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Skilled Worker Visa Overview and Eligibility

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Skilled Worker visa Overview and Eligibility


The Skilled Worker visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa on 1 December, 2020. The Skilled Worker visa forms part of the UK government’s post-Brexit, points-based immigration system,  From 1 January, 2021 newly arriving EU citizens need to also come under the new UK visa points system.

This visa grants you, and any dependents, entry to the UK to live and work for up to five years. You must have an eligible job with an approved UK employer.

If you are a healthcare worker, you can apply for the Health and Care visa.

Citizens from the EU, Iceland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

If you or a close family member in the UK are an EU, Icelandic, Liechtenstein, Norwegian or Swiss national and started living in Britain prior to 1 January 2021, you could be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you qualify for the scheme, you will not need a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK. You have up until 30 June, 2021 to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

To live and work in the UK on or after 1 January, 2021 you will need to apply for a UK visa.

Citizens of Ireland do not need to apply for a visa or the EU Settlement Scheme.


Skilled Worker visa eligibility

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • Work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office

  • Have a ‘Certificate of Sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the job you have been offered in the UK

  • Do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations

  • Be paid a minimum salary – which is dependent on the type of work you do


Your specific eligibility for this visa is subject to the job that you will be doing in the UK.

You cannot apply for this visa unless you have a confirmed UK job offer.


Skilled Worker visa requirements

Applicants will need:

  • To score 70 points awarded based on meeting minimum salary requirements, English proficiency (proof required), having a job offer with the appropriate skill level

  • To earn a minimum salary of £25,600 per year, unless the job applied for is on the Shortage Occupation List, or the ‘going rate’ for the job the applicant will be doing is higher than this, or if the applicant has a PhD, in which case the minimum salary is reduced to £20,480

For more information about the requirements you need to meet to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, contact


Your stay in the UK

You can stay in the UK for up to five years on a Skilled Worker visa, and you can bring family members, including a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18. You will need to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

There’s no limit on how many times you can extend your visa. After five years you could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Indefinite leave to remain gives you the right to live, work or study in the UK without any time limits, plus you can apply for benefits – if you qualify.


Applying for a Skilled Worker visa

You make the initial application for this visa online.

How you apply is dependent on whether:

  • You’re currently based outside the UK and coming to the country

  • You’re currently based in the UK and looking to extend your current visa

  • You’re in the UK and looking to switch to a Skilled Worker visa from another visa program


You can apply for this visa up to three months before the day that you are due to start your job in the UK. This date will be shown on your defined Certificate of Sponsorship.

When you apply, you will need to provide supporting documents and proof of your identity. At the biometric appointment you will typically need to provide your passport and, if your employer is not certifying the financial requirement, your bank statements.  You may also need to provide proof of English ability.  Typical documents for family members are marriage certificates and birth certificates.  You should allow extra time to make your application – especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.


UK Immigration Health Surcharge

When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you will have to pay the UK Immigration Health Surcharge – currently £624 per year.

Conditions of your Skilled Worker visa 

You should make sure you adhere to the conditions of your stay in the UK. Under the Skilled Worker visa, you’re permitted to:

  • Work in an eligible job

  • Study

  • Bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependents’ - if they qualify

  • Take on additional employment in certain circumstances

  • Do voluntary work

  • Travel overseas and return to the UK

  • Apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You are prohibited from:

  • Applying for UK public benefits, including child benefit, housing benefit and more 

  • Accessing a State Pension

  • Changing jobs or employer, unless you update your visa


Further information, help, and advice's team of specialists has over thirty years of experience in international visa services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK sponsor licence application and visa application to UK Visas and Immigration at the Home Office. 

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at