IS THE SKILLED WORKER VISA MY BEST UK WORK VISA ROUTE?
If you want to come to the UK to work then the likelihood is that you will need a work visa. Back in 2020, the Immigration rules were different and the rules distinguished between non-EEA nationals and EEA and EU nationals. With Brexit and the end of free movement for EU citizens, the Immigration rules and the requirement for a work visa are now the same, whether you are an EEA or non-EEA national. In this blog our immigration solicitors look at whether the skilled worker visa is the best UK work visa route.
UK Immigration and skilled worker visa solicitors
For help with working out your best UK work visa options call the friendly specialist immigration team at London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online. Appointments can be arranged via video call, skype or telephone.
Do I need a work visa?
It is worth checking if you need a work visa to work in the UK. That’s because working in the UK without being subject to Immigration controls and the need to meet visa requirements is a lot easier than living and working in the UK on a work visa. Some people from the EU, or non-EEA family members of EU nationals, don’t fully understand the eligibility criteria for the EU Settlement Scheme. It is worth asking if you, either as an EEA national, or the non-EEA family member of an EU citizen living in the UK, is eligible to apply for pre-settled status or settled status.
What are the UK work visa options?
Your work visa options are wholly dependent on your personal circumstances and whether you want to work for a UK employer, work for an overseas business but be based in the UK, or set up your own business. The available work visas will also depend on your skills and how long you want to stay in the UK for as some work visas are classed as long-term (and some of those long-term work visas can lead to eventual settlement in the UK).Some work visas are classed as short-term or temporary.
The long-term work visa options for persons wanting an employed job in the UK are:
- The skilled worker visa.
- The health and care worker visa.
- The intra company transfer visa.
- Specialist visas such as for sportspersons or ministers of religion.
- The sole representative visa.
The long-term visa options for persons wanting to set up their own business in the UK are:
The short-term work visa options for persons wanting a temporary job in the UK are:
- Temporary creative or sporting visa.
- Temporary charity worker visa.
- Temporary international agreement worker visa.
- Temporary seasonal worker visa.
- Youth mobility visa.
There are other specialist visa options that allow you to live and work in the UK on a non-temporary basis but they are not specific work visas. These include:
- The investor visa.
- The British national (overseas) visa, also known as the Hong Kong visa.
- The frontier worker permit.
Your work visa options may seem overwhelming at first but a specialist immigration solicitor can quickly assess:
- Which work visas you meet the eligibility criteria for.
- Which work visa ties in with your UK settlement goals.
- Which work visa best meets your overall immigration goals, for example, working in the UK for your existing overseas employer or working in the UK in the health services industry.
What about the Tier 2 (General) visa?
When asking about work visas, many skilled migrant workers refer to the Tier 2 (General) visa. This visa route closed in December 2020. The new work visa route is the skilled worker visa. For those overseas workers who are already in the UK on Tier 2 (General) visas, they can continue in their Employment and apply for a skilled worker visa or an alternate visa when their Tier 2 (General) visa is due to expire.
Is the skilled worker visa route the best route to working in the UK as a migrant worker?
Immigration solicitors say that in time the skilled worker visa will become the most popular work visa, just as the old Tier 2 (General) visa was the most commonly applied for work visa. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the skilled worker visa is the right or best work visa route for you. That’s because the best work visa depends on your circumstances and plans. For example:
- If you are a graduate the new graduate visa (opening in 2021) may be your best work visa.
- If you plan to work in the health sector, the health and care worker visa gives more flexibility and has more generous provisions.
- If you don’t have the skills required for a skilled worker visa but you are an entrepreneur with an innovative business idea, the start-up visa may best suit your circumstances.
- If you meet the eligibility criteria for a Hong Kong visa then you can work in the UK without needing a sponsoring employer so the Hong Kong visa gives you far more Employment options and flexibility of Employment.
Skilled worker visas
To secure a skilled worker visa you must:
- Have an offer of a job from a UK employer. The job must meet the minimum salary threshold and the skills criteria.
- The UK employer must be the holder of a Home Office issued sponsor licence because the employer must sponsor your Employment under licence from the Home Office.
- Receive a certificate of sponsorship from your sponsoring employer so you can proceed with your application for a skilled worker visa.
- Meet the English language and maintenance requirement.
The eligibility criteria for the skilled worker visa sound complicated but they aren’t as difficult as you may imagine. When it comes to skills, many think they will need a degree to qualify for a skilled worker visa but that isn’t the case. The skill level is the equivalent of UK A level standard. If you don’t have formal qualifications that isn’t necessarily a barrier to qualifying for the skilled worker visa because the sponsoring employer has to be offering skilled work at a skill level required for the skilled worker visa, rather than the worker requiring specified qualifications. You may have the expertise to carry out a skilled job based on previous in-house training , apprenticeship or experience.
When it comes to the minimum salary threshold, an immigration solicitor can look at whether you are likely to meet the minimum salary threshold criteria, based on the type of jobs you are seeking and your age and qualifications. For example, the minimum salary threshold can be reduced if a sponsoring employer is employing a new entrant on a skilled worker visa or the skilled worker visa applicant has a relevant PhD.
The important point about the skilled worker visa is that if you meet the seventy points required under the UK points-based Immigration system then the skilled worker visa can lead to settlement in the UK. That’s because after a five-year residence requirement you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain .When you have obtained indefinite leave to remain you are free to take up any type of Employment in the UK as you no longer need a work visa because you are free from Immigration controls.
UK Immigration and skilled worker visa solicitors
Our work visa and immigration law experts can help you assess the best work visa route for you and prepare your work visa application. Call 0203 959 9123 to speak to one of our friendly specialists in immigration law who can start the work visa application process for you and ensure that your Immigration application is processed quickly. Alternatively, complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, skype or by telephone appointment.