Can I Change Job on a Skilled Worker Visa?
If you are in the UK on a skilled worker visa you may be wondering if you can change your employment. After all, with a recruitment crisis in many sectors of the UK economy, there is a lot of choice of employment, with some UK employers offering better pay or conditions or even a golden hello to new employees.
In this article our immigration solicitors answer your questions on changing your job while in the UK on a skilled worker visa. If you have additional questions or if you need help with your visa, give our London immigration lawyers a call.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors
Changing job on a skilled worker visa
If you are in the UK on a skilled worker visa you may feel that once you are ‘in country’ you can work where you want as you have a work visa. That’s not correct as your work visa is linked to your sponsorship by a specific sponsoring employer. Any employer needs a Home Office issued sponsor licence to employ you if you are in the UK on a sponsored work route. Equally, just because your employment is sponsored, it does not mean that you are stuck with one employer until you can secure indefinite leave to remain and no longer need work sponsorship and a sponsoring employer.
Whilst it is possible to change your job while in the UK on as skilled worker visa, individual immigration solicitors don’t recommend that you do so without first taking legal advice. You don’t want to make any mistakes resulting in problems with your immigration record. Keeping your immigration status clean is vital if you want to make future successful UK visa applications or if you want to apply for indefinite leave to remain or British citizenship.
The process of changing employment on a skilled worker visa
To change your employment whilst in the UK on a skilled worker visa you will need:
- An offer of employment from an employer with a Home Office issued sponsor licence to sponsor workers on skilled worker visas
- A certificate of sponsorship assigned to you by your prospective employer
- A job that meets the skilled worker visa eligibility criteria – for example, it needs to meet the skills criteria or minimum salary threshold
- To make an application to the Home Office for change of employment
If your new employer doesn’t have a sponsor licence, then it may be worth them making a first sponsor licence application so that they can recruit you and other skilled worker visa applicants. You won't be able to change job until they get their sponsor licence and allocate a certificate of sponsorship to you but an employer can get a sponsor licence relatively quickly and fuss free with help from Sponsorship Licence lawyers.
Promotions or changes in employment whilst in the UK on a skilled worker visa
It isn’t just a complete change of employment and employer that means you need to consider your immigration position. You may also need to make a new employment application to the Home Office if you change your job description but remain with the same employer. This could be due to a promotion, demotion, sideways transfer, job amalgamation or other type of move.
The immigration rules say a new skilled worker visa application is needed if your employer is staying the same but:
- Your job was on the shortage occupation list but your new role is not but it does have a standard occupational classification
- Your job description or duties are changing. If the new job role does not fit with your current certificate of sponsorship, you may need to make an application. To get a certificate of sponsorship the new job will need to have a standard occupational classification code and meet the minimum salary threshold and skills eligibility criteria for a skilled worker visa
If you are not sure if you need to make an application to the Home Office then it is best to get immigration legal advice before you agree to the change in your employment terms with your current employer or before you resign from your job on the basis that you have, or you are hoping to get, a new job with another sponsoring employer. An immigration solicitor can tell you whether a new application will be necessary or your best alternative visa options.
Starting a new job while in the UK on a skilled worker visa
If you plan to take up new employment with a new sponsoring employer you can't start your employment until your new visa is sorted out. If you do so then it may affect the success of your skilled worker visa application or future visa applications. In addition, if your new sponsoring employer lets you start employment then they may be in breach of illegal working legislation as you won't have a right to work in the UK until your visa is sorted out. Also, your new employer will be in breach of their sponsor licence duties. If you are uncertain about whether you need a new visa, or the timing of making an application, call our London immigration lawyers on 0203 959 9123.
Being made redundant or losing sponsored employment
If you are in the unfortunate position of being at risk of redundancy or losing your sponsored job then the Home Office only give a limited time ( normally 60 days) within which you need to get another job with a new sponsoring employer, switch visa or leave the UK. If you don’t secure a new visa or leave the UK then you will be classed as an overstayer. This will impact on your ability to get entry clearance in future.
For any work visa immigration queries our friendly individual immigration solicitors can help you.
UK Online and London Based Immigration Solicitors