Conditions For A Supplementary And Secondary Employment In The Skilled Worker Route
In recent years, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of people working second jobs. Indeed, in the first half of 2018, it was estimated that over one million people had two or more jobs, and 30% of the new jobs created went to people who already had employment elsewhere. It is a reality for many that one job simply does not pay the bills, hence driving the need to find alternative employment. Financial necessity isn’t the only reason why people have more than one job; some choose to do this to save more to buy a house, car, or fund another project. Some also choose to work several part-time jobs instead of one full-time role to fit in with family life. Whatever the reason, secondary employment is now, for better or for worse, the norm in our society. In this article, we will discuss the criteria for supplementary and secondary employment for migrant workers with a Skilled Worker visa.
I Have A UK Skilled Worker Visa, Can I Work A Second Job?
As with many aspects of immigration law, there is no simple yes or no answer to this question. From the perspective of the Home Office, it depends if you are working in a supplementary job or you are in secondary employment. A supplementary job is one that can be undertaken in addition to your main sponsored role, within the terms of your Skilled Worker visa. A secondary job is one that exceeds the rules for supplementary work, and hence, the worker needs to apply for permission to vary the conditions of their visa.
What Are The Criteria For Supplementary Employment Under The UK Skilled Worker visa?
You will be able to take on extra work in the form of supplementary employment in addition to the role on your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) as long as it is:
- In the same occupation code as your sponsored role – this is because your CoS is granted for a specific occupation type (SOC code) that meets the minimum skill level required for the Skilled Worker visa. If your supplementary work is not the same as your main sponsored role, but it is in a job listed on the shortage occupation list, this may still be acceptable to the Home Office
- 20 hours or less per week
- Outside of the working hours covered by your CoS
If you are confident that the extra work you are doing fits with these criteria, you will not need to apply to the Home Office to change your visa. It is very important that you do not make any assumptions here, for example, if the occupation code is slightly different from the one on your CoS, or if your hours vary and sometimes may exceed 20 hours, it is not worth risking a potential breach of your visa conditions. Any breach may lead to your visa being cancelled and you losing your legal immigration status. If you are unsure if your additional work meets the above criteria, speak to an immigration lawyer who will be able to confirm this for you.
How Do I Apply For Permission To Take On Secondary Employment Under The Skilled Worker Visa?
As we have established so far, secondary work is defined as that which exceeds the allowance for supplementary work, requiring the visa holder to apply to the Home Office for permission to take on the extra role. As the Home Office guidance states, “A Skilled Worker can apply to do a second (additional) job that does not qualify as supplementary employment. For example, it requires more than 20 hours work a week. They will need a new CoS for this second job and must apply for a variation of permission, in addition to the certificate and permission for their existing job. This is because working in the second job is not covered by their existing conditions”.
The requirement to have a CoS for supplementary work is significant because this means that is must be from an employer who is also a sponsor licence holder. For migrant workers, this reduces the number of available employers. The Home Office will also verify that you are still eligible for a Skilled Worker visa; if your circumstances have changed since your first application, which means you are no longer eligible, it is recommended you seek the advice of an immigration Solicitor before applying for permission to work a second job.
To apply for permission to work in secondary employment, you will need to complete an online application form on the Home Office website. Before submitting your application, you will need a CoS from your secondary employer. You will also need to draft a letter explaining that you wish to vary your current permission to stay in the UK. This letter should include the following details:
- your name
- your date of birth
- your current certificate of sponsorship reference number
- the date when your current permission to stay runs out
You will be able to carry on working in your current role while you are waiting for a decision from the Home Office. It is important to wait until you have this permission before starting any secondary work.
A decision on your application will typically be made within eight weeks, however, you may be able to pay for the priority service (to receive a decision within five working days) or the super-priority service (to receive a decision within one working day), for an additional cost. You will be advised when applying if this is possible. Once granted, you will receive a new Biometric Residence Permit (BPR) containing the words, “‘2 CoS as Letter”, confirming you can now work in secondary employment.
We cannot overemphasise how important it is that you do not take on extra work with another employer without checking whether you can do so. Not checking may jeopardise your current visa and legal immigration status. If you need to double-check your eligibility, speak to an immigration Solicitor who can quickly clarify your position, allowing you to proceed with confidence that you are working within the terms of your visa.