Applying for a Skilled Worker visa

A Skilled Worker visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. It is open to individuals wanting to work in the UK who have been offered an eligible job by an employer with an approved Sponsor Licence. 


What is a Skilled Worker Visa?

A Skilled Worker visa is available for skilled workers of all nationalities that have been offered a position from an eligible UK company who is a registered sponsor. This route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children. 

This visa can last up to 5 years before you need to apply for an extension and should be updated if you change jobs or employer. You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after working in the UK for 5 years on the Skilled Worker visa. 

The requirements for this visa are complex and therefore you should seek advice from an immigration specialist before you proceed with an application. Latitude Law’s specialist business lawyers can advise you of the requirements specifically relating to you and ensure that the conditions of your employment are suitable to meet the Immigration rules. 

If you would like to learn more about how Latitude Law can help you, call our team on 0161 234 6800, or complete our contact form and we will get in touch with you at a time that is convenient for you. 

Who is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa?

There are various requirements that must be met for this visa, relating to the job you undertake, the salary you will be paid, your English ability and your ability to maintain yourself during your stay.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Be aged 18 years or older;
  • Work for and have a Certificate of Sponsorship (issued no longer than 3 months prior to your application) from a UK company who is a registered sponsor;
  • Work a skilled job that is on the list of eligible occupations;
  • Be able to prove your knowledge of the English Language;
  • Be paid a yearly salary of £25,600 in most cases, yet workers may be paid less where they have other recognised attributes called ‘tradable points’ or work a job on the shortage occupation list;
  • Have cash funds of at least £1,270 available unless you have an ‘A-rated’ sponsor who is willing to meet your maintenance costs up to the end of the first month of your employment.

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances. You may want to discuss your Skilled Worker application with an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

What are the requirements of the employer?

In order to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, your emoloyer (/sponsor) must have assigned you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Employers can only assign a CoS if they are registered sponsor licence holders.

The CoS needs to be issued within the 3 months prior to you submitting your Skilled Worker visa application.

How we can help

The expert solicitors at Latitude Law can provide expert advice on all aspects of UK Skilled Worker visa applications. We can provide detailed guidance about the requirements, or prepare the entire application alongside a detailed representation document explaining how the relevant rules are met. Our experts can also provide assistance in applications to switch to the Skilled Worke route from another category, extend your leave or apply for settlement.

Why choose Latitude Law?

Latitude Law has extensive knowledge in all aspects of immigration, human rights, and nationality law. Our experienced solicitors have assisted clients with some of the most complex issues that can arise from visa applications, extensions and switching into other categories.

We have the largest immigration team in the North West and work tirelessly to ensure all of the necessary steps are completed to the highest standard. We are recognised as a Tier 1 immigration law firm by the Legal 500.

Innovator route Q&As

Can I switch into the Skilled Worker category?

You may be eligible to switch to a Skilled Worker visa if you are currently in the UK in one of the following categories:

  • Start-up
  • Entrepreneur
  • Innovator
  • Student or Graduate

If you are switching from other categories, you may need to leave the UK Entry Clearance fro your country of nationality or usual residence.

Read the full guide to switching from inside the UK here.

How long does a Skilled Worker visa last?

There is a job creation requirement for the Innovator category; this is measured at settlement stage and can be either:

  • 10 full-time jobs, or
  • 5 full-time jobs each paying at least £25,000 per annum

Note there are alternative ways to measure business success, including:

  • Increased customer base
  • Significant R&D
  • Gross revenues exceeding £500,000 with £100,000 from exports

Do I need to work full-time in my business?

You must work full-time developing the business in the UK and your endorsing body must be reasonably satisfied that you will spend your entire working time in the UK focussing on the business progression. You can also form a team in the UK, but each member of the team must have access to at least £50,000 to be eligible.

When can an Innovator apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

You can apply for settlement / indefinite leave to remain after 3 years’ continuous residence in the Innovator category. You will also need to pass a Life in the UK test at the point of applying for residence.

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All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 15/03/2019