Get a Skilled Worker visa for the UK

To work in the UK, you will need a Skilled Worker visa. From 1 January 2021 a new points test was introduced replacing the old Tier 2 (General) work visa system.

The requirements to qualify for a UK Skilled Worker visa:

  • You must first get a job offer from a UK company that holds a valid sponsorship license.
  • This job must be on the eligible occupations list.
  • The job must meet the minimum salary requirements – the amount will depend on the type of work you do. The minimum requirement will generally be £26,200 per year or £10.75 per hour, whichever is higher. However, if the ‘going rate’ for your job is higher than both of these, you’ll usually need to be paid that going rate. You can check the list of going rates for each occupation.
  • You must be able to speak English at a proficient level.
  • You must have an A-level qualification or equivalent (previously a degree was required but this has been lowered).
  • You must be able to show you have enough funds to support yourself initially.
  • You then need to get a  ‘certificate of sponsorship’ (Cos), with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK.

Work in the UK: Understanding the new points-based visa system

Note: Healthcare and education have their own shortage lists. Understand more about the health and care worker visa and who can get one.

How many points do I need to get a work visa?

You will need to obtain 70 points to qualify for a visa to enter and work in the UK. The majority of the points (a core 50) will be given for a job offer from a licensed sponsor, at the right skill level, with English speaking skills and the other 20 are tradable (can be gained in a number of ways)

Your employer will need to be registered as a licensed UK sponsor before you make a Skilled Worker visa application.

How points are allocated for the Skilled Worker visa:

Characteristic Number of Points Tradable or mandatory
Job offer (CoS) by approved sponsor20Mandatory
Job is at appropriate skill level20Mandatory
English at the required level 10Mandatory
Salary of £20,960 to £23,580 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) 0Tradeable
Salary of £23,581 to £26,199 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) 10Tradeable
Salary of £26,200 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) 20Tradeable
Job in a shortage occupation 20Tradeable
PhD in a subject relevant to the job10Tradeable
PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job20Tradeable

How long is a Skilled Worker visa valid for?

Usually, this visa is valid for an initial period of two or three years with an extension application needed to get you a full five years, after which time it can be renewed or you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Can I switch to a Skilled Worker visa from another visa?

Yes, under the new rules workers in the UK with a student, youth mobility visa or Intra-company Transfer visa can now switch to the Skilled Worker visa without having to leave the UK in most circumstances.

If you switch from a student visa or are under the age of 26, you will be considered a new entrant which has a lower salary requirement and makes it easier to get this visa.

You can also switch from a Skilled Worker to other visas, like a partner visa, should you wish.

Can I bring my partner and dependants with me?

Yes, you can bring your spouse and dependents with you if they are eligible.

You, your partner, or your child will need to have enough money to support themselves while in the UK.

This amounts to:

  • £285 for your partner
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each additional child

Your employer can also cover your family costs. This will be specified in the CoS.

Get in touch

Have any other questions about the Skilled Worker visa? Our team can guide you through the process, step by step.

Authorised to practise immigration law by the OISC under Registration No F200100004.