Skilled Worker. Simplified.
We can help you apply for your Skilled Worker visa. Here we tell you how
What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
The Skilled Worker route is for European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and non-EEA nationals who are sponsored to do a specific skilled job for a Home Office licensed sponsor.
To be eligible, applicants must be awarded 50 mandatory points (for their sponsorship, job and English language skills) and 20 tradeable points (for salary and other attributes).
In some cases (mainly entry clearance applications), applicants must also satisfy non-points requirements regarding tuberculosis testing, available funds and criminal records certificates.
How do I apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
In order to apply to enter the UK as a spouse, you will need to complete an online form, and pay the visa application fee. You will then need to upload your supporting documents, and then attend a biometric appointment.
How much does it cost to apply for a Skilled Worker visa?
The costs of the visa application fee depends on a number of factors, including how long you will be staying, whether the position you are being sponsored for is in shortage and on the Shortage Occupation List, and whether you are inside or outside of the UK.
In addition to the visa application fee, you will need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is £624 per year of your sponsorship.
There are other fees you may have to pay if, for example, you want an expedited decision, or a biometric appointment at a particular time.
Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa/how-much-it-costs
What information do I need to provide in the Skilled Worker application form?*
At the time of writing, you will need to provide answers to the following types of questions in the online Skilled Worker application form:
Do you have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number?
In addition to the names already provided, are you now or have you ever been known by another name?
Provide your address.
How long have you lived at this address?
Do you currently hold, or have you ever held, any other nationality or citizenship?
If you are applying as a doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife or vet, have you passed an English Language assessment accepted by the relevant regulated professional body as a requirement for registration?
Have you provided evidence of your English language ability in a previous application?
Do you have an English language or literature qualification from a UK school?
Do you have a degree equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree which was taught in English?
Have you passed an approved English language test in the last 2 years?
Provide your partner’s details.
Give details about 2 of your parents.
Do you have any family in the UK?
Do you know where you will be staying in the UK?
Where do you plan to stay in the UK?
How many times have you visited the following places in the past 10 years?
- New Zealand
- European Economic Area (do not include travel to the UK)
Have you been to any other countries in the past 10 years?
Provide the date you plan to arrive in the UK.
For either the UK or any other country, have you ever been:
- Refused a visa
- Refused entry at the border
- Refused permission to stay or remain
- Refused asylum
- Required to leave
- Excluded or banned from entry
What is your sponsor licence number as shown on your Certificate of Sponsorship?
What supporting documents do I need to provide with my Skilled Worker visa application?
You should provide the following supporting documents with your Skilled Worker visa application:
- A valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:
- Evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK, for example bank statements (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your employer can support you)
- Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they’re applying with you
- Evidence of how you meet the English language requirement
- Your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country
- A criminal record certificate - if you’re working in certain jobs
- A valid ATAS certificate if your employer tells you that you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher
- Your UK PhD certificate, or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number) if your qualification is from outside the UK - you’ll need to apply through Ecctis
Can you review my skilled worker visa application before it is submitted?
We regularly review skilled worker visa applications prior to their submission, and which we would usually do via our popular one-off consultation service. If you would be interested in this please do get in touch.
Do you need a lawyer to make a skilled worker visa application?
We cover this question in a general way on our Do you actually need a lawyer? page.
We would normally suggest that a review of the application would be more appropriate than full representation, unless there are particular issues of concern.
If you are in doubt about whether you think you need a lawyer give us a call for a chat.
HOW CAN WE HELP WITH YOUR SKILLED WORKER VISA APPLICATION
As a part of our one-off consultation service, we regularly review skilled worker visa application forms and supporting documents prior to their submission to the Home Office. This service is aimed at applicants who are
- concerned about their eligibility to apply for a skilled worker visa
- unsure about the supporting documents required in their application, or
- seeking reassurance from an experienced practitioner to make sure everything has been correctly completed
Your review will be undertaken by Nick Nason, principal at Edgewater Legal, and listed as an expert on the Lexis Nexis immigration experts Q&A panel, and regular commentator and contributor to Free Movement, the best read UK immigration law blog.
We charge a flat fee of £300 + VAT for this service. You can find further details on our one-off consultation page.
We regularly represent individuals making skilled worker visa applications to the Home Office. If you instruct us to assist with your application, we will manage the process from end to end, from completing the application form through to the decision. This includes the following
- Clear initial advice regarding eligibility with a detailed letter of advice and guidance on the route, and on the supporting evidence that is required
- A very high level of client responsiveness including contact by email, phone or other means during the evidence gathering process
- Detailed scrutiny of the online form and supporting documents prior to submission with collation and preparation of the application
- Preparation of a covering letter to be filed with application (if required)
- Collation of the supporting documents into PDF format and uploading them on the Home Office portal
- Advice and guidance on rights and responsibilities once the visa has been obtained
We offer our skilled worker visa service for a fixed fee of £1,950 + VAT.
This does not include the Home Office application or other fees. Our fee is fixed, and will not vary depending on the number of hours that need to be spent on the application, or if the application becomes more complex than originally envisaged (which often happens): it covers clients from instruction through to advice on the decision
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is my job at the appropriate skill level?
The applicant must score 20 points for a job at the appropriate skill level.
To award these points, you must be satisfied the applicant is being sponsored in an occupation code listed in Table 1 or Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations.
To check which job code is the right one for your role, you can use the Occupation Coding Tool on the ONS website
What level of English do I need?
An applicant must score 10 points for English language skills equivalent to level B1 of the Common European Framework of References for English language in all 4 components (reading, writing, speaking and listening).
What is the minimum salary that I can be paid?
For each tradeable points option, sponsors must pay applicants whichever is the higher of the following: • the relevant general threshold • the going rate (subject to any permitted reductions) • £10.10 per hour
What is the general threshold?
The general threshold is the minimum salary which applies regardless of the applicant’s occupation code. This may be £25,600, £23,040, £20,800 or £20,480, depending on the tradeable points option.
The general threshold is the same, regardless of how many hours a week the applicant is sponsored to work. It cannot be pro-rated for part-time work. However, if the applicant is being sponsored to work more than 48 hours a week, only the salary for the first 48 hours a week can be considered.
For example, if the applicant is sponsored to work 60 hours a week for £10 per hour, they will be considered to have a salary of £24,960 (£10 x 48 x 52) per year and not £31,200 (£10 x 60 x 52).
What is the going rate?
The going rate is the minimum salary which applies for a particular occupation code. The going rates are set out in Appendix Skilled Occupations. Depending on the tradeable points option, applicants must be paid either the full going rate, or 70%, 80% or 90% of the going rate. These reductions are not permitted for applicants sponsored in occupation codes listed in Table 2 of Appendix Skilled Occupations.
Going rates must be pro-rated based on the weekly working hours stated on the certificate of sponsorship (CoS).
The going rates in Table 1 of Appendix Skilled Occupations are based on a 39-hour week. Hourly rates are shown in brackets. To avoid rounding errors, you should prorate the going rate based on the annual figure, rather than the hourly figure. You do this by dividing the annual going rate by 39, then multiplying by the weekly hours stated by the sponsor.
For example, if the annual going rate is £36,000 and the applicant is sponsored to work a 26-hour week, the pro-rating calculation would be: £36,000 ÷ 39 x 26 = £24,000
The £10.10 minimum hourly rate
From 6 April 2021, applicants must also be paid a minimum rate of £10.10 per hour, even if this is higher than the going rate. As with the going rate, all of the applicant’s weekly hours must be included. Sponsors cannot claim overtime is supplementary employment to justify paying a lower rate, as overtime would still be considered part of the job the applicant is being sponsored for.
Example: an applicant is sponsored to work 42 hours a week as a senior care worker for a salary of £21,000. The applicant is claiming 20 points under option D for a job in a shortage occupation. Their pay exceeds the reduced general threshold of £20,480 and equates to £9.62 per hour. This is higher than the 80% of the going rate they need under option D, but lower than the £10.10 minimum hourly rate. They are not awarded the 20 tradeable points.
Working out the minimum salary in a skilled worker application can sometimes be difficult, and applications which do not meet the minimum salary requirement will be refused.
What is the financial (previously known as the maintenance) requirement?
An applicant will automatically meet the financial requirement when they are applying for permission to stay in the UK, having been in the UK for at least 12 months with permission on the date of application. When the above does not apply, an applicant can meet the financial requirement in one of two ways.
Either their sponsor (providing they are A-rated) can “certify” they will, if necessary, maintain and accommodate the applicant up to the end of the first month of their employment, to an amount of at least £1,270. They will have certified this on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
Or you will need to provide evidence showing you have held funds of at least £1,270 for a 28- day period as set out in the financial requirement guidance (this has reduced from the 90-day requirement which previously existed for Tier 2 applications)
I am already being sponsored as a skilled/Tier 2 worker in the UK, and have been offered a new role with a different sponsor. Do I have to make a new visa application?
A person must make a change of employment application if they:
remain with the same employer and either:
- change their core duties which means their new job is in a different occupation code to the one stated on their original certificate of sponsorship
- change their core duties which means they change jobs from one currently included in Appendix Shortage Occupation List to one which is not included