If you are from outside the United Kingdom and you want to get a job in the country, you will almost certainly have to obtain a visa in order to enter, live, and work in the UK under its new points-based immigration system. To be eligible to apply for most national UK work visas, you must already have a job offer from a legitimate UK employer. This means that in most cases, you cannot apply to work in the UK if you don’t already have a job waiting for you there. This rule affects migrants who apply for a Skilled Worker visa—one of the most basic visas for migrants seeking jobs in the UK. Today’s blog will therefore examine how to get a Skilled Worker visa to the UK.
Overview of UK Points System
- The new UK points-based immigration system requires applicants for UK work visas to receive a certain number of “points” in order to be eligible for UK immigration.
- The system works by identifying, categorizing, and quantifying individual desirable skills and qualifications for would-be UK immigration applicants. Each desirable qualification (or lack of qualification) is worth a specific number of points, with some being worth more than others.
- Some qualifications, such as English language fluency (worth 10 points) are mandatory, meaning you must obtain points from that category in order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, while others, such as having a PhD in a subject pertaining to your area of employment (worth 10 points), are tradeable, meaning you do not necessarily need to win points from that category in order to be eligible for a visa (i.e. you can trade those points for those from another category you qualify for).
- Applicants must score 70 points in order to be considered eligible to immigrate to the UK for work purposes through a Skilled Worker visa.
How to qualify as a Skilled Worker
- Available to non-UK citizens, Skilled Worker visas allow qualifying individuals to enter and work in the country for a minimum period of five years, with the opportunity to extend.
- Applicants who qualify as a “skilled worker” must fulfill the following general requirements, which are worth a certain number of points:
- Be employed at a listed position officially classified as “eligible”.
- Receive a job offer that meets the official basic salary requirements (minimum and/or going rate for the specific kind of job you are doing).
- Receive a job offer from a Home-Office endorsed company/business in the UK.
- Receive a detailed summary of your position in the country as well as a “Certificate of Sponsorship” from said employer.
- Meet the English language fluency requirements.
Get “Points” as a Skilled Worker
- In order to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, applicants must receive 70 points under the point-based system.
- 50 points must be obtained through the following MANDATORY skills/qualifications:
- Employment offer from a Home-Office endorsed company/business in the UK (20 points)
- Employment offer at relevant skill level (20 points)
- English fluency (10 points)
- The remaining 20 points must be obtained through some combination of the following TRADEABLE skills/qualifications:
- Employment offer of one of the following: (0 points)
- Minimum salary of £20,480, up to £23,039, or;
- 80% the average rate for the field (higher of the two is selected )
- Employment offer of one of the following: (10 points)
- Minimum salary of £23,040, up to £25,599, or;
- 90% the average rate for the field (higher of the two is selected )
- Employment offer of one of the following: (20 points)
- Minimum salary of £25,600+, or;
- The average rate for the field
- PhD in field related to employment offer (10 points)
- PhD in STEM that is also related to your employment offer (20 points)
- Employment offer in a MAO defined “shortage occupation” (20 points)
- To put the above table into practice, if you are applying for a Skilled Worker visa you need to have obtained the following, for a total of 50 mandatory points:
- An employment offer from a Home-Office endorsed company/business in the UK (20 points)
- An employment offer at relevant skill level (20 points)
- English fluency (10 points)
- Your remaining 20 points must be selected from the tradeable points category. There are a number of possible points combinations in this category. For example you could have:
- An employment offer of £20,480 (0 points)
- An Employment offer in a MAO defined “shortage occupation” (20 points)
- In the above scenario, you could have a job offer that met the minimum salary requirements but did not offer enough money to earn you points. However, because you have a job offer within a “shortage occupation” field, you would still qualify for a Skilled Worker visa.
How to receive a Skilled Worker’s Visa
The below routes offer different avenues through which you may pursue a Skilled Worker visa (all of these options require you to first obtain an offer of employment from a UK company prior to applying for your visa):
- Be offered a job from a UK business/company (employer) who is already “approved” by the Home Office and therefore has the ability to sponsor you.
- If you have already received an offer of employment from an approved UK company, that company should provide you with an “occupation code,” which you can input into this database to determine whether the position you seek to occupy is considered eligible.
- Be offered a job from a UK business/company (employer) who has yet to be approved by the Home Office, but who is eligible to be approved (i.e. sponsor you) and applies for a license to do so.
- So long as your would-be employer meets the sponsor eligibility requirements, they can apply for a license to sponsor you as a Skilled Worker.
- The fee for applying to be an approved sponsor ranges from £536- £1,476, depending on the size/nature of the company/business.
- Browse the “Register of Sponsors licensed under the Worker and Temporary Worker Routes” and apply for a job from one of the listed companies.
- This is a list of over 30,000 UK businesses/companies (employers) who are already approved by the Home Office for sponsoring various immigration routes.
- Those who have a license to sponsor “Skilled Workers” are listed, along with their “Type” (Worker or Temporary) as well as location (town/city/county).
- Search for a position available at one of the companies on the list. If you apply and are accepted for an available job at a company on the register of sponsors, and they determine you are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you can theoretically apply for a Skilled Worker visa.
- If you have yet to receive a specific offer of employment, you can nevertheless check to see if the type of employment you seek is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa.
- For example, if you are a journalist, seeking a skilled worker visa for the purpose of practicing journalism in the UK, you can search “journalist” via the ONS Occupation Coding Tool, here.
- Among the results of such a search will be the following occupation code (2471) and an elaborated description of your occupation (JOURNALISTS, NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL EDITORS).