Skilled Worker Visa

The UK Skilled Worker Visa immigration route offers excellent opportunities for persons to live and work in the UK. The route is also highly beneficial to UK companies that want to employ overseas workers. The route allows UK employers to acquire valuable skills from outside the UK. 

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How to qualify for the Skilled Worker Visa

To qualify for the Skilled Worker visa, an applicant has to have a certificate of sponsorship. The certificate must be from an approved UK employer. An approved UK employer is also known as a Sponsor. The job on offer has to be on the list of eligible occupations. The employee has to be paid a minimum salary. This minimum salary will depend on the type of work they do. The specific eligibility in every case will depend on the particular job offer. We therefore highly recommend that applicants seek the advice of a Breytenbachs consultant.

Salary requirements

You will normally need a salary of at least £38,700 per year. However, if the ‘going rate’ for your job type is higher than this amount, you have to earn at least that higher amount. There are certain exceptions, including for those who were already in the UK as a Skilled Migrant Worker prior to 4 April 2024.

Reduced rates are also in place for positions that fall under the Immigration Salary List, for recent UK graduates and migrants under the age of 26, and for positions which require a PhD.

Most healthcare and education jobs benefit from much lower salary requirements, with the relevant rates being tied into the national payscales. Your Breytenbachs consultant will be able to advise you on the going rate for your occupation.

Knowledge of English

All UK Skilled Worker Visa applicants have to fulfil the English language requirement. You will be exempt if you have already fulfilled this in a previous application. It is possible to fulfil the English Language Requirement in one of the following ways;

  • Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English.
  • Have a degree-level academic qualification that was taught or researched in English. If you studied abroad, you have to confirm this through UK NARIC.
  • You have passed a Secure English language test (SELT) from an approved provider.

Applicants who are sponsored to work as doctors, dentists, nurses or midwives, and have already passed an English Language assessment by the relevant regulated professional body, do not have to prove their knowledge of English.

Maintenance Requirement of the UK Skilled Worker Visa

You have to show that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account. This will show that you can support yourself in the UK. However, you do not need prove this, if you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months. It is also possible for your employer to cover your costs during your first month in the UK. In such cases, your certificate of sponsorship must confirm this.

Length of Stay

The Skilled Worker visa is valid for a period of up to five years. Applicants will be able to extend or update their visa without restriction, provided they meet the eligibility requirements. However, after five years on this immigration route, an applicant should be able to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Right to Work

While on a UK Skilled Worker visa, you will be able to:

  • Study
  • Take on additional work under certain circumstances
  • Do voluntary work

You cannot do the following:

  • Apply for most benefits or the State Pension.
  • Change jobs or employers without following the visa procedures in this regard.

Switching to the UK Skilled Worker Visa

It is possible to switch to the Skilled Worker visa from within the UK, from certain types of visas. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant to find out whether you qualify to switch. 

Spouses and Dependants of UK Skilled Workers

You will normally be able to apply to bring your partner and children with you to the UK. There are some exceptions, including a restriction on carers bringing family dependents. Your partner and children will need to prove that they can support themselves while in the UK. This is the maintenance requirement.

Immigration Health Surcharge

Applicants will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application. You will have to pay for every year of your stay.

Applicants who meet the Health and Care subcategory of this visa route are exempted from this fee.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

After five years on the UK Skilled Worker Visa you can qualify to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). Holders of Skilled Worker visas have to fulfil very specific requirements regarding the minimum salary threshold when they apply for ILR. Please speak to your Breytenbachs consultant for specific advice in your case.

How Breytenbachs can help you with your UK Skilled Worker Visa

If you want to apply for the UK Skilled Worker visa, please contact one of our consultants to guide you through the process. We have a dedicated team of consultants dealing with Skilled Worker visas and sponsorship licensing!

Skilled Worker Visa

Please contact us today for further information or applications.