Skilled Worker Visa in 2024 | An Essential Application Guide

skilled worker infographic

UK Skilled Worker Visa in 2024 | An Essential Application Guide

The UK Skilled Worker Visa is a key immigration route for individuals aiming to start their professional careers within the United Kingdom. This visa was designed and tailored for skilled overseas workers who have secured a job offer from a UK employer, this visa category allows for talented professionals to contribute to the UK’s diverse workforce.

Starting April 4, 2024, there will be an increase in the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visa applications, set at either £38,700 or the going rate for the respective role category. The designated roles will align with the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2020, replacing the previous SOC 2010 framework.


What is the Skilled Worker Visa?

The Skilled Worker Visa previously known as the Tier 2 (General) visa, is designed for skilled overseas workers with a job offer from a company based in the UK. This visa category aims to emphasise the UK’s commitment to attracting skilled overseas talent, offering a clear path to settlement in the UK (Indefinite Leave to Remain) after a qualifying period, usually a minimum of 5 years.

Key features of the Skilled Worker Visa include

  • Validity up to 5 years, extendable under specific conditions.
  • Eligibility for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years, providing permanent settlement in the UK for the visa holder.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements For A Skilled Worker Visa?

To qualify for the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must successfully pass through a strict points-based system, securing a minimum of 70 points. This system categorises points into mandatory and tradeable sections, with the following breakdown:

  • Mandatory Points (20): Secured through sponsorship and job offer.
  • Tradeable Points (50): Earned via skill level, salary, qualifications, or if the job is in a shortage occupation.

Applicants should note that an upcoming adjustment on April 11th 2024 will see an increase in the minimum salary requirement for Skilled Worker Visa applicants to £38,700and as such all applications made after this cut off date will be subject to the new minimum salary threshold of £38,700 per annum.

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Key Points Table



Visa Category Skilled Worker Visa
Purpose Work in the UK under a sponsored job offer
Validity Up to 5 years, with a potential route to settlement
Eligibility Points-based system (70 points required)
Upcoming Changes Increase in minimum salary requirement from April 11th 2024


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Eligibility Requirements

The journey to securing a Skilled Worker Visa hinges on a points-based system, a meticulous framework designed to assess the eligibility of prospective applicants. Achieving a total of 70 points is mandatory, with points allocated across various categories, reflecting the applicant’s skills, job offer, and potential contribution to the UK workforce.

The Points-Based System Explained

To break down the points-based system, it’s essential to understand how points are awarded. The system is divided into two primary categories: mandatory and tradeable points.

  • Mandatory Points (20 points): These points are non-negotiable and must be secured through having a sponsorship and a job offer from a UK employer.
  • Tradeable Points (50 points): Applicants can earn these points through a combination of factors, including the skill level of their job, salary, qualifications, and whether the job is on the shortage occupation list.


Here’s What The Points Breakdown for a Skilled Worker Visa Looks Like

Skilled Worker Requirement




A genuine job offer from a licensed sponsor 20 Mandatory Confirmation of job offer by a UK employer with a valid Sponsor Licence.
Speak English to the required standard 10 Mandatory Proficiency in English at B1 level on the CEFR scale for speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
Job offer is at a skill level of RQF3 or above 20 Mandatory The job must be at the appropriate skill level, equivalent to A-levels or higher.
Salary of at least £20,960 or 80% of the going rate 0 Tradeable For applicants with job offers paying less than typical, but no less than £20,960 or 80% of the profession’s going rate.
Salary of at least £23,580 or 90% of the going rate 10 Tradeable Applies when the salary is at least £23,580 or 90% of the going rate for the profession, whichever is higher.
Salary of £26,200 or above or the going rate for the profession 20 Tradeable When the salary meets or exceeds £26,200 or the profession’s going rate, whichever is higher.
Job in a shortage occupation as designated 20 Tradeable If the job is in a profession listed on the Migration Advisory Committee’s shortage occupation list.
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job 10 Tradeable For applicants with a PhD in a field relevant to the job they are being sponsored for.
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job 20 Tradeable For applicants with a PhD in a STEM field relevant to the job, offering additional points for high-demand areas.


Upcoming Changes to Salary Requirements

From April 11th 2024, the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker Visa applications will increase significantly to £38,700. The UK Government will fully implement their new immigration rules on this date and claim this change aims to align the salary requirements with the evolving economic landscape and the value of skilled work in the UK.

Please Note*: Health and care workers, alongside roles such as teachers with national pay scales, will be exempt from this increased threshold


Skilled Worker Sponsorship Requirements

For skilled workers aiming to immigrate to the UK for their next career destination, obtaining a job offer from a licensed sponsor is he first step in the process. The sponsor/ employer plays a pivotal role here, as they act as a guarantor that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the role they’re being hired for.

What Is The Sponsor’s Job?

A sponsor is typically an employer approved by the UK Home Office who have a valid Sponsor Licence. This licence demonstrates to job applicants that the employer’s capacity to hire overseas workers is legitimate and ensures they comply with the immigration rules.

Key Aspects of Sponsorship

  • Licence Approval: Employers must apply for and obtain a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence as this evidences their eligibility and commitment to responsibilities as a sponsor.
  • Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS): A crucial step in the visa application process is the issuance of a CoS. There are two types: defined and undefined, catering to different application scenarios and case specifics.


Skilled Worker Certificate Type


Defined For overseas workers applying from outside the UK.
Undefined For individuals switching to the Skilled Worker Visa from within the UK or extending their visa.

The responsibilities of a sponsor extend beyond issuing a CoS, they encompass a range of duties aimed at ensuring compliance with immigration policies, such as buy not limited to:

  • Ensuring Genuine Employment: The job offer must be genuine, fitting the applicant’s skills and the UK’s skill level requirements.
  • Maintaining Compliance: Sponsors must adhere to Home Office guidelines, reporting any significant changes in the employment status of the sponsored individual.
Considerations For The 2024 Changes:

With the Skilled Worker Visa set to undergo changes in salary requirements by April 11th 2024, sponsors must stay updates with these developments to ensure they continue to meet their obligations and provide accurate guidance to potential applicants.


Other Key Requirements Applicants Need To Consider

English Language Requirement

A fundamental and key requirement for the Skilled Worker Visa applicants, is proving that they can speak in the English language. This is not just about enhancing communication within the workplace but also about integrating into UK society.

  • Minimum Level: Applicants must demonstrate the ability to communicate in the English language at a minimum of level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale, covering reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
  • Exemptions: Certain nationals and individuals who have completed a degree taught in English may be exempt from this requirement.

Financial Maintenance Requirement

To ensure that incoming skilled workers can support themselves upon arrival in the UK, there’s a financial requirement that must be met:

  • Savings Requirement: Applicants need to have at least £1,270 in their bank account for 28 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of their visa application.
  • Sponsor Certification: In some cases, the sponsoring employer can certify maintenance to meet this requirement on behalf of the applicant.



Health and Care Worker Visa

The Health and Care Worker Visa is a separate skilled worker visa that is designed to support the recruitment of overseas healthcare professionals, offering a much more streamlined application process and reduced costs, acknowledging individuals in this profession’s vital contributions to public health and well-being in the UK.

Key Benefits A Health &Care Worker Visa Offers

  • Lower Application Fees: To make the visa more accessible, healthcare professionals see reduced application fees, some what easing the financial aspect of relocating to the UK.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge Exemption: Applicants are exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge, highlighting the UK’s commitment to supporting those who contribute to its health and care sectors.

Eligibility and Application

  • Specific Roles: This visa route is available to a range of healthcare professionals, including but not limited to, doctors, nurses, and professionals in adult social care. The eligibility extends to roles critical to the health sector, as defined by the UK government.
  • Sponsorship: Similar to the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants need a job offer from an NHS trust, health care organisation, or an eligible social care organisation, along with a Certificate of Sponsorship.
Highlighting Key Aspects
  • English Language Requirement: It is essential for both a success skilled worker application and a smooth societal integration into the UK.
  • Financial Stability: Demonstrated financial independence is necessary to ensure newcomers can sustain themselves initially.
  • Special Consideration for Healthcare Workers: Acknowledging the vital contributions of healthcare professionals to the UK.

What Is The Skilled Worker Application Process?

The application for a Skilled Worker Visa is structured to ensure applicants meet all necessary criteria and provide clear and concise documentation to support their eligibility for the visa.

Application Steps

  1. Job Offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS): Applicants must first secure a job offer from a UK employer who holds a valid Sponsor Licence. The employer will provide a Certificate of Sponsorship, which is essential for the visa application.
  2. Online Application: Individuals then submit the visa application online. This should be done up to 3 months before your intended start date in the UK, as noted on your CoS.
  3. Document Submission: They will need to compile and submit all required supporting documents. Some applicants will also need to attend an appointment at a visa application centre.
  4. Biometric Information: Applicants will need to provide their fingerprints and a photograph (biometric information) at a visa application centre of their choice.
  5. Healthcare Surcharge and Visa Fees: Pay the healthcare surcharge and the visa application fee as part of your application.

Supporting Documents

The documentation required plays a pivotal role in the application process as they evidence the individuals eligibility and compliance with visa requirements.

  • Mandatory Documents
    • Certificate of Sponsorship reference number.
    • Current passport or other valid travel identification.
    • Proof of knowledge of English.
    • Bank statements showing you have enough money to support yourself in the UK.
  • Additional Documents: Depending on individual circumstances, additional documentation applicants may need include:
    • Proof of relationship to dependents.
    • Criminal record certificate, if applicable for your job.
    • Tuberculosis test results, if from a listed country.

Costs and Processing Times

Understanding the financial implications and waiting periods is crucial for planning your move to the UK.

  • Application Fees: Vary based on the length of your stay, whether you’re applying from inside or outside the UK, and whether your job is on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Immigration Health Surcharge: Individuals will need to pay an additional fee to have access the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay in the UK.
  • Skilled Worker Application Processing Times: Applications can take around 3 weeks to process if applying from outside the UK and up to 8 weeks if applying from within the UK. There are potential  expedition services available for this visa type.



The UK Skilled Worker Visa represents a key immigration route for skilled professionals worldwide aiming to engage in meaningful employment within the United Kingdom. With its points-based system it scrutinises applicants application based on their skills, job offers, salary levels, and qualifications, ensuring that those who contribute significantly to the UK’s workforce are welcomed.

Key Points To Takeaway

  • Points-Based System: A total of 70 points are required to be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, with points awarded for a job offer, English language proficiency, and other criteria such as salary and specific qualifications.
  • Sponsorship: A genuine job offer from a UK employer with a valid Sponsor Licence is mandatory. Employers play a crucial role in the application process by providing a Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Salary Thresholds: An upcoming increase in the minimum salary requirement in Spring 2024 highlights the importance of staying updated on policy changes.
  • Special Considerations: Healthcare professionals have a dedicated visa route, acknowledging their indispensable contribution to the UK’s health sector.

Next Steps

  1. Secure a Job Offer: Start by securing a job offer from a licensed UK employer in an eligible role.
  2. Gather Documentation: Prepare and organise the necessary documentation, including proof of English language proficiency, financial statements, and your Certificate of Sponsorship.
  3. Application Submission: Submit your application online, ensuring all details are accurate and complete.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep up to date of any changes to the UK immigration policy, especially concerning salary thresholds and visa requirements.

For those looking for expert guidance or assistance with their Skilled Worker Visa application, seeking advice from our experienced immigration professionals is highly recommended. Our expertise and experience can provide invaluable support throughout your application process, ensuring that you successfully progress the complexities of the UK immigration system and maximise your case’s chance of a positive decision.


How Can Primus Solicitors Help?

At Primus Solicitors, our immigration lawyers specialise in guiding and advising both sponsors and applicants through the intricate and complex Home Office visa application process. Our expertise in UK immigration law ensures that applicants and employers are well equipped to meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker Visa and avoiding common application mistakes and subsequently time delays.

For specialist immigration advice, don’t hesitate to contact our expert solicitors for a no obligation consultation today!