Skilled Worker Route

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 for foreign nationals include the EU, EEA and Swiss nationals from 1st January 2021.

Call 0208 995 3556 to speak to one of our advisors

Skilled Worker Route

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 for foreign nationals include the EU, EEA and Swiss nationals from 1st January 2021.

Call 0208 995 3556 to speak to one of our advisors

Skilled Worker Route

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 for foreign nationals include the EU, EEA and Swiss nationals from 1stJanuary 2021.


To meet the eligibility criteria Applicants must show that they satisfy the following requirements:

  • Aged 18 or over;
  • Have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job the Applicant is intending to carry out;
  • The job offer is for a genuine vacancy;
  • The Home Office approved Sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge;
  • The job is at an appropriate skill level;
  • Have passed an approved English language test to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
  • The salary paid will equal or exceed both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation;
  • Has enough money to support themselves without relying on public funds;

Through the requirements above, the Applicant must gain a total of 70 points. Applicant will be able to “trade” certain characteristics such as their qualifications, against a lower salary for example.

Offer of Job by Approved Sponsor Requirement (20 Points – Not tradeable)

As part of the requirements, an Applicant must have a job offer from a UK employer. This is evidenced through a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they are planning to do, issued by an employer that is authorised by the Home Office to sponsor the job in question. The Sponsor must be listed as A-rated on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors for initial applications.

The Certificate of Sponsorship must not have been issued more than 3 months before the date of the Skilled Worker application and will need to include certain mandatory information.

Appropriate Skill Level Requirement (20 Points – Not tradeable)

Applicants applying under the Skilled Worker Category must be offered a role with a skill level of being equivalent to A level (RQF 3).

This means that the skills and duties related to the role are at this level, not that the candidate who fills the vacancy necessarily needs to hold A levels.

The Home Office sets out eligible jobs, along with their skills levels, in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules.  Each eligible job has an occupation code.  The Applicant be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code listed in the Appendix.

English Language Requirement (20 Points – Not tradeable)

An Applicant will need demonstrate English language ability on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to at least level B1 (intermediate).

The English language requirement will be satisfied if the Applicant:

  • Is a national of a majority English-speaking country;
  • Has passed a Secure English Language Test;
  • Has been awarded a degree taught in English;
  • Obtained a GCSE/A Level or Scottish Highers in English while at school in the UK;

Salary Requirements (10 or 20 points depending on salary amount – Tradeable)

Employers sponsoring an Applicant as a Skilled Worker must pay a salary which equals or exceeds both the general salary threshold (currently £25,600 a year) and the “going rate” for the occupation, which is higher.

The “going rate” for the occupation will beset out 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 the candidate to trade characteristics, such as their qualifications, to make up the 70 points required. For example, if the role is on the Shortage Occupation List, or if the individuals holds a PhD level qualification or a STEM PhD.

Genuine Vacancy Requirement

The Home Office will carry out an assessment as to whether the Applicant is being sponsored to undertake a genuine vacancy and 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 a vacancy to be not genuine if:

  • The job description has been exaggerated to deliberately meet the requirements of the category when in reality it does not
  • The job does not exist but has been created to enable the Applicant to come to, or stay in, the UK
  • The duties of the role are inappropriate for the job on offer or have been tailored to exclude resident workers from being recruited

They will also want to be satisfied that the Applicant will not be hired by a third party who is not the sponsor 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 the Applicant is being sponsored to do does not exist, is a sham or has been created mainly so that they can apply for a Skilled Worker Visa the application will be refused.

Maintenance Requirement

Applicant’s will usually need to demonstrate that they have held cash funds of at least £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 the Applicant has an “A-rated Sponsor” willing to meet their maintenance costs. This will need to be confirmed in their Certificate of Sponsorship.

If an Applicant has been in the UK for 12 months at the date of their application (for example if they are switching into the category) they will not be required to meet this requirement.


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 when it expires 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.


To apply for Settlement under this category, an Applicant will need to demonstrate the following:

  • They have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK;
  • The 5-year continuous period consisted of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes: Skilled Worker, Global talent,  Innovator, Tier 2 Minister of Religion, Tier 2 Sportsperson, Representative of an Overseas Business or as a Tier 1 Migrant (other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant);
  • They have not spent more than 180 days outside of the UK during each year of the 5-year continuous period;
  • They have passed the Life in the UK test (unless aged 65 or over);
  • Their sponsor is still a Home Office approved sponsor;
  • Their sponsor still requires them to work for them for the foreseeable future;
  • They are being, and will be paid for the foreseeable future, at least the general salary threshold or the going rate requirement, whichever is higher.


The exact requirements and documents required for each application will vary depending on each applicant’s circumstances.

Our experienced lawyers can help applicants, family members or dependants to:

  • Make an initial application under the overseas business representative category
  • Prepare a detailed and thorough business plan including financial forecast
  • Prepare you for interview
  • Make an extension application
  • Make a settlement application; or
  • Challenge decisions by way of Administrative Review or other appeal processes

We will assist by:

  • obtaining the complete facts of a case
  • collecting relevant documents
  • advising the best solutions
  • using our expertise to undertake one-to-one interview preparation
  • preparing the application (including completion of forms)
  • preparing covering submissions
  • submitting the application(s) to the relevant authority
  • communicating with the relevant authority until a decision is made
  • advising about rights and entitlements following a decision an application
  • providing follow up support and services

Contact Us

DESCARTES SOLICITORS is recognised as one of the leading multi-practice firms in the UK. Our specialist lawyers can be contacted on 0208 995 3556 / 0844 556 9901 or e-mail


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