What all you need to know about the UK Skilled Worker Visa

Skilled Worker Visa — BRP

Hello there, my awesome readers. In the last few articles, I wrote about migrating to the UK with a software job. I have mentioned what, why, and How. Hope those articles were of some help. In this article, I will mention what is the exact process of a visa, the associated costs, and the things to be careful about.

As we already mentioned in the previous article, Getting a Job in a sponsoring company is the first step in the process. That is all we need to do and is the hardest part of all. Rest is a very streamlined process. Here are the steps.

  1. Once you get the offer letter (I bet you get it sooner or later), sign and accept it. Your job is done. Now what you do is, just throw the resignation papers on the face of your current employer. The first thing that you do after signing the contract or the offer, you relieve all the burden that you carry over the months of preparation. Now just relax. It is now the Employer’s headache to kick off the process.
  2. The first thing that the Employer does is to assign you a CoS letter — The Certificate of Sponsorship. The CoS letter contains the details such as:
    >>> Employer License Number: otherwise known as Sponsor Licence Number
    >>> Sponsor name
    >>> Certificate number
    >>> Your Personal Information: Name, DOB, Passport Number, etc.
    >>> Your Start Date and End Date in the UK
    >>> Job Title that you are hiring for
    >>> Job Description and your responsibility
  3. The cost for CoS will be borne by the Employer. The Employer shall also pay Immigration Skills Charge to UK Government because the Employer is hiring a Skilled Worker from a nation that is foreign to the UK.
  4. The CoS letter takes at least one week of the approval cycle and as I said it is the Employer’s headache. So, just relax. Throw the resignation papers on the face of your current employer and enjoy. Go out, if you are married and have kids. Take them for a long evening drive on your wonderful motorbike. If you are a lady, just knock on your hubby’s head and take him for a ride on your cute little Scooty. Spend some time with your parents. Talk to them till your heart fills with joy. Enjoy the whole week to the fullest extent. Because there is another burden that is coming along if you are not lucky enough.
  5. So your CoS is approved and will be sent to you via email or by some other means, with all the details. Just check carefully the details, especially the Passport Number, Start Date, End Date of your job, and any spelling mistakes. Generally, the CoS is given for three years and will be extended for two years after that. Just check how many years the start and end date cover. Few employers are very kind enough to give the CoS for 5 years at a stretch.
  6. Now, after you got the CoS and verified all the details to perfection, the next step is to apply for a visa. Now the process depends on your luck factor and your negotiation skills.
    >>> If you are very lucky, everything will be taken care of by the employer: Your Visa Application Charges, the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge), Flight Tickets, Cab Booking, Temporary Accommodation, etc. And other relocation perks.
    >>> Or if you are lucky enough the visa application charges, immigration and health surcharge, and flight tickets you pay yourself and claim for reimbursement after you are in the office. Cab and Temporary Accommodation anyways the Employer will provide. Again it depends.
    >>> Not lucky, you have to take care of everything.
  7. In my case, a mix of things happened. First, they put me into the lucky enough category. Then I negotiated that I don’t have enough cash on me and requested them to pay for the visa application and the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge). Because I had to pay close to GBP 2700 /- which I didn’t have. So I requested them to pay. They took one month for it and at last pushed me into the very lucky zone. I thanked GOD. So except for the Flight tickets, they paid for everything. And the flight tickets were reimbursed.
  8. After you are done with the visa application, you have to book an appointment for a biometric and a document verification. This is mostly with VFS Global.
  9. One of my friends was in a very lucky zone. He just got relaxed from the whole process. All he needed was to give his personal details through a form that the employer gave. He didn’t even book an appointment. Everything is taken care of by the employer. An Employer should be like that.
  10. Okay, the slot is booked with VFS Global or the other concerned party. You also gave your biometrics and submitted all the documents. It would now take at least 3 weeks to 12 weeks depending on your visa application. I took a Priority visa application which took 3 weeks with an extra price. They charged me around Rs 25000/-. They also take your passport. They will propose two options for the passport delivery: Either you need to collect it after your application is completed or they will send it to your residential address via courier but with extra cost. See, VFS Global is pathetic. If you open your mouth they will say extra money. Close it, and they will again say extra money.
  11. After 3 weeks, I got an SMS & Email from VFS saying that the visa application has been completed and I need to collect it. The email doesn't specify whether your application has been successful or not. It just says that the application has been completed. You don't know the results until you open the cover.
  12. I got the cover, opened it, and I saw what. Ye! my passport was stamped with a Visa Vignette. The Visa Vignette that is pasted on one of the pages of your passport is a temporary visa and valid for a few days. We need to collect the BRP within the first few days after our arrival in the UK. BRP stands for Biometric Residence Permit and the details can be found in the link mentioned. The BRPs are now getting decommissioned and instead, they are just giving a simple code that we need to keep safe. We are not gonna go into all those details. You can read them here.
  13. After you got your visa vignette, just book your flight tickets without a delay, board the plane, get emotional about leaving your beloved people, land in the UK and enjoy the suffering again. :-P

That’s the overall process. Now we will see all documents that we shoul have to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa and the cost associated with the application process.

Note: All the Process and the Costs associated with it are mentioned till the date of writing this article and they may change from time to time. So please don’t take this for granted and always refer gov.uk for the latest updated information.

Documents needed for Skilled Worker Visa Application

We will see all the documents that we need to have before applying for the visa.

  1. The CoS: This must have already been given to us by our Employer.
  2. Knowledge of English: This needs a bit of explanation. First things first. This is not really a big concern. Because, unlike Canada, you don’t need to give IELTS. 98% of the people that I have spoken to so far have not given the IELTS or any equivalent test. Then how do we prove that we meet the English Language requirements? Well, that is where a website called ECCTIS comes into the picture and assesses your English language skills. You don’t need to give them a test. All you need to do is to submit three documents to assess your English language skills. First, Medium of Language Certificate. If your degree is taught in English, your university gives you this certificate. Second, Original Degree Certificate. Third, is the transcript from the University. We need to upload these three documents: Medium of Language, Original Degree, and Transcript onto the ECCTIS website and they will take close to 3 weeks to assess your English language skills based on these three certificates that you provide them. And for this, the ECCTIS charges some money(mentioned in the next section) which you can claim with your employer (if they agree). After they assess, what they will give you is proof of the English language proficiency certificate which can be used to apply for the visa. If you don’t have these three certificates then you need to give an IELTS test or Equivalent English test passed with level B1 on the CEFR scale. Visit this link for more information.
  3. Passport: of course.
  4. TB Test Certificate: This is a must. We need to get a Tuberculosis test done at the approved diagnostic centers or the hospitals. Your employer will guide you on this.
  5. Offer Letter or the Contract Letter from the Sponsoring Company(Your Employer)
  6. Original Degree, Transcript. Earlier you uploaded them to the ECCTIS website. But now on the UK visa application website.
  7. Proof of Bank Balance: This depends. If your employer provides you a temporary accommodation then this is not needed. Otherwise, you have to show a minimum of £1,270 which needs to be in your bank account prior to 28 days of applying for the visa. So you need to show a statement of 28 days for each transaction should the show the balance greater than £1,270.

Visa Costs

  1. Visa application cost ranges from £625 to £1,423. Borne by Employer.
  2. IHS: £624 per year per head. Check this. Borne by Employer.
  3. ECCTIS English Language Proficiency: £147.50. Borne by Employer.
  4. Fight Tickets: £400 to £1000 depending on the number of days your booking is ahead of the traveling date. Borne by Employer.

Websites and Links to Check:

  1. https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa
  2. https://www.ecctis.com/

That's all guys. Don’t take the details mentioned in this article for granted. Always always always check the UK official government website for the latest information.

Thanks for being my awesome readers. With this, I will put a full stop to this series and shift to some technical stuff.

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Software Architect, Full Stack Developer, Senior Software Consultant, Technical Content Writer, Free Lancer