Welcome to UK Visas, your trusted partner in navigating the complexities of the immigration system. If you're an employer seeking to hire skilled talent from overseas, the Skilled Worker Visa is an essential pathway you should consider. This comprehensive guide aims to clarify the process, offering you a step-by-step walkthrough from eligibility to application procedures.
Why choose a Skilled Worker Visa?
The Skilled Worker Visa is a strategic tool for talent acquisition and workforce development. This visa type is designed to fill gaps in the UK job market by allowing employers like you to recruit skilled professionals from around the world. It also provides a route to permanent residency for the visa holder, making it an attractive option for talented employees.
Occupation Codes and Roles
To sponsor an employee under the Skilled Worker Visa, the job role must fall under the eligible Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes. These codes encompass a wide range of professions, from healthcare and engineering to IT and more. Identifying the correct SOC code is a crucial first step in the application process.
Sponsorship and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
As an employer, you must be approved by the Home Office to act as a sponsor. Once approved, you can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the prospective employee. This electronic document is vital for validating the job offer and confirming your authorization to employ overseas workers.
The job role may necessitate specific academic or professional qualifications. For example, medical professionals must be registered with the relevant UK bodies, such as the General Medical Council.
The baseline salary for a Skilled Worker Visa is £26,200 per annum or the 'going rate' for the job role, whichever is higher. Exceptions apply for roles on the shortage occupation list or new entrants to the job market.
Salary Flexibility for New Entrants
Qualifying new entrants benefit from a reduction in the salary threshold to £20,480, and a lower salary threshold than ‘other workers’ in the same role. As such, anyone relying on the new entrant rate must be able to show that they meet the criteria, i.e., they are under 26 years of age at the time of making their visa application and they are either:
Sponsored in a postdoctoral research position, or
Working towards professional qualifications, chartered status, or registration.
New entrants are however limited to a three-year period of leave. After this period, they must make a further application if they wish to remain in the UK. If continuing under the Skilled Worker route, they would no longer be a ‘new entrant’.
The Skilled Worker Visa comes with varying costs, depending on the visa duration and other factors. Additional charges may include the Immigration Health Surcharge and fees for biometric information.
The skilled worker must prove they can read, write, speak, and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
This can be demonstrated by -
- Passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
- Having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18
- Having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English - if you studied abroad, you’ll need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
Advantages of the Skilled Worker Visa
Career Development Opportunities
This visa category opens a plethora of career avenues in the UK, particularly in sectors facing skill shortages. It's an excellent way for you to attract and retain high-calibre professionals.
A significant perk of the Skilled Worker Visa is the ability for the visa holder to bring their family to the UK, enhancing the visa's appeal to prospective employees.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long is the Visa Valid?
The Skilled Worker Visa is generally valid for up to 5 years and can be extended, offering a pathway to UK permanent residency.
Who Bears the Visa Costs?
Typically, the employer covers the Immigration Skills Charge, while the visa applicant is responsible for the application fee and any other related expenses.
Get in Touch
For bespoke advice tailored to your specific needs, don't hesitate to contact UK Visas. We're here to make your journey to securing a Skilled Worker Visa as seamless as possible.
By leveraging the Skilled Worker Visa, you can strategically enhance your talent pool, contribute to the UK economy, and ensure compliance with immigration laws. Trust UK Visas to guide you every step of the way.