Skilled Worker Visa UK For Ghanaians

The UK Skilled Worker Visa will allow workers from Ghana to take up an eligible job with an approved sponsor or employer.

For more information on the Skilled Worker Visa for Ghanaians, including steps to sponsor a foreign worker, speak to one of our lawyers at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    What is the UK Skilled Worker Visa?

    The Skilled Worker Visa was designed to allow qualifying foreign nationals to come to the UK and work for an approved employer in an eligible role.

    To qualify for the visa, applicants must be sponsored by an employer licensed by the Home Office. The job they intend to take up must meet certain skills and salary requirements.

    Skilled Worker Visa holders can be joined by their dependent partners and children. They can also access public healthcare, study, and take up additional work while in the country.

    Furthermore, the Skilled Worker Visa is a long-term visa and will be granted for up to 5 years. It also offers a pathway to permanent settlement in the UK.

    If you are a UK employer intending to sponsor a Ghanaian employee, it’s important to understand the visa requirements and application process.

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    UK Skilled Worker Visa Eligibility For Employers & Employees

    To be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, applicants must accrue 70 points based on certain criteria. Three requirements, including an eligible job offer, skills level, and English language ability, are fixed for 50 points, while other requirements are tradeable and attract 20 points.

    Generally, applicants for the Skilled Worker Visa must fulfil the following requirements:

    • Be 18 or over
    • Have a job that is on the list of eligible occupations
    • Meet the skills level for the job role, which is at least equivalent to RQF level 3
    • Show competency in English to at least CEFR Level B1
    • Have sufficient funds to support themselves (at least £1,270 for their first month in the UK) without relying on public funds
    • Have a clean criminal record

    Whereas, as an employer, you must:

    • Be approved by the Home Office to sponsor foreign workers
    • Ensure the job is on the list of eligible jobs
    • Provide the employee with a certificate of sponsorship containing information about the role they are to take up
    • Pay the employee the minimum salary for the type of work they’ll be doing
    • Have paid the required Immigration Skills Charge
    • Show that the role meets the genuine vacancy requirement

    Certificate of Sponsorship Requirement for Employers

    For your foreign employee to successfully apply for the Skilled Worker Visa, you must provide them with a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). A CoS is an electronic document containing details about the role, including the job title, type, start and end dates of employment, gross salary, sponsor licence number, and expiry date.

    To provide a CoS, you must have an A-rated Sponsor Licence certificate and be listed on the Home Office’s register of licensed sponsors. A registered sponsor is typically authorised by the Home Office to sponsor jobs under the Skilled Worker route.

    Thus, if you are not currently approved to sponsor skilled workers, you must apply for a sponsor licence before your employee can apply for a visa. The sponsor licence will cost £536 for small businesses and £1,476 for medium and large organisations and will take around 8 weeks to process.

    Note that there are two types of CoS: defined and undefined.

    Undefined CoS are for applicants switching to the Skilled Worker route from within the UK and for any other visa routes that require a CoS, while defined CoS are exclusively for Skilled Worker Visa applicants outside the UK.

    If you’re hiring from Ghana, you should provide your employee(s) with the latter.

    As part of the requirements, when they receive a Certificate of Sponsorship, they must use the reference number to apply for the visa within 3 months, or their CoS will be invalid.

    Having a job offer with a CoS gives your foreign employee a fixed point of 20, which will count towards the 70-point requirement.

    If you intend to sponsor an employee from Ghana but are unsure of the necessary steps, get in touch with us today. Contact Us

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      Genuine Vacancy Requirement

      When reviewing your employee’s visa application, the Home Office will assess if the role meets the genuine vacancy requirement. This means that you must not have entered into an arrangement with an employee to create a role solely for immigration purposes.

      The visa application will be refused if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the job does not exist or the employment is a sham.

      Immigration Skills Charge Requirement

      You must pay an Immigration Skills Charge before your employee can apply for the Skilled Worker Visa. Otherwise, the visa application will be placed on hold.

      This fee must be paid each time you assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to a foreign worker. The Immigration Skills Charge costs £364 annually for small businesses and £1000 for medium or large organisations.

      Meeting the Skill Level Requirement

      Your employee must have RQF level 3 or above skills, equivalent to A-levels. This does not mean they need to have a formal qualification; rather, their skills must be equivalent to the skill level of the role.

      When applicants submit a visa application, the Home Office will determine whether the job meets the requirements. Each eligible job has a four-digit ‘Standard Occupation Code’ (SOC). You should identify the relevant SOC code for the role using the ONS occupation coding tool.

      Several jobs may have the same occupation code. When you identify the code, cross-reference it with the list of eligible jobs to check that it is included and is eligible under the Skilled Worker route. The job description on the list should match the position.

      Avoid using an inappropriate job code or exaggerating the requirements of a position to match a SOC code. If the Home Office has concerns about the accuracy of the SOC code used, they may ask for more details about the position.

      If there has been a genuine error in selecting the wrong code, this can usually be corrected. However, the Home Office may deny your employee’s visa application if the job, skills, and experience do not align with the corresponding SOC code and skill level requirements.

      Furthermore, meeting the skills level will count as 20 fixed points for a Skilled Worker Visa applicant.

      Minimum Salary Requirement

      To recruit employees under the Skilled Worker route, you must pay them a minimum salary for the type of work they’ll be doing.

      The general salary threshold for most jobs has been raised from £26,200 to £38,700 annually and will take effect from April 2024. For jobs on the Immigration Salary List (ISL), which replaced the Shortage Occupation List, the threshold will become £30,960.

      You must either pay the general salary threshold or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher.

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      Our lawyers are well-versed in UK immigration law, and can help you obtain a skilled worker visa. Contact Us

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        The Shortage Occupation List

        The Shortage Occupation List comprises roles in short supply in the UK labour market. The jobs typically have lower visa application fees, and workers for such roles can be paid less than the general salary threshold for most skilled jobs.

        The UK government recently announced that by April 2024, it will rename the Shortage Occupation List to the Immigration Salary List. As part of the changes to the immigration rules, the 20% salary discount for shortage occupations will end, and the occupations on that list will be reversed.

        It’s important to stay updated with these changes, particularly if you’re sponsoring foreign workers into the UK. Contact our immigration lawyer at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to see the current list and for new announcements from the UK government.

        Skilled Worker Visa Application Requirements (For Employers & Employees)

        An applicant for the Skilled Worker Visa must provide certain documents from their employers when submitting their application. Thus, you should provide your prospective employees with the following to enable them to have a successful application:

        • The job occupation code
        • Certificate of Sponsorship reference number
        • A work contract or appropriate document that shows their job title, role, and salary
        • Proof of Immigration Skills Charge payment

        On their part, your employee must provide the following documents in addition:

        • A valid Ghanaian passport with at least one blank page
        • A criminal record certificate
        • Proof of English language proficiency
        • A Tuberculosis test result
        • Evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves, such as bank statements

        Application Fees

        When sponsoring foreign workers, you’re typically expected to pay for your sponsor licence.

        The sponsor licence costs between £536 and £1,476 depending on your organisation type and the kind of worker you intend to sponsor. You should also pay the Immigration Skills Charge.

        Your employee will pay the visa application fee. The standard fee ranges from £719 to £1,500, depending on their circumstances. They must also pay the healthcare surcharge of £1,035 per year.

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          Skilled Worker Visa Step-By-Step Application Process

          The application process for the Skilled Worker Visa involves several stages. To obtain the visa for your potential employee, follow these steps:

          Obtain Sponsor Licence

          If you do not already have a sponsor license, you should begin by applying for one. The sponsor licence application involves several stages. First, you’ll need to check if your business is eligible and if the role you’re hiring for is suitable for sponsorship.

          Then, decide who will manage the sponsorship process within your organisation and the type of licence you need. You’ll also need to align your systems and structures with Home Office requirements. Afterwards, make an online application for your licence at the UK government office.

          Identify the SOC Code

          Identify the correct SOC code for the job role. You should ensure the job offer aligns with the designated skill level and meets the specified salary threshold for the selected SOC code to comply with Skilled Worker visa requirements.

          Issue Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

          Once you have obtained a sponsor licence, issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to the prospective employee. Enter the relevant details about the job offer and the sponsored worker into the CoS.

          Get Evidence of Resident Labour Market Test

          For certain roles, you may need to advertise the job vacancy in the UK for a specified period to demonstrate that no suitable resident workers are available to fill the position.

          If you’ve done so, get records of the advertising process and any applications received to demonstrate to the Home Office that you could not get a UK-based applicant.

          Prepare Supporting Documents

          You should work with your prospective employee to gather all the supporting documents required for the visa application. It’s important to provide them with the information they’ll need to complete the application accurately.

          Submit Visa Application

          Instruct your prospective employee to apply for the Skilled Worker visa online through the UK government’s website. They will need to complete the visa application form, upload all supporting documents and pay both the visa application and immigration health surcharge fees.

          Attend Biometric Appointment

          The applicant must schedule and attend an appointment at a visa application centre in Ghana to provide their biometric information (fingerprints and photographs).

          Receive Visa

          After submitting an application, wait for a decision. The processing time can take up to 3 months. If the visa application is approved, your employee will receive their Skilled Worker Visa, which will allow them to travel to the UK and commence employment.

          How Can Total Law Help?

          If you intend to sponsor a skilled worker from Ghana, our UK immigration lawyers at Total Law can help you. We deeply understand UK immigration and labour laws and have helped several individuals and businesses through the Skilled Worker Visa application process.

          We will provide you and your employees with bespoke advice on the immigration journey and how it can impact their career progression and your business goals.

          The application process involves several stages and we will be involved with you every step of the way. Call us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online, to schedule a free consultation.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    Yes. If you are currently in the UK on a family, long-term study, or another work visa, you can switch to the Skilled Worker Visa route, provided you meet the requirements.

                    Check the Home Office’s refusal letter for why your application was denied. If the refusal was due to a casework error, you may be able to request an administrative review. Otherwise, you should reapply for the visa with a fresh Certificate of Sponsorship.

                    As a Skilled Worker Visa holder, you can apply to extend your visa if you are still on the same job and working for the same employer. You should apply online before your current permission to stay expires.