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Personal Immigration

Skilled Work Visa

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Skilled Work Visa

The skilled work visa route is for those migrants with a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor and if they meet certain other criteria like skill level, English language proficiency and earn a minimum salary threshold. The UK government has announced a new Points Based Immigration route for skilled workers starting from January 2021, which essentially replaces the current route as detailed further below. The new system will come into force for applications submitted after 9 AM on 1 December 2020. 

Current PBS Route

Tier 2 visa route is currently the most preferred route for skilled migrants to come to work, remain and settle in the UK. To be able to apply for entry or leave under the Tier 2 visa route, applicants must be in possession of a job offer and a Certificate of Sponsorship commonly known as ‘CoS’ from an UK employer who holds a Tier 2 sponsor licence. Besides that, applicants must fulfill the requirements of the Tier 2 sub-category for which they are applying.

  • Tier 2 General
  • Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer
  • Tier 2 Sports Person
  • Tier 2 Minister of Religion
Tier 2 General

In order to be eligible under this category, applicants must score a total of 70 points. They can meet this criteria if they have a certificate of sponsorship issued by a licenced Tier 2 sponsor (30 points), an appropriate salary (20 points), Knowledge of English language (10 points), and savings of £945 in their bank account for 90 days prior to the application or their maintenance certified by their ‘A’ rated sponsor (10 points).

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer

This route is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a UK-based branch of the organization.

There are two different categories of the Intra Company Transfer visa:

Long-term Staff

for skilled employees who are to be transferred to the UK branch of their organization for a longer period than 12 months to fill a position that cannot be filled by a new worker from the resident workforce. Applicants must have worked for the company for over 12 months or being paid £73,900 or more a year to work in the UK.

Graduate Trainee

this route allows the transfer of recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organization, as part of a structured graduate training programme, which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role. This route requires a minimum of 3 months prior experience with the applicant's employer overseas.

Tier 2 Sports Person

This is for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level. In order for a Certificate of Sponsorship to be issued, the sponsor will need to obtain an endorsement from the appropriate governing body of the relevant sport.

Tier 2 Minister of Religion

This category is for those people coming to fill a vacancy as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order. In order to claim points, applicants must have a valid CoS and meet other requirements of the route. This route is commonly used for Priests and Pastors who may regularly or on a one and off occasion perform their religious duties in the UK.

New PBS Route

The UK government has recently set out the details of the new points based skilled worker route starting from 01 January 2021. The key requirements are that the applicants must have a job offer from a Home Office approved sponsor, meets required skill level of at least RQF 3, meet English Language proficiency and minimum salary threshold or have a PhD relevant to the job or if the job is in shortage occupation. The minimum salary must be the higher of either the specified salary threshold for their occupation ‘the going rate’ or the general salary threshold. The minimum general salary threshold will be set at £25,600. Some of the required characteristics are tradeable to meet the required overall points criteria as set out below.

Characteristics Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor No 20
Job at appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at required level No 10
Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039 Yes 0
Salary of £23,040 – £25,599 Yes 10
Salary of £25,600 or above Yes 20
Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC) Yes 20
Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job Yes 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Yes 20

Employers that are currently not approved by the Home Office to be a sponsor should consider applying now if they wish to sponsor skilled migrants, including those from the EU, from early 2021. Please visit our dedicated sponsor licence page to learn more about the application process and how we can assist you.

How can we assist?

Our Immigration lawyers at City Legal have immense experience in assisting skilled workers and their employers across a wide range of industry and sectors in the UK. We are a multi award winning law firm and pride ourselves in being approachable, innovative and always going that extra mile to make sure our clients receive the individual attention they deserve. Our Immigration team maintains a high reputation and is committed to provide clear, transparent and reliable advice to our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum duration of a Tier 2 General visa?

The maximum duration of Tier 2 General visa is upto six years unless an exemption applies. Individuals may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after spending 5 years under this category, if they meet all other requirements.

What are the conditions on restrictions of Tier 2 General leave?

Any individuals granted with Tier 2 general visa cannot have recourse to public funds and can only work for their sponsor in the job as described on the CoS. Voluntary and supplementary employment are permitted. Individuals with this leave can also study as long as it does not interfere with their main job. Individuals granted with a Tier 2 leave can undertake supplementary employment of no more than 20 hours per week in the same profession and level as their main job or on a profession under the shortage occupation list. This must be outside of their normal working hours.

When does cooling off period apply for Tier 2 General application?

Tier 2 Cooling off period refers to the 12 months period applicants have to wait before they can apply for a Tier 2 visa again to re-enter the UK. This triggers when an individual was previously sponsored under Tier 2 by any employer in the UK, and they have left the UK and their visa lapsed or expired. There is an automatic refusal failing to adhere to the cooling off period.

Is there a minimum salary requirement for a Tier 2 minister of religion visa?

The minimum salary requirement is set out by the relevant SOC codes. The common SOC code used is 2444 Clergy and the minimum salary requirements or this SOC code is of national minimum wage requirements.

Do EU Nationals need to apply for a skilled worker visa from January 2021?

The new PBS skilled worker visa will not apply to any EU nationals living in the UK by 31 December 2020. EU nationals and their families are eligible to apply under EUSS scheme up until 30 June 2021 and employers may continue to accept Passports and National ID cards as evidence of right to work up until 30 June 2021. All EU nationals who enter the UK to work from January 2021 will need to apply for permission in advance.
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