The United Kingdom has said goodbye to the former General Worker Visa, also known as the Tier 2 visa, and established the Skilled Worker Visa, a significant step for ambitious immigrants.
This revamp demonstrates the UK’s commitment to attracting top-tier talent from around the world while also streamlining the immigration process. If you’re thinking about moving to the UK to work, this detailed guide can help.
In this article, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria, explain in detail the significance of getting the Certificate of Sponsorship, and outline a step-by-step procedure of the application process. We’ll also discuss whether or not dependents may accompany holders of the UK skilled worker visa to the UK – keep reading for more information on this recently launched visa system.
A brief overview of expat life in the UK
- Population: 67 million
- Capital city: London
- Currency: Pound sterling
- Official language(s): English
- Top cities for ex-pats: London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester
Eligibility and Requirements to Get the Skilled Worker Visa in the UK
To be qualified to apply for a skilled worker visa in the UK, you have to first:
- Meet the English language requirement.
- Have a job offer from a reputable UK employer.
- Obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer, which includes information about the position you’ve been offered.
- Be paid a minimum wage (the exact amount depends on the type of job you obtain).
- Perform a specific job on the list of eligible occupations.
You can legally work, volunteer, and study in the UK after receiving the visa, bring eligible dependents to live with you, and freely travel abroad and return to the UK. The visa is valid for up to five years before it needs to be renewed (unless you change jobs or employers before then).
UK Skilled Worker Visa jobs
It’s worth noting that the definition of a “Skilled Worker” in the United Kingdom encompasses far more than just tech workers.
Some examples of eligible jobs include:
- Senior officials & Chief executives & (e.g.Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, CEO)
- Certain types of managers (e.g. Construction Manager, Engineering Manager, Warehouse Manager and Human Resources Manager )
- Certain types of directors (e.g.Sales Director, Marketing Director, Head of Public Relations, and Advertising Account Director)
- Senior officers in the police force, prison, ambulance, fire, and related services (e.g. Prison Governor, Station Officer, Police Inspector, Fire Service Officer)
- Managers & proprietors in the leisure and hospitality industry (Theater Manager, Amusement Arcade Owner, Café Owner, Restaurant Manager)
- And many more
To find out if your job qualifies for a skilled worker visa, look up the four-digit occupation code and make sure it’s on the list of eligible positions.
UK Skilled Worker Visa minimum salary
A minimum salary is usually required in order to be eligible for the UK skilled worker visa. Your pay should generally be the highest of the following three options, though it will depend on the exact type of job you are hired for.:
- £26,200 per year
- £10.75 per hour
- The “going rate” for the kind of work you’ll be doing
Though your salary may be below the standard going rate, you may still be eligible for a UK skilled worker visa if:
- Your job qualifies;
- You make at least £10.75 per hour. This includes working in a shortage occupation, being under 26, being in school or training, or having recently graduated;
- Having a relevant PhD-level STEM qualification, or holding a postdoctoral position in science or higher education.
UK companies sponsoring the Skilled Worker Visa
Over 85,000 different UK employers can sponsor employees for the UK Skilled Worker Visa. Some of the more well-known ones are as follows:
UK Skilled Worker Visa: Application process
Do you want to know how to get a skilled worker visa in the UK? What you’ll need to do is as follows.
- Gather your required documents, which include:
- A valid passport with a blank page for your visa
- Your job details (occupation code, title, and annual salary)
- A Certificate of Sponsorship bearing your employer’s name, sponsor license number, and reference number (note: we’ll get into more detail on this later)
- Other documents you may need could include:
- Proof of adequate savings (typically at least £1,270)
- A clean criminal records certificate
- An ATAS certificate5
- A UK PhD certificate (or Ecctis reference number if you received your PhD outside of the UK)
- Pay the relevant fees:
- The application fee (typically £625-£1,423)
- The healthcare surcharge (typically £624 per year)
- Verify your identity (either by scanning your ID into the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app or having your fingerprints and photo taken at a visa application centre).
- Apply for your visa online.
- Await an approval email with further instructions.
Application processing time
Within eight weeks, if all of your paperwork and your application were submitted correctly, you should hear back. On the other hand, you can make a quicker decision.
Documents required for Skilled Worker Dependent Visa UK
If you intend to bring a dependent with you, you have to supply:
- A separate visa application is required for each person you bring with you.
- An additional application fee (ranging from £200 to £315 per dependent) is required.
- Proof of your relationship to any partner or children accompanying you.
- Unless they attend a boarding school or university full-time, any children over the age of 16 must reside at the same address as you, and you must provide proof of their address (such as a bank statement, driver’s license, or official letter from the school or university).
- Proof of their identity (typically a biometric residence permit)
- Your application reference number
Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
When an employer gives an employee a Certificate of Sponsorship, they must pay a fee. The cost is determined by the type of sponsor license held by the employer.
Type of License Cost of Certificate
Temporary Worker £21
International Sportsperson- the CoS is assigned for more than 12 months £199
International Sportsperson- the CoS is assigned for 12 months or less £21
Countries with Free Certificates of Sponsorship
Sponsors of the following countries do not need to pay any fees for issuing a CoS.
Taxes in the UK for Skilled Worker Visa holders
US citizens who are granted a Skilled Worker Visa should become acquainted with the following UK tax information.:
- Primary tax forms: Self Assessment tax return/SA100
- Tax deadline: October 31 for paper returns, January 31 for online returns
- Reporting website: HM Revenue & Customs
- Administrative language(s): English, Welsh available
- Tax treaty: Yes
- Totalization agreement: Yes
Who qualifies as a tax resident in the UK?
Those who have spent 183 or more days in the UK during the tax year are considered tax residents.
- Skilled Worker Visa: Overview
- Skilled Worker visa: Going rates for eligible occupation codes
- Skilled Worker visa: When you can be paid less
- Skilled Worker visa: Apply from outside the UK
- Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)
- Get a faster decision on your visa or settlement application.
- Skilled Worker visa: Your partner and children
- UK visa sponsorship for employers