How To Master Your UK Skilled Worker Visa Application

How To Master Your UK Skilled Worker Visa Application

The Skilled Worker visa is currently the most popular UK work visa, providing skilled overseas nationals with the ability to work in the UK for up to 5 years and then apply for permanent settlement (ILR). For anyone making a Skilled Worker visa application in 2023, there are a number of considerations to bear in mind to avoid the potential for refusal. All too often, we are contacted by frustrated Skilled Worker visa applicants who have been refused on a technicality or minor mistake in their application. In this article, we will explain the most common reasons for the refusal of Skilled Worker visas and what you can do to master your application and make approval a certainty.

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Understanding the Validity, Eligibility, and Suitability Requirements

Many applicants focus on the eligibility requirements for the Skilled Worker visa. In reality, however, there are three sets of requirements that Skilled Worker visa applicants should be aware of: validity, eligibility, and suitability.


A valid application is one whereby the applicant has provided the necessary documents or information, has used the correct application form, and has made the correct payment (i.e. application fee and healthcare surcharge). Applications which do not meet these basic validity requirements are likely to be treated as invalid and rejected.


All Skilled Worker visa applicants must meet the eligibility criteria and score at least 70 points on the points-based system. Points are awarded in two different categories – mandatory and tradeable, as follows:

Mandatory points:

  • Sponsorship by a licenced sponsor/employer: 20 points
  • A job offer for a role on the list of eligible occupations: 20 points
  • Meeting the English language skills requirement (level B1): 10 points

Tradeable points:

An additional 20 points are awarded on the basis of your salary, and whether your job is in a shortage occupation, you have a PhD in a STEM subject, or you are a new entrant to the job market.


Assuming you meet the validity and eligibility requirements, you will still need to demonstrate you are a suitable candidate for a Skilled Worker visa. Skilled Worker visa applicants must also show they a) do not fall within any of the part 9 grounds for refusal (see below), b) are not in breach of the immigration rules, or c) are not on immigration bail.

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What Are the Part 9 Grounds for Refusal for a Skilled Worker Visa?

A Skilled Worker visa may be refused where an applicant falls within ‘Immigration Rules part 9: grounds for refusal’. These state that a person may be refused if the Secretary of State has personally directed that the applicant be excluded from the UK or where the applicant:

  • Is the subject of an exclusion order or a deportation order
  • Has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a custodial sentence of 12 months or more
  • Is a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law
  • Has committed a criminal offence, or offences, which caused serious harm, or
  • Has provided false information or documents with their application

The application may also be refused where the applicant’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good because of their conduct, character, associations or other reasons.

It is imperative to understand the smaller details of the part 9 rules to understand all of the grounds for refusal. For example, your application may even be refused if you owe a debt of more than £500 to the NHS or if you have overstayed in the UK. Any period of overstaying will, however, be disregarded if you left voluntarily within 30 days of the expiry of your visa, and this was at your own expense.

What Can I Do to Ensure My Skilled Worker Visa Is Approved by the Home Office?

While there is no 100% certainty that any Skilled Worker visa will be approved, applicants can be almost certain of success if they take the appropriate steps, as follows:

  • Ensure you meet all of the validity, eligibility, and suitability criteria before you apply –
  • Ask an immigration Solicitor to handle your Skilled Worker visa application or to check your application and accompanying documents prior to submission
  • Don’t apply too early! The rules state you can apply for your Skilled Worker visa up to 3 months before the day you are due to start work in the UK
  • Check your spam folder for any emails from UKVI – if requests for information from UKVI go ignored, this may result in a refusal of your application
  • Calculate your salary correctly when checking if you meet the salary requirement – e.g. depending on the number of hours you will work, you may need to do a do-rating calculation so that your pay can be correctly compared to the required rate for your occupation.

Final Words

As the old adage goes, “the devil is in the detail”. Even if you believe you have every reason for your Skilled Worker visa application will be granted, the smallest oversight can lead to disappointment. By engaging the services of an immigration Solicitor to handle your Skilled Worker visa application, you can relax in the knowledge that no stone has been left unturned and that you have the best possible chance of your visa being approved.

Gulbenkian Andonian specialises in the most complex and urgent immigration applications and appeals cases. Call us on +44 (0) 207 269 9590 or fill out the form below to discuss your matter with one of our friendly and empathetic team.

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At Gulbenkian Andonian, we pride ourselves on “Excellence, Experience and Efficiency”. With over 35 years of experience on your side, our team of London based lawyers and solicitors have a wealth of experience advising individuals, families and businesses of all sizes to find clarity on UK law.

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