PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU MUST HAVE A UK JOB OFFER OR SPONSORSHIP FROM A COMPANY IN ORDER TO BECOME A SKILLED WORKER VISA HOLDER.
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The UK is a vibrant hub of diversity and economic activity. Moreover, UK employers are constantly searching for talented individuals from all over the world, and you may be entitled to join them.
A question we get asked frequently is how do I apply for a Skilled Worker Visa UK from India?
As a citizen of India, you are eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa; you can remain in the UK for five years and can be extended therein. It is potentially an excellent first step in gaining permanent residency in the UK and will potentially allow you to bring other dependants with you to the UK if certain additional criteria are met. The Skilled Worker Visa is a fairly new immigration route that replaced the Tier 2 General Worker Visa on the 1st of December 2020. The new framework generally provides a more lenient threshold of eligibility which we will outline in this article.
If you are thinking about applying for a Skilled Worker Visa UK from India, you must satisfy the following requirements.
- Your UK employer has received approval from the Home Office
- Your employer sponsors you with a ‘certificate of sponsorship’, which describes your intended role
- Your job must feature on the list of eligible jobs
- There is a minimum salary requirement – this will vary between jobs
- You have satisfactory knowledge of the English language
- You have a confirmed job offer before starting the application
Are You Eligible to be Sponsored for a Skilled Worker Visa From India?
The initial criteria to satisfy is the level of skill required to perform the intended role. This should be a minimum of RQF level 3, equivalent to A-Levels. This lowers the threshold from RQF level 6, which was required in the Tier 2 General Visa.
The second criteria relate to your proposed salary. The general salary threshold is a minimum of £25,600 or the ‘general going rate’ for this kind of job. Some exemptions will allow you to be paid between 70 and 90% of the going rate. Such as if:
- You are applying in a field where there is a shortage of workers.
- You are younger than 26, you have recently graduated, or you are currently a student.
- You hold a technology, science, engineering or maths PhD which is relevant to the intended role (any other PhD qualification relevant to the role can only lower the salary threshold to £23,040)
Note that the old salary threshold in the Tier 2 General Visa had been set at £30,000 and is reduced considerably under the Skilled Worker Visa (for the latest info, click here to contact our immigration lawyers London).
Knowledge of The English Language
As a citizen of India, you will have to prove a certain level of written, spoken and comprehension of English (B1 of the CEFR scale). You can achieve this through the following methods:
- Passing a Secure English Language test from an approved centre.
- Studying and passing English at GCSE or A-level in a UK school before the age of 18
- Obtaining a degree-level qualification which was taught in English. However, qualifications received abroad will require ECCTIS to confirm that the qualification is equivalent to a British bachelor’s degree or master’s or PhD.
Can a Family Member Join You?
Moving to the UK without loved ones might be an unappealing and sometimes unviable option. Luckily there is a possibility to bring your partner and dependent children with you for the duration of your stay. You will have to prove your relationship to the concerned parties, demonstrate that they will be financially supported and fill out a separate application. The following people will be eligible to join you:
- A civil or married partner.
- A partner you have lived with for two years or more before the date of the application
- Children under the age of 16
- Children who are over the age of 16 who are financially supported by you live with you and are not in their own civil or married partnership.
- Children over the age of 18 if they are currently living in the UK as your dependant.
Each member will have to apply separately and pay a visa fee. The process will vary if they are applying from within or outside the UK.
How Long Does a Skilled Worker Visa From India Take to be Issued?
If you want to apply for this visa route, then you can do so up to 90-days before the start date of your job.
If you are applying for your visa from outside the UK, the processing time is around three weeks but can be longer.
If you are already in the UK and going to apply from within, then the processing time can take up to 8 weeks.
In some scenarios, the authorities will require further information and perhaps even require an interview, in which case the application will take longer. It is best to start your application as early as possible and be prepared for any delays.
What Happens After he Five Years? Can You Apply for Permanent Residency in The Uk?
Once the five years have been allotted, you can apply for an extension, and the same goes for your partner and children. As long as the same employer employs you or you have obtained new employment with the same 4-digit occupation code as your initial job, you will be eligible to extend your visa. The authorities will provide a decision for your extension, usually within eight weeks. If your profession changes at any point, you should update your visa status.
Another possibility arises after working for five years in the UK. If you meet the other requirements, then you become eligible to become permanent in the UK by applying for the status of indefinite leave to remain. The additional requirements include passing the ‘Life in the UK’ test and paying a fee (for more info on the latest fee price, contact us). Once you are granted permanent residency (indefinite leave to remain), you can live, work or study in the UK for as long as you like.
How can Gulbenkian Andonian Help?
At Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, our business immigration team have decades of experience representing clients through UK work visa applications. Skilled Worker Visa applications can be confusing and time-consuming, so we aim to make it as stress-free as possible for you.
If you instruct us to handle your case, we will guide you through every step of the application process, ensuring that all the necessary documentation is in order. We will also keep you updated on any changes to immigration law that might affect your application.
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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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Armen Andonian is the CEO of Solicitors Marketing, a London-based legal marketing agency. He is a legal content marketing expert who writes on UK individual immigration, business immigration, family law, finance, employment law and intellectual property. He has a passion for researching and communicating complex legal concepts and ideas in a clear and engaging manner and has developed a reputation as a highly skilled and versatile author on UK law-related issues. He has written for numerous publications, both online and offline, and his work has been featured in a variety of high-profile media outlets.