Skilled Worker Visas
Offers a long-term solution for Skilled Professionals across various industries to work in the UK for licensed employers.

Successor to Tier 2 visa route, the Skilled Worker Visa, introduced in late 2020. It offers a long-term solution for Skilled Professionals across various industries to work in the UK for licensed employers.

This visa is accessible to individuals with the necessary skills at the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 or above, equivalent to A-Level qualifications in the UK educational system.

When granted, the Skilled Worker Visa is initially valid for up to five years, depending on the duration specified in your Certificate of Sponsorship. Therefore, it’s crucial to note that your visa’s validity is tied to your role and sponsoring employer. Should you wish to change roles or employers, you’ll need to update your Skilled Worker Visa.

Unlike certain other work visa routes, the Skilled Worker route offers the flexibility to extend your visa before expiration. After a qualifying period of five years, you would be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and, subsequently, British citizenship one year later.

Mandatory requirements for Skilled Worker visa

To embark on your Skilled Worker Visa journey, you must secure a job offer from a UK employer and ensure you meet the UKVI’s following eligibility criteria:

  • You are 18 years old or above in age.
  • Your prospective employer must be on the list of licensed sponsors approved by the Home Office.
  • You have been issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the intended job.
  • The job offer is for a Genuine Vacancy.
  • Your job is at an appropriate skill level.

 

To be eligible for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you must be sponsored for a job that meets the minimum skill level requirement, which is equivalent to RQF level 3 (approximately A-level standard). The skill level is determined by the job itself, rather than your personal qualifications.

The Home Office maintains a list of eligible jobs in Appendix Skilled Occupations and Appendix Immigration Salary List, each assigned a SOC 2020 occupation code. Your sponsor must select the most appropriate occupation code for your role, as failing to do so may result in your Skilled Worker Visa application being rejected.

When assessing the appropriateness of the chosen occupation code, the Home Office considers factors such as the genuine need for the described job, your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience, and the sponsor’s history of compliance with immigration regulations.

  • Your receiving a salary meets or exceeds both the general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the relevant SOC 2020 occupation code.

 

As a Skilled Worker, your salary must typically meet or surpass the following criteria:

  • The general salary threshold, which is set at £38,700 annually for the majority of occupations. However, this can be reduced to £34,830 or £30,960 per year if the worker achieves ‘tradable points’ (explained below). There are a few exceptions to this rule:
  • Skilled Workers who obtained permission before 4 April 2024 and are applying before 4 April 2030 have a general salary threshold of £29,000, which can be lowered to £26,100 or £23,200 if they score ‘tradable points’;
  • For those sponsored for a Health and Care ASHE salary job, the general salary threshold stands at £29,000 but may be reduced to £26,100 or £23,200 if the worker earns ‘tradable points’ (detailed below);
  • Skilled Workers sponsored in a Health or Education SOC 2020 occupation code, where going rates are determined by national pay scales, have a general salary threshold of £23,200 (further information below).
  • The relevant ‘going rate’ for the SOC 2020 occupation code, as listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations. Alternatively, a percentage of the ‘going rate’ can be applied if the worker accumulates ‘tradable points’.

What are Tradeable Points?

Certain Sponsored Workers applying through the Skilled Worker route may be eligible for ‘tradable points,’ allowing them to earn less than £38,700 annually.

These points are awarded based on specific attributes, such as having a relevant PhD qualification (£34,830/year and 90% of the going rate), a STEM-related PhD relevant to the job (£30,960/year and 80% of the going rate), a job offer on the Immigration Salary List (£30,960/year and the going rate), or being a new entrant to the labour market at the start of their career (£30,960/year and 70% of the going rate).

What are the Salary Criteria for Health and Care Visa ASHE Applicants?

Those sponsored for a Health and Care Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) job must earn a salary that meets or surpasses the general salary threshold (£29,000 annually, or £26,100/£23,200 with ‘tradable points’) and the corresponding ‘going rate’ for their SOC 2020 occupation code, or a percentage of it based on ‘tradable points.’

Certain Health and Care Workers applying for an ASHE job can earn less than £29,000 per year if they qualify for ‘tradable points’ based on specific attributes:

  • Having a relevant PhD (£26,100/year and 90% of the going rate)
  • Possessing a STEM-related PhD relevant to the job (£23,200/year and 80% of the going rate)
  • Receiving a job offer on the Immigration Salary List (£23,200/year and the going rate)
  • Being a new entrant to the labour market (£23,200/year and 70% of the going rate)

What is the Salary Criteria for Health and Education SOC 2020 Occupation Codes where Going Rates are Based on National Pay Scales

For applicants sponsored for a job in a qualifying health and education SOC 2020 occupation code, where the going rates are determined by national pay scales the salary must meet or exceed two criteria:

  • the general salary threshold of £23,200 annually and
  • the relevant ‘going rate’ for the specific SOC 2020 occupation code listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations.

What are the Hourly Rates?

In most SOC 2020 occupation codes, a minimum hourly rate of £15.88 must be met, even if the applicant qualifies for a discount on the going rate based on tradable points.

However, for those granted permission as a Skilled Worker before 4 April 2024 and applying before 4 April 2030, or those sponsored for a Health and Care ASHE salary job, the minimum hourly rate is £11.90, regardless of any discounts.

Applicants sponsored in a Health or Education SOC 2020 occupation code with going rates based on national pay scales are exempt from the hourly rate requirement.

  • Your Sponsor has paid necessary Immigration Skills Charge.

 

This is a mandatory fee that sponsoring employers must pay each time they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to a foreign worker they intend to hire. This charge is designed to encourage employers to invest in training and upskilling the local workforce, while also contributing to the overall costs of the UK’s immigration system.

  • You have demonstrated English language proficiency at a minimum of CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0).
  • You have sufficient maintenance funds to support oneself without relying on public assistance.

 

Additionally, depending on your country of origin

  • You have a clearance on the criminal record certificate.
  • You have a valid TB clearance certificate.

 

The specific requirements may differ based on individual circumstances.  You are welcome to contact us to discuss a personalised guidance suitable to your circumstances.

We value the aspirations of individuals who dream of working in the UK, as well as businesses’ need to attract top international talent. Our services cater to both, facilitating the realisation of these aspirations while ensuring businesses can access the skilled workforce they require.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

Enquiries welcome aamil@mak25.co.uk or call +44 7823733189 (virtual conferences available for international clients)