We have recently published various posts relating to the Skilled Worker Visa, including Skilled Worker Visa Salary Rates and Skilled Worker Visa - Evidence of Recruitment. In this post we look at a selection of questions frequently asked by Skilled Worker migrants when changing employment.
Can a Skilled Worker Visa Holder Change Employer?
Yes, but if you are going to change employers, you will need to submit a new Skilled Worker application providing the details of your new sponsor. Your new sponsor must be on the Home Office's Register of licensed sponsors and have a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence. You must also have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship ('CoS') from your new sponsor holding a valid Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence.
What if My New Employer Does Not Have a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence?
If your new employer does not have a sponsor licence, they will need to make a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence application. We have a dedicated guide for employers on applying for a Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence and have also published a post on How To Apply For A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence, both of which discuss the criteria and evidence required.
Sponsor Licence applications are usually processed within 8 weeks. There is a priority service where applications are considered within 10 working days. The fee for the priority service is £500 per request and only a maximum of 10 requests will be accepted each day from Monday to Friday.
Can I Stay With the Same Employer but in a Different Role?
Yes, but if you are staying with the same employer, you may need to make a new visa application if the following applies:
- Your core duties have changed and your new role has a different Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code to the one stated on your current CoS;
- Your job was previously on the shortage occupation list and you are changing to a new role which is not on the shortage occupation list;
If the following occurs, you are unlikely to need to make a change of employment application:
- You are still sponsored by the same employer and the new job is in the same occupation code and you are not moving from a job listed on the shortage occupation list to one which is not listed on the shortage occupation list;
- There is an increase in your basic salary;
- The change of employer or sponsor is covered by TUPE arrangements or similar protection and it is the same occupation code as the one assigned by the previous sponsor;
- Your pay was reduced or stopped during absences of less than 4 weeks in a calendar year. If you have been absent from work without pay, or your pay was reduced, for more than 4 weeks during any calendar year and it was for one of the following reasons:
- Statutory maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, or shared parental leave; or
- Statutory adoption leave; or
- Sick leave; or
- Assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis, providing your sponsor agreed to the absence for that purpose; or
- Taking part in legally organised industrial action.
When Should I Resign From My Current Role?
It is important to carefully plan the timeframe for your resignation (taking into account any notice period), and your change of employment application, to provide your new employer with a realistic start date. You can continue to work in your current job while a decision is being made on your new application or to work out your contractual period, provided you apply before your current permission expires. Your new application must be approved before you can start your new job.
If you cease to be employed by your Skilled Worker Sponsor, your permission as a Skilled Worker may be cancelled by the Home Office. For further information, please see our post on Curtailment of Leave to Remain.
If you would like advice as to whether it is possible to make a change of employment application prior to resigning, any associated risks, and advice as to the relevant timeframe in relation to your personal circumstances, please contact our immigration barristers.
What Are the Requirements for a Skilled Worker Change of Employment Application?
The requirements when changing your Skilled Worker Visa qualifying employment are:
- You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship;
- Your job offer is a genuine vacancy;
- Your job offer is at an appropriate skilled level;
- Your job offer meet the minimum salary threshold;
- You satisfy an English language requirement;
- You have sufficient funds, if you have been in the UK for less than 12 months;
For further information, please see How to Apply for a UK Skilled Worker Visa.
Other Relevant Information for a Change of Employment Application
The current published processing times for a Skilled Worker change of employment application is 8 weeks. You may be eligible to pay for a fee to get a faster decision.
When applying in the UK, the Skilled Worker application visa fees are £719 per person for up to 3 years and £1,423 per person for more than 3 years.
It is worth noting that there is no maximum time in the Skilled Worker route and you can extend your visa as long as you meet the requirements.
When Can I Apply for Settlement as a Skilled Worker Following a Change of Employment?
We have recently posted an article on How to Apply For ILR as a Skilled Worker where we provided a guide for Skilled Worker main applicants. You will be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain if you have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.
Other requirements include:
- You must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days during each year of the 5-year continuous periods;
- You must have passed the Life in the UK test (unless you are over the age of 65 or have a disability);
- Your sponsor must still be a Home Office approved sponsor;
- Your sponsor must still require you to work for them for the foreseeable future;
- Your salary must be at least £25,600 per year and the going rate for your occupation code, although there are exceptions;
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.