UK Skilled Worker Visa Guide

The United Kingdom has undergone significant changes in its immigration landscape, particularly with the introduction of the UK Skilled Worker Visa, which replaced the Tier 2 visa at the end of 2020. This visa opens doors for international workers possessing essential skills, allowing them to contribute to the UK’s workforce. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of the UK Skilled Worker Visa, shedding light on eligibility criteria, requirements, and recent updates in immigration laws, specifically the impending increase in the minimum salary threshold.

Understanding the UK Skilled Worker Visa

The UK Skilled Worker Visa is a long-term work visa designed for individuals with skills at RQF Level 3 or above, equivalent to A-level qualifications in the UK. The visa, initially granted for up to five years, requires applicants to have a job offer from a licensed UK employer. Notably, the scheme allows for visa extension and, after five years, provides a pathway to indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”) and British citizenship.

Advantages Over the Previous Tier 2 Visa

The introduction of the Skilled Worker Visa brought several key benefits and differences compared to its predecessor, the Tier 2 (General) work visa:

  1. Lowered Skill Level Requirement: The skill level requirement decreased from RQF level 6 to RQF level 3, expanding the scope of eligible occupations.
  2. Reduced Minimum Salary Requirement: The minimum salary requirement dropped from £30,000 to £26,200, making it more accessible for a broader range of skilled workers.
  3. Open to New Market Entrants: Recent graduates and new market entrants can now apply under this route.
  4. No Cap on Visa Numbers: Unlike the previous system, there is no cap on the number of Skilled Worker visas available, making it more accessible.
  5. No Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT): The removal of RLMT streamlines the recruitment process for skilled overseas workers.
  6. Elimination of Cooling-off Period: Previously, international workers had to wait a year before applying for a new work visa upon leaving the UK; this restriction no longer applies.

UK Skilled Worker Visa Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must fulfill several criteria:

  1. Job Offer from a UK Employer: A valid job offer from a licensed UK employer is a prerequisite.
  2. Licensed Sponsorship: The employer must be on the list of licensed sponsors approved by the Home Office.
  3. Certificate of Sponsorship (“CoS”): A valid CoS from the UK employer is essential for the application.
  4. Occupation Eligibility: The job must be on the list of eligible occupations, and applicants must meet the skill level requirement of at least RQF level 3.
  5. Minimum Salary Requirements: The current minimum salary is £26,200 per year, with an upcoming increase to £38,700 in spring 2024 (excluding healthcare workers).
  6. English Language Proficiency: Applicants must demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the English language.
  7. Financial Support: A minimum of £1,270 in the bank account is required to support oneself in the UK.

Changes to Minimum Salary Requirements

One significant change on the horizon is the increase in the minimum salary for a skilled worker visa from £26,200 to £38,700 per year starting in the spring of 2024. Notably, healthcare workers will be exempt from this increase. Exceptions to the minimum salary requirement remain for certain situations, such as shortage occupations or individuals under 26, studying, recent graduates, or those with specific qualifications.

It’s crucial to stay informed about these changes, especially if you are planning to apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa in the coming months.

How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

The application process involves several steps:

  1. Check Eligibility: Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for a Skilled Worker Visa.
  2. Secure a Job Offer: Obtain a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK.
  3. Certificate of Sponsorship: Receive a valid CoS from your UK employer.
  4. Document Preparation: Gather the required documents to prove your eligibility.
  5. Online Application: Complete the online application form on the Home Office website.
  6. Fees and Biometrics: Pay the application fee, biometric fee, and healthcare surcharge. Attend a biometric appointment.
  7. Decision Time: Expect a decision within three weeks of application submission.

Changing Employers and Visa Extensions

If you wish to change employers on a Skilled Worker Visa, a new visa application is necessary. This holds true for changing occupations, occupation codes, or moving from a shortage occupation to a non-listed one. Extensions are possible if staying with the same employer and occupation. Read more in our dedicated article here.

Skilled Worker Visa to ILR

One notable advantage of the Skilled Worker Visa is the pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain (“ILR”) after five years. This grants permanent residency, exempting individuals from further visa applications and the immigration healthcare surcharge. To qualify for ILR, applicants must meet continuous residence requirements and provide evidence of English language skills, employment continuity, and adherence to minimum salary requirements.


In conclusion, the UK Skilled Worker Visa offers a viable avenue for skilled workers to contribute to the UK’s workforce. However, with impending changes to the minimum salary threshold in 2024, applicants need to stay abreast of the latest developments in immigration laws. Seek professional advice to navigate the complexities of the application process and ensure a smooth transition to permanent residency if that’s your ultimate goal.

Successfully submit a Skilled Worker visa application

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a skilled worker visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a Global Talent endorsement review.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02030110276 or complete our contact form.

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