UK Skilled Worker visa allows applicants to work in the UK with an employer who is on the Home Office’s Sponsor Licence Register. The Skilled worker visa (previously Tier 2 General) is a settlement category visa. There are significant changes in the skilled worker visa including:

  • Removing the annual cap that was in place for Tier 2 General visas
  • No requirement for Resident Labour Market Test (though there is a genuine vacancy requirement)
  • Lower salary threshold

What is the eligibility for skilled worker visa?

To apply for skilled worker visa, the applicant must:

  • have a job offer from a UK employer who is approved as a sponsor – the complete list of approved UK employers
  • have a Certificate of Sponsorship containing information about the job
  • be getting the minimum salary for that particular role – it is the highest of the following:
    • £25,600 per year
    • £10.10 per hour
    • the ‘going rate’ for job
  • be working in job that is on the list of occupations eligible for Skilled Worker Visa – applicants can search for their jobs in the ONS occupation coding tool

What is the English language requirement for skilled worker visa?

Applicants will usually need to prove their knowledge of the English language when they apply for UK skilled worker visa (unless they met this in a previous successful visa application).
Applicants must prove they can read, write, speak and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
The English language requirement can be met by:

  • passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
  • having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that the applicant began under 18
  • having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English – if studied abroad, applicants will need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that their qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD

What is the maintenance funds requirement for skilled worker visa?

Applicants must have at least £1,270 in their bank account to show they can support themselves in the UK. The money has to be available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

Additional funds would be needed to prove they can support their partner and children while they’re in the UK.

The applicants employer can also certify maintenance for the applicant and their family members.

How long is skilled worker visa valid for?

Skilled worker visa can last for up to 5 years. They will need to apply to extend or update the visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

After 5 years, applicants may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). This gives them the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.

What is the processing time for skilled worker visa?

Applicants can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK. This date is listed on your certificate of sponsorship.
Applicants can usually get a decision on your visa within:

  • 3 weeks, if applying outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if applying within the UK

There are also options to pay for priority processing.

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