Navigating the New UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

New UK Skilled Worker Visa Requirements

The Skilled Worker visa is the most popular UK work visa for qualified foreign nationals, which replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa

To prevent problems or delays with the Home Office application, it will be necessary to understand the skilled worker visa eligibility and application criteria, whether you are a company trying to recruit a skilled worker from abroad or an individual applying for a sponsored work visa. Applying for anything and having it rejected means you’ll have to start all over again and waste money and time.

Given the gravity of the situation, sponsors and skilled workers should consult an attorney to learn about their immigration alternatives and determine if the skilled worker visa is the best course of action.

After Brexit, the UK’s immigration system underwent extensive modifications, opening various work visa alternatives to people in different occupations and fields. Therefore, it is important to verify that the skilled worker path is optimal.

In our capacity as immigration attorneys specialising in the United Kingdom, we have advised both businesses and individuals on matters of sponsorship of employment in the United Kingdom and applications for skilled worker visas. Come to us if you need expert guidance on immigration matters.

Requirements for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

A new appendix titled “Skilled Worker” details the qualifications and regulations for the UK skilled worker visa route.

The minimum number of points needed to qualify for a skilled worker visa is 70.

Half of the 70 points needed for a skilled worker visa come from “non-tradeable” or required requirements, such as the work offer, English proficiency, and the necessary skill level for the position. In contrast, the other half comes from “tradeable” or optional criteria.

  • A genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor:
      • Points: 20
      • Mandatory criterion
  • Speak English to the required standard:
      • Points: 10
      • Mandatory criterion
  • Job offer is at a skill level of RQF3 or above:
      • Points: 20
      • Mandatory criterion
    • Salary of at least £20,960 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher):
      • Points: 0
      • Tradeable criterion
  • Salary of at least £23,580 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher):
      • Points: 10
      • Tradeable criterion
  • Salary of £26,200 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher):
      • Points: 20
      • Tradeable criterion
  • According to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), this job is in shortage occupation:
      • Points: 20
      • Tradeable criterion
  • Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job:
      • Points: 10
      • Tradeable criterion
  • Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job:
    • Points: 20
    • Tradeable criterion

Skilled Worker Visa Salary Threshold

  • More than double the rate of the UK minimum salary, the minimum income requirement for a professional worker application would increase from £26,200 to £38,700, an almost 50% increase, according to a government declaration in December 2023.
  • The higher threshold will not apply to health and care professionals or positions with national pay scales, such as teachers.
  • The elimination of the 20% pay cut for shortage occupation posts is another component of the planned revisions.

The Skilled Worker Visa Application Process

  • The applicant must submit an online application with the required supporting documents and payment to apply for a skilled worker visa.
  • The application deadline is three months before the specified start date of the worker’s expected employment in the UK on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • After receiving the Certificate of Sponsorship, the candidate has three months to complete an online application. The application process requires a specific reference number associated with each certificate.
  • Additionally, individuals must schedule a visit to a visa application facility to register their biometric data and provide the necessary paperwork.

Documents Required for a Skilled Worker Visa

The applicant must gather and submit supporting documentation in addition to the application form to establish their eligibility and identification.

Applicants submitting their applications from outside the UK must provide biometric information (photographs and fingerprints) at a UKVCAS facility, or they may utilise the UK Government’s ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app.

In addition, the following papers are required of the applicant:

  • Their sponsor-assigned Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Name and number of the sponsor’s licence
  • Job title verification
  • Annual salary confirmation for the position
  • Code for the job
  • A valid form of identification that allows travel, such as a passport
  • Using expired passports or other travel documents can reveal their travel history.

Extra Papers Based On Your Situation

  • Evidence of your savings, if necessary
  • Proof of English language skills, if needed
  • Tuberculosis test results if they come from a place on the list
  • Proof of link to any dependents filing with you Valid ATAS certificate, if needed
  • If required, a UK PhD title or an ECCI reference number
  • A criminal record check from any place they have stayed in for at least a year in the last ten years is required if they want to work in the UK in education, health care, or social care.

If you are an applicant from a country that is not part of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, or if you are a citizen of one of those countries but do not have a biometric passport with a chip, you are required to have an empty page in your passport.

The Home Office will use their point total from the points-based system to evaluate their application.

Remember that getting a skilled worker visa is no picnic, even with a valid job offer and proof of sponsorship. The candidate still has to fulfil all the other relevant requirements. Any general reasons for denial, such as a relevant criminal record or prior immigration infractions, will also be considered by the Home Office.

What is the Cost of a Skilled Worker Visa?

The person who wants a visa will have to pay a fee. The fee amount depends on the immigration health surcharge and whether the job is on the shortage trade list.

Anyone seeking a visa dependent on the lead visa applicant will have to pay the exact charges.

Applying from Outside the UK:

  • Up to 3 years: £719 per person
  • More than 3 years: £1,420 per person

Applying from Inside the UK (Switching, Updating, or Extending):

  • Up to 3 years: £827 per person
  • More than 3 years: £1,500 per person

Shortage Occupation Roles:

  • Up to 3 years: £551 per person
  • More than 3 years: £1,084 per person