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Skilled Worker visa applications

A Skilled Worker visa is a UK immigration route that enables individuals from outside the UK to work in eligible skilled job roles for an approved employer sponsor. This visa route focuses on attracting highly skilled talent to fill critical positions in the UK job market and contributes to the growth and development of the country’s economy. It has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

Making such applications as an employer can be daunting. Here, we outline the application process. However, we we can help with all aspects of making and submitting an Skilled Worker visa application so that you can be sure that your case is in trusted hands.

Eligibility Criteria

 To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, the applicant must:

  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office.
  • obtain a certificate of sponsorship from their employer with information about the role they’ve been offered in the UK.
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations.
  • meet the minimum salary criteria – this varies depending on the type of work the applicant does.
  • have a confirmed job offer before applying for their visa.

Knowledge of English

  • The applicant must be able to speak, read, write and understand English.
  • The applicant will usually need to provide proof of English proficiency during the application process.


  • The Skilled Worker visa can last up to five years before needing to extend it.
  • The applicant can apply to extend or update their visa when it expires or if they change jobs or employers.

 Long-Term Stay

After five years, they may be eligible for ‘indefinite leave to remain’. This gives them the right to live, work and study here for as long as they wish.

Application Process

Applications can be made online based on your situation (coming to the UK; extending a current visa; or switching from a different visa).

  • If the applicant changes job or employer, an application to update your visa must be made.
  • Their partner and children can also apply to join them or stay in the UK as dependents if eligible.

Processing Time

An applicant can apply for a visa up to three months before the day they are due to start work in the UK.

  • As part of their application, they’ll need to prove your identity and provide your documents.

 The decision

Provided that the application has been made correctly, a decision on the visa can be expected within:

  • 3 weeks, if outside the UK
  • 8 weeks, if inside the UK
  • They may be able to pay to get an expedited decision for an additional fee.

How to make an application

Applying for a skilled worker sponsor licence in the UK involves several steps that employers must follow to ensure compliance and successful sponsorship of skilled non-UK workers. Here is an overview of the process:

 1. Eligibility: Confirm that your business is eligible to apply for a sponsor licence. You must demonstrate that you have a genuine need for a skilled worker from outside the UK, and that you can offer a suitable job role.

2. Preparing documents: Gather the necessary documentation to prove that your business is genuine, operates legally, and can meet sponsor licence requirements. This includes providing evidence of your company’s registration, financial status, and employer’s liability insurance.

3. Choosing licence type: Decide which sponsor licence type is most suitable for your business: Skilled Worker or Intra-Company Transfer. The Skilled Worker licence covers long-term job offers, while the Intra-Company Transfer licence is for multinational companies transferring existing employees to the UK.

4. Appointing key personnel: Designate authorised personnel within your company to manage sponsorship activities. These roles include: the Authorising Officer, Key Contact, and Level 1 and Level 2 Users.

5. Online application: Apply for the sponsor licence through the UK government’s online portal, providing accurate information and uploading the required supporting documents.

6. Paying fees: Pay the required sponsorship fees, including the licence application fee (which ranges from £719-£1500), Immigration Skills Charge, and Immigration Health Surcharge, if applicable.

7. Compliance visit: Prepare for a potential compliance visit from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), who may inspect your business premises and request additional information or documents.

8. Decision: Await the UKVI’s decision on your sponsor licence application, which typically takes around eight weeks.

By following these steps and maintaining ongoing compliance with sponsor licence requirements, employers can successfully sponsor skilled workers from outside the UK and benefit from their expertise in the workplace.

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about Skilled Worker visa applications:

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From 4 April 2024, the Skilled Worker visa route sees an increase in the minimum salary threshold from £26,200 to £38,700 per annum. Additionally, the Shortage Occupation List will be replaced by a new Immigration Salary List. These changes are aimed at managing migration levels and ensuring that UK employers can access the skilled talent they need.

Individuals already holding a Skilled Worker visa before 4 April 2024 will not be subject to the new salary threshold when they apply to extend their stay, change employment, or settle in the UK. However, their pay will be expected to progress at the same rate as resident workers when they submit their next application.

Yes, individuals coming to the UK on the Health and Care Visa route. and education workers in national pay-scale occupations will be exempt from the £38,700 salary threshold that applies to Skilled Workers. These exemptions recognize the importance of attracting talent in key sectors like healthcare and education.

Peacock & Co Solicitors can provide expert legal guidance for individuals and businesses making a Skilled Worker visa application. Our tailored advice and assistance in navigating the complexities of visa applications, will both ensure compliance with the latest legislation and regulations, whilst giving you peace of mind. Contact us today.

Our tailored advice can help navigate the complexities of visa applications. Contact us for more information: