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UK Skilled Worker Visa

Obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK. Relocating to the UK with a family and applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and UK citizenship

What Is a Skilled Worker Visa for?

The United Kingdom offers good immigration routes for businesspeople and investors who want to get UK residence. Unfortunately, not all immigrants have an entrepreneurial spirit or enough money to invest in the UK economy.However, if you have an in-demand specialisation and are a skilled worker, you can apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa. It offers a number of benefits for immigrants:

  1. Moving to a developed country with high living standards
  2. Getting a well-paid job, developing unique expertise, and improving your professional skills
  3. UK Skilled Worker visa does not cost a lot. If your specialisation is on the shortage occupation list, you can get an additional discount
  4. Adding a spouse or partner and children to a visa application
  5.  After 5 years of stay in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, you can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and then get UK citizenship for yourself and your family.

This explains why so many foreign specialists relocate to the UK on a Skilled Worker visa. If you want to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa, Imperial & Legal advisors will be glad to offer the required assistance and comprehensive legal support.

UK Skilled Worker visa allows applicants to relocate to the UK with a family, work and study, and in several years, apply for ILR and UK citizenship. Imperial & Legal advisors will help you to achieve your goals.

Who Can Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK?

According to immigration rules, if you want to get a UK Skilled Worker visa, you need to comply with the following key rules:

  1. An applicant for a Skilled Worker visa must seek a job only with companies that have a sponsorship licence issued by UK immigration authorities. In other words, if you are not sponsored by a licensed British sponsor, you cannot apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa. A sponsor guarantees you the job.
  2. An applicant for a Skilled Worker visa must have a certificate of sponsorship indicating their position in the hiring company. These certificates are issued through the sponsorship management system (SMS). It is special software that only authorised personnel has access to.
  3. An applicant for a Skilled Worker visa must have an in-demand qualification in healthcare, science, engineering, firefighting, social services, top-management, etc. To check whether your profession falls into this category, you need to know its four-digit code and search for it in the list of eligible occupations. You can also contact Imperial & Legal advisors.
  4. An applicant for a Skilled Worker visa must receive at least a minimum salary. There are three salary categories for foreign employees in the UK:
    •  Minimum gross pay of £25,600 per annum
    • Minimum wage of £10.75 per hour
    • Level of pay depending on the occupation.

The highest possible category must be taken into account while calculating your salary in the UK. For example, if a sponsor offers you £35,000 per annum while the minimum pay for your occupation is £40,000, your application will not be approved by the Home Office.

Who Can an Applicant for a Skilled Worker Visa Add to Their Application?

An applicant for a UK Skilled Worker visa can add their spouse or partner and their minor children to the application.

Requirements for Obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa

To get a UK Skilled Worker visa, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be older than 18 years old
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Have a clean immigration record and no entry bans
  • Be of good health (citizens of some countries must be tested negative for tuberculosis)
  • Have good knowledge of English confirmed by a special test
  • Have a relevant specialisation and/or work experience.

How Long You Can Stay on a UK Skilled Worker Visa and Further Opportunities

A UK Skilled Worker visa is valid for as long as your contract with the hiring company is valid or for five years if your contract is unlimited. After your visa expires, you can:

  1. Apply for an indefinite leave to remain if you have spent five years in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa and meet other requirements for ILR applicants, including sufficient knowledge of English and Life in the UK test;
  2. Extend your visa if you meet all the immigration requirements and your employer extends your contract, or you have found a new employer who can issue a certificate of sponsorship for you;
  3. Switch to a different visa.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

After staying and working in the UK for five years on a Skilled Worker visa, you and your dependants can apply for ILR, or settlement. You need to keep in mind that to get ILR, you must not leave the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months of your stay. As a main applicant, you must provide reasons for all the periods of your absence (for example, business or personal reasons). You must also prove that your profession is still in demand and you receive at least the minimum salary.

If you apply for IRL, you must pass the Life in the UK test and prove your knowledge of English to at lease B1 level according to European classification.

UK Citizenship and Passport

After obtaining ILR in the UK on the basis of a Skilled Worker and after a year of living in the UK as a settled person, you and your dependants can apply for naturalization, or UK citizenship. For naturalisation to be successful, some requirements must be met. The major requirement is that you must not be absent from the UK for more than 450 days in the five years prior to the application and for more than 90 days in the last year prior to the application.

  • UK-based authorised immigration advisors
  • Official representation in the Home Office
  • Analysis of potential risks of refusal
  • All necessary certificates, documents and cover letters collected and prepared
  • Certified translation of documents
  • Application filled in according to all requirements
  • Legal support and consultations at all stages

Costs of Applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

Costs of applying for a Skilled Worker visa depend on the number of applicants, visa validity period and place of application. To calculate the exact amount that you will need to pay, you must consider all costs, including government fees, immigration health surcharge and money to support you and your family.

Government Fee

You pay a government fee for your application to be processed when you submit it online. How much you pay depends on four factors:

  1. Place of application – British visa centre outside the UK or inside the UK (if you extend your Skilled Worker visa or change a visa category)
  2. Period of stay – up to three years or over three years
  3. Applicant’s qualifications – if your profession is on the shortage occupation list, you will pay less no matter where you submit your application
  4. Applicant’s nationality: citizens of 25 European countries pay £55 less. This discount can be added to the discount for your qualification. However, it is applicable only for the main applicant.


Government fee to apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa

Period of stayApply outside the UKApply inside the UKShortage occupation list (any place of application)
Up to 3 years£610 per person£704 per person£464 per person
More than 3 years£1,220 per person£1,408 per person£928 per person

Government fees often constitute the biggest part of the costs since your application can be refused several times because of the incorrect paperwork or missing documents. To avoid such mistakes and not to pay a government fee several times, it is better to contact experienced immigration advisors at Imperial & Legal.

Immigration Health Surcharge

All visas applicants coming to stay for longer than six months must pay an immigration health surcharge (IHS). This allows immigrants to use the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK free of charge. IHS amounts to £624 per person for every year of stay in the UK. You must pay for the whole period at once when you apply for a Skilled Worker visa.


When you apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you must prove that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account. For the Home Office, this money is sufficient to live off without getting any social benefits before you get your first salary in the UK. The money must be kept in your bank account for at least 31 day prior to the application.

If you add dependants to your application, IHS will be even larger. If you add a spouse or a partner to your application, the amount will increase by £285. You must pay £315 for the first child dependant and £200 for each additional child dependant.

To apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa in the most efficient way and to avoid any additional costs, you need legal support. Imperial & Legal’s experienced advisors have been successfully solving the issues for UK immigrants for many years. With our legal assistance, you will get a UK Skilled Worker visa in a few steps.


Contact Imperial & Legal

Timeframe: 1 day

Imperial & Legal specialists are licensed immigration advisors. A consultation can be held face-to-face in an office or remotely via an audio or a video call in Zoom/Skype. During the consultation, your advisor will get to know your case, listen to your comments and answer all your questions. If you already have a certificate of sponsorship, our experts will start working on your case after signing a contract with you. If your employer does not have a sponsor licence yet, but is ready to hire you, our advisors will help the company to obtain a sponsor licence and issue a certificate of sponsorship for you.


Prepare documents and submit an application

Timeframe: 1–3 weeks

Imperial & Legal immigration advisors act as your official representatives till you get a final decision from the Home Office. Our experts will prepare a list of documents that will be required from you to get a Skilled Worker visa, have them translated into English, draft cover letters and prepare your application, fill in an online form, pay an application fee and submit an application. Then, you will have to choose the date and time of your visit to one of the UK visa centres to submit biometrics and upload all the necessary documents into the system.

Get your UK Skilled Worker visa

Timeframe: up to 3 weeks

An application for a UK Skilled Worker visa is processed within 3 weeks. After your application is approved and youget your visa, you can enter the UK.

Imperial & Legal does not only help you get your visa, but also offer comprehensive assistance with all the issues concerning relocating to another country, like searching for a comfortable flat or enrolling children into nurseries or schools.

Extend your visa, apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain or UK citizenship

Timeframe: 5–6 years

Depending on the validity period of your visa, you need to contact your legal advisor two months prior to its expiry to extend it or apply for IRL, or settlement. You can settle if you have stayed in the UK for five years and meet other requirements. Imperial & Legal advisors will prepare documents that are required to apply for IRL and arrange an English test and the Life in the UK test for you. After you stay in the UK for a year as a settled person, our advisors will be glad to assist you with obtaining a certificate of naturalisation and British passport. 

Success Stories on Skilled Worker Visa

FAQ about a UK Skilled Worker Visa

What knowledge of English is required to get a UK Skilled Worker visa?

To be able to work in the UK, it is sufficient to have B1 level of English according to European classification. You must confirm your level with a special test. Though applicants with B1 are not profficient speakers, they can talk, read and write on daily and business topics relatively easily.

If you have any documents proving that you have got a degree in one of the British universities, you do not need to take a language test. However, your university education had to be held in English. If you are a national of one of the former outposts, including the USA, Canada and Australia, but also small Caribbean countries, like Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, St Kitts & Nevis, you can also skip the language test. Therefore, applicants of Caribbean citizenship by investment programs do not have to worry about English tests if they want to relocate to the UK.

Can my employer pay me the salary lower than the officially set rate?

There are some exceptions to the rule requiring a sponsor to pay their foreign employees at least £25,600 per annum or at least the set salary rate. For example, if your annual income amounts to less than £25,600 or below the set salary rate for this profession, you can still apply for a Skilled Worker visa in the following cases:

  • Your specialisation is from the shortage occupation list
  • Your wage will be at least £10.75 per hour.

Your employer can also pay you 70–90% of the set salary rate if your annual income exceeds £20,480 and you meet one of the following criteria:

  1. You have an in-demand qualification
  2. You are under 26 years old and a student, a recent graduate, or an intern
  3. You have a first doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or a degree in any other area if your minimum annual income amounts to at least £23,040
  4. You have a higher doctoral degree.

Does an EU citizen need a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK?

From 1 January 2021, EU citizens do not exercise the exceptional right when applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa.

There are three exceptions:

  1. EU citizens who came to the UK before 31 December 2020 and have not applied for the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021 for a good reason, namely the circumstances outside of their control, for example domestic violence or a long-lasting illness
  2. EU citizens who join their family members who relocated to the UK before 31 December 2020
  3. Irish citizens do not need a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK. 

Who can get a £55 discount off a government fee?

You pay a lower government fee if you are a citizen of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Turkey, Finland, France, Croatia, and the Czech Republic.

The discount applies only to the main applicant. All other applicants have to pay a full government fee.

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