The Skilled Worker visa has replaced the former Tier 2 (General) route. This is a significant change to the current work sponsorship system and represents a major overhaul of the current system. It is imperative migrant workers and employers are aware of the new changes to avoid Home Office refusals. The changes were first formally outlined in the Statement of Changes HC 813. The decision to modify the current route was influenced by the end of free movement for EEA nationals on 31 December 2020. For the first time, there is a single work route for both non-EEA and EEA nationals. The new Skilled Worker visa allows employers to also recruit EEA nationals.
What is a Skilled Worker visa?
The Skilled Worker visa allows employers to recruit workers from outside the UK to fill a wide range of skilled vacancies; employers can now recruit both non-EEA and EEA nationals. Employers can offer jobs to migrants where the job is at least at level 3 on the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) or sponsor eligible healthcare professionals for the Health and Care visa (a special subcategory of the Skilled Worker route). The Skilled Worker visa allows migrants to apply to bring their family members (partner & children) to the UK.
How to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
Migrants who wish to apply for the Skilled Worker visa must ensure they understand and satisfy the requirements listed under Appendix Skilled Worker to the Immigration Rules. Migrants must score 70 points to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa application. 50 points out of the 70 falls under the mandatory criteria. The remaining 20 points will be awarded under the tradable section. The 50 points will be awarded for the following:
- 20 points will be awarded where the migrant has obtained a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS);
- 20 points will be awarded if the job is in an eligible occupation code and can be located in Appendix Skilled Occupations; and
- 10 points will be awarded for English language (level B1 CEFR or higher)
Migrants must also show that they have sufficient funds to support themselves in the UK without recourse to public funds. Alternatively, if the employer holds an A-rated sponsor licence the maintenance may be certified.
How to score to 20 points under tradeable points?
The above 50 points are mandatory and a strict approach will be taken by caseworkers when assessing an application. The remaining 20 points fall under the tradable section and migrants can score 20 points if they meet any one of the following:
- Salary only – The migrants salary equals or exceeds both £25,600 and the going rate for the occupation code;
- Relevant PhD – Migrant holds PhD in a subject relevant to the job and the migrants salary equals or exceeds both £23,040 per year and 90% of the going rate for the occupation code;
- Relevant STEM PhD – Migrant holds a PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job and the migrants salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation code;
- Shortage occupation – Migrants who are offered a job listed in the Shortage of Occupation and the salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for the occupation code;
- New entrant – Migrant is a new entrant to the labour market and their salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for the occupation code;
- Health or education – Migrant is offered a job listed in the health or education occupation and the salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 and and the going rate for the occupation code.
How long will the Skilled Worker visa be valid once granted?
Migrants who successfully obtain a Skilled Worker visa will be granted leave (permission) to stay in the UK for the duration of their employment as confirmed by their CoS plus 14 days up to a maximum period of 5 years. Following this, migrants can consider an application for settlement if they meet the requirements for indefinite leave to remain.
Can you switch into a Skilled Worker visa?
If a migrant is already in the UK with a valid visa it is possible to submit an application to transfer leave (switch) to a Skilled Worker visa. Migrants will not be able to switch where their last grant of leave was granted under any of the following categories:
- Visitor or Short-term student;
- Parent of a Child Student;
- Seasonal Worker or Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
- Leave outside the Immigration Rules.
What are the key differences between the Skilled Worker visa and Tier 2 (General)?
Overall the process of applying for a Skilled Worker visa is quite similar to the Tier 2 (General) as both applications fall under a work sponsorship system. However, there are notable differences that make the process friendlier for migrant workers. We have summarised some of the key changes below:
- The minimum skill threshold has been reduced to RQF level 3 (equivalent to A-level);
- The general salary threshold is dropped from £30,000 to £25,600. This may differ in some cases;
- The suspension on the cap that limits the number of available work visas; No limit as to how many work visas are available;
- Time limit has also been removed; previously migrants could obtain a work visa for a maximum of 6 years;
- The Resident Labour Market Test (RMLT) has also come to an end; and
- The Tier 2 Cooling Off Period has come to an end; therefore no restrictions on when an application can be made.
How our immigration solicitors can help submit a Skilled Worker visa application
Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in work visa applications and can submit successful skilled worker visa applications from 1 December 2020. Our immigration team prepares applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of clients. The key to submitting a successful visa application is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules and submitting the correct supporting documents. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London submit a Skilled Worker visa application
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a skilled worker visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.
The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
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 02071830570 or complete our contact form.