The Skilled Worker route has been designed to help UK employers fill a UK vacancy where they have been unable to source a local worker. It is intended for foreign nationals including EU, EEA and Swiss nationals seeking to work in the UK from 1stJanuary 2021.
This route replaces the Tier 2 (General) route. Existing Tier 2 (General) workers can apply for extensions, changes of employment and settlement under the Skilled Worker route.
In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must meet the following requirements:
In order to be eligible under this route, you must score 50 mandatory points (for your sponsorship, job and English language skills) and 20 tradeable points (for salary and other attributes).
Tradable points allow you to “trade” certain characteristics such as your qualifications, against a lower salary for example.
English Language Requirement (20 Points – Not tradeable)
You need to demonstrate your English language ability to at least level B1 CEFR (intermediate).
The English language requirement will be satisfied if you:
Salary Requirements (10 or 20 points depending on salary amount – Tradeable)
Sponsors seeking to employ under the Skilled Worker route must pay a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold (currently £25,600 a year) and the “going rate” for the occupation, whichever is higher.
The “going rate” for the occupation will be set out in the relevant occupation code found on the Home Office website.
Shortage Occupations and Qualifications (10 or 20 points – Tradeable)
Where the salary for a role is lower than the requirements, it may be possible for you to trade characteristics, such as your qualifications, to make up the points required. For example, where the role is on the Shortage Occupation List, or if you hold a PhD level qualification or a STEM PhD.
Genuine Vacancy Requirement
The Home Office will assess whether you are being sponsored to undertake a genuine vacancy and whether you can carry out the role for which the Certificate of Sponsorship has been assigned. Employers may be required to provide additional information or evidence to prove the role meets the above requirements.
The Home Office may consider that a vacancy is not genuine where:
The Home Office must be satisfied that you are not being hired by a third party who is not the sponsor, in order to fill a temporary or permanent position or for contract work to undertake an ongoing routine role or to provide an ongoing routine service for any nature of length.
If there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job you are being sponsored to do does not exist, is a sham or has been created mainly so that you can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, the application will be refused.
You will need to demonstrate that you have held minimum cash funds of £1,270 for at least 28 consecutive days ending not more than 31 days before the date of your application. An exemption to this requirement will apply if your employer is an “A-rated Sponsor” who certifies that they will, maintain and accommodate you up to the end of the first month of your employment, to an amount of at least £1,270.
If you have been in the UK for 12 months at the date of your application (for example if you are switching into the category) you will not be required to meet this requirement.
DURATION OF VISA
If your initial application is successful, you will be granted leave to enter for a maximum of 5 years. If you are granted less than 5 years, you will need to apply to extend or update your visa prior to expiry or if you change jobs or employer. After 5 years in the UK, Skilled Workers can apply for settlement, also known as indefinite leave to remain, if those criteria are met.
SETTLEMENT AS A SKILLED WORKER
To apply for Settlement under this category, you will need to demonstrate the following:
HOW WE CAN HELP
The exact requirements and documents required for each application will vary depending on your circumstances.
Our experienced lawyers can help you and any dependants to:
We will assist by:
DESCARTES SOLICITORS is recognised as one of the leading multi-practice firms in the UK. Our specialist immigration team will advise, prepare and submit high-quality visa applications for applicants and their dependent family members. Contact our lawyers on 0208 995 3556 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LINK TO UKVI GUIDANCE