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Skilled Worker Visa

If you want to come to the UK for work, you’ll need visa clearance to do so. The Skilled Worker Visa (replacing the Tier 2 (General) Visa as of December 2020) is one option for skilled migrants. It’s also one of the key routes to settlement, as you’ll be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after living in the UK for five years under this class of visa.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you’ll need to secure a job offer from an employer that holds a Skilled Worker sponsor licence from the UK Home Office. Applicants must also navigate the UK’s immigration points system successfully and satisfy all necessary requirements.

WH Solicitors are highly experienced in supporting Skilled Worker visa applications. With a friendly and professional approach, we guide our clients through the application process – making strong representations that secure positive outcomes.


Coming to the UK for Work – The Law

There are a number of options available for those who wish to come to the UK for work. Both temporary and long-term work visas allow their holders to enter the country for employment purposes, but the requirements and benefits of each category vary.

The Skilled Worker visa is available to foreign nationals who wish to work in a skilled role in the UK. Following a successful application, you will be able to:

  • work in the UK in an eligible skilled job
  • bring your partner and/or children with you as dependants (if they are eligible)
  • do voluntary work
  • study
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (gaining indefinite leave to remain) after 5 years spent here


Jobs That Come Under the Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker visa is designed for workers who have an offer of employment in a skilled role with a UK employer that has a Skilled Worker sponsor licence from the Home Office. There are a wide number of roles and sectors that you could work in, including:

  • Accountancy
  • IT
  • Teaching
  • Finance
  • Public Services
  • Science and Engineering
  • Agriculture

For a full list of eligible occupations, visit the gov.uk website here.

For some medical and healthcare professionals, the separate Health and Care visa category may be more appropriate. For more information, please see our dedicated Health and Care visa page.

Regardless of the role or sector, it must be shown that there is a genuine vacancy at the necessary skill level. This means that the applicant must perform the specific duties and responsibilities of the skilled role to an adequate standard, and the job must not include lower-skilled duties or those that are outside of the job description.


Skilled Worker Visa Eligibility Criteria

The Skilled Worker visa is part of the UK’s Points Based System (PBS), and applicants must score at least 50 mandatory non-tradeable points in addition to at least 20 tradeable points.

Points can be awarded for gaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), job skill level, knowledge of the English language, salary level, PhD level qualifications, gaining employment in a shortage occupation, and being a new entrant to the UK.

Applicants must also:

  • have funds enough to support themselves financially in the UK;
  • show the ability to travel and travel history for the past 5 years;
  • meet any necessary UKVI-approved English language tests at the required standard;
  • provide tuberculosis test results if migrating from a country listed in Appendix T of the Immigration Rules; and
  • supply a criminal record certificate from any country lived in for 12 months or longer in the last 10 years, if working in an occupation that will involve contact with vulnerable people.

Skilled Worker visa applicants are also expected to meet the minimum salary requirements. This means that you will usually need to earn at least £25,600 per year. You should be paid at least the going rate for your occupation.  There are certain exemptions where a lower salary level can earnt.


Skilled Worker Visa Conditions

Once a Skilled Worker visa has been issued, the visa holder must comply with a number of conditions while also supporting their sponsor’s compliance duties.

Skilled Worker visas are subject to the following rules and conditions:

  • Visa holders cannot access public funds;
  • Work is only permitted in the job the applicant has been sponsored for; and
  • Additional employment is permitted provided the visa holder continues to work in their sponsored role.

An update to the issued visa may be required if the applicant’s job role or circumstances change during their time in the UK.


How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Visa

Applications for Skilled Worker visas can be submitted up to 3 months before a proposed work start date, and how you apply will depend on your individual circumstances.

Applicants who wish to apply from overseas must do so via an online application form, while in-country applications can be made by anyone already in the UK that wishes to extend their existing visa or switch from another category.

The costs of applying for a Skilled Worker visa will vary based on your personal circumstances. More information about this can be found on the dedicated gov.uk website page.

Most holders of Skilled Worker visas must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £624 per year. This fee must be paid upfront, and entitles successful applicants to access National Health Service (NHS) care. The fee will be refunded if your application for a visa is not successful.


How We Can Help

As specialist immigration solicitors, we provide our clients with fast and reliable support when applying for a Skilled Worker visa. Our expert team will ensure your application has the strongest possible chance of being approved, and we will guide you throughout the entirety of the process from putting together the initial documentation through to preparing you for final entry clearance.

With WH Solicitors, you’ll get award-winning service from fiercely independent legal professionals who are able to make convincing representations to the Home Office and UK Visa and Immigration.

To secure the best chance of getting approved for a Skilled Worker visa, speak with our team today by calling (+44) 01483 608 786 or by emailing contact@whsolicitors.co.uk.

Skilled Worker Visas


All individuals must prove their right to work in the UK before employment can commence, however, the following individuals do not need any further leave or permission from the Home Office to do so:

  • British Citizens (but not British Overseas Citizens, British National (Overseas) or British Protected Persons)
  • EU/EEA/Swiss nationals resident in the UK by or before 31 December 2020, and who subsequently apply to EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled or settled status by 30 June 2021
  • Non-British nationals with leave to remain /Settlement in the UK

The following groups are also exempt from UK work visa requirements:

  • Members of the armed forces of Commonwealth or Overseas Territories posted to the UK
  • Overseas government ministers while on official business
  • Officials working for an overseas head of state
  • Diplomats who resided outside of the UK when appointed to their post

All other individuals require a visa to work in the UK, and should not commence employment until the relevant proof of visa status has been given.

From 1 January 2021, the UK launched a new points-based immigration system. The points-based system works by assigning points that reflect various factors, such as a migrant’s professional skills and grasp of the English language.

Under the new system, applicants who wish to come to the UK to work will need to score a minimum of 70 points to qualify for a visa. Some requirements are mandatory and will earn a visa applicant a maximum of 50 points. The remaining 20 points can be made up of Under the new system, applicants who wish to come to the UK to work will need to score a minimum of 70 points to qualify for a visa.

The current criteria for the points-based system are as follows:

CharacteristicsMandatory / TradeablePoints
Offer of a job by an approved sponsorMandatory20
Job at an appropriate skill levelMandatory20
Speaks English at the required levelMandatory10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher)Tradeable20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory CommitteeTradeable20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the jobTradeable10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the jobTradeable20

Following the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period and the freedom of movement with the EU, the rules for EU nationals have changed.

EU Nationals already resident in the UK as at 11 pm on 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to submit an application to the EU Settlement Scheme for pre-settled or settled status. Individuals who fall into this category have the right to work in the UK until 30 June 2021 regardless of whether they have made an application to the scheme or not.

EU Nationals who arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 have no right to work unless, before arrival, they have obtained a visa that permits them to do so. These individuals are not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Employers will not be required to conduct retrospective checks on existing EU national employees after 30 June 2021. After this time, the same new immigration rules will apply to both EU and non-EU nationals, and so employers who wish to recruit workers from abroad will need to hold a sponsor licence.

Yes, you can apply for entry and leave to remain in the UK as a dependant of a person who holds a UK long-term work visa. The criteria for such applications vary depending on the category of visa held by your family member, spouse, or partner, but you must have a genuine and subsisting relationship with the long-term work visa holder, adequate accommodation, and access to funds to maintain yourself while living in the UK.

The contents of this webpage are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal advice. All information is correct as of the date of publication, and any individual or organisation should be careful to seek qualified advice from a specialist immigration lawyer before acting on any of the topics referenced by this content.

Skilled Worker Visa



This Immigration category enables Applicants who have been offered a skilled job in the UK to work and reside in the UK.


Our Fees

Our fees cover all work* required to submit an Application to the Home Office at a fixed fee between £1,500 – £2,000.00.

No VAT is charged or payable for Entry Clearance Applications.

If an Extension Application and the Applicant is an UK resident, VAT shall be chargeable at a rate of 20%.



Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as visa fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

The likely disbursements are:

Application Fees:

Visa of Up to 3 Years

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £610.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £704.00


Visa of more than 3 Years

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £1,220.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £1,408.00


Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Long-Term Staff of more than 3 Years

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £1,220.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £1,408.00


Tier 2 (General) Visa Up to 3 Years – Shortage Occupation

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £464.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £464.00


Tier 2 (General) Visa of more than 3 Years – Shortage Occupation

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £928.00
  • Extension/Switch to this category from inside the UK: £928.00


Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Graduate Trainee

  • Home Office’s Entry Clearance Fee: £482.00
  • Certificate of Sponsorship Fee: £199.00
  • Immigration Skills Charge: £362.00 (small company) or £1,000.00 (medium or large company) per year of Sponsorship
  • NHS Immigration Healthcare Surcharge: £624.00 per year
  • Biometric Enrolment Fee: £19.20
  • UKVCAS Fees: Depends on the Application Centre, can range between £0.00 – £200.00

Up to date fees can be found at: UK visa fees – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


What services are included

The work will involve:

  • File opening/Archiving;
  • All correspondences, emails, routine letters, telephone/video calls and meetings;
  • All inherent Administrative works;
  • Continuously assessing and advising the case;
  • Preparation of the Application Form;
  • Submission of the Application Form
  • Advising on Dependants and the associated works and fees;
  • Providing a Checklist of required supporting/evidential documents;
  • Facilitating with ascertaining the supporting/evidential documents;
  • Where possible, providing Templates of how the supporting documents should appear to be in compliant with the Immigration provisions;
  • Preparing a comprehensive and legally orientated Cover Letter & Submissions, which shall include comprehensive Factual and Legal Submissions;
  • Arranging Application Appointment;
  • Liaising with UKVI until a decision is reached;
  • Discussing your circumstances in detail and confirming whether this is the most appropriate application for you to make and what other options may be available to you;
  • Providing advice about the requirements of the Immigration Rules and whether you meet the criteria;
  • If you do not fulfil a certain criterion, whether this can be overcome and how.
  • Considering the supporting evidence, you have provided;
  • Where necessary, helping you obtain further evidence;
  • Providing advice regarding the outcome of the Application and any next steps.

*Our fee assumes that:

  • This a new Application and no previous Applications had been made to the Home Office or refusals received.
  • This is a standard case and the matter is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise.

*The costs quoted here do not include:

  • If your matter becomes overly complex and more work is required in order to prepare and submit an Application.
  • We will advise you if further work is required and the increase in our charges.
  • Where the Home Office refuse your Application, advice and assistance in relation to any Administrative Review and Appeal process.


Processing time

We will normally be able to submit this type of Application within 4 weeks of you instructing us. This could take longer if the role needs to be advertised or if there are outstanding documents in the Application. However, we will let you know at the earliest opportunity if it is likely to take longer than this.

We cannot guarantee how long the Home Office will take to process your Application, but you should get a decision within 3 weeks of attending your appointment at the visa application centre.

Please see the link for up to date timescales for Entry Clearance Applications: Visa decision waiting times: applications outside the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)