Skilled Worker Visa

All you need to know about the Skilled Worker visa from application to extension

The Skilled Worker route is the most common visa option for those coming to work in the UK.  This was previously known as Tier 2. To apply for the Skilled Worker visa, you need to obtain sponsorship from the Abertay University.  Only certain roles are eligible for sponsorship due to the immigration rules laid out by UK Visas & Immigration. 

We have provided a brief outline of the requirements below, however you should always speak to your recruiter or People Services team in the first instance.  Once sponsorship has been approved, you will be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which you need to submit your visa application.

The requirements that an individual needs to meet in order to successfully apply for Tier 2 can be found at UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) website.  However, it is advised that each applicant seek legal advice before submitting an application under the Tier 2 (General) visa route.


Sponsorship requirements

You must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa:

  • your job is eligible for this visa
  • you’ll be working for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • you’ll be paid at least the minimum salary for the type of work you’ll be doing

If your job can be sponsored by the Abertay University, then People Services colleagues will issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

A CoS is an electronic document which confirms your personal details and information about the job role. You will need the information on this document to complete the visa application, including a unique CoS reference number.

Types of Certificates of Sponsorships

Currently, the University holds a Skilled Worker Visa (Tier 2) and Temporary Worker (Tier 5) Sponsor licence.

You will be assigned a certificate of sponsorship after you accept offer of employment. This is an electronic record, not a physical document. Each certificate has its own number which a worker can use to apply for a visa.

Defined certificated: These are for people applying on a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK. You must apply for defined certificates for these workers through the sponsorship management system (SMS).

Undefined certificates: These are for Skilled Workers applying from inside the UK, and applicants on all other visas.


When you are assigned a certificate of sponsorship, you must use it to apply for your visa within 3 months. You must not apply for visa more than 3 months before the start date of the job listed on the certificate.

The employment start date cannot be moved forward more than 28 days otherwise the CoS will be cancelled.  The overall timescale to complete the process can vary, however the minimum time is 9 weeks.

Applying for a Visa

The Skilled Worker visa will allow an employee to stay for up to 5 years and 14 days, or up to 6 years with extensions. An employee under a Skilled Worker visa is not permitted to remain in this category beyond 6 years.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.

Most visa applications for anyone seeking to visit, work or study in the UK are made online. The charges depend on the visa type, and can be found on the UK Government visa fees page. These fees are usually reviewed in every year but can be reviewed at any time. The requirements that need to be met in order to successfully apply for a Skilled Worker visa can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website (UKVI). However, it is advised that each applicant seek legal advice before submitting an application under the Skilled Worker visa route.


Skilled Worker Visa - criteria

The new points-based system is designed to ensure that all applicants, both EU and non-EU citizens, are treated equally post-Brexit.

All applicants will need to meet 70 points to be eligible for the skilled worker route; although the applicant must prove that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level, and that they speak English. This will make up 50 points of the required 70 points needed to be successful. 

The applicant will be able to acquire a further 20 points by meeting the relevant additional requirements.  These requirements can be found on:

A total of 70 points is required to be eligible to apply (see table below); some characteristics are tradeable.




Offer of job by approved sponsor



Job at appropriate skill level



Speaks English at required level



Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039



Salary of £23,040 – £25,599



Salary of £25,600 or above



Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC)



Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the job



Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job




The NARIC/Ennic codes are only required where the person cannot meet the minimum salary requirements but have a STEM or non-STEM PhD and can therefore ‘trade points’ to a lower salary threshold which means they can then be sponsored.

Immigration Health Surcharge

When making an online visa application you may be required to pay for healthcare surcharge (Immigration Health Surcharge or IHS). IHS is intended to fund healthcare from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), and by paying IHS you will be entitled to use NHS services. Additionally, emergency health care hospital treatments or further treatments will not be charged. However, please note you might still be charged for certain types of services e.g. prescriptions, dental treatments and eye tests.

Whether you need to pay depends on the immigration status you are applying for. The payment is in addition to the visa application fee and is not optional (even if you have or intend to purchase private medical insurance for your time in the UK).

Who needs to pay

You usually need to pay the healthcare surcharge if you’re applying for a visa or immigration application:

  • for more than 6 months, if you’re applying outside the UK
  • for any length of time, if you’re applying inside the UK
  • You do not need to pay if you’re applying for a visitor visa or to remain in the UK permanently.

Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.


English Language test

If the visa you are applying for asks you to prove your English language ability, you need to demonstrate this by passing a test with a Home Office approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) Provider. These are found in Home Office approved centres, both in the UK and Overseas.

Accredited SELT Test Centres:

UK and Overseas

  • IELTS SELT Consortium 
  • Pearson Education Ltd 
  • PeopleCert International Limited Consortium 

UK only

  • Trinity College London 

Overseas only

  • PSI Services (UK) Ltd 

The level of English language ability you are required to prove can change according to the visa you’re applying for. Please check the guidance for your visa to find out the level required. There are some exemptions that apply. See the full details of exemptions on the UK Government website.

Absence from the UK

EU Settlement Scheme

Holders of settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status.  However, if the holder of settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme is a Swiss citizen, the Swiss citizen and their family members can spend up to 4 years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status.

Holders of pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status. It is noted that holders of pre-settled status should bear in mind the need to maintain their continuous residence to ensure they are eligible to qualify for settled status.

Visa holders

No more than 180 days’ absences are allowed in a consecutive 12-month period.  This is based on whole days in this calculation. Part day absences, for example, less than 24 hours, will not be counted.  However, employers must record and authorise any and all absences for sponsored Skilled Worker visa and Student visa.

Absences without Permission

Additionally, if a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without permission, you must report this within 10 working days of the 10th day of absence.

There are also other changes regarding your own circumstances that need to be reported. For full guidance, see the UKVI Tier 2 sponsor guidance:

Monitoring Staff attendance

All employers are responsible for monitoring the attendance for those employees who require CoS to work in the UK.  There is a requirement to notify UKVI if the individual fails to report on the first day at work or have a period of 10 days or more of an unauthorised absence.  In order to help with this process the following principles can help with recording staff attendance:

  • Outlook calendaring facility; individual is expected to maintain their diary for the purposes of recording work commitments
  • All individuals are expected to report their planned or/and unplanned absence to their Line Manager/Supervisor
  • All members of staff are required to follow University’s Sick and Absence policy

Record Keeping

The University is required to retain all applicants’ records as part of the recruitment process for termination of employment and 2 years after the migrant is no longer sponsored by university.  This includes the following records or documents: -

  • a photocopy or electronic copy of the relevant page, or pages, of each sponsored migrant’s passport or UK immigration status document and biometric residence permit (if available) that prove their entitlement to work including their period of leave to remain in the UK;
  • each sponsored migrant’s contact details including up to date UK residential address, telephone number and mobile telephone number.

The successful candidate’s personal data will be stored in accordance with the UKVI regulations as well as under GDPR along with other documentation, such as underpinning reason for recruitment decision.

The Home Office guidance confirms that upon request, you must provide the Home Office any documents relating to your sponsored migrants or the running of the University that is considered relevant to assessing the University’s compliance with the University’s duties as a sponsor. This can include requests, for example, seeking details of the recruitment practices so that the Home Office can assess whether a resident labour market test was carried out correctly. If the University fail to provide the documents requested or within a specified timeframe, the Home Office can take action against you.

The following information needs to be retained:

  • Evidence of job adverts (screenshots)
  • Details of all applicants short listed along with the medium they were received from (CV, email, application form), applicant’s name, address and date of birth
  • Names and total number of applicants short listed for final interview
  • For each settled worker rejected, interview notes with reason for rejection

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