The Senior or Skilled Worker Visa allows foreign nationals to work in the UK for a UK branch of their current employer.
This new visa has replaced the Intra-Company Transfer Visa or the Tier 2 Long-Term Staff (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa and is aimed at certain occupations and roles, typically more senior managers or specialized workers with specific skills.
Furthermore, the UK Senior or Skilled Worker visa is designed to be a non-immigrant visa for the purpose of carrying out temporary work assignments and there is no option for the visa holder to apply for UK residency or leave to remain in permanent in the UK.
Are you eligible for a senior or skilled worker visa in the UK?
To be eligible for this Global Business Mobility Visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a specialist employee of a Home Office-approved sponsor – this does not need to be a UK company
- Have a valid certificate of sponsorship from your employer with information about the work you will be carrying out in the UK and the appropriate occupation code
- Work in a job on the list of eligible occupations
- Be paid at least £42,400 per year or the ‘going rate’ for your job (whichever is greater)
- If you have been in the UK since before 6 April 2011 on a Tier 2 (intra-company transfer) visa, you only need to be paid the going rate for your work, even if it is less than £42,400
- Worked for your employer for a minimum period outside the UK
- If you earn less than £73,900 a year, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months outside the UK.
- If your salary is £73,900 or more per annum, there is no minimum time required to meet the UK visa requirements
What documents are required for a senior or skilled worker visa?
When you apply via the Skilled Worker route you will need to provide the following:
- the reference number of your certificate of sponsorship: your employer will provide this
- a valid passport or other document proving your identity and nationality
- the professional title and annual salary
- the occupational code of your job
- the name of your employer and the sponsor’s license number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship
- proof that you have sufficient savings to support yourself: this can be in the form of a bank statement or bank letter
- proof of your relationship with any dependents if they are applying with you
- you may be asked to provide a negative tuberculosis test depending on your country of origin
You may also be required to provide the following documents to the immigration service to enable them to successfully process your visa application:
- Evidence that you worked for your employer outside the UK
- a valid ATAS certification: this is required if your work involves research on a sensitive topic at PhD level or above
- Provide your biometric information to a visa application center
If the supporting documents provided are not in English or Welsh, you will need to provide a certified translation.
Documents required for senior or skilled worker visa
To apply for a Senior or Skilled Worker (Global Business Mobility) visa, you must submit the following documents with your application:
- The reference number of your certificate of sponsorship, provided by your employer
- A valid passport together with additional documents proving your nationality and identity
- Your job title and details of your annual salary
- Sponsor name and license number: You can get these details from your Certificate of Sponsorship
- Evidence that you have access to sufficient personal funds and savings to support yourself while living in the UK (bank or building society statements)
- If you have children or a partner applying alongside you, you must prove their relationship to you
Results of a tuberculosis test (if you are from one of the countries listed)
You must provide the original version of these documents; photocopies will not be accepted.
How long can you stay in the UK on a senior or skilled worker visa?
A senior or skilled worker who has been granted a visa to work in the UK can remain in the UK for the shortest of the following periods:
- Five years
- The time specified on the Certificate of Sponsorship plus 14 days
- For holders of a senior or skilled worker visa, the maximum permitted stay is:
- If the employee is paid less than £73,900 a year, they can stay for five years in any six-year period
- If the employee is paid less than £73,900 or more per year, they can stay for nine years in any ten-year period
How much does a senior or skilled worker visa cost?
Applying for a senior or skilled worker visa comes at a cost. You will need to have sufficient funds to ensure you can cover the costs of the following:
- Application fees for senior or specialist workers, which can range from £625 to £1,423
- Cost of paying health supplement (approximately £624 per year)
- Funds to support you when you arrive in the UK to work
How to apply for a senior or skilled worker visa?
To apply for the Senior or Specialist Worker visa, you must follow the following requirements:
- Fill out the online application form. To complete your application you will need the CoS reference number provided by your employer. Answers provided when applying must be in English.
- Upload the required documents. Documents downloaded on the online application must be scanned or photographed. For file types, documents must be PDF, PNG, JPG, or JPEG.
- Pay the required fees. You need to pay the application fee and health surcharge when you apply online.
- Book and attend your appointment at an application center. You can find a VAC by checking the ‘Find a Visa Application Centre’ section on GOV.UK. When you apply online you must book an appointment to provide your biometric data (photo and fingerprints) at an application center.
- Submit the additional documents requested. When completing the online application you may be asked to submit supporting documents. You can upload them online or when you show up for your appointment at the visa application center.
Do my dependents need to apply to switch to a skilled worker visa?
Yes, your dependents need to apply to switch to a skilled worker visa. Your spouse or children must apply for this visa separately. They must do this at the same time as you or before your current visa expires.
Is it possible to switch to a skilled worker visa whilst in the UK?
Yes, it is possible to switch to a skilled worker visa whilst on a different visa in the UK. All you need to do is apply for the visa 3 months before your new job starts and be a valid visa holder. You must also meet English language and financial ability requirements.
Are UK Skilled Worker Visas Refused?
Yes, UK Skilled Worker Visa can be refused. The Home Office may refuse your visa for reasons such as failure to meet salary requirements, insufficient or inaccurate information, lack of maintenance funds, incompetence for skills or simple errors. We can help you take the next course of action depending on the reason for the refusal.
Can I apply for a skilled worker visa without sponsorship?
No, you cannot apply for a skilled worker visa without a sponsor. The visa is a sponsorship scheme and you must receive a job offer from a UK employer before applying. However, your employer must be approved by the UK Sponsorship Management System (SMS).
Is it difficult to get a skilled worker visa in the UK?
No, it is not difficult to get a skilled worker visa in the UK. However, there is a general consensus that coming and working in the country is a difficult process. Although it may not be as easy as in other countries, obtaining this visa is possible. Fortunately, we help you by providing professional advice and even processing your visa.