UK work visa switching from another visa scheme

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New UK visa points system and Skilled Worker visa Coronavirus Update:

Due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic many people who were previously unable to switch to a Skilled Worker visa (previously called Tier 2 visa) can do so now.  If you have difficulty travelling you may be able to stay in the UK while travel restrictions are in place.

People who already hold a valid UK visa can often switch to a Skilled worker visa in order to remain in the UK and work in a skilled profession. The rules which govern switching vary depending on which type of work visa you want to switch to. This section details the rules and conditions for switching to all the sponsored UK work visas, including the Skilled Worker Visa, Intra-Company Transfer visa, Minister of Religion, and Sportsperson visas.  It is now much easier and simpler since the new UK visa  points system of 1 December 2020.  The UK visa switching rules have been simplified with similar rules for everyone.


Switching to a Skilled Worker, Minister of Religion, or Sportsperson visa

Please note that due to the current COVID-19 situation there may be exceptions to this requirement.  If you are in the UK and and are not in one of the following visa categories you can apply to switch to a Skilled Worker visa, Minister of Religion, or Sportsperson visa:

  • Visitor

  • Short-term student

  • Parent of a Child Student

  • Seasonal Worker

  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household

  • Outside the Immigration Rules

Skilled Worker Visa Switching Rules for Student visa holders

Students in the UK can apply to switch to a Skilled worker, Minister of Religion, or Sportsperson visa if they are not in any of the categories mentioned above. The circumstances under which Tier 4 visa/Student visa holders can switch are more favourable than before.  

The requirements for those on student visa and those who have had student visas in the last two years can come under the new entrant salary rate which is more favourable than for others.

Those current and former Student visa holders who meet all the following conditions can come under the more favourable new entrant rate:

  • The most recent visa was a student visa/Tier 4 visa.
  • The student visa/Tier 4 visa expired less than two years before the date of application.
  • The course must be one of the following:
    • Bachelor's degree

    • Master's degree

    • Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PCGE)

    • Post Graduate Diploma of Education (PGDE)

  • Student visa holders need to.have either completed or are within three months of completing all the coursework and taken all the exams for one of the above qualifications from a licensed Student visa sponsor.

Switching to a Intra-company Transfer visa

The requirements are the same as when switching to the Skilled Worker visa.  Under they new UK visa points system it is now much easier.  Probably with the latest changes to the Skilled Worker visa the intra-company transfer may become less and less popular. There is no longer the resident labour market test requirement with the Skilled Worker visa compared to the requirement in some cases for the previous Tier 2 General visa.  You can now obtain a  Certificate of Sponsorship to employ skilled workers living overseas in about a day.  Previously it could take about a month in some cases.

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