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UK Tier 1 Visa - Highly Skilled Worker

The highly skilled worker category is designed to allow highly skilled people to come to the United Kingdom to look for work or self-employment opportunities.

Who can apply as a highly skilled worker?

Unlike Home Office work permits (soon to be replaced by sponsored skilled workers - tier 2), you do not need a job offer to apply under the highly skilled worker category. When you apply you are awarded points based on your qualifications, previous earnings, United Kingdom experience, age, English language skills, and available maintenance (funds).

You can apply under the highly skilled worker category now if you are:

  • in the United Kingdom with permission to stay (known as 'leave to remain') in an immigration category that allows you to switch into the highly skilled worker category;  
  • already in the United Kingdom as a highly skilled worker and want to extend your permission to stay within your existing category; 
  • already in the United Kingdom under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, want to extend your permission to stay and are eligible to switch into the highly skilled worker category; 
  • applying for permission to enter the United Kingdom (known as 'entry clearance') under the highly skilled worker category.

Go to Home Office

visa services website if you are applying from outside the United Kingdom. There you can find out more about the process in the country you are applying from and download the application forms.

What to do if you have an HSMP approval letter already

If you have an HSMP approval letter, you should read the section on

transitional arrangements for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme.

What to do if you received an HSMP approval letter issued under the requirements in place before 7 November 2006

If you received an HSMP approval letter under the requirements in place before 7 November 2006 and obtained entry clearance or an extension of your stay in the United Kingdom on the basis of the letter you may be affected by the HSMP Forum Ltd judicial review judgment. You should see the page on the section on the HSMP Forum judicial review for more information before proceeding with a Tier 1 (General) application.

You will not be affected by this judgment if you joined the HSMP under the arrangements in place from 5 December 2006.

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