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How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa

Under the new points-based immigration system, the Skilled Worker Visa is now the main immigration route for individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who wish to work in the UK.  The Skilled Worker Visa was introduced on 1 December 2020, and replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa.   

Requirements for the Skilled Worker Route

As an applicant for the Skilled Worker Route, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have a verified job offer from a Home Office Licensed Sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level and that you can prove you meet the required standard of English language. 

Your job offer must meet the minimum salary threshold. The salary should be between £23,040 and £25,599, or more. 

If you are unable to meet the salary requirement, but will earn more than £20,480, then you may still be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa if you have: 

      An employment offer for a job listed on the shortage occupation list; 

      A Ph.D which is relevant to your potential role;  or 

      A Ph.D in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) 

You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer holding a valid Sponsor License. 

There is now no cap put on the amount of time a Skilled Workers can spend in the UK. The cooling off period has also been abolished. 

Making a Skilled Worker Visa Application

An application for a Skilled Worker Visa can be submitted up to three months before the work start date listed on your Certificate of Sponsorship. The application process will depend on whether you are applying from overseas, extending your current permission to remain in the UK, from inside the UK, or, switching from another route into the Skilled Worker Route, from inside the UK. 

Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa from overseas

If you are applying for a Skilled Worker Visa from overseas then you must apply online using an online application form. 

Applying for permission to stay as a Skilled Worker from inside the UK

If you are applying for permission to stay in the UK as Skilled Worker, from within the UK, you can either be making an application to extend, or an application to switch into the Skilled Worker category. 

An in-country application for permission to stay on the Skilled Worker Route can be made if you are in the UK, with valid leave, and do not fall into any of the below categories: 


      Short-term student;

      Parent of a child student;

      Domestic worker in a private household; 

      Seasonal worker; 

      On immigration bail; or

      Outside the immigration rules

 If you hold leave in any of the above categories then you will be required to leave the UK and make an application for a Skilled Worker Visa from your home country. 

Application process for the Skilled Worker Route 

Once you have completed, submitted, and paid the fees for the Skilled Worker application form, you will be asked to upload your supporting documents. 

Skilled Worker Visa Application Fee

The base fee for a Skilled Worker Visa application ranges from £610-£1,048 depending on a variety of factors. It can depend on the length of the Skilled Worker Visa you are applying for, the role that you have been offered, and whether you are applying from inside or outside of the UK. If your role is listed on the shortage occupation list, then the fee will be lower. 

It is also important to note that if you are from: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden or Turkey, then the Skilled Worker Visa application fee will be reduced by £55.00. 

The Immigration Health Surcharge will be added at £624.00 per year, per applicant. This must be paid upfront, in one sum. For example, if you are applying with you dependant, for a 3-year visa, that is £624.00 per person per year, totalling £3,744.00.

If you are eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa as a health and care worker, you will benefit from a reduced rate on application fees and Immigration Health Surcharge fee. 

EU Citizens and Skilled Worker Visas 

If you are an EU citizen and arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020, then you should be eligible to make an application for Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme. An application under this scheme is free, and there are no restrictions on employment.  

If you are an EU citizen and not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, then you are able to submit an application for a Skilled Worker Visa as of 1 December 2020. If you are successful, your visa will be valid for entry to the UK from 1 January 2021.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice and assistance with a Skilled Worker Visa application, please contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.

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