What is the Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

What is skilled worker visa in uk? | immtell

What is the Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

Navigating UK immigration and visas can be daunting, especially for those seeking to enter on a Skilled Worker Visa. The UK Skilled Worker visa category is a beacon of opportunity for talented individuals globally, allowing them to contribute their expertise to the UK’s diverse and vibrant workforce.

At Immtell, helping people like you obtain a Skilled Worker visa is our bread and butter; we support employers (sponsors) and workers to utilise this work route successfully. This guide aims to unravel the complexities of the Skilled Worker Visa, offering insights into the process — from eligibility criteria to application procedures, fees, and beyond.

This article is an essential resource for potential applicants and their employers, guiding them towards a successful visa application. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the team.

Understanding the UK Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Visa is more than just an immigration route — it bridges global talent with the UK’s economic and cultural landscape. This visa allows individuals from outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland to work in a wide range of skilled occupations in the UK. Understanding the nature of this visa, its purpose, and the type of candidates it seeks is the first step for aspiring applicants to commence their journey to the UK.

Eligibility Criteria

Job Types and UK Skilled Worker Salary Requirements

The Skilled Worker Visa applies to a wide array of job types, primarily focusing on roles acknowledged as being in shortage or requiring specific skills in the UK. The Home Office publishes a list known as the “Shortage Occupation List”, which details professions in high demand.

The Shortage Occupation List will be replaced with a new “Immigration Salary List” in 2024.  Although it remains to be seen how the Immigration Salary List will look and what its impact will be, we do know that from 14 March 2024, occupations on the current Shortage Occupation List will no longer benefit from a 20% reduction in the minimum salary requirement. This is undoubtedly a significant blow to industries struggling to fill thousands of vacancies.

The rule of thumb is that the offered salary must be higher than the general salary threshold or the “going rate” for that specific job type. The current minimum salary threshold is £26,200. However, this is due to increase significantly to £38,700 from 4 April 2024. There are exceptions and reductions in certain cases. For instance, individuals in PhD.-level roles and new entrants at the start of their career may be subject to lower salary requirements.

English Language Requirement for Skilled Worker Visas

Mastering the English language is not just about communication; it’s a key eligibility criterion for the Skilled Worker Visa. The ability to read, write, speak, and understand English at a certain level is crucial; proving this proficiency is a critical step in the application process.

Applicants must prove their knowledge of English when they apply. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  1. Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT): SELT Tests must be taken at an approved provider, and the applicant must achieve at least a B1 level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  2. Having an Academic Degree Taught in English: If the degree was obtained in a majority English-speaking country or a UK degree, it can be used as proof. This must then be verified with Ecctis.
  3. National of a Majority English-speaking Country: Citizens of certain countries are exempt from this requirement.

The UK Skilled Worker Visa Application Process

Embarking on the application process for a Skilled Worker Visa is a journey filled with various steps and procedures. Each stage, from obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship to submitting biometric information, plays a pivotal role in the application’s success. This section provides a detailed roadmap, illuminating the path towards a successful visa application.

  1. Obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): Before applying, you must have a job offer from a UK employer who is a licensed Home Office Sponsor. The employer will provide a CoS, a virtual document like a work permit with a unique reference number, which includes information about the job and your personal details.
  2. Gathering Required Documents: This includes your current passport, proof of English language proficiency, and the CoS reference number. Sometimes, you may need to provide financial evidence showing you can support yourself in the UK.
  3. Completing the Online Application: This should be done within three months of receiving your CoS. The application requires detailed personal information, employment details, and answers to questions regarding your background and reasons for coming to the UK.
  4. Paying the Fees: This includes the visa application fee, which varies depending on the length of your stay, and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), which grants access to the UK’s National Health Service.
  5. Biometric Information Submission: In most cases, you’ll need to provide your fingerprints and a photograph at a visa application centre. EU/EEA passport holders can skip this step as they are eligible to use the Home Office app to verify their biometric data.
  6. Awaiting a Decision: The processing time can vary, but decisions are typically made within three weeks for applications outside the UK. It may take longer during peak times or if more information is needed.
  7. Potential Pitfalls: Common issues include errors in the application, failing to meet the financial requirement, or failing to prove English proficiency. It’s crucial to double-check all entries and meet all the specified requirements.

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Breakdown of Skilled Worker Fees

The financial aspect of applying for a Skilled Worker Visa involves various fees. Understanding these costs is essential for the applicants and their potential employers. This section breaks down the different fees involved, clarifying the financial commitment required for a Skilled Worker Visa.

Payable either by the applicant or employer
  • Application Fee: This varies based on the duration and type of job, ranging from several hundred to over a thousand pounds. The typical fee for Skilled Worker visa applications submitted outside the UK are:
    • 3-year visa duration: £719
    • 5-year visa duration: £1,420
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): Typically, £1,035 per year of the visa granted allows access to the National Health Service.
For Employers
  • Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): Your employer must pay a fee of £239 to issue the CoS to you.
  • Immigration Skills Charge: This can range from £364 to £1,000 per year of the visa, depending on the employer’s size.

If your employer still needs to get a Home Office Sponsor Licence, they will also have to invest to apply and obtain one; this also takes time.

Skilled Worker Visa Dependants

When moving to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa, the implications for dependents are a crucial consideration. This section explores the rights, restrictions, and fees associated with dependents accompanying or joining the main applicant in the UK, offering a comprehensive overview of what families can expect.

Can Skilled Worker Visa Dependents Work in the UK?

One of the most significant questions for families relocating to the UK is the employment rights of dependents. The good news is that adult dependents of skilled worker visa holders can work in the UK without restriction, except as professional sportspersons.

Can Skilled Worker Visa Dependents Children Attend School?

Child dependants of Skilled Worker visa holders can attend state-funded schools, colleges and universities like a British child can.

How much does a UK Skilled Worker Dependant Visa Cost?

The following lists the most typical fees payable by dependant family members of Skilled Worker visa holders.

  • Application Fee: This varies based on the Skilled Worker CoS and visa duration.  Dependent visas are usually issued for the same duration. The typical dependant visa application fee for someone applying outside the UK are:
    • 3-year visa duration: £719
    • 5-year visa duration: £1,420
  • Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS): Typically, the cost per year of the visa duration is:
    • Adults: £1,035
    • Under 18s: £776

Case Study: Jasmine's Journey to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa

Background

Jasmine, a 28-year-old software engineer from India, had always dreamt of working in the UK’s bustling tech industry. With five years of experience in a leading IT firm and a strong desire to expand her horizons, Jasmine embarked on the journey to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa.

Finding a Sponsor

Jasmine uk skilled worker visa applicant with immtell | immtell | immtell

Jasmine’s first step was to secure a job offer from a UK-based employer. She spent several weeks researching licensed companies to sponsor her Skilled Worker Visas. Utilising online job platforms tailored explicitly for international applicants, Jasmine applied to various positions that matched her skillset. Her breakthrough came when a London-based tech startup offered her a role as a Senior Software Developer. The job excited her professionally and met the salary requirements for the visa.

Application Process

With the job offer in hand, Jasmine received her Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from her employer. She then began gathering the necessary documents for her application. This included her passport, proof of English proficiency (she had taken the IELTS test and scored well above the B1 level), and bank statements to show she could support herself in the UK.

Jasmine meticulously completed the online application form with Immtell’s help, ensuring every detail was accurate. She then paid the visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge, which entitled her to use the UK’s National Health Service. The final step was to submit her biometric information at a visa application centre in India, which Immtell arranged.

Challenges

One challenge Jasmine faced was the waiting period. Despite the standard processing time being around three weeks, her application took slightly longer due to a high volume of applications. The uncertainty during this period was stressful, but Jasmine was kept updated by the team at Immtell and used the time to research more about life in the UK, including housing and cultural aspects.

Success and Settlement in the UK

Finally, after about a month, Jasmine received her Skilled Worker Visa approval. She was overjoyed and began her preparations to move. Upon arriving in the UK, she was amazed by the cultural diversity and the opportunities for professional growth. Her new job proved challenging but rewarding, and she quickly adapted to her new environment.

Jasmine’s employer was supportive, helping her to settle in and introducing her to networks and communities relevant to her field. Her experience in the UK enhanced her professional skills and allowed her to experience a new culture and way of life.

Reflection

Looking back, Jasmine believes that thorough research, support from Immtell and careful preparation were key to her successful application. She also emphasises the importance of patience and resilience throughout the process. Jasmine’s journey to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa opened new career opportunities and life experiences, marking a significant milestone in her personal and professional growth.

Jasmine's Tips for Prospective Skilled Worker Visa Applicants

1. Research Thoroughly:

Understand the visa requirements and ensure you meet them before applying. Use an immigration specialist to help.

2. Prepare Your Documents Carefully:

Ensure all your documents, especially proof of English proficiency and financial stability, are in order. Ensure you have these checked by someone who knows the process and requirements.

3. Stay Patient and Positive:

The process can be lengthy and, at times, stressful, but staying focused and optimistic is crucial.

Role of a Regulated UK Immigration Consultancy

The world of UK immigration law is complex and ever-evolving. Seeking assistance from a regulated UK immigration consultancy is beneficial and can be a game-changer. These professionals offer more than just advice; they provide a guiding light through the maze of immigration policies, ensuring that applicants navigate the process with compliance and ease.

You can learn more about how Immtell can help you and your family and also an indication of our fees on our Skilled Worker service page. If you need any help, please get in touch

Conclusion

The journey towards obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK is intricate. It requires a thorough understanding of various aspects, from eligibility criteria to the application process and associated costs. We hope this guide has given you some insights and guidance to help with your application and a prospective or current employer. With the proper preparation and professional support, navigating the path to a Skilled Worker Visa can be a successful experience. If you need any help, please get in touch with us. 

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