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New Work Visa Requirements for the UK

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With the advent of Brexit the UK will have new work visa requirements. With the introduction of the new points based immigration system comes new rules and requirements for those wanting to work in the UK. There currently is a points based system in the UK, but the new setup will be more flexible and allow more people who qualify to work in the UK. Previously the Tier 2 route was about the only way to enter the UK on a work visa. Unless you had a job offer and employer provided a Certificate for Sponsorship then getting a work visa was all but impossible. The new points based visa system for the UK will allow more flexibility.

Does a job meet the new skill level for UK work visa?

Each job will have a Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code. You can use the ONS Occupation Coding Tool to identify the relevant SOC code for your job. The immigration rules will be updated to widen the number of occupations that will be eligible for the skilled worker route. The new skill level for the skilled worker route is RQF3 or above which is A-level or equivalent i.e. high school completed. This doesn’t mention the requirement of a degree. The reality is that not many people without a degree will be able to find a job paying a high enough salary and meet the requirements.

Job Offer

The new points based system states the applicant needs a valid job offer from a home office approved employer. The wording of this sentence is very important. Previously Tier 2 stated a Certificate of sponsorship was required (COS. Getting a COS was a much more difficult process. You required the employer to pay for and administrate the application process for a COS which took anywhere from a few days to a few months to be approved if at all. This created another layer of difficulty in getting a visa. Based on the current understanding of the new requirements the term “Job Offer” should mean a job offer letter from a prospective employer. In theory once the visa is granted if the employer backed out of the offer or you didn’t get on with the new employer then you could change jobs. This is something that was not possible with the Tier 2 visa currently in place. The new Skilled worker visa appears to be more flexible.

Salaries for skilled worker visa

  • if they earn more than the required minimum salary threshold they are eligible to make an application
  • if they earn less than the required minimum salary threshold, but no less than £20,480, they may still be eligible if they can demonstrate that they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation or a PhD relevant to the job

Points required for the new UK Skilled Worker Visa

Characteristics Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor No 20
Job at appropriate skill level No 20
Speaks English at required level No 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 Yes 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 Yes 10
Salary of £25,600 or above Yes 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Yes 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Yes 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Yes 20


As you can see some requirements can’t be traded. These are:

  1. Offer of job by approved sponsor
  2. Job at appropriate skill level
  3. Speaks English as required

What this means is that you must have the above 3 in place to be able to have a chance at applying for the skilled worker route. A total of 70 points is required to qualify for the visa. 50 points comes from the 3 essential requirements leaving 20 points which can be obtained from the other 6 categories. Lets work through some basic and more complex examples to see how this works in real life.

Examples of meeting the points based system requirements for a skilled worker visa

Take John a Graphic designer from the USA coming to the UK under the new points-based system earning £23,000

General salary threshold: £25,600 Points
Job offer 20
RQF 3 or above 20
English language 10
Salary 0
Shortage occupation 20
Total 70

As you can see John meets all the 3 key requirements. As the job Graphic designer is on the Shortage occupational list he also scores 20 points. He gets 70 points and now qualifies for the visa. John scores no points for salary as his salary is below the £25,600 set for that job but still above the minimum threshold of £20,480.

Lets say John’s job wasn’t on the shortage occupation list. He would presently not qualify. Then imagine John had a PhD in computer design. Now John would get 20 points under PhD and be able to qualify.

Take Prisha,  a Production manager from India coming to the UK under the new points-based system earning £28,000

General salary threshold: £34,600
Job offer 20
RQF 3 or above 20
English language 10
Salary 0
Education qualification: STEM PhD 20
Total 70

As you can see Prisha meets the 70 points minimum threshold for a skilled worker visa to come to the UK. As her salary is below the threshold for the job she scores no points for the salary category. Lets say Prisha did not have a PhD. She would lose 20 points. Imagine then the employer’s job offer had a salary of £35,000. As this salary meets the threshold, Prisha would score maximum points under the salary category which is 20. She would now qualify for this job without the PhD.

The new skilled visa route is currently now live. We expect full details and the route to open up later in the year. If you require any assistance making an application please feel free to contact us.

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