Skilled Worker (previously Tier 2)
The Skilled Worker visa is the main immigration route for migrants who wish to work in the UK.
Skilled Worker route
The Skilled Worker visa is the main work route under the Points Based Immigration System. It was introduced on 1 December 2020 and has replaced a visa previously known as Tier 2 (General).
The job and vacancy must be genuine, and the Home Office may check this. The Immigration Rules Appendix Skilled Worker explains at paragraphs SW 5.4 and SW 5.5 that the Home Office caseworker assessing your application must not have reasonable grounds to believe that the job "does not exist, or is a sham, or has been created mainly so the applicant can apply [under the Skilled Worker route]" or that the job amounts to you working for a third party who is not the sponsor.
The Skilled Worker visa is a points-based visa. To be eligible, you must score a mnimum of 70 points in total (50 points toward mandatory or 'non tradeable' criteria and 20 points toward 'tradeable' criteria).
Mandatory points requirements
Sponsorship (20 points)
You must have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the job offered, from an employer who holds a sponsors licence, which must:
- confirm your name, that you are being sponsored as a Skilled Worker, details of the job and the salary being offered, and PAYE details if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) requires income tax and National Insurance for the sponsored job to be paid via PAYE; and
- include a start date, stated by the sponsor, which is no more than 3 months after the date of application; and
- not have been used in a previous visa application which was either granted or refused; and
- not have been withdrawn from the Sponsor or cancelled by the Home Office
Job at an appropriate skill level (20 points)
- You must be sponsored for a job in an eligible occupation code as listed in Appendix Skilled Occupations of the Imigration Rules
- Your sponsor must choose an appropriate occupation code
- You must also be awarded the 20 mandatory points under sponsorship as defined above
English language skills level (10 points)
- You must demonstrate that you have an English language level of at least B1 or higher. You can evidence these skills by meeting one of the requirements listed in Appendix English Language of the Immigration Rules
Tradeable points requirements
In addition to scoring 50 points for the above criteria, you must also score 20 'tradeable' points based on your salary and other criteria if necessary and applicable (for example, relevant academic qualifications you hold, being sponsored to work in a shortage occupation or an eligible health or education occupation, or because you are a ‘new entrant' to the UK’s labour market)
|A||Your salary equals or exceeds both £25,600 and the ‘going rate’ for the job’s SOC code.||20 points|
|B||You have a PHD in a subject relevant to the job (the sponsor must provide a “credible explanation” as to how it is relevant) and your salary equals or exceeds both £23,040 and 90% of the going rate for the SOC code.||20 points|
|C||You have a PHD in STEM subject relevant to the job and the applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 and 80% of the going rate for the SOC code.||20 points|
|D||The job is in a shortage occupation and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 80% of the going rate for SOC code.||20 points|
|E||You are a new entrant* to the labour market and your salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and 70% of the going rate for SOC code.||20 points|
|F||Your job is in a listed health or education occupation and the applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and the going rate for SOC code.||20 points|
*Please see more information under the 'Who is a 'new entrant'' section
There are several ways to meet the definition of 'new entrant' one of which is on the basis of recent graduate level study. To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:
- your most recent permission must have been as a Student (or Tier 4 Student)
- your permission must have expired less than 2 years before the date of application
- in that permission (or any previous permission as a Student or a Tier 4 (General) Student), you were sponsored to study any of the following:
- a UK bachelor’s degree, a UK master’s degree or a UK PhD or other doctoral qualification
- a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education
- you must be applying no more than 3 months before you are expected to complete the relevant course above or be studying a PhD and have completed at least 12 months’ study in the UK towards that PhD
Please note, applicants can be considered new entrants for a maximum of 4 years. This means that if you are applying under the Skilled Worker route for more than 4 years, or if granting the application would mean you would have more than 4 years’ permission in total (whether continuous or not) as a Tier 2 migrant and/or as a Skilled Worker, you cannot score tradeable points as a new entrant. You will need to score tradeable points in another way.
If you are applying in the UK and have been living here with a valid visa for at least 12 months, you do not need to provide evidence of your finances/maintenance. Additionally, if your employer can confirm on the Certificate of Sponsorship that they will cover your living costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1270, then you do not need to provide evidence of your finances/maintenance. Yoou must check this with your employer.
If you do not meet either of the above provisions, you must show evidence that you have held at least £1270 in your own name for at least 28 days ending no more than 31 days before the date you apply. The funds must have been held in your own name and cannot be in your parent's name.
If you are a Student switching to the Skilled worker route within the UK, your employer will not be liable for the Immigration Skills Charge.
We do not provide a checking service for Skilled route applications. You’ll find full information about Skilled route by reading the resources listed on this page. However, if there is anything you do not understand about this information, we are happy to answer general enquiries.
For more information on what happens at the end of your studies: