Tier 2/Skilled Worker Visa

Changes in the Immigration law have been effective since 1st January 2021. The new UK Immigration system now applies equally to all new arrivals inclusive of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who require a visa. 

One of the changes in the immigration law closed the Tier 2 (General) visa route on 1st December 2020 and replaced it with the ‘Skilled Worker Visa’ route. Application for Tier 2 visas can no longer be made. Individuals already holding a Tier 2 Visa can retain it as it is without any changes to their conditions. When applying for an extension of an existing Tier 2 visa, they will apply for a Skilled Worker Visa under the rules of this visa route.

Criteria for Skilled Worker Visa

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, the individual must score (a minimum of) 70 points from the following attributes:

  • Offer of a job by an approved sponsor – 20 points
  • A job offer at an appropriate skill level (RQF level 3 and above), supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship – 20 points
  • English language at level B1 – 10 points
  • Minimum Salary requirements- 20 points

Apart from scoring the 70 points, there are other requirements that the individual needs to meet as part of the Skilled Worker Visa:

1. Finance/Maintenance 

You should be able to demonstrate that you can maintain and accommodate your dependants until the end of your first month of employment. If you do not want to certify the ‘Financial Requirement’, then you and your dependents must meet these requirements for the visa. The following funds must be in your possession and evidenced by the applicant in a bank/savings account for at least 28 days:

  • Main applicant:  £1,270
  • Spouse/Partner: £285
  • First child: £315
  • Each additional child: £200

2. ATAS requirements

As of May 21st 2021, relevant international researchers applying for a Skilled Worker Visa must have an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. However, the ATAS requirement only applies to certain nationalities, and in certain roles and research fields. As part of this process, the individual is required to submit information about their research programme along with the relevant ‘CAH3’ code. The recruiting department/institution arranges this through the HR58 form. For further guidance on the ATAS scheme and application, visit gov.uk.

3. Genuine Vacancy requirements

Under the tier 2 visa, a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) existed which has now been abolished. In its place is the genuine vacancy requirement – proof that any given sponsored role is a genuine vacancy. The HR Compliance Team uses RAS to monitor and assess the ‘record of the text of advert’ for any given role to meet this requirement. To avoid issues for sponsorship, the following should be met: 

  • For a research assistant role, ensure that the advert clearly states the terms for under-appointment such as the individual should not yet hold a PhD, and this is their first instance of being appointed as a Research Assistant.
  • The role should state the required qualifications, and a copy of those qualifications should be attached as part of the sponsorship application (i.e. the Certificate of Sponsorship)

Conditions for Skilled Worker Visa 

  • The individual will not have access to state benefits or other public funds. 
  • Registration with the police. (This is only required if residing in the UK for more than six months).
  • The skilled worker can only work for the job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) or work for the designated sponsor.
  • Supplementary employment (in the same profession and at the same professional level), outside their working hours for up to 20 hours per week

Voluntary work.