UK immigration system allows individuals to switch from other visa categories to skilled worker visas. This means those who are in the UK on a different visa can switch to a skilled worker visa if they wish to, provided they meet the eligibility conditions. However, you cannot switch to a skilled worker from some visa routes that are –
(a) as a Visitor; or
(b) as a Short-term student; or
(c) as a Parent of a Child Student; or
(d) as a Seasonal Worker; or
(e) as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household; or
(f) outside the Immigration Rules.
Applicants on any other route present in the UK are allowed to switch to a skilled worker visa.
Eligibility for skilled worker visa
From 1 January 2021, the new points based system is in place in the UK. Now there is a single immigration policy applied to all non-British citizens who wish to come and work in the UK. Now an applicant has to score 70 points.
There are some conditions that are mandatory and that adds up to a total of 50 points while for the rest of 20 points you can score against tradable points to work in the UK. Let us see the mandatory points first and the scores you can get against them.
- You must have a job offer by an approved sponsor – 20 points
- You must be offered a job at the appropriate skill level of RQF3 or above – 20 points
- You must be able to speak English at a sufficient level – 10 points
Now there are some tradable points, and you need to score a minimum of 20 points out of those to score a total of 70 points as per the new point-based system. The minimum salary that you must be offered is £20,480.
- If you are offered a salary between £20,480 and £23,039 – 0 points
- If you are offered a salary between £23,040 and £25,599 – 10 point
- If you are offered a salary of £25,600 or above – 20 points
- If you have earned a Ph.D. in a subject relevant to the job offered – 10 point
- If you have earned a Ph.D. in a STEM subject relevant to the job offered – 20 Points
- If you are offered a job in the occupation of shortage as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee – 20 points
So, you can see that these 6 points are tradable and you need to meet any of these 6 that gives you a total of 20 points that will be added with the 50 mandatory points making your total score 70 after which you are eligible to work in the UK as per new point-based system.
Who can apply for a skilled worker visa?
All non-British and non-Irish nationals who have a confirmed job offer by an approved sponsor in the UK to work in specified occupations at an appropriate skill level of RQF3 or above can apply to switch from any other visa category except a few such as visitor visa to skilled worker visa provided, they meet other conditions and score a minimum of 70 points.
Application fee and other costs
If you apply from inside the UK to switch to a skilled worker visa you need to pay an application fee of £704 per person if applying for a stay of up to 3 years and £1,408 per person if you are applying for a stay of more than 3 years.
However, if you are offered employment on the shortage occupation then you will have to pay £464 per person if you stay for up to 3 years and £928 per person if you stay for more than 3 years.
Apart from the application fee you also need to pay a sum of £624 per year as a healthcare surcharge. You may have to pay £19.20 to have your biometric taken as well.
The Immigration health surcharge is not applicable to Health and Care workers as well as they will be paying a fee of £232 for 3 years and £464 for more than 3 years.
How to apply for a skilled worker visa?
You must apply online.
When to apply?
You must apply before your current visa expires.
How long does it take to get a decision?
You should usually get a decision on your application in 8 weeks after you apply. However, depending upon your situation, it may take longer as well, and you will be contacted in such a situation.
If you want to apply for a UK Skilled worker visa and need expert advice, contact Visa and Migration Ltd at +44 (0)20 3411 1261
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