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Skilled Workers Visa




The Tier 2 General UK Immigration Visa route is for individuals coming to the UK with a skilled job and has now been replaced by the ‘Skilled Worker Visa’.

The key characteristics of the new route are that you, as the applicant, must be sponsored to do a specific job which meets the skill and salary requirements that have been licensed by the Home Office. 


If the employer does not already have a sponsor licence, they will need to apply for one before a migrant worker can be sponsored under ‘Skilled Worker Visa’. More information on the sponsor licence application process can be found here

Skilled Worker

The Skilled Worker visa is designed to enable skilled workers to come to the UK in order to fill a gap in the UK labour market. Skilled Worker replaced Tier 2 (General) on 1 December 2020. 


Main requirements


In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that:

  • they have a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an organisation based in the UK that holds a sponsor licence

  • the role represents a genuine vacancy

  • they possess the suitable skills and experience for the role

  • the role is at the relevant skill level (RQF level 3 or above) and they will be paid an appropriate salary for the role

  • they meet the required level of English language (currently B1 of the CEFR)

  • they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves (if maintenance is not certified by the sponsor)

  • they have a TB certificate, if required

  • they have a criminal record certificate, if required and,

  • they do not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.


Length and conditions of stay in the UK

There is no restriction on the length of stay in the UK under this route. However, visas will be granted in accordance with the work start and end date entered onto the CoS by the sponsor.


During their stay in the UK, applicants must work for the sponsor in the role described on the CoS. They can also perform supplementary work in accordance with the rules and study, providing this does not interfere with their main sponsored work. There is no longer a restriction on the number of shares an applicant can hold in the sponsoring company.


Extension application for  Tier 2 General migrants will be processed and considered in line with the Skilled Worker Requirements of the New Points-based system. 


There is no limit on the time that can be spent in the UK as a Skilled Worker. 


To make an application to extend your permission to remain in the UK under the Skilled Worker UK Immigration Visa you must:

  • Make your application from within the UK

  • Have a new certificate of sponsorship from your employer and the certificate must confirm that an 

  • extension is sought for the same job for the same sponsor/employer.

Provided that you make your extension application prior to your visa expiry date, you can continue to work for your employer while your extension application is pending.
Extension applications will be granted in line with the certificate of sponsorship issued to the sponsored worker. Extensions can be for any period up to 5 years.  There is no limit on the time that can be spent in the UK as a Skilled Worker. 


Changes of employment


Under the Skilled Worker visa you are bound to the sponsoring employer. If you wish to change employer, the new employer will need to issue you with a new certificate of sponsorship and you will need to submit a change of employment application. If  approved you will be issued with a new Skilled  Worker visa/Biometric Residence permit. You cannot start working for your new employer until your application has been approved.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
Tier 2 General migrant and Skilled Worker migrants will become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on completing 5 years continuous residence in the UK under this route providing all the other eligibility criteria can also be met.  Time spent in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant may be combined with time spent as a Skilled Worker.
Indefinite leave to remain applications may be submitted up to 28 days prior to completing the required 5-year period.  

In order to be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • they have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK and during this time have not breached 

  • any UK immigration laws

  • they meet the requirements in relation to absences

  • they have sufficient knowledge of English language and have passed a Life in the UK test and

  • they are paid the appropriate salary for the role and this meets the minimum salary required for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Switching to Skilled Worker UK Immigration Visa
It is possible to switch from within the UK if you have, or had leave as: 


  • a Tier 1 migrant, a Tier 2 migrant (although there are restrictions on 

  • which Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) migrants may switch)

  • a Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) in the Creative and Sports category where the migrant is a professional footballer switching into Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

  • a Dependant partner of Tier 4 student or,

  • a Representative of an Overseas Business.       

Spouses and Dependants

As a Skilled Worker Visa holder, you can also apply for your spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner and dependent children to join you in the UK. This continues to apply to workers already in the UK as Tier 2 General migrants whose dependents also will be granted the same period of leave as the main applicant and be able to work without restriction.  Points-based system dependants may remain in the UK only as long as the Skilled Worker General migrant does. Points-based system dependants will become eligible for settlement on completing 5 years in the UK as a PBS dependant but only if the PBS Migrant Worker  is eligible and they are applying at the same time or if the PBS migrant has already been granted ILR. The PBS 
Dependents  will also need to satisfy all the other ILR eligibility criteria.
Work Restrictions
Working in the UK must relate directly to the work of your employer as on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), although there are concessions that allow for supplementary work.  

Skilled Workers and their dependents are prohibited from using public funds.


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