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How To Avoid A UK Skilled Worker Visa Being Refused

Nov 02, 2023
Last Updated on May 21, 2024

If you dream of relocating to the UK to take up a job offer, the Skilled Worker visa is likely to be the best route available to you. This is a sponsored work visa that will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years at a time. After 5 continuous years on your Skilled Worker visa, you could renew your work visa, or you could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), otherwise known as ‘Settlement’.
Since this visa route would be intrinsically connected to your ability to live, work and settle in the UK, there may be a natural fear that your application could be refused, thereby derailing your plans and future.
In this blog, we will explore the Skilled Worker visa in more detail. We’ll also look at the common reasons this visa category is rejected and what steps you can take to avoid a similar fate. If you still have questions by the end of this article, we encourage you to get in touch for bespoke immigration advice.
Remember that while every case is unique. If you want to avoid the most common pitfalls of the Skilled Worker visa, read on to learn more.

What is a UK Skilled Worker Visa?

The UK Skilled Worker visa was introduced to replace the Tier 2 (General) work visa in 2020. This route marked a continuation of the pre-existing Points-Based System (PBS) category, with some updates.
The Skilled Worker visa allows those from outside of the UK to take jobs with UK-based employers that are certified to sponsor overseas workers. It relies on employers applying to become sponsors, before applicants can apply for their individual worker visa.

Eligibility for this visa route will vary depending on the type of work you do. If you are working in a sector with lots of staff shortages, it would be cheaper to secure your visa, where compared to other candidates. To be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa category, you will generally need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a job offer from a Home Office-approved UK visa sponsor
  • The job must be on the list of eligible occupations
  • Have a certificate of sponsorship for the role
  • Earn a minimum amount based on your occupation

The process for Skilled Worker visa applications is very strict, as this is a visa route that can often be abused by employers and employees with less than genuine intentions. Home Office agents will want to know that the company offering the job is legitimate, the role is legitimate, and that the applicant is really qualified to fulfil the role.

Since this is a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain and Citizenship, it’s vital that only genuine applicants are able to take advantage of this visa opportunity.

Do you have a way to calculate the Skilled Worker Visa UK cost?

Yes! Use our calculator below to calculate your Skilled Worker Visa cost.

Please answer the questions and you will be able to calculate the approx. cost for The Skilled Worker Visa –

What is the process for securing a Skilled Worker visa?

The process for securing your Skilled Worker visa starts with getting a job offer from an approved UK visa sponsor. If a company would like to hire you, but they are not yet a UK visa sponsor, they will have to apply for their visa sponsor licence before they can move forward.
Once you have secured a job offer, the employer will request a Certificate of Sponsorship. You will need to include this with your application as proof that you have a job offer with a genuine company.
The application will also ask questions about the role and the salary to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements. There are multiple fees associated with the Skilled Worker visa, including the application fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. You may also want to pay a fee to speed up the decision process, although this is optional.

If you are applying to bring your spouse, partner or children to the UK with you, they will need their own UK Dependent Visa. If granted, this will be valid for the duration of your Skilled Worker visa.
If your application is successful, you will be granted leave to enter the UK. It typically takes 3 weeks to receive a decision on your application from overseas. You will be given a vignette (sticker) in your passport that grants you 90 days to enter the UK.

If your visa is for more than 6 months, you will have to arrange to collect your Biometric Residence Permit when you arrive. Applicants from certain countries, holding a biometric passport, will not receive a vignette or a BRP, as they will have digital immigration status attached to their passport, following the approval of the Skilled Worker visa.

What is the eligibility criteria for the UK Skilled Worker visa?

The basic requirements for the UK Skilled Worker visa are as follows:

  • Hold a job offer from a Home Office-approved UK visa sponsor
  • Have a certificate of sponsorship for the role
  • The job must be on the list of eligible occupations
  • Earn a minimum amount based on your occupation
  • Be able to speak, read and write English to the Home Office’s minimum standard
  • Have £1,270 available in your bank account to support yourself when you arrive (unless exempt from this requirement)

In addition to these requirements, you may also need to meet specific requirements for your role. For example, you have to meet the minimum income requirements, which are currently (whichever is the higher of the following):

  • £26,200 per year
  • £10.75 per hour
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing

In certain circumstances you may allow you to earn between 70% and 90% of the going rate for your role. The list of eligible occupations is very long. If you can’t immediately find your job title, try searching for similar roles. Some may be eligible while others are not. For example, “chef” is a qualifying role but “cook” is not.

Common reasons for UK Skilled Worker visa refusals

The key to securing a UK visa is reading and understanding the guidance provided. This is easier said than done, as this information can be extensive and it isn’t always clear which information is the most relevant to your case. With this in mind, here are some of the most common reasons that UK visas are declined.

  1. Submitting an application with simple mistakes and errorsThis could include simple spelling mistakes or errors in dates. It’s important to treat the application process with respect, as you cannot expect the Home Office caseworkers to be understanding if you provide inconsistent information.
    At best, errors can make your application difficult to read, but at worst, it could make it look like you aren’t eligible for the visa route. An example of this would be including the wrong salary information for your role. So, if your starting salary is £28,000 but you accidentally write £8000, it will appear that you aren’t eligible for a visa.
  2. Applying too soonOne of the most important aspects of the Skilled Worker visa is the sponsor element. You need to be sponsored by a UK employer, and the certificate of sponsorship will confirm this. If you apply too soon, you won’t have this vital piece of evidence to support your application and it will most likely be invalidated or refused.
  3. Insufficient funds, or not enough evidence of fundsIt might be frustrating to have to prove that you hold a certain level of funds (in your bank account) before coming to the UK for employment. A key part of the application is that you can demonstrate you have the funds to support yourself upon arrival. Some applicants (whose sponsors have declined to ‘certify maintenance on their certificate of sponsorship’) need to show evidence of having £1,270 available in their bank account. Those applicants need to have this money in their account for 28 days before applying. Common reasons for being refused include not having enough money in your account or not providing evidence that you have access to the funds stated, where required.
  4. Failing to include informationIf you leave out information when asked, this can be seen by the Home Office as an intentional omission. It’s common for individuals to misunderstand questions and wrongly believe that certain information isn’t relevant. Or worse, they worry that it will reflect badly on them and decide not to include it. Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to dealing with the Home Office. Think carefully about what information you include in your application and make sure you don’t leave anything out.
  5. Providing false documentsThis can happen with or without the applicant’s knowledge. For example, you might submit an English language certificate showing that you have passed a test that you believe to have been carried out at an approved test centre. In the meantime, the test centre loses its accreditation, and the Home Office no longer accepts tests completed in this location.
    If documents are found to be false or have been tampered with, this could lead to your application being refused. If the Home Office believes you have knowingly submitted false documents, this could lead to a 10-year ban on entering the UK, which is sure to derail your work plans.
  6. Not mentioning previous visa refusalsWhen asked about previous visa applications, be honest and thorough. There is little sense in leaving out this information – even if you’re worried about it reflecting poorly on you – as the information will usually come to light. If you were refused a visa under a different name or passport, always include this information in your application. Attempts to mislead the Home Office could lead to a 10-year ban on entering the UK.
  7. Failing the interviewSome applicants are invited to an interview to confirm the details of the role they will be taking up in the UK. Not everyone will have to go to an interview, which can make the process even more daunting. The Home Office will want to confirm the nature of the role you have been offered to make sure it is legitimate. They will also want to confirm things like your salary and experience. Above all else, they will want to see that the information provided in your application matches the information provided during the interview.
  8. Missing documentsMaking reference to documents in your application that aren’t included is a simple way to get your application rejected or refused. It’s also possible for individuals to submit copies where originals are requested, or upload the requisite copies in an unreadable format. It’s up to you to make sure you have included everything, that it is readable, and that it is provided in the correct format./li>
  9. Failure to meet the financial or salary requirementsIt’s not uncommon for applicants to misunderstand the salary requirements and submit an application when they aren’t eligible. The salary requirements are that you must earn the highest of the following:
    • £26,200 per year
    • £10.75 per hour
    • the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing
    Imagine you have been offered a role as a fleet manager with a salary of £28,000. You assume that you meet the requirements because this is above £26,200. But the ‘going rate’ for your role is £30,500, so your role does not meet the eligibility requirements. Your prospective employer would also be partly to blame in this instance, as they should know the minimum requirements for what you would need to earn to be eligible, when assigning your Certificate of Sponsorship

How to avoid a UK Skilled Worker visa being refused

Armed with this information, you should now be able to determine if your application is likely to pass the stringent checks carried out by the Home Office. However, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of being accepted.

  1. Seek professional adviceIt’s all too common for individuals to seek advice from well-meaning friends and family about the application process, particularly if they know people who have applied in the past. But while your friends and family might have the best intentions, they probably do not have the years of regulated advisory experience in visa applications that are needed to give helpful advice. Remember, it is a criminal offence to give unregulated immigration advice in the UK!
    If you want to reduce your risk of rejection or refusal, it’s important to seek expert advice on your application. We can help to anticipate issues before they arise, so you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your application has the best chance of success.
  2. Read all of the guidance availableThere is plenty of guidance available to support your application. Make sure you read all of the information available and understand it before you move forward. Check and double-check your application against this guidance before you submit your application.
    Examples of things that are often overlooked include the format in which you need to submit supporting documents. It’s vital to ensure that your documents can be opened and viewed with ease.
  3. Speak to your prospective employerYou need to be on the same page as your employer about the role. Make sure you are clear on the role you will be undertaking and your responsibilities within this role. Also, confirm things like the salary. If the role has been advertised, make sure that the information you provide matches the advertised role.
  4. Prepare your application with careWe know that the application process can be quite boring, but it’s important to approach this task with diligence and care. If you are careless in your approach to preparing your application, you run the risk of making easily avoidable mistakes. Always proofread your application and check things like dates are correct before you hit submit.
  5. Don’t try to conceal anythingYou can assume that anything you conceal during your application will come to light eventually. Concealing information can be seen as an attempt to mislead the Home Office, and this can lead to serious consequences. At worst, you could face a 10-year ban on entering the UK if you are found to have misled the Home Office during a visa application.

Final thoughts

When completing your application, you should be diligent and meticulous to ensure your application is free from errors.
If you need support with your UK Skilled Worker visa application, we can help put you on the right track. Our expert team can help to anticipate issues before they arise, so you’ll have the best possible chance of success.
A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with UK Skilled Worker visas. 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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A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 14+ years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, boutique UK immigration law firm based in Central London. Having assisted 5000+ clients, we are well equipped to help you with our ‘In It To Win It’ approach. For your assurance and confidence, we are pleased to share our trust rating of 4.9/5 based on 1000+ reviews on Trustpilot & Google.

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