What is the Skilled Worker Visa UK?

engineer working in the UK

The Skilled Worker Visa UK is the main pathway for skilled workers looking to move to the United Kingdom. The visa is the second most popular for long-term immigration and attracts expertise in different industries around the world. The visa has been designed to make it easier for people who are qualified in chosen occupations to immigrate to the UK.

Why move to the UK?

Moving to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to live and work is increasingly a popular choice for various reasons. Whether it is your personal circumstances, career opportunities and lifestyle when making such a decision. Below are some examples that attract people to live and work in the UK in recent years.

  1. Career Opportunities: Particularly in cities like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh, offers a diverse job market with opportunities in various industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and supply chain
  2. Education: Home to some of the world’s top universities, making it an attractive destination for students and academics. The education system is well-regarded globally, and there are numerous opportunities for learning and research
  3. Quality of Life: High standard of living, with access to quality healthcare, education, public services, and cultural amenities. The country also boasts beautiful countryside and historic landmarks
  4. Language: English is the primary language spoken, which can be advantageous for those looking to improve their English language skills or conduct business in English
  5. Travel: Location makes it easy to travel to other European countries. It serves as a gateway to exploring different cultures and landscapes within Europe
  6. Healthcare: Publicly funded National Health Service (NHS), providing residents with access to healthcare services. This can be a significant benefit compared to countries without a universal healthcare system
  7. Transportation: Well-developed transportation system, including trains, buses, and an extensive road network. This makes commuting and traveling within the country relatively convenient
  8. Global Business Centre: London, in particular, is a global financial and business hub, attracting professionals from various industries. This presents networking and career growth opportunities

Eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa

In order to qualify for this visa you must meet several minimum requirements.

  • Work for an employer that has been approved for a sponsor license
  • Have a valid certificate of sponsorship related to the role
  • Job must be on the Skilled Worker Occupations List
  • Salary must meet the minimum threshold for the role
  • Speak, read, write and understand English to a minimum standard

The minimum salary threshold for a skilled worker will rise in 2024 to £38,700.

No changes to occupations on the Shortage Occupations List have been decided, an update is expected in Spring 2024.

Skilled Worker Occupations List

First thing to check is your job matches an occupation on the Skilled Worker Occupations List. If your occupation is not listed here unfortunately you don’t qualify for the visa this year, but occupations are added and removed annually. But don’t lose hope! There are several other visas you may qualify for.

The next requirement is to make sure your job offer matches the minimum salary for that job code.

Lastly, Your offer of employment must be from an approved UK employer or sponsor.

The UK Government holds a register of approved companies, check if your employer is on here and which visa they qualify for. We suggest using CTRL + F to search as it’s currently more than 2000 pages long!

Costs involved for the Skilled Worker Visa

You must have sufficient funds when applying for the Skilled Worker visa, the total minimum costs will vary depending on your circumstances.

Application Fee

When applying within the UK such as to extend your current Skilled Worker Visa or to switch from a Student Visa. You will pay £704 for up to 3 years or £1408 for more than 3 years.

When applying from outside the UK the fee will be £827 or £1500 respectively.

Although, if you are applying for a job on the shortage occupations list the fee is lower. £551 or £1084.

Healthcare

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) entitles you to use the NHS if you become unwell or have an accident while in the UK.

You have to pay the IHS even if you do not use the NHS or even if you have your own private health insurance, the cost is £1,035 per year.

If you are applying for a 2-year visa you will have to pay £1,035 each year, therefore you will have to pay a total of £2,070.

Sufficient Funds

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK, a bank statement will suffice.

The financial requirement is that you show you have enough money for your living costs for yourself and dependants while you move to the UK.

You do not need to show funds it you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with permission on the date of application.

Documentation required for the Skilled Worker Visa

You must bring relevant documentation that will require some preparation before arriving in the UK. Although, This will vary depending on your occupation, nationality and length of stay.

  • Certificate of Sponsorship
  • Proof of your knowledge of English
  • A valid passport for the entirety of the visa
  • Occupation and Salary
  • Bank statement proving sufficient funds
  • Name of employer and license number

Criminal Record Certificate

If you are applying for certain jobs mostly in the public sector such as healthcare, welfare and education sectors. You will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which, since the age of 18, you have been present for 12 months or more in the 10 years before the date of your application.

Identity

For most applicants you must prove your identity by booking an appointment at a Visa Application Centre in your current country. The appointment will include collecting your fingerprints, facial photograph and signature. The UK government website has a list of addresses for each eligible country.

Can I bring my family?

This visa will allow family members to join the main applicant in the UK, they are known as “dependants”. You don’t have to be a permanent resident or have an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK to bring your family members. The cost for each dependant is £1846 as of January 2024.

Dependants over 18 can work full time in any profession throughout with no restrictions. The length of time allowed to stay is the same as the main applicants work visa.

Can this visa lead to British citizenship?

Yes, the first step to becoming a British citizen is being granted a visa that contributes towards the 5 year requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

There are 3 main stages to being granted British citizenship.

  • Live and Work in the UK for 5 years on a work visa
  • Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
  • Apply for Naturalisation/British citizenship

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