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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 continues to provide opportunities, for entrepreneurs and investors seeking to secure a residency permit. However not all migrants possess the skills or financial resources required to invest in the British economy. If you excel in a sought-after profession and demonstrate expertise in your field consider applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa. In this immigration status you will have 5 important advantages at once:

  1. You will legally move to a prosperous country with a high standard of living.
  2. You will have a well-paying job, gain unique experiences and improve your professional skills.
  3. A British residence permit will cost a small amount of money, and if you have a scarce speciality, you will be given an additional discount.
  4. You can take your wife or civil partner and children with you to England.
  5. After 5 years of permanent residence in the UK on a work visa you will be eligible to apply for permanent residency and the next step is for you and your family to apply for British citizenship.

It comes as no surprise that an increasing number of experts are moving to the UK for work opportunities. If you’re thinking about obtaining a work permit, for the UK, Imperial & Legal immigration lawyers are here to offer legal assistance and support.

UK Skilled Worker visa allows you to move to the UK with your family members, work, study, and after a few years get a permanent residence permit and a British passport. Imperial & Legal can help you realise your goals.

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

According to the immigration rules, the following important factors are the key conditions for obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa:

  1. Applicants should only be employed by UK companies accredited by Immigration who have a sponsorship licence. In other words, you should not apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa unless you have an invitation from a UK employer. The inviting party, in turn, must be able to employ a foreign specialist.
  2. An applicant for a UK Skilled Worker visa must obtain a sponsorship certificate, which must include their job title. Certificates are issued through the Sponsorship Licence Management System, a special programme that is accessed by accredited sponsoring companies.
  3. In England, the future holder of a Skilled Worker visa must work in one of the in-demand professions – these include medical workers, scientists, engineers, firefighters, social service workers, top managers and many other important professions. To find out if your occupation fits these criteria, you will need to find out its UK four-digit code and look carefully at the table of in-demand occupations on the government website or seek advice from Imperial & Legal.
  4. Your employer must pay at least the minimum wage for your labour. There are 3 ways to calculate the wages of foreign workers in the UK:
    • Minimum rate of £25,600 per annum before income tax;
    • Time pay at the rate of £10.75 per hour;
    • Set rates according to the position held.

When determining your salary, the higher of the 3 choices is considered. To illustrate this process let us consider a scenario. If the company you work for proposes a salary of £35,000 but the required minimum wage for that role is £40,000, your request for a UK Skilled Worker Visa may be rejected by immigration officials.

Who can a UK Skilled Worker Visa holder include in the application?

Family foreign professionals are able to bring their spouse or civil partner and minor children with them to the UK.

Requirements for Obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa

To obtain a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • Age over 18 years old;
  • No criminal convictions;
  • No immigration offences and no debarment from entering the country;
  • Good health (some countries will require a negative TB test);
  • A good level of English language proficiency, which is confirmed by passing a special test;
  • Availability of education and/or work experience relevant to the speciality.

UK Skilled Worker Visa validity and options

A UK Skilled Worker Visa is granted based on the contract length of up to 5 years for fixed term contracts, allowing overseas professionals to work in the country:

  1. Apply for permanent residence (ILR) if the period spent in the UK on a Skilled Worker/Tier 2 General visa is 5 years and the applicant meets all other requirements for ILR, including language and life in the UK test;
  2. Extend your visa if your employer renews your contract or another employer is found willing to issue a sponsorship certificate and the applicant still meets all the requirements of the British immigration authorities;
  3. Apply to change to another visa category.

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK

A person holding a UK Skilled Worker Visa along with their family members can seek residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain) following a 5 year stay in the UK while employed under the visa. Yet meeting a criteria for ILR is essential – one must not exceed 180 days of absence from the country within any 12 month period throughout the visa tenure. The principal applicant must explain all periods of absence (both business and personal). To maintain your visa, you need to demonstrate support from your employer and ensure that you meet the minimum salary criteria.

Moreover, passing the Life in the UK assessment and confirming a B1 level of proficiency based on European standards are also necessary

UK Citizenship and Passport

One year after obtaining permanent residence on a UK Skilled Worker Visa, all family members can apply for naturalisation (UK citizenship), provided all requirements are met – the main one being absence from the country for no more than 450 days in the 5 years preceding the application and no more than 90 days in the last year.

  • British Licensed Immigration Solicitors
  • Customer officials in front of Home Office
  • Analysing the possible risks of a British visa refusal
  • Selection and preparation of necessary certificates, documents, cover letters
  • Professional translation of documents
  • Completion of the visa application taking into account the necessary requirements
  • Legal support and consultations at all stages

Costs of Applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

The amount you spend on a UK Skilled Worker Visa will depend on the number of applicants, the duration of the visa, and where you apply. To know exactly how much money you will need for your move, you need to look at each of the costs in more detail: government fees, medical fees, and funds to support yourself and your family.

State duty

The fee for processing your application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, which is payable at the time of online application. The fee depends on 4 factors:

  1. The place of application is at a UK visa application centre outside the UK or in the UK itself (if you are extending your Skilled Worker visa or changing category).
  2. The period of stay is up to 3 years and more than 3 years.
  3. Applicant’s speciality – holders of a scarce profession, particularly in demand in England, pay less regardless of where they apply.

Nationality of the applicant: for nationals of 25 European countries the fee is reduced by £55. This discount is combined with the reduced rate for members of scarce professions, but only applies to the principal 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

The government fee is often the biggest part of the cost of obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa, as an incorrectly completed form or some missing document can result in the application being rejected. To completely eliminate all mistakes and avoid paying the same fee multiple times, seek the help of experienced immigration solicitors Imperial & Legal.

Contribution for medical care

The Compulsory Medical Fee is payable by all applicants for visas that entitle them to live in the UK for more than 6 months. Paying this fee allows immigrants to use free NHS healthcare. The fee is calculated on the basis of £624 for each year of the visa for each person. The fee is payable in full at the time of application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa.

Funds to support yourself and your family

At the time of applying for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you must show that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account – an amount that the UK immigration authorities believe is sufficient to enable you to support yourself until you receive your first salary in the UK without claiming social assistance. You must have been in your account for at least 31 days at the time of application.

If you are bringing a family with you to England, this amount will need to be even higher. If you include a spouse or partner in your application for a UK Skilled Worker Visa, the required limit increases by £285, with an additional £315 for one child and a further £200 for each additional child.

To ensure that the process of obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa goes as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, you will need expert legal support. Imperial & Legal’s experienced professionals have been successfully dealing with UK immigration issues for many years. With our help, you will become a holder of a UK Skilled Worker Visa in just a few steps.


Contact Imperial & Legal

Timeframe: 1 day

Imperial & Legal professionals are licensed immigration advisers in the UK. A consultation with our specialist can be held at our office, by telephone or via Zoom/Skype video link. As part of the consultation, the immigration adviser will clarify your circumstances, wishes and answer any questions you may have. If you have a sponsorship certificate, after signing the service agreement, our specialists will start working on your case. If your employer does not yet have a sponsorship licence but is willing to provide you with a workplace, we can help the company to obtain a sponsorship licence and issue a sponsorship certificate for you.


Prepare documents and submit an application

Timeframe: 1–3 weeks

Imperial & Legal immigration advisers are your official representatives until a decision on your visa application is received. Our lawyers will prepare for you a personalised list of documents for obtaining a UK Skilled Worker Visa, arrange professional translation of documents into English, prepare cover letters with the right arguments, competently draft the application, complete the official online forms, pay the visa fee and submit the application for consideration. We will coordinate the time of your visit to the British visa centre for biometric data submission and upload all the necessary documents into the system.

Get your UK Skilled Worker visa

Timeframe: up to 3 weeks

Your Skilled Worker visa application will be decided within 3 weeks.  Once your application has been approved and you have been granted a UK Skilled Worker Visa, you can travel to the UK.

The list of our company’s services is not limited to assistance in visa processing – we offer comprehensive support in matters related to organising a move to another country, and can help you find a comfortable flat, arrange kindergarten or school for your children.

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

Timeframe: 5–6 years

Depending on the validity of your UK Skilled Worker Visa, you should contact a lawyer 2 months before its expiry to extend it or to obtain a UK permanent residence permit, which can be obtained after 5 years of residence in the country if all the necessary conditions are met. Imperial & Legal will prepare documents for permanent residence and help you prepare for the English language exam and the Life in the UK test. After another year, our immigration lawyers will assist you in applying for British citizenship – with our competent legal support, you will receive a certificate of naturalisation and a UK 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?

The level of language proficiency required to work in England is B1 in the European Classification and will need to be confirmed by taking a special test. This is not yet perfect English, but at this level the applicant can speak, read and write relatively easily within the range of everyday and work-related topics.

If you have a degree from a British university located in the United Kingdom, this is sufficient to prove your language skills. The main condition in this case is that you have been taught in English. The language test can also be waived for nationals of countries that were once British colonies, which include not only the USA, Canada and Australia, but also tiny Caribbean islands such as Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis. Thus, participants in Caribbean passport programmes are spared the headache of language testing when they obtain a British Isles residence permit.

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

There are a few exceptions to the harsh rule requiring the sponsoring company to pay you at least £25,600 per annum or a set rate of pay. In particular, even if your annual income is less than £25,600 (or the set amount for the job), you can still apply for a skilled worker visa if:

  • You are applying for a position from a list of in-demand occupations;
  • You will be paid at least £10.75 per hour of work.

You can also be paid 70-90% of the set rate if your total annual income is at least £20,480 and you meet one of 4 criteria:

  1. You have a speciality that is in short supply in England;
  2. You are under 26 years of age, still studying, have recently graduated or are in a professional training programme;
  3. You have a PhD (corresponding to a Russian PhD) in the following fields: exact sciences, technology, mathematics or a PhD in any other field, provided your minimum salary is at least £23,040 per annum;
  4. You have a scientific degree higher than a doctoral degree (corresponds to a Russian doctoral degree).

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

From 1 January 2021, EU citizens are no different from other foreigners and must apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa to work in the UK.

There are 3 categories that are exceptions:

  1. EU nationals who moved to the British Isles before 31 December 2020 and for good reason have not applied for free EU Settlement by 30 June 2021. A valid excuse is circumstances beyond the applicant’s control, such as domestic violence or prolonged illness.
  2. EU citizens who are travelling to Britain to reunite with family members who resettled here before 31 December 2020;
  3. Irish nationals also do not need to obtain a UK Skilled Worker Visa to take up employment 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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