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UK Skilled Worker Visas - Work in the UK

The Skilled Worker visa allows you to become a resident of the United Kingdom or permits you to work with an employer who has been approved to offer you a job. 

Work in the United Kingdom

UK Work Permit - Requirements and Application Guide

For non-UK residents seeking to work in the UK, the Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa. This site provides applicants with an understanding of the eligibility criteria and application process for the Skilled Worker visa to avoid delays or issues with the UK Home Office.

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UK work visa overview

You can do the following with a Skilled Worker visa:

  • Get a job you are qualified for
  • Study
  • If your partner and children are eligible, you can bring them along as your 'dependants'.
  • Under certain circumstances, take on additional work
  • Work as a volunteer
  • Return to the UK after travelling abroad
  • If you've lived in the UK for five (5) years and meet the other eligibility requirements, you can apply for permanent residency in the UK (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain').

Depending on your visa type, you may be able to stay for up to five years in the UK before you extend your visa. When your visa expires or if you change jobs or employers, you'll need to apply to extend or update your visa. Providing you meet the eligibility requirements. You can extend your visa as many times as you like.

Once you have lived in the UK for five (5) years, you can apply for permanent residence (also known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). The permanent residency gives you the right to live, work, and study in the country indefinitely. If you qualify for benefits, you'll also be able to apply for them.

Our business immigration advisors have worked with businesses and workers in a wide range of fields and sizes.
To start on time and advance in a way that is consistent with your immigration goals, our attorneys can assist you in making the necessary preparations.

UK work visa eligibility

A Skilled Worker visa requires the following qualifications:

  • Work for a UK-based company approved as an employer by the UK Home Office
  • A ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer detailing the role you have secured in the United Kingdom
  • Make sure that you work in an occupation that exists on the list of eligible occupations
  • The type of work you’ll be doing will at least pay you the minimum wage
  • The specific eligibility requirements vary by job.
  • Knowledge of English-The ability to speak, read, write, and understand English is required. In most cases, you must prove your English knowledge when applying.

Documents you will need to apply

You will need to provide the following information when applying:

  • The reference number for your sponsorship certificate – you will receive it from your employer
  • Proof of your English proficiency
  • A passport or other document proving your nationality and identity-Your passport must have a blank page for your visa if you are:
    • From outside the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein
    • Having a biometric passport that does not contain a chip but from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein
  • The title of your job and the salary you earn annually
  • The occupation code for your job
  • Your employer’s name and sponsor license number – you’ll find it on your sponsorship certificate.
  • If you do not have a certificate of sponsorship, ask your employer for one.
  • Other documents you might need
  • It may be necessary for you to provide the following information depending on your circumstances:
  • Proof of your savings to support yourself in the UK, such as bank statements (unless your sponsorship certificate indicates your employer can provide support)
  • If you are applying with your partner or children, you must provide proof of your relationship
  • The results of your tuberculosis test if you are from a listed country
  • A criminal record certificate – if you work in certain professions
  • If your job involves research on a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher, you may need an ATAS certificate
  • If your qualifications are from outside the UK, you’ll need to apply through ECCTIS using your ECCTIS reference number (formerly UK NARIC reference number).
  • You will also need to provide a certified translation if your documents are not in English or Welsh.

A criminal record certificate is required if you are applying from outside the UK and working in the following:

Teachers, education advisers, school inspectors, childminders, and teaching assistants.

Healthcare professionals: nurses, doctors, paramedics, managers, pharmacists, dentists and dental nurses, and ophthalmic opticians. 

Therapists, such as psychologists, speech therapists, and counsellors.

In the field of social services, social workers, managers, probation officers, welfare officers, and housing officers

Before applying for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have a job offer from an approved UK employer. Employers who sponsor your immigration to the UK are also known as sponsors.

If you already have a job offer from an approved employer, You will be checked for eligibility by your employer, also known as your sponsor. As proof, they will give you a ‘certificate of sponsorship’.

After receiving your sponsorship certificate, you must apply for your visa within three months.

You will need a certificate from any country you have stayed in for 12 months or more since you turned 18 if you are under 28 years old.

Knowledge of English

In most cases, you’ll have to prove your proficiency in English when you apply unless you did so in a previous successful visa application.

You must prove proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English at least at level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Here are some ways to demonstrate your English proficiency:

Taking a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider

Studying at a UK school when you were under 18 and achieving GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English

Degree-level academic qualifications taught in English – you’ll need to apply through ECCTIS (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that your Academic qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD.

You do not need to provide proof of your English proficiency if you have already passed an English Language assessment accepted by your regulated professional body if you are a doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife, or veterinarian.

Veterinarians may need to pass an English Language assessment with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. 

What you may have to pay

Depending on the length of your stay, you will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge.

The minimum amount you need to show that you can support yourself in the UK is £1,270.
The money will need to be available to you for at least 28 consecutive days for you to qualify for the Skilled visa application. The 28th day must occur within 31 days of the visa application. It is usually required that you show proof of this money to support yourself when you apply unless either:

You’ve been in the UK for at least 12 months with a valid visa
During your first month in the UK, your employer can cover up to £1,270 of your costs. You may also be able to receive support from your employer throughout your stay in the UK- this must be confirmed in your sponsorship certificate. Your employer must complete the ‘sponsor certifies maintenance’ section on your certificate.  

Depending on the length of your stay, you will also have to pay a healthcare surcharge.

How to apply

The application process depends on whether you are:

  • Travelling to the UK from outside the UK
  • Extending your current visa inside the UK
  • Switching from another visa inside the UK

You must update your visa if you change jobs or employers.

Applicants can include their partners and children in their application if they are eligible.

It is possible to complete the visa application process three months before your first day of work in the United Kingdom. You will find this date on your sponsorship certificate.
If you need an appointment for the application, it may take more time than you anticipated. You will be informed whether you need one or not during your application.

The decision on your visa usually comes within a few days after you’ve applied, verified your identity, and submitted your documents. If you live outside the UK, it will take three (3) weeks and eight (8) weeks if you are located within the UK.
A faster decision may be possible if you pay. If you’re outside the UK or inside the UK, you’ll need to do this differently. 

You will receive an email containing the decision on your application. You will learn what you need to do next in this email.
If you wish to cancel your application, you can do so. Refunds will only be given if UKVI has not yet started processing your application.

Questions? You’re covered

Under the UK's new single points-based immigration system, the Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa.

You'll usually get a decision within three (3) weeks after applying, proving your identity, and providing your documents.

Simple mistakes on Skilled Worker visa applications can lead to rejection by the UK Home Office. In our 20-plus years of existence as immigration consultants, we have understood the complexities of the UK Skilled Worker visa to guarantee the success of our applicants. Contact Royal migration and get started on your visa application process.

Unless they are eligible for settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, all European Union (EU) nationals coming to work in the United Kingdom will need a visa. The only exception to this rule is for Irish Citizens.

UK Work Visa Eligibility Check

Are you eligible for the UK work visa program?

Our business immigration advisors have worked with businesses and workers of various sizes and fields. Contact us to discuss your UK skilled immigration options.

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