Work in the UK

Skilled Worker visa, Sponsorship advice for employers, Health and Care Worker visa. Work visa alternatives without a job offer. Entry to the UK, switching, extension, Settlement.  

Skilled Worker visa and Sponsorship

The main work visa, it requires a job offer from a UK-based employer. The company has to apply for a Sponsor Licence and sponsor a worker for a visa. This visa will be based on this job, change a job – change the visa. This page is focused on Skilled Worker and Sponsorship. For other visas, visit the A-Z page:

Sponsorship guidance for employers

At 1st 4Immigration we have vast experience in offering legal advice to British businesses, wishing to hire migrant workers. We can work with the employer, a worker or both at the same time. We even used to have our own Sponsor Licence until our workers happily settled in the UK. We analyse a job on the type and salary (whether it qualifies), help with a Sponsor Licence application, request a correct Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) and prepare a visa application.

Switch to Skilled Worker

If you find a Sponsor (employer), you can switch from most categories inside the UK, such as Student / Tier 4 visa, Youth Mobility Scheme, Graduate etc. You can also change employment but your new employer has to go through the same Sponsorship process. There are concessions (more relaxed rules) for sponsoring a Student, health and care workers and some others.

Come to the UK as a Skilled Worker

You need a company, willing to sponsor you for this visa. There is an official register of all licensed employers, it also helps if your skills are on the Immigration Salary List that replaced the shortage list. A very popular route is a Student visa, then Graduate visa for 2 years, then a sponsored Skilled Worker visa, then Indefinite Leave.

Health and Care Worker visa

It is for specific occupations, such as nurses, doctors, care workers. This sub-category is faster and cheaper than the main Skilled Worker visa. There is no Immigration Health Surcharge to pay and the minimum salary is lower.

Settlement - Indefinite Leave to Remain

Indefinite Leave to Remain is possible after 5 years in this category or permitted combinations with other visas, such as Global Talent or Tier 1 Entrepreneur. Cannot be combined with Student or Graduate. Settlement eligibility is subject to detailed rules on continuity (continuous legal residence), absences, gaps between visas, criminality.

Salary

New workers

The minimum salary is £38,700 per year. Lower salary £30,960 for health and care workers, teachers as well as those aged under 26 years (new entrants) and those switching from Student visa.

Extension and change of Sponsor

If your 1st visa was under the rules before 4 April 2024, the minimum salary has gone up from £26,200 to £29,000, which has to be on the new Certificate of Sponsorship. Lower salary remained for care workers etc at £23,200.

Indefinite Leave - Settlement

If your 1st visa was under the rules before 4 April 2024, you can apply for ILR until 2030 under the old Rules, with minimum salary being £29,000. You can combine with Global Talent, Tier 1 Entrepreneur and some others.

Your partner and children

Known as Dependants, your family can apply for Dependant visas, which will be for as long as your main visa. This covers your spouse, partner of 2 years as well as children under 18 years of age (on the date of the first application). This is a different category from the main Skilled Worker visa. Main is main, dependant is dependant, you can switch from one to the other, but cannot combine them towards 5 years for settlement.

#1 for UK visa advice

We advise on the Rules, we train other lawyers and we do it well! We also had our own Sponsor Licence in the past until our workers settled in the UK. We are accredited by The OISC at the highest Level 3, ref F200800152, in which 2008 stands for the year of accreditation. From our London office, we serve customers of all nationalities to work in the UK. We advise businesses all over the UK on sponsoring migrant workers. 

Self-sponsorship for a Skilled Worker visa

Can you sponsor yourself? Yes, or rather your own company can sponsor you. You can own 100% of the business and be a director. This option works best if you are already in the UK on another visa, such as Student, Dependant, Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Global Talent, or a work visa sponsored by someone else. You can establish your own business, have it growing for a year or two, then apply for a Sponsor licence and then a visa. You will need to employ a settled worker (British, with ILR etc) to operate the Sponsor licence. Most importantly, your business has to be genuine!