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A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

From 4 April 2024, the minimum salary threshold for a Skilled Worker visa application will rise to the higher of £38,700 or the going rate for that type of role.

Roles will be as set out in the SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) 2020 instead of SOC 2010. This will result in changes to the occupation code number for some roles.

The data used to set these salaries will also change from the 25th percentile of the 2021 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data to the median (50th percentile) of the 2023 ASHE data. This change means that for some roles, the minimum salary threshold will be significantly above £38,700.

The Home Office has announced transitional salaries, which will apply to individuals who already hold a Skilled Worker visa and apply to extend their permission or to change employers in the UK. For these individuals, the minimum salary threshold will be the higher of £29,000 (up from £26,200) or the going rate for the type of role, which will be based on the 25th percentile of the 2023 ASHE data. In most cases, this amounts to a 10-20% increase in the minimum salary threshold. These transitional provisions will apply for applications made by individuals granted their Skilled Worker visa before 4 April 2024 and who are applying before 4 April 2030.

The Home Office has confirmed that it is retaining the 'new entrant' salary discounts for those applying for a Skilled Worker visa in certain cases (including students switching to Skilled Worker, applicants under 26 years old, and those working towards full registration or chartered status, such as architects, accountants and solicitors).

The new entrant discount reduces the Skilled Worker minimum salary threshold to the higher of £30,960 per year or 70% of the going rate for the applicable SOC 2020 occupation code. For example, for a new entrant applicant taking up a role which falls into occupation code 2134, the minimum salary threshold for a 37.5-hour working week would be £34,580 (70% of £49,400).

Both thresholds are significantly higher than the pre-4 April 2024 threshold of £20,960. This could well mean that many graduate roles are no longer eligible for sponsorship. 

It is also important to remember that this discount can only apply for a maximum of four years, including any time spent on a Graduate visa. At the end of the four year period, the individual will need to meet the higher salary thresholds.

The full applicable going rate salary must be paid when someone is applying for settlement.

You must have a job offer from an approved UK employer before you apply for a Skilled Worker visa. Approved employers are also known as sponsors because they are sponsoring you to come to or stay in the UK.

If your employer is not currently approved, they may be able to apply for a sponsor license. 

Not every job title is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa application. You will need to know your 4-digit occupation code (your employer) and search to find out eligibility in the ONS occupation Coding Table. 

You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa. Your employer will give you a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ to prove this. The certificate of sponsorship is an electronic record, not a physical document. It will have a reference number, which you’ll need for your visa application.

You must apply for your visa within 3 months of getting your certificate of sponsorship.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

● work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office

● have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK

● do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations

● be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do

Your employer must make sure your job pays at least the minimum wage and follows the UK rules for how many hours a week you work.

There are different salary rules if you work in healthcare or education. If you work in healthcare, you might be able to apply for the Health and Care Worker visa instead.

When you apply, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

● your certificate of sponsorship reference number - your employer will give you this

● proof of your knowledge of English (SELT, GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English) 

● a valid passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality

● your job title and annual salary

● your job’s occupation code

● the name of your employer and their sponsor licence number - this will be on your certificate of sponsorship

Depending on your circumstances, you might be asked to provide:

● evidence that you have enough personal savings to support yourself in the UK unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your employer can support you)

● If applying with a partner or children, you’ll need a proof of your relationship with them  

● your tuberculosis test results if applying from a specific country

● a criminal record certificate - if you’re working in certain jobs

● a valid ATAS certificate if your employer tells you that you need one because your job involves researching a sensitive subject at PhD level or higher

● your UK PhD certificate or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number). If your qualification is from outside the UK - you’ll need to apply through Ecctis to 

You’ll need a blank page in your passport for your visa if you’re:

● from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

● from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein but do not have a biometric passport with a chip in it

You’ll need to provide a criminal record certificate if you’re applying from outside the UK and you work in:

● education, for example, teachers, education advisers and school inspectors, childminders, teaching assistants

● healthcare, for example nurses, doctors, paramedics, managers, pharmacists, dentists and dental nurses, ophthalmic opticians

● therapy, for example, psychologists, speech and language therapists, counsellors

● social services, for example, social workers, managers, probation officers, welfare and housing officers

If you’ve lived in more than one country

You might need to provide a certificate from each country you’ve lived in, depending on your age and how long you stayed in each country.

If you’re under 28, you’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more since you turned 18.

If you’re 28 or over, you’ll need a certificate from any country you’ve stayed in over the last 10 years.

If you want to change your job or employer, you must apply to update your visa.

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK.

Once your documents are ready, how you apply depends on whether you’re:

● outside the UK and are coming to the UK

● inside the UK and extending your current visa

● inside the UK and switching from a different visa

When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to have enough money to:

● pay the application fee - the standard fee ranges from £719 to £1,500, depending on your circumstances

● pay the healthcare surcharge - this is usually £1,035 per year

● support yourself when you arrive in the UK - you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

Your partner and children can apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible.

You, your partner, or your children will each need to:

● pay the application fee

● pay the healthcare surcharge for each year of your stay

● prove you have enough personal savings

If your documents are not in English or Welsh, you’ll also need to provide a certified translation.

There are things you can and cannot do, those are :

With a Skilled Worker visa, you can:

● work in an eligible job

● study

● bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependents’ if they’re eligible

● take additional work in certain circumstances

● do voluntary work

● travel abroad and return to the UK

● apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

● apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension

● change jobs or employers unless you apply to update your visa

If your application is successful, you’ll get a full list of what you can and cannot do with a Skilled Worker visa.

Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employers.

If you want to stay longer in the UK

You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’. Which will give you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.

Why choose Visas 24/7 to represent my Skilled worker application? 

Our services encompass advising on all required documentation to support your application, followed by meticulously collating, preparing, and submitting a comprehensive application package on your behalf.

Throughout your application journey, we will provide guidance and assistance at every step, including liaising with relevant government authorities and third parties on your behalf.

Our primary objective is to make realising your immigration goals as seamless and stress-free as possible. For more information about our services, please contact us via phone or email.

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