved UK employer.

A Skilled Worker visa is the primary method of economic migration to the UK.

This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

What are the requirements to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?

  1. You must work for or have a confirmed job offer from an approved UK employer.
  2. You must have a certificate of sponsorship from this employer.
  3. It must be an eligible job. Click here for a list of eligible occupations.
  4. You must be paid the relevant minimum salary (with this minimum salary threshold depending on the type of job and your circumstances).
  5. You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You may be required to prove this knowledge of English depending on your country of origin and academic qualifications.

How long can I stay?

A Skilled Worker visa can last up to 5 years before needing to be extended.

Please note that that this visa will need to be extended or updated if (i) you change jobs or employer or (ii) it expires.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

How long does a Skilled Worker application take?

You can apply for a Skilled Worker visa up to 3 months before the day you start working in the UK. The decision should take about 3 weeks if you are outside the UK.

Please note that the decision should take about 8 weeks if you are inside the UK.

What can you do on a Skilled Worker visa?

On a Skilled Worker visa, you are entitled to work in an eligible job.

You are also able to study and to do voluntary work.

In some circumstances, you may be able to bring your partner and children to the UK as dependants. You may be able to take on additional work should this work meet the relevant guidelines.

What can you not do on a Skilled Worker visa?

You cannot change jobs or your employer without updating your visa.

You also cannot apply for most public funds or the State Pension.

What is a sponsor licence?

A sponsor licence is permission to employ someone to work for you from outside the UK.

Approved UK employers can be known as sponsors, as they are able to ‘sponsor’ an individual to come to or remain in the UK.

Who needs to be sponsored?

An employer will need to sponsor any overseas worker who they wish to employ if they are not “settled workers” or do not have an appropriate immigration permission to work in the UK.

Who are settled workers?

A settled worker is a:

  1. British citizen
  2. Irish citizen
  3. EU citizen who has permission to remain under the EUSS
  4. Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode in the UK or Commonwealth citizens with UK ancestry visas.

You also do not need permission to work if a person has immigration permission to be in the UK that does not prevent them from working such as a spouse.

A person with permission to be a student may be allowed to work for 10 or 20 hours per week during term time depending on the type of course they are following.

How do I apply for a sponsorship licence?

You need to make an application using the correct application form. Please pay careful attention to Appendix A the supporting documents for sponsor licence applications. This appendix is to be used for all sponsor licence applications made or decided after 11th October 2021. The Appendix informs you which documents you need.

What are the different types of licence?

The suitable type of sponsorship licence depends on the role you would like your workers to fill.

  1. A ‘Worker Licence’ is suitable if your workers are in skilled or long-term employment. The worker licence is split into licences for (i) skilled workers, (ii) senior or specialist workers, (iii) ministers of religion and (iv) international sportspersons.
  2. Temporary worker licence – for certain types of temporary employment.

How do I know if the job is suitable for sponsorship?

As a sponsor you can sponsor a worker if the job, they are going to be doing has a suitable rate of pay and skill level and meets the other criteria needed for the visa.

Please note that there are different rules may apply for those in (i) the health care or education sector and (ii) the shortage occupation list.

What if I want to employ a person in the healthcare or education sector?

There are different salary rules for some healthcare or education jobs. The salary must be at least £20,960 or more if the job’s going rate is higher.

Here is a list of healthcare and education jobs eligible for a Skilled Worker visa.

What if the job is on the shortage occupation list?

If the job is on the shortage occupation list, you can be paid 80% of the job’s usual going rate and quality for a Skilled Worker visa.

What is an immigration skills charge?

You may need to pay an immigration skills charge when assigning a certificate or sponsorship to someone applying for a Skilled Worker visa.

You must pay the immigration skills charge for those applying from inside the UK for any length of time.

You must pay the immigration skills charge for those applying from outside the UK to work in the UK for 6 months or more.

(Please note you may also have to pay an immigration skills charge when assigning a certificate of sponsorship to someone applying for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa).

Sponsoring certain occupation codes does not require you to pay an immigration skills charge.

Does one need to pass an English test?

An applicant must prove that they can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for English Language.

This can be proven by (i) passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider or (ii) if you have sufficient academic qualifications taught in English.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to apply for a Skilled Worker visa please contact Danielle on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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