The UK is a great destination for skilled workers who want to advance their careers, enjoy a high quality of life, and experience a rich and vibrant culture. But how can you make this dream a reality? The UK Skilled Worker Visa is a new type of work visa that allows you to work in the UK for an approved employer.
It has replaced the previous Tier 2 (General) work visa, which was more restrictive and complicated. The new visa has introduced several changes that make it easier and more accessible for skilled workers to come to the UK
Understanding the Basics: Visa Type and Duration
The UK Skilled Worker Visa grants you the opportunity to work in the UK for an approved employer, and the best part? You can stay for up to 5 years! If your job falls under the “shortage occupation” list – jobs in high demand – you might enjoy reduced application fees. This visa is particularly designed for individuals from outside the UK.
Breaking Down the Costs
Applying from outside the UK? Here’s what you need to know about the costs:
- Up to 3 years: £719 per person
- More than 3 years: £1,423 per person
However, if your occupation is on the shortage occupation list:
- Up to 3 years: £479 per person
- More than 3 years: £943 per person
Check the shortage occupation list.
Eligibility Matters: Occupations and Employers
Are you eligible for the UK Skilled Worker Visa? The first step is to identify your occupation code, which is usually provided by your UK employer in the job offer letter. You can find the list of eligible occupations here.
Next, it’s crucial to be employed by an approved UK employer. These sponsors pave the way for your visa application, making the process smoother and more guided.
Ensuring Financial Compatibility
The current minimum salary requirements are set at:
- £26,200 per year
- £10.75 per hour
Remember, each occupation code has its unique annual going rate. It’s a good practice to check the going rate for your job using the going rates table.
UK Skilled Worker Visa 2023 Step-by-Step Application Process
- Research and Choose an Occupation: Begin by exploring the shortage occupation list to identify jobs in demand.
- Match with Eligibility: Make sure your chosen occupation is eligible for the UK Skilled Worker Visa by consulting the eligible occupation list.
- Secure a Job Offer: Look for an approved UK employer offering a job in your selected field. The list of approved companies will be your compass.
- Confirm Your Finances: Ensure your salary meets the required threshold, referring to the going rates table.
- Application Time: Apply online here. The processing time for visa decisions typically takes about 3 weeks if you’re outside the UK.
What You Can and Cannot Do
With the UK Skilled Worker Visa, you can:
- Work in an eligible job
- Bring dependents (partner and children)
- Take on additional work in specific situations
- Engage in voluntary work
- Travel abroad and return to the UK
- Apply for permanent settlement in the UK after 5 years
However, there are limitations:
- You cannot apply for most benefits or the State Pension
- Changing jobs or employers requires updating your visa