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Will An Overseas Job Applicant Qualify for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?

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When you are a small business owner with a sponsor licence to sponsor overseas workers from overseas it can be difficult to know if an ideal migrant job applicant will meet the eligibility criteria for a Skilled Worker Visa.

Each Work Visa applicant needs 70 points to get their Skilled Worker Visa.

In this article, our London Immigration Solicitors look at how the 70 points can be obtained.


UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For immigration advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

70 points for the Skilled Worker Visa

A Skilled Worker Visa applicant needs 70 points to qualify for their visa but the points must include mandatory points for the key criteria. The remaining points are ‘tradeable.’ In other words, the job applicant has several ways they can get the remaining points to get to the total of 70.

The points-based immigration system is not easy to navigate. That’s certainly the case if you are a Skilled Worker Visa or Health and Care Worker Visa applicant. The system also creates uncertainty if you are an HR director or small business owner keen to recruit workers but unable to do so from within the UK because of the skills shortage.  Immigration Solicitors have long joked that universities should offer degrees in subjects like the points-based immigration system or how to get to 70 to secure a Skilled Worker Visa. Joking apart, the complexities of the points-based immigration system are why our Sponsorship Licence Lawyers offer Sponsor Licence Management Services and Immigration Law Training.

Is there discretion to reduce the points down from 70?

Many UK employers are aware that the Home Office can exercise discretion when making some immigration decisions. However, there is no discretion with the 70 points. Your company may want to employ a brilliant scientist or tech wizard who could transform the fortunes of your company but the visa applicant will still need 70 points if they want the Home Office to issue a Skilled Worker Visa.

The 70 points can be frustrating for sponsor licence holders as some candidates shine through the rest of the competing job applicants but you may have a question mark over whether they will secure a visa. That’s particularly problematic when you are desperate to fill a post and don’t want to risk having to reinterview if your preferred job applicant cannot obtain a visa.

Our Business Immigration Solicitors offer Immigration Law Training to key personnel and HR staff on recruiting from overseas and certificate of sponsorship allocation. We can answer all your questions on the Skilled Worker Visa points-based system and advise on alternate visa options.

The immigration rules on Skilled Worker Visa points

The immigration rules on qualifying for the Skilled Worker Visa are contained in Appendix Skilled Worker. In addition to meeting the 70-point criteria, the overseas-based job applicant must:

  • Meet the general eligibility criteria for a UK visa. For example, the applicant must not be classed as an immigration threat or be ruled out as suitable to come and live in the UK because of their prior convictions or poor immigration record
  • Meet the financial requirement – this is not particularly high (the applicant must have funds of at least £1,270 for 28 days or more) and if an applicant cannot prove they have the cash to meet the financial requirement their sponsor can step in to sort out this issue by certifying that they could sponsor the recruit up to £1,270 during the first month of employment
  • Provide a TB certificate but this only applies if the applicant is applying for a visa from one of the countries on a Home Office list of countries where TB certificates are a mandatory part of the visa application process
  • Provide a criminal record certificate if the job the applicant is applying for requires a criminal record certificate. For example, many Health and Care Worker Visa roles require a certificate. Depending on where the visa applicant has lived over the past ten years it can take time to obtain the required certificates

What are the mandatory points in a Skilled Worker Visa application?

The mandatory or ‘must have’ points in a Skilled Worker Visa application go to the heart of why the visa applicant needs a Work Visa.

The mandatory points make up 50 out of the total 70 points required for the Skilled Worker Visa and are:

  • The visa applicant has sponsorship from an employer with a sponsor licence - 20 points. As part of these 20 points criteria, the recruit needs a certificate of sponsorship to apply for their Work Visa. Our Sponsorship Licence Lawyers provide Sponsor Licence Management Services and Immigration Law Training as some sponsor licence holders struggle with compliance issues and certificate of sponsorship allocation. This can result in delays in the recruitment process. The Home Office will only accept a certificate of sponsorship if it complies with all the immigration rules. For example, the certificate must specify the precise job the recruit is being employed to do and the salary. The start date should not be over three months from the date of the certificate. The Home Office official will be checking the certificate to ensure that the offer of employment is a genuine one and that it meets the minimum salary threshold for the job’s standard occupational classification code
  • The visa applicant has a skilled work job offer – 20 points. Business Immigration Solicitors warn that the job must meet one of the standard occupational classification codes to qualify as skilled employment. The job criteria and codes change so it is best to double-check when preparing a job specification. The job must be at least RQF level 3 standard or equivalent to A levels. Importantly, when sifting through job applications from overseas candidates, you do not need to find a job applicant who possesses A levels or equivalent qualifications. All a sponsored employee needs is the skills or experience to do the job they have been recruited to do
  • English language requirement -10 points. The visa applicant must meet at least Level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages in the four components of reading, writing, speaking and listening. This is the case even if the role is highly technical and not consumer-facing. The English language requirement can be met by the applicant’s nationality (if they are from an English-speaking country), having specified qualifications or through sitting an English language test

What are the tradeable points in a Skilled Worker Visa application?

The tradeable points are the extra 20 points needed to get the visa applicant to the 70 required points for the Skilled Worker Visa.

The remaining 20 points can be obtained if the sponsored job meets the minimum salary threshold. That threshold is currently £38,700 gross per year or the going rate for the job, whichever is the higher figure of the two.

If these points cannot be met then tradeable points can come into play if the job applicant meets any of the tradeable criteria. The criteria include:

  • Meet the new entrant criteria
  • PhD relevant to their job role
  • PhD in a STEM subject relevant to their job role

These tradeable points are important from a sponsor licence holder’s point of view as they allow your business to pay a sponsored employee less than the minimum salary threshold of £38,700 or the going rate for the job. The salary discount may be the difference between it being economic or uneconomic to employ a migrant worker from overseas.

Immigration Law Services and Law Training from OTS Solicitors

At OTS Solicitors our Sponsorship Licence Lawyers provide sponsor licence application and Sponsor Licence Management Services to a range of businesses from start-ups to multi-generational family firms and large corporations.

Our Business Immigration Solicitors can help you with:

  • Sponsor licence applications
  • Corporate immigration solutions
  • Strategic immigration legal advice and planning
  • Sponsor licence problem shooting – compliance advice
  • Global mobility solutions
  • Sponsor licence revocation and judicial review applications
  • Sponsor Licence Management Services
  • Immigration Law Training that can be tailored to your business needs or be sector-specific. Training can be provided as a one-off session or a programme of online or in-person training

If you want to find out more about our immigration services, please call us or email us to sign up for our mailing list for upcoming Immigration Law Training.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Sponsorship Licence Lawyers

For immigration law training and legal advice call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.


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