Join the millions who migrate to the UK for study, work, and family purposes and travel the path to a bright future. UK skilled migration is a highly popular pathway for professionals internationally as they move to the UK on the UK work visa to better their career prospects and life standard.

A large number of those who undertake UK immigration are non-EU nationals. After Brexit, even the EU citizens started to be treated like non-EU citizens. The skilled and ambitious people trust that the UK can give them great opportunities to make it to the top of their careers by choosing UK skilled migration.

You are welcome to get introduced to UK skilled migration and understand how a UK work visa can be obtained and how the UK immigration process works.

About UK Skilled Migration

Before you decide to move to the UK on a UK work visa, it’s best to know some facts. Let’s share a few interesting facts with you.

  • London is the major destination in the UK for skilled migration.
  • The major industries to which UK skilled migration contributes include healthcare, science, and finance.
  • Non-EU citizens utilize the UK skills migration route as much or more than EU nationals.
  • The High Potential Individual visa has been introduced by the UK to make it simple for individuals with high potential to migrate to the UK and contribute to promoting dynamic, sustainable, innovative, and productive industrial enterprises in the country.

Why settle in the UK as a skilled worker?

Here are a few reasons for undertaking UK skilled migration.

  • After 5 years of living as a skilled worker in the UK, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain in the country.
  • You can get a UK work visa and tap into the opportunities presented by the scarcity of qualified UK workers in the UK economy.
  • The skill threshold of the UK Skilled Worker visa for UK skilled migration is lower than Tier 2 Skilled Worker route.
  • The minimum salary requirement is lower for a UK Skilled Worker visa.

Prominent places in the UK for skilled migration

London is the most happening place for skilled UK work visa holders. This is especially true for non-EU workers who arrive in the country as part of UK skilled migration. These skilled professionals sponsored by employers in the UK find maximum career opportunities in the capital city of London.

The major industrial sectors that attract skilled foreign workers include enterprises based in science, businesses in finance, and healthcare companies.

How to get a work visa for UK skilled migration?

The UK Skilled Worker Visa is what you need if you are a non-EU national as well as a skilled professional wanting to reside and be employed in the UK. This visa has replaced the earlier Tier 2 (General) Work Visa.

It has to be noted that if an EU national who is your relative has started to live in the UK before December 31, 2020, such a person can lodge an application to the free EU Settlement Scheme.

Eligibility for UK Skilled Worker Visa

When you apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa for UK skilled migration, you will have to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must work for an employer in the UK who has approval from the Home Office
  • You must have a sponsorship certificate from your UK employer with information about the job role that you have been offered in the UK.
  • You must be employed in a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • You must be paid a minimum salary. The salary amount depends on the type of work you do.

It’s necessary that you have a confirmed job offer in the UK before you apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa.

English language proficiency

It’s necessary that you prove your ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language when you apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa. Make your UK skilled migration possible by training and getting good results from standard English proficiency tests.

Validity of UK Skilled Worker Visa

The UK Skilled Worker Visa has a validity of 5 years. To stay and work longer in the UK, you have to extend the visa. You will have to apply for an extension in case

  • Your current UK Skilled Worker Visa has expired, or
  • You have changed your job or employer.

You can extend your Skilled Worker visa any number of times. The only requirement is to meet the eligibility criteria.

After 5 years of staying in the UK with a UK Skilled Worker visa, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent settlement in the UK visa (also called “indefinite leave to remain”). With it, you can live, study, and be employed in the UK as long as you want to. You may apply for benefits thereof in case you are eligible.

The application process for UK Skilled Worker visa

If you are applying for a UK Skilled Worker visa for UK skilled migration from outside the UK, you must follow these steps:

  • You must keep the following documents ready:
    • proof of your English proficiency
    • your sponsorship certificate number (certificate issued by your employer)
    • a valid passport or another document that shows your identity and nationality
    • occupation code of your job
    • your job title and annual salary
    • your employer’s name and their sponsor license number written on your sponsorship certificate
  • Collect these other documents you may be required to submit along with your application for UK Skilled Worker Visa:
    • documents proving your relationship with your partner/children if they’re applying with you
    • evidence of sufficient personal savings that you have to support yourself while staying in the UK
    • results of your tuberculosis test in case you originate from a listed country
    • a valid ATAS certificate in case your employer asks for one owing to your job involving research in a sensitive subject at Ph.D. level or higher
    • a criminal record certificate (applicable to workers in certain jobs)
    • your Ph.D. certificate from the UK or your unique Ecctis reference number
  • When your documents are ready to be submitted, apply for the visa online.
  • The decision on your application arrives in 3 weeks in the usual course. Extended time for processing may be required owing to:
    • Verification of your supporting documents
    • You required to attend a visa interview
    • Other personal circumstances
  • Receive a decision on your application. If successful, you will be given a sticker in your passport called “vignette”. Before you get your vignette, you will have to give your biometric information at a VAC. If your application fails, you will get an explanation why it so happened and your passport will be returned. A refusal letter will be issued to you stating whether you can go for one of the following options:
    • Administrative review
    • Immigration decision appeal

Know your eligibility for UK immigration. Use the UK points calculator.

How Y-Axis can help you

Y-Axis guides/counsels you as you apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa.

What are the general requirements of the UK Skilled Worker visa?
  • An applicant must obtain at least 70 points.
  • The salary level, in general, will amount to £25,600. Payment to the applicant has to be at this rate, or the particular job’s standard rate, whichever is more.
  • The points for eligibility can be traded, due to which an applicant was chosen to occupation with a labor shortage with lesser than standard salary criteria could still qualify for sponsorship.
  • The skills requirements for roles are being toned down to Level 3 of NVQ, which makes many more roles from a wider range of sectors would be available for sponsorship (including administrative roles/ junior level).
  • An applicant must meet the requirement for the English language.
How are Skilled Worker and Tier 2 Visa routes different in UK immigration?

The Tier 2 and Skilled Worker routes are both long-term work routes. The new Skilled Worker visa came in the place of Tier 2 (General) visa. It’s the main points-based immigration route offered by the Home Office to skilled migrants from beyond the UK.

Nevertheless, there are some Tier 2 visa routes existing. The Sportsperson visa and the Minister of Religion visa are notable ones among them.

The remaining Tier 2 routes, compared to the Skilled Worker visa, are narrower when it comes to their purpose. It covers a wide range of occupations deemed eligible.

Two other long-term visa routes are the Intra-company visa and the Health & Care visa.

How long does UK Skilled Worker visa take?

Depends on where you are applying from.
If applying from overseas: 3 weeks
If applying from within the UK: 8 weeks
You can expect a decision on your UK Work visa after you have – (1) applied online, (2) proved your identity, and (3) provided the required documentation.

What is the earliest that I can apply for UK skilled migration?

You can apply for the Skilled Worker visa for the UK up to 3 months prior to the date of beginning work in the UK. This date will be mentioned on your Certificate of Sponsorship issued by your UK sponsor.

How do I know if my UK sponsor is designated for the UK Skilled Worker Visa?
For this, you will have to check the “Register of Worker and Temporary Worker licensed sponsors”.
Currently, there are a total of 48,841 UK employers included in the database.
Who is considered to be a skilled worker for UK skilled migration?
A skilled worker is an individual that will be taking up a job in the UK that needs a skill level of RQF3 or above, as per the Appendix Skilled Occupations to the Immigration Rules.
What job is considered to be a shortage occupation for UK Work visa?
The Home Office of the UK Government maintains a list of skilled roles for which employers in the UK find it difficult to secure an adequate number of workers in keeping with the vacancies.
Is the salary threshold same for all skilled workers exploring work abroad in the UK?
In certain situations, the minimum salary threshold will be adjusted. For example, an individual qualifying as a new entrant to the labour market will have the salary threshold requirement reduced.
What is the minimum salary threshold for the UK Skilled Worker Visa?

The minimum salary that you must be paid to be eligible to apply for the Skilled Worker visa of the UK will be the highest of the three options given below –

  1. £25,600 per year,
  2. £10.10 per hour, or
  3. the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing in the UK.
Am I eligible to apply for the Skilled Worker UK Work visa?
To be eligible, your job must be on the list of eligible occupations.
You can get your 4-digit occupation code from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Occupation Coding Tool.
Once you have the UK job code with you, you can go through the UK Government’s list for “Skilled Worker visa: eligible occupations and codes”.
Ensure that the given job description exactly matches the job that you will be taking up in the UK. Some jobs, though similar, might have different codes. For instance, a chef is eligible for a UK Skilled Worker Visa. A cook, on the other hand, is not eligible for the Skilled Worker visa for the UK.
What UK jobs are on the Shortage Occupation list for the Skilled Worker visa?
There are a total of 30 jobs on the Skilled Occupation list. These include – civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, electronics engineers etc.
Each of the jobs on the list is as per the area of the UK where there is a shortage for the same. For example, biological scientists and biochemists (SOC Code: 2112) are in demand in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Chemical scientists with SOC Code 2111 – only jobs in the nuclear industry – are in shortage in Scotland alone.
How are jobs in the UK labour market classified?
Each of the occupations available in the UK labour market are classified into unique 4-digit codes as per the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC).
How does it help to have a job on the shortage occupation list for UK Work visa?
A shortage occupation is a skilled job wherein there is a shortage of workers in the UK.
If your job is included on the shortage occupation list, you might be paid 80% of the going rate of your job. You will also be required to pay a comparatively lower fee for your UK Skilled Worker visa.
I am a medical professional. Why is my job not on the skilled occupation list for UK immigration?
There are two separate lists –
1. Skilled Worker visa: shortage occupations
2. Skilled Worker visa: shortage occupations for healthcare and education
Healthcare and education jobs in the UK have their own list.
How many UK jobs are on the shortage occupations list for healthcare and education?
Currently, there are a total of 14 jobs on the shortage occupation list for healthcare and education. The list includes the following job codes, as per the Standard Occupational Classification Code – 2211, 2212, 2213, 2217, 2219, 2221, 2222, 2223, 2231, 2314, 2315, 2442, 3213, and 6141.

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