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skilled worker visa

Skilled Worker

The skilled worker visa allows you to enter or stay in the UK to work in an approved job for an employer who is officially sponsoring you for up to 5 years, after which you may be eligible to settle in the UK.

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What you can do

  • Live and work in the UK for the duration your employer sponsors you

  • Bring your dependants

  • Study

  • Switch to a different visa.

  • Leave the UK and return without issue.

  • Apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 continuous years on this route.

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What you can't do

  • Change employment without applying to update your visa

  • Undertake supplementary employment unless in certain circumstances

  • Receive public funds



Valid Passport

Certificate of Sponsorship

You must have a valid passport to apply.

Your employer must hold a sponsor licence and issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) confirming key information including your name, job title, occupation code, annual salary and length of sponsorship.

Minimum Salary

The previous minimum salary threshold of £26,200 has now increased to £38,700. You must earn the minimum salary or the 'going rate' for your job, whichever is higher.

English Language



You must prove your English language ability to at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

You must show sufficient funds to support yourself. The current requirements require you to have at least £1,270 in your account for at least 28 consecutive days before the date of application.

You may require a tuberculosis test depending on which country you are applying from. You could also be required to provide a criminal record certificate. 

April 2024 Changes

  • The minimum salary threshold for applicants seeking a Skilled Worker visa on or after 04 April 2024 has increased from £26,200 to £38,700. The 'going rate' minimum for each eligible job has also increased.

    • Option A: Increase from £26,200 to £38,700 (most applicants)​

    • Option B: Increase from £23,800 to £34,830 (applicants with relevant PhD)

    • Option C: Increase from £20,960 to £30,960 (applicants with relevant STEM PhD)

    • Option D: Increase from £20,960 to £30,960 (Immigration Salary List jobs)

    • Option E: Increase from £20,960 to £30,960 (applicable to 'new entrants')

  • The minimum salary threshold for applicants who held a Skilled Worker visa or whose
    Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned on or before 03 April 2024 has increased as follows:​

    • Option F: Increase from £26,200 to £29,000​ (most applicants)

    • Option G: Increase from £23,580 to £26,100 (applicants with relevant PhD)

    • Option H: Increase from £20,960 to £23,200 (applicants with relevant STEM PhD)

    • Option I: Increase from £20,960 to £23,200 (Immigration Salary List jobs)

    • Option J: Increase from £20,960 to £23,200 (applicable to 'new entrants')

    • Option K: Increase from £20,960 to £23,200 (health or education occupation)

  • The transitional arrangements (Options F-K) will remain in place until 03 April 2030.

  • The list of eligible jobs under the old Shortage Occupation List has been reduced and renamed
    the Immigration Salary List.

  • Occupation codes have changed from the SOC 2010 to the SOC 2020 list.

The application fee for a skilled worker visa depends on the length of your employment as stated in your Certificate of Sponsorship:

Up to 3 years: £719

Over 3 years:  £1,420

If you already have a skilled worker visa and are applying to extend it, the fee will depend on how long you will be in the UK:

Up to 3 years: £827

Over 3 years:  £1,500

If your job is on the shortage occupation list, the fee is currently £551 for up to 3 years and £1,084 for over 3 years.

Term & Fees

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You will have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge of £1,035 per year.


  • An applicant coming to the UK for 3 years would have to pay £3,971 in total.

  • An applicant extending their skilled worker visa to stay in the UK for an additional 2 years would pay £2,995


ukvi processing time

The processing time for skilled worker applications is approximately 3 weeks for applications made from outside the UK and approximately 8 weeks for applications made inside the UK. You may be able to pay for a faster decision by purchasing an enhanced service.


Next Steps

If your application for a skilled worker visa is successful, you will receive a new biometric residence permit confirming the length and conditions of your permission to remain in the United Kingdom.

If your application for a skilled worker visa is refused, you will receive a refusal letter outlining the reasons. There is no right of appeal, but you may consider applying for an administrative review if you believe an incorrect decision has been made based on a casework error. An application for administrative review costs £80 and can be made online. It must be made within 28 days of the refusal (if you're outside the UK) or within 14 days (if you're inside the UK).

Next Step

Next Steps

If you want to remain in the UK beyond your skilled worker visa, you can apply to extend it with the same or different employer - you will need a new Certificate of Sponsorship to apply. Once you have completed five consecutive years on this route, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Are you interested in making an application?

Use this form to fill in your information and one of our partners will get in touch to discuss your needs.

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We will aim to reply to you within 1 working day.

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