Skilled Worker Visas in the UK

For individuals seeking to live and work in the UK with the aim of settlement in the country, the Skilled Worker Visa is the most popular option. This visa allows individuals, who have a job offer from a UK sponsor (an employer holding a valid sponsor licence) to work in the UK. 

Their partner and children under 18 can also join them. The family may apply for permanent residency (settlement) in the UK after residing continuously in the UK for 5 years.

Key Requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa

To be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa, the applicant must meet the following core requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be offered employment by a UK based sponsor and be issued with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship by the sponsor
  • The job must be an eligible occupation under the Immigration Rules
  • To be paid at required level of salary for the occupation (currently is £26,200 per year or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher). This will increase to £38,700 from 04 April 2024.
  • Meet the English language requirement at CEFR Level B1 (intermediate)
  • Have the financial means to support themselves and their family without relying on public funds
  • Provide a criminal record certificate and tuberculosis test certificate if applicable.

The visa and conditions

The duration of the visa will align with the employment, with a maximum of 5 years. For instance, if the applicant is offered employment for three years, they will be granted a skilled worker visa for the same duration. Any dependant visas will also be granted for the same length of time.

The skilled worker and their family can extend their visas in the UK. They may apply for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after they have lived in the UK for 5 years and meet other eligibility requirements.

With a Skilled Worker visa, the worker:

  • Must work for their sponsor. They must submit a new application if changing employer;
  • Can take on additional work for up to 20 hours a week if the work is either in the same occupation at the same professional level or is a shortage occupation;
  • Can study and do voluntary work;
  • Can travel abroad and return to the UK;
  • Cannot apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension.

Family member can study and work in the UK. They do not need a certificate of sponsorship to be employed.

Costs and Application Processing Time

The application fees for a skilled worker visa or dependant visa range between £719 and £1,500, depending on the duration of the visa, whether it is submitted inside or outside the UK. Lower fees apply to occupations in the shortage list or health and care sector.

Applicants are also required to pay the Immigration Healthcare Surcharge (IHS), currently £1,035 for an adult and £776 for children for each year of their stay until settlement.

The Home Office aims to make a decision within:

  • 3 weeks for applications outside the UK. 
  • 8 weeks for applications within the UK.

An applicant may opt for priority service if available in order to obtain a decision within 5 working days, at an additional fee of £500.

How we can help

For expert assistance with your Skilled Worker Visa application, turn to our experienced business immigration lawyers at Davenport Solicitors. We can:

  • provide preliminary advice on pursuing job opportunities that facilitate your migration
  • liaise with your sponsor regarding requirements for your skilled worker visas
  • advise on and assist with the visa applications

Contact us today for guidance and support.

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