Skilled Work Visa UK Overview
The Skilled Worker visa is designed to attract highly skilled foreign workers into the UK and subsequently offer them a route to remain in the country indefinitely. This visa is a Work visa that allows Pakistani and other non-EU citizens professionally skilled in their line of work to enter the UK and work for their licensed employers.
UK Skilled Worker visa is available to Pakistani citizens who score 70 points by fulfilling particular eligibility requirements, such as skill and salary level, proficiency in the English language, and possession of a valid sponsorship license and qualified work offer from a UK employer.
You may qualify for the Skilled Worker visa if you are skilled at A-level in an eligible occupation. This visa is typically a long-term visa valid for 5 years, however, how long you will stay in the UK to work for your employer is largely determined by the period your Certificate of Sponsorship allows.
Note that your Skilled Worker visa can only be valid if you stay with your sponsoring employer during your stay in the UK. But if you wish to change employer or find a job elsewhere, you must obtain a new Skilled Worker visa.
You can extend your Skilled Worker visa and apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) when you have stayed in the country for up to 5 years. You can also apply for British citizenship when you have stayed in the country for an additional 1 year as a permanent resident.
- Skilled Work Visa UK Overview
- Eligibility and Requirements for UK Skilled Worker Visa
- How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?
- How Long Can You Stay in the UK With a Skilled Worker Visa?
- Processing Time and Cost for Skilled Worker Visa
- What You Can and Cannot Do
- How Can Total Law Help?
- Frequently Asked Questions
To obtain a Skilled Worker visa you must have a legitimate job offer from a licensed UK employer. You must have received the job offer even before you kickstart your visa application.
Moreso, this job offer must be issued to you by an A-rated company that is licensed to sponsor foreign workers to enter the UK and do jobs on the list of eligible occupations. Your employer must also pay you the minimum salary for the job you do.
The type of job you do will determine how much you will be paid. As a Pakistani citizen, you must be issued a valid Certificate of Sponsorship by your UK employer to include in your application.
Knowledge of English
Pakistani citizens applying for a Skilled Worker visa are required to prove they can read, write, speak, and understand the English language. The required level to satisfy this criterion is to get a minimum of level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
To prove your knowledge of the English language, you need to:
- Have academic qualifications
- Possess a degree or other academic qualifications taught in English
- Pass an English language test
- Pass a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) English test from a licensed test centre. Your score must be at least B1 in speaking, writing, reading, and understanding
Some individuals are exempted from the UK English test. The individuals involved in this category include:
- People who have passed their English Language assessment that an appropriate authority in their line of work has approved
- Individuals from English-speaking countries, such as Australia, Jamaica, Canada, USA, and so on.
Minimum Salary Requirements
Another eligibility criterion for a Skilled Worker visa is that applicants must be paid a minimum salary of about £26,200. This minimum salary is expected to go up by the spring of 2024 to about £38,700, excluding health and care visa routes. In addition, there are instances in which a lower salary may qualify you for a UK Work visa, provided that it does not fall below the threshold of £20,960 each year or £10.75 per hour.
Your employer can pay you less than £26,200 if:
- You are under 26 years old, in professional training, or a recent graduate
- Your role is included in a shortage occupation
- You possess a postdoctoral position in higher education or science
- You possess a PhD degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) that is specifically related to your line of work
Note that under the new arrangement, the salary discount set out for jobs on the shortage occupation list would no longer continue.
Pakistani skilled workers are required to provide some documents and submit them to the Home Office before they can enter the UK to work for their employers. The UK Skilled Worker visa documents you must provide include:
- Your Pakistani international passport or travel document. It must bear a blank page and show your identity.
- Your job’s occupation code.
- Reference number of your Certificate of Sponsorship.
- Your job title and yearly salary.
- The sponsor licence number of your employer and their name.
- Evidence of your relationship with your partner or spouse and children, such as marriage and birth certificates (if they are coming with you to the UK and provided they are eligible).
- Evidence of your English language proficiency.
- Your UK PhD certificate or ECCTIS reference if you did not study your PhD in a UK educational institution.
- Proof of enough finances to cater for your needs while in the UK.
- Your tuberculosis test results.
- Valid ATAS certificate, if your employer informs you that you require one because part of your work entails conducting PhD-level or higher research on a sensitive subject.
- Criminal record certificate. This is only required for specific job types, like healthcare and education, that deal with vulnerable people.
You may also be required to prove your identity by providing your biometric information, that is your fingerprints and photographs. You can submit your biometric information at a visa application centre in Pakistan or via the Home Office’s mobile UK Immigration: ID Check app. With this app, you can scan, upload your identity documents and forward them to the Home office.
A qualified translator is required to translate any document that is not in English. In your evidence portfolio, you must include both the original and the translated version. Also, ensure that your documents are notarised after the translation.
Your situation as an applicant will determine which precise documents you must provide. It is for this reason that we strongly advise you to seek expert guidance from an immigration lawyer. Our professional immigration lawyers at Total Law are experienced in securing Skilled Worker visas for Pakistani citizens.
Our immigration lawyers have assisted several applicants to gather the required documents for their specific jobs, confirmed their eligibility for the jobs and helped them to apply on their behalf. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or contact us online.
If You’re Not Eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa
Should you not be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you can apply for any of the following visas:
The Start-Up Visa
This visa is intended for individuals who wish to launch a new business in the United Kingdom. However, your business concept must be approved by a UK higher education institution or an organisation that has a history of assisting entrepreneurs in the UK.
With a Start-Up visa, you can only focus on your own company to generate revenue to sustain it in its early stage as you are not allowed to work for another company in the United Kingdom. You cannot extend this visa when it’s about to expire, instead, you can switch to a UK Innovator visa to continue building your business in the UK.
The Scale-Up Worker Visa
With this visa, you will be able to work for a rapidly expanding UK company in an approved position that pays a minimum salary. Even though your sponsorship will be valid for 6 months, the company must be a licensed, and a qualifying scale-up business to sponsor you via this route.
If you are approved, you will be given a 2-year Scale-Up visa, which will allow you to work for someone else in an unsponsored capacity after just six months of leaving your sponsored role, provided the new position still pays the minimum salary.
The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa
This visa is designed for individuals with educational qualifications. You are typically granted a 2 or 3-year HPI visa if you have a PhD or other doctorate. To apply for this visa, an accredited university must have awarded you a degree in the last 5 years.
The HPI visa is unsponsored, therefore, you can apply for this visa without a job offer, and with the HPI visa, you will be free to work for yourself or in most jobs, as well as to seek other employment opportunities. Even though an HPI visa cannot be extended, you might be able to switch to a new visa before it expires.
How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa?
Pakistani citizens who want to enter the UK from Pakistan and work for their employers must complete their UK Skilled Worker visa application online on the Home Office website. Once your employer issues you a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship, you can kickstart your application with other supporting documents.
Below are the steps you must take to apply for a Skilled Worker visa:
- Know if you qualify for a Skilled Worker visa
- Obtain a job offer from a UKVI-approved employer
- Get a Certificate of Sponsorship from the employer
- Gather the required documents to prove you are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa
- Apply for the visa online from Pakistan after completing the application form
- Provide your biometric data (fingerprints and a photo) or scan your identity document with the “UK Immigration: ID Check” app to prove your identity
- Upload any other supporting documents as may be required
- Pay your application fee, health surcharge, and biometric fee
If need be, you can save your progress after completing a portion of the application if necessary, so you can finish it later. The application process for a Skilled Worker visa can be overwhelming as you must meet several eligibility criteria and provide various documents to support your application.
We recommend you seek expert guidance from our immigration lawyers at Total Law to help make the application process easier for you. They already know how to assist you to obtain a positive decision on your application, call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online for immediate assistance.
How Long Can You Stay in the UK With a Skilled Worker Visa?
Once you are issued a Skilled Worker visa, you can enter the UK and stay for up to 5 years. When this visa is about to expire, you can apply to extend it or update it if you switch employers or jobs. Meanwhile, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after staying in the UK for 5 years, provided you meet the requirements.
Processing Time and Cost for Skilled Worker Visa
Pakistani citizens applying for a Skilled Worker visa from Pakistan should expect a decision on their application within 3 weeks. However, some factors may delay the processing time of your application, such as the volume of applications, previous immigration violations, additional document requests, etc.
How Much it Costs
You are required to have the following funds to secure your Skilled Worker visa:
- Have at least £1,270 to cater for your needs in the UK
- Pay £1,420 per applicant for more than 3 years stay
- Pay £719 per applicant for up to 3 years stay
If you want to extend your visa, switch or update it, you will:
- Pay £1,500 per applicant to stay for more than 3 years
- Pay £827 per applicant for up to 3 years stay
What You Can and Cannot Do
When you obtain the Skilled Work visa UK, you will be permitted to engage in some activities. They include:
- Sponsor your dependent (partner and children) to come and join you in the UK
- Do an eligible job
- Do voluntary work
- Travel overseas and return to the UK
- Take up a second job (depending on the situation)
- Seek to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK after staying in the country for up to 5 years and meeting other eligibility requirements
You are not permitted to:
- Switch jobs or employers unless you have applied to update your visa
- Seek the state pension or public funds.
How Can Total Law Help?
As a Pakistani citizen who wants to obtain a UK Skilled Worker visa, you are required to meet the eligibility requirements and provide supporting documents for the visa. Incomplete documentation and inaccuracies in your application may result in the rejection of your visa application.
To avoid unnecessary errors in your application, we recommend you reach out to one of our immigration lawyers at Total Law for guidance. Our immigration lawyers are well-versed in UK immigration-related matters and they can help apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa on your behalf to the standard required by the Home Office.
Our immigration lawyers already know the best steps to take to help you actualise your goal of entering the UK to work for your licensed employer. Call us today on +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online for a quick response.
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Yes, Pakistani citizens can legally work in the UK, especially those who specialise in engineering, IT, healthcare, etc.
Yes, you can obtain a work permit in the UK without IELTS because you also have another option to prove your English proficiency by providing an ECCTIS report for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree you hold.