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Can you take on additional work as a Skilled Worker – what’s allowed and what’s not allowed

Can you take on additional work as a Skilled Worker – what’s allowed and what’s not allowed

Feb 13, 2024
Last Updated on Jun 28, 2024

Skilled worker visa holders have conditions imposed on their visa. Whilst Skilled Workers are free to travel in and out of the UK, there are restrictions imposed on their employment. 

It is important to understand the rules on work conditions as a breach of the conditions could lead to curtailment of the visa, meaning your visa length would be cut short (cancelled). A breach of conditions could also severely affect any future visa application as it would be on your immigration record. 

What are Skilled Workers allowed to do?

In order to maintain the skilled worker visa, holders must ensure to abide by the conditions of the visa. Skilled Workers are allowed to:

  • work in an eligible job
  • study
  • take on additional work in certain limited circumstances 
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring dependants (partner and children)
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) after completing a continuous period of 5 years under the route, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met. 

It is important to note that Skilled Workers must work for their sponsor in the role they have been sponsored to do. Generally, work outside the sponsored employment is not allowed. However, there are limited circumstances where you can take on work outside the sponsored role. The Home Office refers to these as ‘supplementary employment’ or ‘secondary employment’. 

Supplementary Employment

In addition to the job specified on the certificate of sponsorship (CoS), a Skilled Worker’s conditions allow them to do additional work if all of the following apply: 

  • the job is either in Appendix Shortage Occupation List or in the same occupation code as the job for which the CoS was assigned 
  • no more than 20 hours a week 
  • outside the working hours covered by the CoS

If the work meets the above requirements, you do not need to inform the Home Office that you are doing additional work. It is permitted within the standard conditions of the Skilled Worker visa.

It’s important to note that supplementary employment is only allowed where you continue to work for your sponsor. If you have left your sponsored employment, it does not give you permission to carry out supplementary work for 20 hours a week. 

Secondary Employment

Skilled Worker visa holders can apply to the Home Office to take on an additional job for more than 20 hours a week and a job that is not on the Shortage Occupation List or in the same occupation code as their sponsored role. This is known as secondary employment. 

Working in the second job is not covered by the existing conditions, which means you must apply for a variation of permission. You must first be assigned another CoS for the second job which will be used to make a variation application. This means you will have two sponsors, and will be issued with a new BRP that specifies this. 

It is not possible to apply for further permission to stay for the second job until you have started working for your first sponsor. 

The current sponsored job and the secondary job must both meet the eligibility requirements of the Skilled Worker route, including meeting the minimum skill level and salary requirement as well as the going rate for the relevant occupation code.

Please note that taking on additional work may be subject to your employment contract with your main sponsor. It is common practice that employers do not generally allow employees to work elsewhere during their period of employment. Make sure to read your employment contract carefully before taking on a second job.

Exceptions for Health and Care Worker visa – do they still apply? 

A Skilled Worker who is sponsored in an occupation code eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa, may have in the past been temporarily allowed to take on unlimited additional work in a job which would be eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa. This exception only applies to additional work done before 27 August 2023 (the date on which this exception for Health and Care supplementary employment conditions was terminated).

Note that this concession no longer applies. 

It is important for employers to be aware of the change to this concession. Any employer found to be employing someone who is in breach of their visa conditions could face a hefty civil penalty under the illegal working legislation, unless they have statutory protection (records of a valid right to work check). 

Working overtime for your sponsor

There are no restrictions on working overtime for your sponsor in the role you have been sponsored for. There is no limit on the hours of overtime work and the Home Office does not need to be notified if you work overtime for your sponsor (provided you are paid for overtime in line with sponsorship requirements).

Voluntary Work

Skilled Worker visa holders can take on additional voluntary work in their free time. There are no limitations on the job role or sector of the voluntary job. However, the voluntary role must not affect your ability to carry out your sponsored employment. As the role must strictly be voluntary, you must not receive any form of payment for this job. Reimbursement for your expenses, however, is allowed. 

Example 1

You are sponsored by an IT company as an IT Manager under standard occupation code 2133. Your normal working pattern as per your CoS is Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. You are intending to take on an additional part-time role as an IT Manager for another employer on Saturdays for 8 hours per week. 

As the additional role is in the same occupation code as your main sponsored role, is less than 20 hours per week and is outside the normal working hours of your main job, you are permitted to take this additional role under the conditions on your Skilled Worker visa. This is classed as supplementary employment. You do not need to inform the Home Office and are free to take on the additional job as it is within your visa conditions. 

Example 2

You are sponsored as a Sales Supervisor for a retail business under standard occupation code 7130. Your normal working pattern is 10am to 6pm every weekday. You want to take on additional work in the evenings for a coffee shop as a Barista. 

This is not permitted under the Skilled Worker conditions. The additional role as a Barista is not in the same occupation code as your sponsored role, nor is it in the shortage occupation list. Although the role would be outside the working hours of your sponsored job, you must meet all three conditions of the supplementary employment to be able to take it on without breaching the conditions of your visa. 

How we can help

The team at A Y & J Solicitors are experienced in dealing with Skilled Worker visas. If you have queries relating to your conditions or would like advice about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. 

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience in Skilled Worker visas and immigration compliance. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or contact us today. We’re here to help!

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