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The Skilled Worker visa category is for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals including Swiss nationals (arriving from 1 January 2021) and non-EEA nationals who are sponsored to do a specific skilled job for a sponsor.

The Skilled Worker visa allows UK companies to fill existing labour shortages that cannot be filled by the UK or settled person. A skilled worker visa must not displace a suitable settled worker. .

The Skilled Worker visa route replaces the Tier 2 (General) visa. The fundamentals of the visa requirements largely remain the same, and there are some potentially beneficial changes which will make the system more favourable for businesses and employees. .

The new system does not allow a potential skilled worker to work for anyone. They must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor, and this offer should meet minimum skill and salary thresholds. .

The Skilled Worker route has more flexibility. It allows people with different qualifications, salaries and skills to obtain visas. In order to meet the requirement of a skilled worker, an applicant must score 50 points consisting of 'Mandatory' (for their sponsorship, job and English language skills) and 20 points' Trade able' points (for salary and other attributes). In addition to 70 points, some applicants must also satisfy non-points requirements regarding tuberculosis testing, available funds and criminal records certificates. .

Mandatory points – 50 points

Tradeable Points – 20 points

An applicant under Skilled Worker visa category will need to score 20 points relating to their salary offered to make a total of 70 points. There are various ways to earn these final 20 points, which is why they are referred to as "tradeable".

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Frequently asked questions

How many days am I allowed to stay outside of the UK to apply for ILR?

In order to meet the continuous residency requirement, applicants under the Skilled Worker visa category (leave granted before 11 January 2018) should not be outside the UK for more than 180 whole days in any of the five consecutive 12-month periods, preceding the date of the application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

For absences from the UK during the period of leave granted on or after 11 January, 2018 are considered on a rolling basis, instead of in fixed blocks. Applicants under the Skilled Worker visa category should not be outside the UK for more than 180 whole days in any consecutive 12-month period.

Settlement visa or Indefinite Leave to Remain visa?

Applicants under the Skilled worker visa category must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK and the five-year continuous period must consist of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes: An applicant will still be required to be employed by the sponsor for the 'foreseeable future' to be granted ILR. In addition, the minimum income threshold for indefinite leave to remain has been reduced from its current level of £35,800. There is instead a general provision that an applicant must be earning at least £25,600, and the going rate for the job, when they come to apply for ILR. If they are working in a shortage occupation, they will need to be paid above £20,480 and the going rate for the job.

Rights of Dependents?

Dependants of a Skilled Worker visa applicant (including children under 18 years of age) or (husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner or same-sex partner) will be eligible to live and stay in the UK with the main applicant. They can live and work in the UK without any restrictions. Dependants of a Skilled Worker visa applicant will be granted leave in line with the expiry date of the PBS migrant's (or main applicant's) leave. Dependants of a Skilled Worker visa applicant will have the following conditions attached to their leave:

  • No recourse to public funds;
  • Registration with the police, if applicable;
  • No Employment as a Doctor or Dentist in Training, unless:
  • They have obtained a primary degree in medicine or dentistry from a recognised UK
  • They do not have any condition restricting such employment.

Conditions of stay?

Applicants under the Tier 2 (General) visa will have the following conditions attached to their leave: No recourse to public funds Registration with the police, if applicable You must not own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares, if the sponsor is a limited company, unless you are applying under Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) The applicant cannot take employment, except: Working for the sponsor in the job recorded on your Certificate of Sponsorship; and supplementary employment; and voluntary work The applicant can study, provided this does not interfere with the job they have been sponsored to do.

Digital Status?

EEA nationals making an application under the Skilled worker visa using the UK Immigration: ID Check app will be given digital status if their application is successful.

EEA applicants as a part of the Skilled worker visa application process can use the UK Immigration: ID Check app to complete the identity stage of their visa application. Using the app, they should confirm their identity, verify their documents and take a picture.

Biometric Requirement?

Non-EEA nationals applying under Skilled worker visa have to apply for a biometric residence permit.

The biometric residence permit is a residence permit which holds a migrant's biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (facial image and fingerprints), and shows their immigration status and entitlements while they remain in the UK. This also means that a UK visa will no longer be stamped in the applicant's passport and all applicants will be issued one of the new Biometric visa cards instead. These cards look very similar to a (pink) UK driving license, except they have a microchip in the back.

Once the application for Skilled worker visa is submitted online, applicants are required to attend their biometric appointment at one of the Visa Application Centers to provide their fingerprints, photo and signature.

Successful offshore applicants will receive a 30-day' vignette sticker' in their passport instead of a vignette with the full grant of leave. This 30-day visa will be the date they indicated as their intended travel date in their visa application. Applicants under Skilled worker visa will be required to collect their BRP from the Post Office branch detailed in their decision letter within ten days of arrival in the UK.
The Post Office branch is linked to the postcode that they submitted in their visa application. The BRP card can then be used as proof of right to work, study and access public services in the UK.

What is my immigration status while my application is pending?

If Skilled Worker visa applicant submits their application before their authorised stay ends, their existing immigration status will continue until their application is decided, even if the decision is not made until after the end of their permitted stay. An applicant under Skilled Worker visa can continue to work until their case is decided if the conditions of their existing leave allow them to do so.

Processing Times?

In line with the Home Office service standards for processing UK visa applications for Skilled Worker visa, they decide within 3 weeks if applying from outside UK and within 8 weeks, if applying within UK.

Applicants applying for Skilled Worker visa using the Super Priority Service in the UK; the application is normally decided on 24 hours.

Government Fees?

Immigration Health Surcharge?

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) was introduced by the Home Office on 6 April 2015. People coming to the UK for more than six months have to pay this health surcharge as a part of their immigration application towards the National Health Service (healthcare in the UK). Offshore applicants will have to pay the health surcharge if they are applying for a visa for a period of longer than six months, and onshore applicant will have to pay the health charge for any length of visa.

Applicants will have to pay £470 per year as a student, or as a Youth Mobility Scheme or applicant who is under 18 years. For all other visa and immigration applications, they have to pay 624 per year. Dependants will usually need to pay the same amount as the main applicant. The exact amount they have to pay depends on how much leave they are granted. They can calculate how much they will have to pay before you apply. If the period of grant applied for is less than 6 months, then half of the yearly amount to be paid and if the period of grant applied for is more than 6 months, then whole year amount is to be paid.

Visa application will not be granted if applicants do not pay the healthcare surcharge or application will be delayed if the right amount is not paid.

Following persons are exempted from paying the IHS:

  • Diplomats or a members of a visiting armed forces and not subject to immigration control
  • Dependants of a member of the UK's armed forces
  • Dependants of a member of another country's armed forces who is exempt from immigration
  • Control applicants for a visa for the Isle of Man or Channel Islands
  • British Overseas Territory citizens resident in the Falkland Islands
  • Asylum seekers and applicants for humanitarian protection, and their dependants
  • Domestic workers who have been identified as victims of slavery or human trafficking
  • Those applying for discretionary leave to remain in the UK as someone who has been identified as a victim of slavery or human trafficking, and their dependants
  • Those applying for permission to remain as the victim of domestic abuse, and their dependants
  • Those claiming that being made to leave the UK would be against their rights under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and their dependants
  • Applicants and their dependants applying for Health and Care Worker visa