Skilled Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 General)

There are five categories of Skilled Worker applicants who will require a sponsorship certificate from their sponsors in order to make a visa applications in line with the certificate:

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Skilled Worker Visa

The applicants are required to score at least 70 points in total to successfully apply for UK Skilled Worker Visa and they can claim the following points under the heads of Attributes, English Language and Maintenance:-

The Home Office will now check that applicants are genuine and that they intend to meet the conditions of the leave they apply for.

A. Scoring Sections

I Attributes

Initial Applications

The applicant has to score 50 points under this section that can be claimed on the following bases:

  1. The applicant will be awarded 30 points for a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer meeting any one of the following requirements: the job has an annual salary of £155,300 or more; the sponsor has completed a Resident Labour Market Test; the job is on the shortage occupation list; 
  2. Appropriate salary and allowances: 20 points.  The job has to pay at least the ‘going rate’ for that occupation according to the Codes of Practice and at least £20,800 a year.

The applicant must claim 50 points in total using points earned in the above subsections.

Extension Applications

Applicants who are already on a Tier 2 (General) visa (issued under the old immigration rules) will be given 50 points under Attributes provided they are working for the same employer and at the same position.  The new rules therefore will not affect those who wish to continue working at the same position and same employer.

II English Language

Under the Skilled Worker Visa category, applicants are required to provide evidence that they speak, communicate and understand the English language to a certain level. This can be done in three ways:

  • By being a national of one of the majority English speaking countries, i.e. USA, Australia, Canada, etc.
  • By having a degree level qualification from an English speaking country
  • By having passed an approved English language test to a B1 CEFR standard (for example, IELTS: 4.0)

The applicant will earn 10 points for this.

The following persons would also be automatically given 10 points under this section:

  1. Those last granted leave under a Tier 2 category issued under the old immigration rules (having already provided evidence of meeting the English language requirement) and applying for an extension within the same category
  2. Those who were last granted leave under Tier 1 (Entrepreneur).
  3. Those making an application as a result of a change of employment where: The applicant has already provided evidence of meeting the English language requirement

III Maintenance

The applicant will need to score 10 points under this section to obtain a visa. This is possible in the following ways:

  1. Providing  the last 3 months’ bank statements prior to the date of application (with a closing balance dated not more than one month before the date of application) showing a balance of at least £945 at all times; or
  2. The employer (sponsor) can certify that they will provide maintenance and accommodation during the first month of his employment in the UK. Please note that only A rated sponsors are be able to certify maintenance for prospective workers.

Exemptions: The following persons having leave to remain or leave to enter would automatically qualify for 10 points:

  • Tier 2 Migrant issued under the old immigration rules
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned airline
  • Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order
  • Representative of an overseas Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organization.

Maintenance for Dependants: The applicant will require showing an extra £630 for each of his dependants in addition to the £945 that he requires for himself or herself.
The applicant’s sponsor will also be able to certify the dependants of the prospective employee for maintenance purposes.

B. Transitional Measures

The following persons who wish to extend their stay in the same capacity would be able to apply under Tier 2 (General) transitional measures (under the old immigration rules) where he or she has or was last granted leave as a:

  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency, or broadcasting organization
  • Member of the operational ground staff of an overseas owned airline
  • Tier 2 (General) migrant issued under the old immigration rules

In this case, they would be awarded 50 points under Attributes, and 10 points each in the English language and Maintenance sections.

C. Duration of Skilled Worker Visa

  • Successful applicants for entry clearance may be granted leave for a period equal to the length of engagement shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 1 month, or  a maximum time of 6 months based on the job start date shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship, whichever is the shorter.
  • If the application is for a change of employment, those who are already on a Tier 2 (General) issued under the old immigration rules may be granted leave of to the job end date shown on their Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days, or up to five years, or for the period of time they need to take their total stay in Skilled Worker Visa category to six years (this is counted from the date they were first granted entry clearance or leave to remain), whichever is shorter.

D. Work Allowed

Applicants having leave to remain or leave to enter under the Skilled Worker Visa category would be allowed to take supplementary employment that must meet the following criteria:

  • is outside of their normal working hours;
  • is no more than 20 hours per week;
  • is within the same profession at the same professional level as the work for which the Certificate of Sponsorship was issued.

In addition to the supplementary employment, the applicants are also allowed to take unpaid voluntary employment.

E. What work is not allowed?

Skilled Worker Visa workers are not allowed to enter self-employment, set-up a business or join another business as a director or partner without obtaining permission from the Home Office. 

They are also not allowed to hold more than 10% shares in the sponsor company if it is a limited (unless applying under the Intra-Company Visa category or those who earn £155,300 or more).

F. Switching Rules

The following persons are able to switch into one of the above categories of the Worker Visa, provided they fulfil all the requirements:

  • Tier 1 Migrant
  • Tier 2 Migrant issued under the old immigration rules
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson, Minister of religion) visa issued under the old immigration rules
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer: established staff) visa and you’re applying to change sponsor issued under the old immigration rules
  • Health and Care Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Health and Care Visa))
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and sporting) for a job as a professional footballer and you meet the Tier 2 (Sportsperson) requirements, issued under the old immigration rules
  • Innovator
  • Start-up
  • A Dependent partner of someone with a Student visa
  • Member of Operational Ground Staff of an overseas owned Airline
  • Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization

Switch from a Student Visa

In order to be able to switch from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker Visa you must have obtained one of the qualifications below:

  • A UK bachelor’s degree
  • A UK master’s degree
  • A postgraduate certificate in education
  • A professional graduate diploma of education

The other student visa categories are:

  • Student
  • Student nurse
  • Student Re-sitting an examination
  • Overseas Qualified Nurse or Midwife
  • Person writing up a Thesis
  • Post graduate doctor or dentist
  • Student Union Sabbatical Officer

The following rules become effective for this visa category:

  • The general salary threshold is lowered from £30,000 to £25,600; with this salary being “exchangeable” when other requirements are met, including having a PhD qualification relevant to the job; a PhD qualification in a STEM subject relevant to the job; a job in a shortage occupation; being a new entrant (with this definition being amended to allow those sponsored in postdoctoral research position; those working towards professional qualifications; and those who were on the Student route up to 2 years before the application); or being in a job in a listed health or education occupation.
  • Sponsors will no longer need to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test.
  • The 12-month “cooling off period” and six-year maximum length of stay in the route are being removed.
  • The £35,800 salary threshold for indefinite leave to remain applications is being removed, and replaced with £25,600 or the going rate for the occupation.

Changes to the immigration rules effective from 06 April 2021 

The minimum salary thresholds for the Skilled Worker route need to be worked out by the hour, not just annually. Minimum pay can be no less than £10.10 an hour, even if the annual salary is above £25,600 a year (or the lower annual thresholds for new entrants, shortage jobs and people with PhDs). 

Also, sponsoring UK companies of Skilled Workers who think that the worker now qualifies for one of the lower salary thresholds (e.g. if the person has somehow acquired a PhD since starting the job) and wants to reduce their pay to that lower threshold will have to submit a fresh application to the Home Office.

Administrative Review (Entry clearance applications only)

If the entry clearance application is refused by the ECO in the British Diplomatic post, the applicant will be given a right to make a request for a review of the decision that must be exercised within 28 days of the date of service of the decision. The applicant will only be able to rely on the information/documents already submitted with the application and will not be allowed to provide or submit any fresh evidence with the review request.

It is therefore strongly advised to take professional help while making grounds for making review request.

Appeals (In country Applications only)

Applicants whose Skilled Worker Visa extension applications are refused will be given full rights of appeal, provided they are not left with any leave to remain in the UK at the time of the decision. In these appeals, applicants are no longer allowed to make use of fresh evidence in order to challenge the decision of the Home Office (unless appealing on human rights, asylum or race discrimination grounds) and can rely only on the evidence submitted with the application. The applicant will have 10 working days from the date of service of decision to lodge an appeal against that decision.

It is strongly advised to seek professional assistance in lodging an appeal against any decision of Home Office.

Settlement Prospects

Skilled Worker Visa workers can apply for permanent settlement in the UK on completion of a total of five years in the following categories, most recently having Skilled Worker Visa or Tier 2 leave to remain (issued under the old immigration rules):

  1. Tier 1
  2. Minister of Religion Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Minister of Religion)
  3. Sportsperson Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Sportsperson)
  4. Health and Care Worker Visa (formerly known as TIER 2 (Health and Care Visa)
  5. Representative of an overseas newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting organization

What services can we offer?

  • We can advise on the procedure of making the Skilled Worker Visa application in line with the sponsorship certificate
  • We can assess the job and the applicant`s details and advise on the likelihood of the applicant being sponsored under Skilled Worker Visa
  • We can advise and represent our clients in making their leave to remain/entry clearance applications in line with the certificate of sponsorship
  • We can advise and represent our clients’ dependants to seek dependant visas in line with the visa of the main applicant.
  • We can lodge an appeal (in-country only) or make a request for an administrative review if the applicant`s application is refused for some reason
  • We can advise in making applications for indefinite leave to remain for those who have already completed the five years’ qualifying period in the UK

Whatever the case, we are here to assist, advise and represent our clients in relation to any aspect of their immigration matters.

 

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