The Skilled Worker visa is a sponsored working visa route that enables skilled foreign nationals to work in the UK for licenced employers.
Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks, if you’re outside the UK, or 8 weeks, if you’re inside the UK. Skilled Worker visa applicants are normally permitted to stay for up to 5 years.
At the end of your initial 5-year stay, you can apply to extend your stay, and you may also be able to gain permanent settlement in the UK (ILR) after 5 years.
For every UK visa, there are specific required documents. If you are considering applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you will need the below documents.
Document for UK Skilled Worker Visa
1. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) Reference Number
This is a reference number you will need from your employer. It confirms that your employer is licensed to sponsor workers from overseas and that the job you are applying for qualifies for a Skilled Worker visa.
Your employer will use the UK government’s Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to assign you a CoS. Once you have been assigned a CoS, you will receive a message with your CoS reference number. You will need to use this reference number when you apply for your visa.
Your CoS will contain the following information:
- Your name and date of birth
- Your job title and occupation code
- Your employer’s name and sponsor licence number
- The start date and end date of your job offer
- The salary you will be paid
Your CoS is valid for 3 months from the date it is assigned to you. You must apply for your visa within this 3-month period.
2. Passport or other document that shows your identity and nationality
Your passport must be valid for three more months beyond the date you plan to leave the UK after your trip. It must also have at least one blank page for the visa. If your passport has expired, you might not be able to travel.
3. Proof of English knowledge
As a Skilled Worker visa applicant, you will need to show that you have sufficient knowledge of the English language; this can be achieved in 4 ways:
- Passing an English language test
- You will meet the English language requirements if you pass a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test from an approved testing centre. This must be at least level B1 in reading, understanding, speaking, and writing.
- Academic qualification
- You will also meet the English language requirements if you have a degree or other academic qualification that was taught in English.
- you will not need to meet the English language requirements if you are exempt, including if you come from any of the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA
- If you have passed an English Language assessment approved by the relevant regulated professional body in your area of work.
4. Job title and Annual Salary
The job title must be on the UK Government’s list of eligible occupations, and the annual salary must meet the minimum salary requirement.
The Skilled Worker visa minimum salary is £26,200 per year, or the ‘going rate’ for the job title, whichever is higher. The ‘going rate’ is the average salary for a job title in a particular region of the UK. You can find the going rate for your job title on the UK Government website.
There are some exceptions to the minimum salary requirement. Click here to read more about the minimum salary.
5. Job Occupation Code
You will need to provide the occupation code of your job. This is a 6-digit code that identifies the type of job you will be doing in the UK. You can find the occupation code for your job here.
6. Name of Employer and their Sponsor License Number
Your employer’s name and sponsor licence number are important pieces of information that you will need to provide when you apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa.
It is important to note that only employers who have a valid sponsor licence can sponsor workers from overseas. If you are unable to find your employer’s sponsor licence number on the UK Government website, you should contact your employer directly.
You can find your employer’s sponsor license number on the UK Government website.
In addition to the above documents, you may also need to provide other supporting documents, such as:
- Proof of your relationship with your partner or children if they are applying with you: This could include marriage certificates, birth certificates, or other official documents.
- Tuberculosis test results if you are from a listed country: You can find a list of countries where you need to take a tuberculosis test on the UK Government website.
- Criminal record certificate: You may need to provide a criminal record certificate if you are working in certain jobs, such as healthcare or education.
- Valid ATAS certificate: You may need to provide 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.
- UK PhD certificate, or your unique Ecctis reference number (formerly unique UK NARIC reference number) if your qualification is from outside the UK: You will need to apply through Ecctis to have your qualification assessed.
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How to apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa
To apply for a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK, you must complete an online application on the Home Office website. You will need to have a job offer, Certificate of Sponsorship, and the supporting information listed above before you can start your application.
You can save your progress and come back to the application later if you need to.
The application steps are as follows:
- Check your eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa
- Secure a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK
- Receive your Certificate of Sponsorship from your UK employer
- Prepare the documents you will need to prove your eligibility for a Skilled Worker visa
- Complete the online application form – The form you will need to complete depends on if you are applying from outside the UK, or switching from a different visa within the UK.
- Pay the application fee, biometric fee, and healthcare surcharge (see below).
- Upload any documents required to support your application.
- Arrange a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken.
You can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks of your application date if submitted outside the UK. If more information is needed to support your application, you will be contacted by UKVI.
Visit our UK Work Visas page for more information. To view a list of the eligible occupations, click here
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