How my legal services can help with your Skilled Worker Visa UK
The UK has always welcomes Skilled Workers with open arms and here at My Legal Services we cover London, Woolwich including the SE18, WC1V areas and UK.
The New Statement of Changes has brought significant changes to the Immigration System, and probably it is the most comprehensive since the July 2012 changes when the minimum income threshold for families wanting to come to the UK has been introduced. The new changes which took place on 01 December 2020, has much to do with the old Points Based System and in particular, Tier 2 (General) and the way migrants, including those from the EU will be sponsored for the years to come.
The “Skilled Worker Route” has now replaced the existing Tier 2 (General) visa route, which closed on 01 December 2020. The Government has divided the new rules for the Skilled Worker Route into Validity, Eligibility, Suitability, Financial, and Criminal Record Requirements. This blog will focus on each division set by the Government.
Foreign-based nationals would now be able to Switch in-country into the Skilled Worker category from any other route, (which they have been initially granted), with the exception of those who are in the UK as a –
- Short-term student; or
- Parent of a Child Student; or
- Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
- Seasonal Worker;
It is good news for those who are already in the UK on a temporary visa (for example – Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa Holders) as they will now be able to access the Skilled Worker Visa from without any burdens.
Part 9 of the Immigration Rules will apply, and particular changes have been made to criminality and violation of immigration laws at any time while in the UK.
The new system continues to use the scoring points with a minimum of 70 points being required to be able to succeed on the Skilled Worker visa and meet the UK visas eligibility requirements.
Anyone who wants to come to the UK to work will need to verify that:
- They have a job offer from a Home Office Tier 2 licensed sponsor. This must be a genuine vacancy
- The job offer is at the required skill level – 3 of RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) or above (A-Level and equivalent).
- They can prove their level of English language required
- In addition, the employment offer needs to meet the acceptable minimum salary threshold.
An applicant can trade these characteristics also, for suppose – they can get points with their qualifications, against a lower salary to get the mandatory number of points.
If the employment offer is less than the minimum salary requirement, but not less than £20,480, an applicant can still be eligible if they have:
- An employment offer in a specific shortage occupation (Find the list on UK government website)
- A Ph.D. which is suitable for the job
- A Ph.D. in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subject appropriate to the job
- Job Offer and a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (20 Points – Mandatory)
To get 20 points, an applicant must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a Tier 2 Sponsor Licences employer.
Receiving an appropriate salary (20 Points – Mandatory)
You must have a job offer that pays the appropriate salary. The job should be paying a salary that meets the acceptable minimum salary threshold. The way the salary structure works has been discussed in great details here
Under Appendix of the Immigration Rules, the Home Office has set out the Occupation codes together with the required level of salary set for that particular skilled job and the going rate. The Home Office requires the applicant to meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa:
- Your job is eligible for this visa
- You be working for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
- You be paid at least the minimum salary for the type of working you be doing – known as the ‘going rate’.
The minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing is whichever is the highest out of the following 3 options:
- £25,600 per year
- £10.10 per hour
- the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing
The general salary threshold under the Skilled Worker route is £25,600 a year or exceeds this amount and pays the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher. .
If you are going to earn less than this- but not less than £20,480, you will still be eligible for applying by trading points with other characteristics. You might still be able to apply for a Skilled Worker visa if your job is eligible if your salary is less than £25,600 or your job’s usual ‘going rate’. You must still be paid at least £10.10 per hour.
You can be paid between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,480 per year and you meet one of the following criteria:
- Your job is in a shortage occupation
- You’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
- You have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,040)
- You have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
English language Requirements (10 Points -Mandatory)
You will need to show that you speak the relevant level of English (based on the job you will do), and demonstrate the same through documentation, such as a degree taught in English, or an English language test, or GCSE or A level certificates or Scottish Highers certificate in support of your visa application.
You don’t have to verify your knowledge of English if you are from:
Antigua and Barbuda
Malta (newly added)
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Job in a shortage occupation list (20 Points- Tradeable)
If your employer is providing you with a job that comes under a shortage of workers list (Designated by Migration Advisory Committee), then you can get 20 points even if you are not meeting salary requirements in the application process.
You can also trade points (known as tradeable points) through your education qualifications, like if you are a PhD student especially from STEM then you can get 10(for PhD relevant to the job) and 20 points (for PhD in STEM).
An applicant will have to show funds that are equal to £1270 for 28 days as at the date of application unless your employer has mentioned it on the certificate of sponsorship. You can also apply for your dependants to come and join under this category.
If the applicant has held permission to stay in the UK for more than 12 months then they do not have to meet this requirement.
Period of Grant
There is no cap on the time spent in the UK under the Skilled Worker route. If under Tier 2 (General) workers could only spend a maximum of six years in the UK in the new category applicants can stay on the visa for as long as they continue to meet the rules. You can also bring your family member to the UK and later qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
The cooling-off period has also been abolished.
New Entrants under the Skilled Worker Route
These new entrants will have to fulfil the lower minimum salary requirement of 70% of the going rate for their occupation code or GBP 20,480, whichever is high.
Intra Company Transfers (ICT) visa route
ICT workers will be allowed to switch into the skilled worker’s route if they are eligible. From January 2021, an overseas intra-company transferee cannot hold an ICT visa for more than five years in any six years, except where they qualify to be granted up to nine years based on their salary.
The high earner threshold will be lessened from GBP 120,000 to GBP 73,900. This will allow qualified applicants to hold the ICT visa for up to nine years in any 10-year rolling period. They will also be free from the provision to work for the overseas business for twelve months before entering. The ICT visa route would not lead to settlement but it will be possible to transfer to the skilled worker category, moving a path to settlement.
This Statement of Changes is a positive step taken by the UK government. Through this, the government has discontinued several disturbing and unnecessary rules that used to restrict sponsored immigrants. It will clearly make the system more simple, as the jobs that can be sponsored are now wider and more inclusive.
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