Skilled Worker Visa 

The Skilled Worker visa is the main visa route for skilled migrant workers to live and work in the United Kingdom under the Points Based System.

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A quick look

The Skilled Worker Visa lasts up to five years.

After 5 years, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Yes, your employer needs to hold a sponsor licence and provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

You are allowed to:

  • Work in an applicable job
  • Study
  • Volunteer work
  • Take on extra work if allowed
  • Travel into and out of the UK
  • Bring your partner or children as dependants if possible
  • Apply for indefinite leave to remain

You are not allowed to:

  • Apply for benefits
  • Apply for State Pension
  • Change jobs or work for someone else unless you update your visa

Skilled Worker Visa 

The Skilled Worker Visa is the most popular visa route in the UK; it is perfect for those who want to come to the UK to work.

This visa replaced the older Tier 2 (General) Work Visa.


  • Have a confirmed job offer
  • Work for an approved UK employer
  • Apply to work for a job on the eligible occupations list
  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
  • Be paid the minimum salary; this varies depending on what you do
  • Have £1,270 to support yourself, unless you are exempt
  • Prove your English knowledge is at least at level B1, unless you are from certain countries.

Can I extend this visa?

Yes, you can extend this visa as long as you are still eligible. This can be done as many times as you want.

Alternatively, after five years you can apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
With ILR, you can live and work in the UK for as long as you like.

Can I switch to a Skilled Worker Visa?

Yes, you can switch to this visa if you are in the UK on most types of other visas.

The visas you cannot switch from are:

  • Visitor Visa
  • Short-term Student Visa
  • Parent of a Child Student Visa
  • Seasonal Worker Visa
  • Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa

If you are on one of these visas and want to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa, you must first leave the UK.

Please note that any dependants such as your partner or children will not automatically switch to this visa. They will have to apply separately, before their visa expires.

How can I apply for the Skilled Worker Visa?

Anyone interested in the Skilled Worker Visa will need to apply through the Government’s website.

Before you can carry out the application, you need to have been given a Certificate of Sponsorship by the company that is going to employ you.

Following this, you will need to complete  the application to the best of your ability within three months of being given your Certificate of Sponsorship. 

Also, you will need to provide your biometric information at a visa application centre, and submit supporting documents as part of your application. 

What documents do I need to submit?

Other than the aforementioned Certificate of Sponsorship, there are several other documents that you will need to provide. There are also some additional ones that you may need to provide based on your specific circumstances.

The documents you DO need to provide are:

  • Proof of English knowledge; for example, a university degree
  • Identity document; for example, a passport
  • Job title and salary of the role you will have in the UK
  • The job’s occupation code
  • Your employer’s name and Sponsor Licence number

The documents that you MAY need to provide are: 

  • Evidence of funds to support yourself if your Certificate of Sponsorship does not show that your employer will support you
  • Proof of relationship to your partner and children if they are applying as your dependants 
  • Tuberculosis results if you are from a country listed on the Government’s webpage
  • A criminal record certificate for certain jobs; for example, teachers, psychologists and social workers
  • An Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate if required in your role
  • UK PhD certificate, or your Ecctis number if your qualifications are from outside the UK

Additionally, people from outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, will need a blank page in their passport for their visa.

If you are from one of the places mentioned above, but do not have a biometric passport with a chip in it, then you will also need a blank page for your visa.

How much does the Skilled Worker Visa cost?

The fee you will need to pay for the Skilled Worker Visa depends on the length of your visa, and if you are applying from within or from outside the UK,

  • From outside the UK, the application costs £719 for three years or less and £1,420 for over three years.
  • From within the UK, you will need to pay £827 for three years or less and £1,636 for over three years. 

The fees will also vary if your role is on the Immigration Salary List.

You will need to pay £551 for three years or less, and £1,084 for over three years.

You can learn more about the current costs in our guide to the 2024 UK visa fees.

Also, as previously stated, you will need to prove that you have at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 continuous days, and within 31 days of making your application, to prove that you can support yourself. 

However, if you sponsor is going to cover your costs for the first month upon your arrival, or if you have already been in the UK for 12 months, then you do not need to provide proof of funds. 

Will I have to pay the immigration health surcharge (IHS)?

Yes, you will have to pay the IHS to access NHS services. This is currently £1,035 per year you are in the UK.

Other information


  • Visa applications can take up to 8 weeks to be approved/denied
  • You must not enter the country and start your job if your visa is not approved
  • You must not overstay on your visa
  • Any documents not in English or Welsh must be translated by a sworn translator

How we can help you

Our expert legal team can help you with all of your immigration needs, such as with applying for a Skilled Worker Visa.

You can arrange a free 10-minute consultation in which you can discuss your needs with a team member. After this, you can have a paid consultation that will last either 30 minutes, or an hour. 

The team member you talk to will act as your point of contact in the company, and answer any questions you may have. 

Get in touch today for our help.

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on

Complete our questionnaire to see if you are eligible for a UK visa. Then claim your free 10-minute appointment with one of our immigration experts.

Skilled Worker Visa 1

More UK Visa Routes

The information contained on this page is sourced from UK Visas and Immigration and is subject to change. While Woodcock Law Limited makes every effort to keep this information current, prices and information cannot be guaranteed and should always be checked on

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