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UK Skilled Worker Visa - NEW 2021 Requirements & Guide

To apply for a tier 2 (general) visa, you must meet the following requirements:

· Job offer by the licensed employer

The UK employer should hire you for a skilled job. An employer must have a license to issue a certificate of sponsorship to the employee. Only then potential employees will able to apply for the tier 2 visa.

· Citizen of non-EEA and Switzerland

You're eligible for a tier 2 visa only if you're not national ofmember countries that belong to EEA (European Economic Area). Nationals of these countries have exclusive rights to work inside the UK. After Brexit, citizens of EEA may also require to apply for a work visa.

· A valid certificate of sponsorship

You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship by the licensed employer. There are around 30,000 licensed employers. Only they can issue a certificate of sponsorship after hiring you.Check the list of licensed employers here. Note: Your tier 2 visa will not be processed if the employer/organization isn’t included in the above list.

· Appropriate annual salary

Your annual salary should be appropriate. Well, this appropriateness is defined by the UK government, and you can't do much about it. The currentminimum appropriate salary rate is £30,000 yearly. However, in some cases, an appropriate salary can be higher, depending on the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). SOC system is developed to classify workers by their occupations and jobs by their skill levels. To check your job appropriate rate,visit here. Note: whichever rate is higher – it’ll be applied. E.G., if the job appropriate rate (according to the SOC) is £35,000, but the minimum salary rate is £30,000, your annual salary should be or (more than) £35,000. Otherwise, your tier 2 visa application will be refused.

Another thing that you have to remember is the number of work hours per week. If it's mentioned that 40 work hours – 5 days a week – are essential to meet the minimum salary requirement, you can't go over that. It means you can't apply for the job that requires you to work 41 hours per week to meet the minimum threshold. E.G.According to the requirements, you should work 40 (or less) hours in a week to earn £30,000 yearly. Now, another way around, if your job demands you to work more than 40 hours (even41 hours) per week to make £30,000 annually, your tier 2 visa application will be rejected.

· Knowledge of English

To obtain a tier 2 visa, you'll need to prove knowledge of English. Unlike Canada and Australia, the UK is the most flexible country. It requires CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) is the evaluation to determine that the applicant can communicate and understand core concepts during the conversation in a specific language. One of the easiest ways to prove knowledge of English is IELTS. If you score 4.0 to 5.0 band, it's equal to B1. Guess what? If you're reading this article fluently, cutting a 4.0 to 5.0 band would be a no-brainer for you. Note: There are exceptions to prove your language ability if you belong to particular countries (where English is the native language). Also, there are some other ways to demonstrate language ability. For instance, if your academic qualification is in English and it is equal to the UK bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D., you might not need to take the English language test.

· Personal savings

Watch out for your bank balance because you'll need to have a minimum balance of £945. The amount equivalent to £945 should remain in your bank account over the period of the last 90 days. This requirement is necessary to prove you have enough personal savings. If you have an A-rated sponsor, who will provide you the £945, you don’t need to disclose your available funds. To validate A-rated sponsorship, your sponsor will mention it clearly on your certificate of sponsorship. If you’re moving along with your family, you’ll need to show £630 for each member of your family in addition to your £945. This amount can be in your bank account or the member’s bank account. E.G., if you're applying for a tier 2 visa along with your partner, you must have savings equal to £1575 (945+630=1575) during the previous 90 days.

· Travel history

You'll also provide your travel history for the past five years. Your travel history will show you can travel to the UK without any problem.

· Tuberculosis test results

You have to show your tuberculosis test results for the tier 2 visa if you’re from listed countries.See the list of these countries here.

· Criminal record certificate

If your occupation or job is included in the education, health care, therapy, or social service sectors, you will also submit your criminal record certificate. It's mandatory for these sectors.See the full list of occupations that require you to submit a certificate.

Once you meet all these requirements, you'll start your visa application. However, before that, you'll scan all the required documents.

Here you need to prepare the relevant documents according to the following checklist.

Checklist: Required documents for tier 2 visa

Based on the above requirements, you need to keep your documents ready. You'll need the following documents during the tier 2 visa application process:

1. A valid certificate of sponsorship

Once you're done with your job interview and hiring process, you'll ask the employer to provide you the sponsorship certificate. It'll be an electronic record - keeping details about you and the job. While filling your application, you’ll add the reference number and other information mentioned in the certificate.

Key points:

· The certificate of sponsorship is only valid for three months since its issuance date.

· If the employer is offering A-rated sponsorship, it should be clearly mentioned in the certificate.

2. Knowledge of English

You must have your IELTS results in hands while filling out the details. To find an IELTS test center in your country or city,visit here.

Key points:

· Based on your location, the IELTS fee vary. You'll pay accordingly.

· You should score a 4.0 band minimum (equivalent to B1). It's essential for a tier 2 visa.

· Your IELTS score will be valid for two years. Make sure you took your test in the last two years when applying for a tier 2 visa.

3. Bank statement

You'll need your financial record for the last 90 days. This financial record can be your bank or building society statement or letter that verifies you’ve got sufficient funds (£945).

Key points:

· Funds shouldn’t decrease from the minimum threshold (£945) at any point in time in the last 90 days. The amount can be in your local currency equivalent to the £ exchange rate.

· Family members can come with you if they've applied for a visa as well. They'll be your 'dependents’. For each member, you’ll need a bank statement confirming you have an additional £630 along with your own £945. This amount can be either in your bank account or the member’s bank account.

· Showing your savings isn't mandatory if your employer provides you A-rated sponsorship. In this case, your employer will support you by offering £945.

4. Current and expired passports

To show traveling history, you'll need the expired and existing passports. Plus, you need a blank page in your existing passport to get a visa on it.

Key points:

· If you have no travel history, it won’t be the issue.

· Make sure your passport expiry date isn't near (a minimum of six months are preferable). Although this isn't a requirement, however, it's highly recommended to avoid any objection.

5. Tuberculosis test results

You need to have a T.B. test at the clinic that's been approved by the home office. If there is no approved clinic in your country, you must travel to the neighboring country to get yourself tested.

Key points:

· A tuberculosis test isn’t necessary for everyone. It’s mandatory for the listed countries.Click here to check whether your country is included or not.

· By visiting the above link, you'll able to find out where you can get yourself tested. While filling the tier 2 visa application, you'll require your T.B. test results.

6. Criminal certificate record

A criminal certificate record isn't needed for everyone. It's required to work or have a job in the following sectors: Education, health care, therapy, and social services.

Key points:

· If you work or have a job outside of these sectors, you don't need a criminal certificate record.

· If you’re not sure, you can verify whether you need this certificate or not byvisiting here. Here you find all the job titles which are included in the aforementioned sectors.

· You’ll need a criminal record certificate from the countries where you've lived for 12 months or more in the past ten years.

7. Translation of non-English documents

Documents that aren’t in English or Welsh will need to be translated. You’ll submit both the documents – original and translated. If all your documents are in English, then you're good to go.

Key points:

· The translation must contain the following confirmations by the translator: Date of translation, guarantee that the translation is accurate, translator's details including name, contact, and signature.

· You can find the certified translators in your country byvisiting here. The UK government's official site

recommends these translators.

This document checklist you need to have in your hands to start the tier 2 visa application. As soon as you complete these documents, you'll log in and begin the visa application procedure right away. If you find it hard to get a specific document, reread the checklist. All the details are provided with each required document.

Once you meet these requirements, the next step is to take action. You'll start the application process before three months of your joining at work. The application process will take three weeks for straight forward cases. Subsequently, you can land in the UK before 14 days of your joining day. Tier 2 visa will remain valid five years and 14 days, or sponsored period + 1-month. E.G., if your employer has offered a certificate of sponsorship of 2-years, your tier 2 visa will expire after 2-year + 1-month (25-months in total).

Next is to initiate the online visa process. Let's figure out how to apply for a tier 2 visa.

Tier 2 visa – How to apply

There are primarily two phases of applying for a tier 2 visa. First is an online application, and the second is Submission at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) with supporting documents.

Upon completing all documents, you'll initiate theonline tier 2 visa process. It's a straight forward process and self-explanatory.

1. Fill up the application:

· Passport and travel information

· Personal details and travel history

· Details about the family

· Additional information

2. Electronic signature:

· This section is a preview; read carefully all the information you provided

· Read through the terms and conditions

· Sign electronically by typing your name

· The declaration process is completed

3. Biometric residence permits (BRP) collection location:

· Select the place or post office where you can collect your BRP

· If you apply from inside the UK, your BRP will arrive by courier

· If you apply from outside the UK, you'll collect your BRP as soon as you land in the UK (within ten days max)

· BRP will be sent to the post office you selected while filling the online visa application (you’ll go there to pick it up)

4. Visit the visa application center:

· After online application, Embassy will book an appointment for you at the visa application center

· Click here to find out your nearest visa application center

· During your visit to the visa application center, you'll have a digital photo taken of your face

· Put your fingers on the glass screen to be scanned

· Give your signature

· The fee varies for each country, and you can get the biometric done on an urgent basis by paying a higher cost

· You have to collect your BRP within ten days as soon as you arrive in the UK

· Before getting BRP, you'll get a vignette sticker on your passport so that you can travel to the UK

That's it. This is the whole procedure to get a tier 2 visa successfully. You'll receive your visa confirmation within three weeks after your visit to the visa application center. If for any reason, your visa application is refused, you'll have a right to appeal. In this case, you should seek a professional consultant's assistance to get through the process.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I change my job?

Yes, you can. However, you need to get another certificate of sponsorship from your new employer and repeat the whole procedure.

2. What's the tier 2 shortage occupation list?

Shortage occupations mean that the workers with specific skills are highly encouraged to come to the UK and serve the job market. There is a lack of skilled workers in specific fields. These fields are included in the shortage list. UK government updates the shortage occupation list regularly. The minimum salary requirement isn't mandatory for the workers who apply for the jobs included in the shortage list. You can go through theshortage list here.

3. Can I do a part-time job as well?

Yes, you can do two jobs together until your secondary job isn't impacting your primary job. Your employer can object if the part-time work is minimizing your performance.

Plus, your part-time work hours shouldn’t exceed more than 20 hours per week. Additionally, the work hours should not clash with your primary job.

4. What's the Resident Labour Market Test?

Also known as RLMT, this is a mandatory requirement for employers. Employers have to advertise the job inside the UK for at least 28 days as per the rules. Otherwise, they can't hire an employee who is not a member of countries that belong to EEA.

Once they get no satisfactory application, then they can look at the non-EEA applications and hire the non-EEA nationals.

5. How does RLMT impact me?

If the certified employer hires you, he/she understands this already. There is nothing much on your part. Also, RLMT doesn’t apply to the jobs included in the shortage list. If you’re applying for the jobs considering the shortage list, you’re in clear.

6. What's the fee for a tier 2 visa?

Fee depends on the various factors. You can always check the payment according to your country and job byvisiting the official site. If your job is on the shortage list, you'll have to pay less.

7. I don’t have maintenance funds (£945). Is there a way for me?

Yes, you can request your employer to provide you A-rated certificate of sponsorship. As a result, your employer will support you, and you don't need personal savings to show. Your employer (if he/she wishes) can offer you the A-rated certificate of sponsorship for your family members as well. This way, you don't have to demonstrate £630 for each member.

8. How long can I stay on a tier 2 visa?

You can renew, change your employer, and live on a tier 2 visa at any time. In one go, your tier 2 visa will remain valid for five years and 14 days or the period mentioned on your certificate of sponsorship. You will require to renew your passport after that. And the maximum limit is six years to stay inside the UK on the tier 2 visa. You can apply for a permanent resident card afterward.

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