Skilled Worker Route


What is the Skilled Worker Route?

In November 2020 a new points-based immigration system was introduced by the Home Office for UK.

This changes the game significantly and opens up opportunities for applications for visa to be more predictable and more successful provided such applications are expertly prepared.

The Skilled Worker route was opened to new applications on 01 December 2020, replacing the Tier 2 (General) route which closed on the same day.

Whilst there are a number of similarities between Tier 2 (General) and the Skilled Worker route, the change has been implemented to allow employers to sponsor a wider workforce from outside the UK.

The new changes are more flexible and may encourage more migrants to consider the United Kingdom as a new destination.
The new points-based system includes a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

Obinna Baranta

Obinna Baranta


Lower minimum skilled threshold

Starting from January 2021, the jobs offered to overseas workers will be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (this is equivalent to A level).

Before now, the skill level required was at RQF6 with a couple of exception where the skilled level was lower, such as nurses, and chefs.

Applicants for a Skilled Worker Visa will not need to hold formal qualifications, but the skill level of the job they will be doing will determine whether the threshold is met accordingly.

Lower salary threshold

Unlike Tier 2 (General) where the general salary to sponsor from overseas was £30,000, the Skilled Worker Visa brings a general salary of £25,600.

Employers looking to recruit under the Skilled Worker route will need to pay the skilled worker a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the “going rate” for the occupation whichever is higher (as set out in the relevant SOC code).

A number of skilled worker using the Skilled Worker route may in fact be paid less than the new general salary, where they will be given additional “tradeable points” for other attributes. This is something new and distinguished from the old Tier 2 General route.

Example of those skilled workers with a lower salary are as follows:

  1. An applicant with a job offer under the shortage occupation list may be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both the general salary of £20,480 per annum and 80% of the going rate for the relevant SOC code
  2. An applicant who is considered a new entrant may be paid an annual salary which equals or exceeds both £20,480 and 70% of the going rate for the relevant SOC code;
  3. A PhD applicant may be paid an annual salary which equals or exceeds both £23,040 and 90% of the going rate for the relevant SOC code.

The new entrant to the job market

Where during the time of Tier 2 (General) those under the age of 26 or switching from a Student Visa could benefit from the new entrant salary rate, with this Skilled Worker Route Applicants sponsored in postdoctoral research positions, along with those working towards professional qualifications, registration or chartered status are included.

The students who were on Tier 4 visa at any time in the two years before they apply under the Skilled Worker route will benefit from the new entrant position.

Skilled Worker Sponsorship Cap

Good news.

The limit on the number of migrants entering the UK has been suspended, meaning that currently, there is no set number of how many migrants should be allowed under the Skilled Worker route.


  1. A better opportunity for employers to select talent from everywhere around the world,
  2. The Resident Labour Market testing (RLMT) has been abolished with the new scheme
  3. More generous provisions allowing switching of visa routes from inside the UK.
  4. Lower minimum salary requirements for new entrants (who are starting their career). They will need to meet either 70% of the going rate for their occupation code or £20,480, whichever is higher.
  5. There is no limit on the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK.
  6. Skilled workers can apply for unlimited visa extensions as compared to the Tier 2 (general) Visa route where skilled workers could apply for visa extension till 6 years.
  7. Applicants can live, work, and establish themselves in the UK and apply for ILR after completing 5 years in the UK.

Previously, on a Tier 2 (General) the maximum time a migrant could spend on Tier 2 was up to 6 years, with the Skilled Worker visa this has now been removed, meaning a migrant can be on the new skilled worker visa for as long as he or she continues to satisfy the route requirements.

Candidates considering the new immigration route can satisfy the English language requirement using their GCSE/A level or Scottish Higher certificates.
The current methods of proving English language ability, such as Degree taught in English or SELT will continue to apply.

An Applicant will need the following documents to file an application under the Skilled Worker route:

A valid passport

  1. The job offer must be at or above RQF3
  2. A certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which is issued by the employer
  3. Evidence of meeting the level of English language
  4. Evidence that they meet the maintenance requirement, either by showing evidence of their savings or am undertaking from their employer
  5. TB test, if your country is listed on the Appendix T

A minimum of 70 points is required to qualify for the skilled worker route as below:

Mandatory 50 points attribute for all the skilled migrants which are

  1. English speaking at the required level- 10 points
  2. Job offer from an approved sponsor- 20 points
  3. Relevant skill level for the applied job- 20 points

Tradeable salary points

  1. Salary of £20,480 to £23,039. Have to meet at least 80% of the minimum salary requirements for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 0 points
  2. Salary of £23,040 to £25,599. Have to meet at least 90% of the minimum salary requirement for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 10 points
  3. Salary of £25,600 or above. Have to meet at least the minimum requirement for the respective profession (whichever is higher) – 20 points

Other tradeable points

  1. Have a job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee – 20 points
  2. Education qualification
  3. Ph.D. in a subject related to the current job – 10 points
  4. Ph.D. in a STEM subject related to the current job – 20 points
  5. Have a job listed in the health or education occupation/ new entrant in the labour market, and the applicant’s salary equals or exceeds both £20,480 per year and the going rate for SOC code. – 20 points

An applicant will need to make an online application using the appropriate form, and paying the appropriate fees. The fees applicable for the application can be found on the UK government website by accessing the following link here.

There is no privilege of appeal for a refusal of skilled worker route application made from outside or inside the UK.

In any case, you might have the option to apply for an Administrative Review or Judicial Review.

Our team of experienced corporate immigration solicitors can help your application for a skilled worker route visa on the most ideal alternative to upscale your growth.

Our experienced personal immigration solicitors are consistently working with skilled and talented people who are going to the UK for career growth.


From our experience, we can deal with Skilled Worker Route visa applications effectively from start to finish.

Likewise, we can work with you to help your family members to come to the UK as your defendants.

You can be sure the application process will run smoothly as we are a first-rate law firm.

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