UK Skilled Worker Visa: Everyone Needs to Follow the Rules

If you’re thinking about working in the UK, the Skilled Worker Visa is a big deal. It’s the visa that lets skilled workers from other places find jobs in the United Kingdom. Getting this visa means you can be a part of the UK workforce.

Before you dive in, it’s super important to know what you need to do. You see, this visa isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s a way to open doors to jobs. That’s why understanding the rules and steps to apply is key.

When it comes to applying, everyone needs to follow the rules. If you’re an employer looking for workers or a worker searching for a job, you’ve got to meet the right requirements. Not knowing these things can lead to confusion and delays. So, taking the time to learn about the Skilled Worker Visa and how to apply is a smart move.

So, what exactly is the Skilled Worker Visa?

Well, it’s a special pass that lets people with skills work in the UK. It’s the new version that took over from the old Tier 2 (General) visa.

The whole point of this visa is to let skilled people from other countries find good jobs in the United Kingdom. It’s like a bridge that connects talented workers with job opportunities across various fields.

Now, to get this visa, you’ve got to meet certain requirements. These are the rules you need to follow. They check things like your job offer, your English language skills, and how skilled you are for the job you want. Meeting these criteria is the key to getting your foot in the door for a UK job adventure.

Skilled Worker Visa Requirements

When it comes to getting the Skilled Worker Visa, there are certain requirements you need to meet. They use a points system, and you’ve got to gather at least 70 points to qualify.

First off, there are some things you absolutely need to have. These are called “mandatory criteria.” You need a real job offer from a company that’s allowed to hire you. Plus, you should be able to speak English to a certain level. And your job must be skilled enough, like having a certain skill level or education.

But that’s not all. There are other things, kind of like “tradeable criteria,” that can give you more points. If your salary is higher, you get extra points. If your job is in a shortage area, that’s more points. Even having a certain educational qualification, like a PhD, can give you extra points.

So, all these points add up. If you reach 70 points or more, you’re on the right track to getting that Skilled Worker Visa. Just remember, having the right job offer, good English, and the right skill level are the foundation. Then, those extra points can give you an even better chance.

Sponsorship and Getting a CoS

To get the Skilled Worker Visa, having a company that sponsors you is super important. They need a special license to do this. This license says they can hire people from outside the UK.

Your sponsor is like your guide through the visa process. They play a big role in helping you apply for the visa. They need to give you something called a “Certificate of Sponsorship” (CoS). This paper is like proof that they’re supporting your application.

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There are two types of CoS: “defined” and “undefined.” If you’re already in the UK and want to switch to this visa or apply for a different one from within the UK, you’ll need a defined CoS. If you’re outside the UK or applying from within for the first time, you’ll need an undefined CoS.


The important thing is that your sponsor gives you the right CoS for your situation. This is what shows the government that you’re all set to work in the UK.

In a nutshell.

Having a sponsor with the right license and getting the right CoS is like having a ticket to start your UK job journey. Your sponsor guides you, and the CoS is your proof that you’re good to go.

Finding the Right Job and Skill Level

To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, your job needs to be at a certain skill level. This skill level is measured using something called “RQF levels.” Think of them like markers that show how skilled a job is.

The government uses “Standard Occupation Codes” (SOC) to decide if your job is the right fit for the Skilled Worker Visa. Each job has a code that matches its skills and duties. It’s like a tag that helps them see if your job matches the visa requirements.

When you apply, your sponsor must pick the right SOC code for your job. It’s really important to get this right. You don’t want to choose the wrong code, or your visa might not work out. If there’s a doubt, you might need to prove that your job fits the chosen code.

Getting the right job and SOC code combo is key. This way, you can show that your job is skilled enough for the visa and start your journey to working in the UK.

In short.

Your job’s skill level matters a lot. The SOC code is like a label that proves your job fits the visa rules. Getting this right helps you on your way to a UK job adventure.

Making Sure Your Salary Fits

When you’re looking at the Skilled Worker Visa, your salary is a big part of it. There’s a minimum amount you need to earn to qualify. This amount can change based on different factors.

Usually, the lowest salary is around £26,200 a year. But it can be different depending on your job or if you’re new to the UK workforce. For example, if you’re in a job with shortages, you might have a lower minimum. Or if you’re just starting out, the bar might be set a bit lower.

There’s also something cool called “trade-offs.” If your salary is a bit lower but you meet certain conditions, you can still apply.

But there’s more to it than just your salary. You’ve also got to show you can support yourself financially. You need to prove you have around £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days before you apply. This is to make sure you won’t need help from the government.

If you have a family, like a spouse or kids, you need more money to show you can take care of them too. For example, if you have a partner, you need to show you have £285 for them. And for each kid, it’s around £315.

Talking the Talk: English Language Requirement

To get the Skilled Worker Visa, you need to show that you can understand and speak English. They want to make sure you can communicate well in the UK.

You need to have at least a “B1” level of English. This means you can understand, read, write, and speak English to a certain standard. It’s like having a good chat and understanding what’s going on around you.

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There are different ways to prove your English skills. You can show your certificates from English courses or take a special test. These tests are approved by the government, and they check if you meet the language requirement.

But wait, if you’re from certain countries, you might not need to prove your English. People from these countries are in this lucky group: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, and the USA.

Getting Started: Applying for the Visa

Applying for the Skilled Worker Visa is like telling the government, “Hey, I’m ready to work in the UK!” You start by filling out a form online. It’s kind of like sharing your details, so they know who you are.

You’ll need to gather some papers to show you’re all set for this journey. One super important paper is the “Certificate of Sponsorship” (CoS). Your sponsor gives you this. It’s like a letter from them saying, “We support this person to work with us.”

But wait, there’s more. Depending on your situation, you might need extra papers. For example, if you’re coming from certain countries, you’ll need to prove you’re healthy by taking a tuberculosis test. If you have dependents like a spouse or kids coming with you, you’ll need to show some papers for them too.

Getting Started: Applying for the Visa

When you apply for the Skilled Worker Visa, you’ll need to gather a few important documents to show you’re ready for work in the UK. These documents play different roles in proving your eligibility and readiness.

  1. Passport or Travel Document: This is your ID to show who you are and that you can travel.
  2. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): This special paper comes from your employer and says they want you to work in the UK. It’s like your job offer is proof.
  3. Job Details: A confirmation of your job title, role, and salary. This makes sure everything lines up.
  4. Financial Proof: You need to show you have enough money to support yourself. This could be about £1,270 in your bank account.
  5. English Language Proof: If English isn’t your main language, you might need to show you can understand and speak it. This could be through certificates or an English test.
  6. Other Documents Based on Your Situation: Depending on your background and the type of visa you’re switching from, you might need extra papers. These show your journey and qualifications.

Getting Your Visa: Fees and How Long It Takes

Getting your Skilled Worker Visa has a couple of things to consider: the fees you need to pay and how long it takes.

1. Application Fees: Applying for the visa comes with a cost. The fee you pay depends on your situation. If you’re applying from outside the UK, it could be around £610 for up to 3 years. If you’re already in the UK and want to switch, it could be about £704 for the same period. There’s a bit of a discount if you’re from certain countries.

2. Fast-Tracking: If you’re in a hurry, you might want to fast-track your application. This means you pay extra to get your visa processed quicker. But remember, this isn’t available everywhere, so check if it works for you.

3. Processing Times: How long you’ll wait for your visa can vary. If you’re applying from outside the UK, it might take around 3 weeks. If you’re switching visas within the UK, it could be up to 8 weeks. But if you fast-track, it’ll be faster.

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How Long It Lasts and Extending It

Your Skilled Worker Visa isn’t just for a quick visit. It can last for a good amount of time.

1. Visa Duration: When you get the Skilled Worker Visa, it’s like getting a ticket to stay and work in the UK. This ticket is usually valid for up to 5 years. So, you have plenty of time to settle in and make the most of your work opportunities.

2. Extending Your Visa: The best part is, if you’re loving your time in the UK and want to stay longer, you can! You can apply to extend your Skilled Worker Visa. But remember, to extend it, you need to meet certain rules. Like still having a job, meeting the right salary, and keeping your visa status clean.

Switching and Changing Jobs

Your journey with the Skilled Worker Visa isn’t set in stone. You have options if things change.

1. Switching Visas: If you’re already in the UK on a different visa and want to work as a skilled worker, you can switch to the Skilled Worker Visa. But there are rules. For example, if you’re a student, you might need to finish your studies first.

2. Changing Jobs: If you’re on the Skilled Worker Visa and you want to change jobs, that’s possible too. But there’s a catch. You need to apply for a new visa if you’re moving to a different employer or role. Your new job also needs to meet the visa’s requirements.

So, your Skilled Worker Visa isn’t just about where you start. It’s about where you can go and what you can do. Whether you’re switching visas or changing jobs, there are paths to follow to keep working in the UK.

Working More: Additional Work and Extra Income

Your Skilled Worker Visa gives you a main job, but what about working more?

1. Extra Work: If you’re looking to make more money or gain more experience, you can take on extra work. You’re allowed to have a second job, but there are rules. Your extra job needs to be in the same field or a shortage occupation.

2. Conditions: If you’re considering extra work, make sure you follow the rules. Your main job still needs to be your priority. Also, remember, only specific jobs are allowed for extra work. And these jobs need to fit your main job’s category or be on the shortage list.

So, your Skilled Worker Visa isn’t just about one job. If you’re up for it, you can explore more work opportunities. Just remember to stick to the rules and make sure your main job doesn’t get affected.


The UK Skilled Worker Visa opens doors to work opportunities and a fulfilling life in the UK. It’s your ticket to join the UK workforce, contribute your skills, and build a better future.

From understanding eligibility criteria to gathering the right documents, this visa journey might seem like a lot, but it’s worth it. With a valid job offer, proper English skills, and the right qualifications, you can meet the requirements and step into the UK job market.

Remember, the visa isn’t just about your main job. You have the option to explore extra work within certain boundaries, and you can switch jobs or even extend your visa if you’re loving your time here.