From the 1st January 2021, the current Tier 2 (General) visa category has been replaced by a new ‘Skilled Worker’ category. The requirements under this are as follows:
- The job offered must be at skill level RQF3 or over (this is equivalent to an A-level)
- The prospective employee must speak English at the required level
- The sponsoring employer must pay a salary of £25,600 or the going rate for the job (whichever is higher)
- Salary can be reduced to a minimum of £20,480 if able to ‘trade’ points based on certain specific characteristics, for example if it’s a ‘shortage occupation’ or if the individual has a relevant PHD.
It will be possible to switch into the Skilled Worker route from most other visa categories without having the employee to leave the UK. Employers should also note that many occupations not currently qualifying for a Tier 2 (General) visa will qualify for a Skilled Worker visa. This includes office managers, sales executives, IT support technicians, estate agents, chefs, electricians, plumbers, etc and there are different salary rules for workers in some health or education jobs, and for “new entrants” at the start of their careers. There will not be a general route for employers to recruit from outside the UK for jobs offering a salary below £20,480 or jobs at a skill level below RQF3.
As with existing Tier 2 visas, employers wishing to hire foreign nationals in the Skilled Worker category will need a sponsor licence, so employers who have never sponsored anyone for a work visa will need to apply to be a sponsor. We recommend this is done as soon as possible and professional advice is sought so that you are aware of your duties as a sponsor.
Further information on which occupations are at the required skill level and the salaries for these occupations can be found in Annex E of the UK points-based immigration system: further details statement.
For further information on the new legislation for Skilled Workers please contact us here.