How Long Can A Skilled Worker Visa Be Extended For?

Skilled Worker visas are issued for a period of up to 5 years. The Skilled Worker visa route has replaced the Tier 2 (General) route. If existing Tier 2 (General) visa holders wish to extend their current visa, this will now be done under the Skilled Worker requirements alongside existing visa holders.

What Is The Permitted Length Of Stay?

Many people apply for entry for up to 5 years initially as an “experienced worker”. You can apply for any period that you wish to, and there is no maximum period permitted under the Skilled Worker visa category. Most people will probably apply for indefinite leave to remain towards the end of five years in the UK.

If the visa was originally for a shorter time than five years, then an application for an extension will need to be made, and then towards the end of five years, you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. The salary rate of £25,600 per annum, or the going rate, whichever is higher, will in many cases need to be paid to be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain. If you have a relevant Ph.D. or come under the Shortage Occupation List, a lower salary can be paid.

If you apply under the lower new entrant salary rate if you are under 26 years of age, a student visa holder already in the UK, or in a few other circumstances, the maximum initial period you can apply for is four years. The salary rate of £20,480 per annum, or 70% of the going rate, whichever is higher, will need to be paid. Toward the end of four years under the new entrant rate, you will need to meet the points requirement to extend.

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain twenty-eight days before the five-year period ends in the UK if you meet the residence requirements and wish to continue with your employment.

How To Apply?

To apply for a visa extension, prospective applicants must complete an online application form using their certificate of sponsorship and other supporting documents.

Application Costs

The cost of a skilled worker visa renewal is similar to the standard skilled worker visa application and is dependent on the applicant’s job and planned length of stay in the UK. In addition to the application fee, applicants will be required to pay the healthcare surcharge (approx. £624 per year) and may have to pay a fee to have biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken (approx. £19.20).

Documents Required

Applicants will need to bring extensive documentation covering their stay in the UK. This may include documents relating to an applicant’s immigration history, current visa, sponsorship, address, personal savings, and knowledge of the English language. The nature and number of documents required will vary depending on the circumstances of each case and some applicants will be required to submit more extensive documentation than others.

To fully understand exactly which documents are necessary to support an application, applicants should always consider specialist legal advice.

General Eligibility Requirements For An Extension

To be eligible to extend a Tier 2 (General) work visa or Skilled Worker visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • They must have the same job as when they were given their previous permission to enter or remain in the UK.
  • The job must be in the same occupation code as it was when they were given their previous permission to enter or remain in the UK.
  • They must still be working for the same employer who gave them their current certificate of sponsorship and that employer must be approved by the UK Home Office to sponsor skilled workers.

English Language Requirements

There are specific English language requirements to come under this category. It is interesting to note that there are no English language requirements for the Intra-Company Transfer visa scheme. Those who are already in the UK and are applying from within the UK are more likely to have already met the English language requirement. However, even for applicants applying from within the UK, care needs to be taken to make sure that an applicant meets the English language requirements.

Some people will need to take an English language test. Please note that, where relevant, tests by IELTS or other organizations must be the UKVI version of the test. If it is not the correct version of the English language test, the UK skilled worker visa application will be refused.

In most cases you will meet the English language requirements in one of the following ways:

  • By passing an approved English language test with at least CEFR level B1 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. If you have an IELTS English language test certificate then it must mention UKVI in the certificate. Any test taken with any test provider must be the UKVI version of the test.
  • By having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognized by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or Ph.D. It should be noted that some degrees awarded outside the UK are not considered to be equivalent to a UK degree. You will need to apply to UK NARIC for an evaluation.
  • By being a national of a majority English-speaking country on the list.
  • By having met the relevant English language requirements in a previous UK visa application.

Family Of Skilled Worker Visa Migrants

It is usually quite straightforward for partners and children to apply for entry or to stay, for the same period as the Skilled Worker visa migrant.

Your dependant partner or child needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
  • Child under 18 – If you are in the UK this includes children born in the UK
  • Child over 18 if already in the UK as your dependant

You will need to provide evidence of the relationship.

For children 16 years or over the following requirements also need to be met:

  • Usually, live with you. The exception is if in full-time education at boarding school, college, or university.
  • Not be married, in a civil partnership, or have any children
  • Financially supported by you

If you need to prove that your child lives with you, documents that can be provided include the following:

  • Bank statement
  • Credit card bills
  • Driving license
  • NHS registration document
  • An official letter from the child’s university or college

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact the professionals.