UK Skilled Worker Visa | 2024 Application Guide

skilled worker 2024


The Skilled Worker Visa in the UK is a key pathway for individuals seeking employment in the country. Our role as specialist UK immigration lawyers at Primus Solicitors is to guide you through this complex process, ensuring clarity and compliance with all requirements.

What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

The Skilled Worker Visa, replacing the Tier 2 (General) visa, is the main visa route in the UK, allowing for skilled overseas nationals to work in the country. It facilitates employers to sponsor non-UK nationals for eligible, skilled roles. Attaining this visa requires meeting a specific points threshold, reflecting factors like skill level, salary, and English language proficiency.

Skilled Worker Visa 2024

As of April 4, 2024, UK sponsors must ensure that overseas workers they intend to sponsor for a Skilled Worker visa receive a minimum annual salary of £38,700.


Eligibility Criteria for the Skilled Worker Visa

Criteria Points Mandatory/Tradeable
Job offer from a licensed sponsor 20 points Mandatory
English language proficiency 10 points Mandatory
Job at RQF3 level or above 20 points Mandatory
Salary thresholds Varies Tradeable
Job in a shortage occupation 20 points Tradeable
PhD qualifications 10 or 20 points Tradeable

Sponsorship Requirements

A pivotal element of the Skilled Worker Visa application is the skilled worker sponsorship requirement. Employers need to hold a valid sponsorship licence and must have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge. The role must be genuine, meaning there’s an actual need for the job within the sponsoring company. The worker must be assigned a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the specific role.


Certificate of Sponsorship

Type Description
Defined CoS For out-of-country applications. Specific application to the Home Office required.
Undefined CoS For in-country applications or other visa routes. Allocated annually to sponsors based on workforce size and business nature.

Skilled Worker Visa Skill and Salary Requirements

To register as a skilled worker, you must meet the RQF level 3 or above, equivalent to a UK A-level. The Home Office uses Standard Occupation Codes (SOC) to assess eligibility. From Spring 2024, the minimum salary threshold will significantly increase by 66%, although exemptions for the new financial requirements do exist for specific sectors like health & care workers.

New Salary Thresholds

In Spring 2024, the skilled worker visa minimum salary threshold will increase from £26,200 to £38,700, a substantially higher rate than the current UK minimum wage. This rise, however, doesn’t include health and care workers and roles with national pay scales like teachers.

For more in-depth information on each of these aspects, please refer to our detailed guide on Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence Application.



English Language and Financial Requirements

For the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must demonstrate English proficiency at a minimum level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Exceptions are made for nationals from certain English-speaking countries and those who have already proven their language skills in previous UK immigration applications.

Financial Maintenance Requirement

Applicants need to show they can financially support themselves without public funds. The requirement is a minimum of £1,270 in savings, which must have been in the bank account for 28 consecutive days, ending within 31 days of the visa application. Additional funds are required for dependants.


The Application Process

Applying for the Skilled Worker Visa involves a multi-step process, starting with securing a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed UK employer. The application is primarily online, requiring various supporting documents and attendance at a visa application centre for biometric information.

Key Steps in the Application Process

  1. Online Application: Submit within three months of receiving the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  2. Supporting Documents: Include proof of identity, job details, and salary, among others.
  3. Biometric Information: Enrol at a visa application centre.


Supporting Documents for Skilled Worker Visa

A range of documents must be uploaded in the visa application, some of which include:

  • Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
  • Sponsor’s name and licence number
  • Job title and annual salary
  • Job occupation code
  • Current and expired passports for travel history

Additional documents may be required based on individual circumstances, such as proof of savings, English language proficiency, and criminal record certificates for certain sectors.


Skilled Worker Visa Costs & Processing Times

The cost of the Skilled Worker Visa varies depending on factors like job type and length of stay. Processing times also differ, typically taking up to 8 weeks within the UK and 3 weeks for applications from outside the UK. Priority and super priority processing services are available in some locations.

A significant rise in the minimum salary requirement for Skilled Worker visas, increasing it from £26,200 to £38,700, is set to be implemented in Spring of 2024. Changes have also been made to the shortage occupation list with the main objective bring to reduce the total number of jobs that can sponsor overseas workers below the new baseline minimum salary.


Visa Fees Table

Application Type Fee (up to 3 years) Fee (more than 3 years)
Outside the UK £719 £1,420
Shortage occupation £551 £1,084
Inside the UK three years or less £551 £1,500


Visa Duration and Job Changes

The Skilled Worker Visa is generally granted for up to 5 years, with eligibility for extension or Indefinite Leave to Remain after that period. If a visa holder changes jobs or employers, they must apply for a new period of leave.


Employer Requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa

Employers looking to hire under the Skilled Worker Visa must hold a Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence, demonstrating they have the capability to meet sponsorship duties outlined by Home Office and that they are offering genuine employment meeting the skills threshold.

Employer Eligibility Criteria

  • Genuine UK based company operating lawfully.
  • Capability to meet sponsorship duties.
  • Offer of genuine employment that meets the required skill level and salary.

Switching to the Skilled Worker Visa

It’s possible for individuals already in the UK on different visas to switch to the Skilled Worker Visa, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. The specific conditions depend on the current visa type.

Conditions for Switching

  • Student Visa Holders: Must generally complete their studies before switching, the applicant must also have an offer for an eligible job role that meets the new minimum salary requirements of £26,600 per Anum or £10.75 per hour  
  • Other Visa Categories: Certain visas, however, do not allow switching to the Skilled Worker category, such as short-term student visas, UK visit visas, and others.


Additional Work on a Skilled Worker Visa

Skilled Worker Visa holders can take additional work under specific conditions, ensuring their main sponsored role remains their primary employment.

Rules for Additional Work

  • Additional work is allowed for up to 20 hours a week.
  • The additional role must be in the same occupation code or on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • If conditions are not met, visa updating through the Home Office is required.



The Skilled Worker Visa process requires a thorough understanding of the requirements and compliance with the UK’s immigration rules set out by Home Office. As expert immigration solicitors, at Primus Solicitors we are able to guide you through this process, whether you’re an employer or a potential visa applicant, or an individual looking to work in the UK, for specialised immigration advice, don’t hesitate to Contact Us Today!

Obtaining a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK is a significant step in an applicants career, especially as it contributed towards Indefinite Leave to Remain and ultimately British Citizenship. With careful planning, accurate information, and professional guidance, this path can lead to successful employment and residency in the UK. Remember, staying informed and prepared is key to navigating this process smoothly.


Primus’ Skilled Worker Visa FAQs

Q: Is the Skilled Worker Visa the same as Tier 2?

A: The Skilled Worker Visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa, with some procedural changes aimed at streamlining the process.

Q: Who is classed as a skilled worker?

A: A skilled worker is someone working in a UK role deemed at RQF3 level or above, as per the Immigration Rules.

Q: Do EU nationals need a visa to work in the UK?

A: Post-Brexit, except for Irish citizens, all EU nationals require a visa or valid status under the EU Settlement Scheme to work in the UK.


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