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Skilled Worker Visa Conditions Of Stay

Each grant of leave or permission in any  immigration category in the UK comes with conditions that migrants must abide by. It is important to be sure that you abide by these conditions, as failure to do so can constitute an ‘immigration breach’ which could impact any future application.  In this article we look at the conditions of stay as a Skilled Worker.

Skilled Worker Visa Conditions Of Stay

What work am I entitled to do as a Skilled Worker?

Work in the Skilled Worker category is permitted only in the job the applicant is being sponsored for unless one of the exceptions apply. Migrants can engage in supplementary or secondary employment where they meet certain criteria.

Supplementary employment 

In addition to the job specified on the certificate of sponsorship (CoS), as a Skilled Worker you can do extra work if it is:

  • in either a job on the shortage occupation list or a job in the same profession and at the same professional level as the work for which the CoS was assigned;
  • no more than 20 hours a week; or
  • outside the working hours covered by the CoS If they meet the above requirements the applicant does not need to inform the Home Office before taking extra work.

You  do not need to advise the Home Office of any supplementary employment you undertake as long as it meets these criteria.

Secondary employment 

You can also do a second (additional) job that is not in the same profession as the job specified on the CoS and is not supplementary employment. For example, if it requires more than 20 hours work a week. You will need a new CoS for this second job, in addition to the CoS and you must apply for a variation of leave.

You will need to make a new application which must include a letter saying you want to change your existing leave to remain.

Any secondary employment must be with a licensed sponsor and the migrant must be able to meet the criteria relevant to the category in which their secondary employment falls. Your leave will then be varied and you will have 2 sponsors during the period that both CoS are valid. You will receive a new BRP.

Can a Skilled Worker undertake voluntary work?

You can volunteer when in the UK as a Skilled Worker. There is no limit on the type of voluntary work that migrants are permitted to do.  You will not be permitted to receive money or payment for your voluntary work, except reasonable expenses as set out in section 44 of the National Minimum Wage Act.

Can a Skilled Worker visa holder study?

Yes, Skilled Worker migrants are permitted to study in the UK. There is no limit on the number of study hours that a migrant can undertake, but the study must not interfere with the job that the migrant is sponsored to do in the UK. You will need to consider your circumstances and whether your sponsored work would be affected by studying in the UK.

Migrants must, in certain circumstances, also obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (“ATAS”) certificate for the course of research they intend  to undertake. They will be required to provide this to their education provided before they begin their studies.

An ATAS certificate must be obtained if they are a national of certain countries, and if:

  • They are over the age of 18;
  • Their course is a subject listed in paragraph ATAS 4.1. and is one of the following:
    • a doctorate or master’s degree by research;
    • a taught master’s degree or other postgraduate qualification;
    • a period of study or research, where this forms part of an overseas postgraduate qualification;

If you are unclear on whether you are required to obtain an ATAS certificate, you should seek legal advice.

Can Skilled Workers change employment?

Your Skilled Worker leave will be contingent on your work with your Sponsor in the UK.  If your role changes, or if you wish to leave your Sponsor and move to a new employer, you may need to make a change of employment application.

A person must make a change of employment application if they:

  • change employer;
  • remain with the same employer and either:
    • change their core duties which means their new job is in a different occupation code to the one stated on their original certificate of sponsorship; or
    • change their core duties which means they change jobs from one currently included in Appendix Shortage Occupation List to one which is not included.

Whether you need to make a change of employment application, and when is best to do so can be complicated, particularly if you have a long notice period to negotiate. It is always advisable to seek legal advice if you are thinking about changing your role because you do not want to impact your continuous residence which could hinder your application for indefinite leave to remain in the future.

Do Skilled Worker visa holders have to register with the police?

Some Skilled Worker migrants are required to register with the police.

Paragraph 326 of the Immigration Rules sets out that ‘relevant foreign nationals’ who are given limited leave to enter for longer than 6 months, or limited leave which has the effect of allowing them to remain in the UK for longer than 6 months are required to register with the police.

Relevant foreign nationals are defined as a person who is over the age of 16, and a national of a country or territory listed in Appendix 2 to the Immigration Rules, a stateless person, or a person holding a non-travel document.

This does not apply to  those in the UK as Minister of Religion migrants.

Can Skilled Workers access public funds?

No. Grants of leave in this category do not permit migrants access to public funds in the UK.

Contact our Immigration Barristers

For expert advice regarding the conditions on your leave as a Skilled Worker migrant,  contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

This article was co-written by  Georgina Griggs and Zoe Bantleman.


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