Skilled Worker visa

Last modified: 08 April 2024

The Skilled Worker route is a suitable immigration route for those looking to remain in the UK after their studies and work. Normally, the Skilled Worker route requires you to have a qualifying job offer from a Skilled Worker sponsor.

The information we give is not exhaustive, and focuses on those that do not already have Skilled Worker permission. If you are unsure about any particular part of the route, or need help with your specific situation, please contact your sponsoring organisation.

According to Home Office statistics from August 2023, the five most common work sectors for work visas in the UK were: 

  • Human health and social work activities
  • Information and communications
  • Professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Financial and insurance activities
  • Manufacturing

Where, when, how to apply

Last modified: 08 April 2024

The Skilled Worker route has important conditions relating to where and when you can apply. Read through this guidance carefully so that you understand how to apply appropriately.

Where to apply

When to apply

How to apply

Mandatory points

Last modified: 08 April 2024

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must obtain 70 points (50 mandatory points and 20 tradeable points). You must also meet other mandatory requirements.

Firstly, we will review the mandatory points:

Sponsorship (20 points)

Job at an appropriate skill level (20 points)

English language skills (10 points)

Tradeable points

Last modified: 08 April 2024

In addition to the mandatory points, you must obtain a further 20 tradeable points. There are eleven different options, hence why these points are “tradeable”. The eleven options are listed in the immigration rules as Option A-K, and each option has its own salary requirement, job requirement, and occasionally specific academic requirements.

It is important to note that Options F-J are reserved for those already with Skilled Worker permission in the UK, and Option K is reserved for those seeking sponsorship in certain health or education occupations.  

The information in this section is applicable to applications under the Skilled Worker route made with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) that was issued on or after 4 April 2024. 


Minimum salary

Option E ('new entrants')

Other requirements

Last modified: 08 April 2024

Once you are confident that you have the required 70 points for Skilled Worker route, you must also meet the remaining requirements for the visa application. Some of these requirements are mandatory, and some are based on the type of job you are applying for, where you are applying for your visa, and any previous financial sponsorship.


Financial requirement (mandatory)

Genuineness requirement (mandatory)

Criminal record certificate (mandatory for certain entry clearance applications only)

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (if applicable)

Studies sponsored by a government or scholarship agency (if applicable)

Starting work

Last modified: 08 April 2024

The rules around when you are able to start work after making a valid Skilled Worker visa application are complex and interact with other parts of the immigration rules. We provide some information below, specifically for those applying from overseas and those applying to switch into the Skilled Worker route from the Student route. 

The information is not exhaustive, so if you have any questions, please contact your sponsoring body.

If you are applying from overseas

If you are switching to the Skilled Worker route from the Student route in the UK


Last modified: 08 April 2024

The Skilled Worker visa is subject to a wide range of conditions, although they are normally less restrictive than the Student route. It is important to understand the conditions of your visa and what you will need to comply with before making an application under this route.



Public funds

Extending your stay


Last modified: 08 April 2024

UKCISA are not experts on the Skilled Worker route, and do not provide advice about individual circumstances. It is important that you speak to your prospective Skilled Worker sponsor about any concerns, questions, or issues you may have in respect of the route and the visa application. 

We have collated some resources that will hopefully give you further guidance on the Skilled Worker route to help you with these discussions.


Government resources

Skilled Worker visa information page

This is the Gov.UK main homepage for the Skilled Worker visa. It provides detailed information about the route and its costs, eligibility requirements, and further information about dependants.


Appendix Skilled Worker (Immigration rules)

These are the rules that govern the Skilled Worker route.


Appendix Skilled Occupations (Immigration rules)

This appendix to the immigration rules outlines all of the job roles that can be sponsored under the Skilled Worker route, the related salaries, and the occupation codes for employers to use when issuing CoS. 


Skilled Worker visa: minimum salary (new entrants)

This guidance document outlines all of the eligible jobs under Option E (new entrant) and their respective minimum salaries.


Skilled Worker caseworker guidance

This guidance is intended for use for Home Office caseworkers, but does include helpful information to applicants and employers. 


Skilled Worker eligibility tool

This tool will provide a set of basic questions to help you work out if you could be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. 


Register of licensed sponsors: workers

This is a list of all organisations in the UK that hold a licence to sponsor under work routes including Skilled Worker. It is updated daily. 


Find an immigration adviser

If you need advice or representation during a Skilled Worker visa application, you should seek an immigration adviser that is registered with the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). This tool provides a searchable list of OISC registered advisers that you can contact if you need support.


Other resources

UKCISA - International Student Employability Group

UKCISA chairs this group of sector bodies to conduct research into international student employability, engage with government and employers, and support education providers with international students and work. We have further resources here that may help you (and your employer) during your Skilled Worker route journey.