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Common Reasons for a Skilled Worker Visa Refusal and How to Avoid Them

Last updated: 24 March 2022

A skilled worker visa can be refused by the Home Office for many reasons. As specialists in UK business immigration, we have seen on many occasions how even simple mistakes on Skilled Worker visa applications can lead to a refusal. We also know that such refusals can lead to considerable worry, stress, cost, and inconvenience for the main applicant and their dependant family members.

While the UK Skilled Worker visa rejection rate is relatively low, negative decisions can be easily avoided by double-checking the information provided, clarifying the requirements, and providing additional information. In this article, we will explain how a UK Skilled Worker visa applicant can avoid receiving a refusal from the Home Office.

If you have recently received a refusal of your Skilled Worker visa, speak to our team of specialist immigration solicitors on 020 3744 2797. We will quickly assess the reasons for refusal and recommend the quickest path to resolve the situation.

UK Skilled Worker Visa rejection common reasons

Skilled Worker visa applications may be refused by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) due to a number of factors, but based on our experience, the most common work visa denial reasons (Skilled Worker visa refusal reasons) are as follows:

You do not meet the salary requirements

It is common for Skilled Worker visa applicants to receive a refusal because they do not meet the salary requirements for their job. This might be because they have misread the rules and have used the lower salary threshold incorrectly. It may also be because they have not used the correct ‘going rate’ when checking their eligibility.

You have provided incorrect or insufficient information

There is a risk UKVI will issue a refusal of your application if you provide incorrect or insufficient information. It may be that you have provided incorrect details on your application form, missed out questions, or not providing evidence when requested to do so. If the Home Office believes you have deliberately provided incorrect information (referred to as a “false representation” under part 9 of the Immigration Rules part 9), this will also lead to refusal.

UKVI believe you are not a genuine applicant

If UKVI believes that you are not a genuine Skilled Worker visa applicant, they will refuse your application. This may happen, for example, if you have a track history of non-compliance with the UK’s immigration rules.

You don’t meet the skill requirement for your job

Even if you have been offered a job by a valid UK sponsor, if UKVI has reason to believe that you do not have the necessary skills to perform your job, they will refuse your application. This is because Skilled Worker visa applicants must have relevant skills equivalent to at least RQF level 3 to perform the job they have been offered.

UKVI are concerned about your suitability

Under Immigration Rules part 9 (grounds for refusal), UKVI are likely to refuse your Skilled Worker visa if:

  • You have been previously excluded or deported
  • Your presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good because of your conduct, character, associations or other reasons
  • You have received a custodial prison sentence or 12 months or longer, or you are a persistent offender or committed an offence that caused serious harm
  • You have been excluded from asylum or humanitarian protection grounds

You don’t have enough funds to support yourself in the UK

Under the immigration rules, to apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you must have at least £1,270 in your bank account for 28 days or more before you apply. In some cases, you may be refused simply because you have not provided the correct form of evidence that you meet this requirement.

Documents provided in the wrong format

Even if you do meet all of the requirements listed above, it is still possible to be refused if you do not submit the necessary documents in the correct format. For example, if you are asked to provide an original document with a certified translation, it is important that this is done correctly. Likewise, if you are asked to provide a letter from an employer on letter headed paper providing details of your employment, it is essential that all of the details requested are included.

What to do to avoid a Skilled Worker Visa Refusal

There is no mystery to how Home Office case officers assess work visa applications as the process and criteria they follow are detailed extensively online. On receipt of your application, it will be verified by the Home Office on three main dimensions – validity, suitability, and eligibility. By carefully following each of the tips below, you can avoid a refusal of your Skilled Worker visa application.

Check the validity of your application

Even if you are 100% eligible, if your application is not ‘valid’, you will be refused.

The validity requirements for the Skilled Worker visa require that you:

  • Have used the correct application form – these differ depending on whether you are applying inside or outside the UK
  • Have paid the required application fee
  • Have had your biometric information scanned
  • Have provided your passport/ID
  • Have provided a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) issued by your sponsor no more than three months before the date of application
  • Are 18 years old or over

Check your suitability

UKVI will also check your ‘suitability’ to receive a Skilled Worker visa. Again, even if you are eligible for the visa and you have a valid application, if you are not deemed suitable, you will be refused. If you have any reason to believe that you may be considered unsuitable (see the grounds for refusal in reason 5 above), speak to an immigration solicitor before you apply. They will check if you are likely to be refused. If so, they will recommend a strategy to avoid refusal where possible.

Check your eligibility

Double-check that you meet all of the eligibility rules before you submit and pay for your Skilled Worker visa application. To be sure that you will not fall foul of any of the rules, ask an immigration solicitor to review your eligibility before you apply. We have seen on many occasions applicants who firmly believe they are eligible but are not. In this case, an immigration solicitor can recommend the best course of action and any other immigration routes available to you.

Have your application prepared and submitted on your behalf

Immigration solicitors understand how to prepare and submit Skilled Worker visa applications that meet the requirements of UKVI. Because they know precisely what UKVI are looking for when making an assessment on your application, they will make sure that any issues are handled proactively and ensure you receive a decision as quickly as possible.

Skilled Worker Visa appeal after refusal

If you have received a refusal of your Skilled Worker visa, with an understanding of the reasons and what to do next, it may be possible to have the decision reversed. Your refusal decision letter will explain the options available to you. You won’t be able to appeal, but you will be able to:

  • Apply for an administrative review (where you ask UKVI to check the decision if you think a mistake has been made)
  • Apply for a judicial review (used less often than administrative reviews – this involves an application to the courts to review the legality of the decision made)
  • Prepare and submit a fresh application

An immigration solicitor can quickly review your options and determine the best course of action which is most likely to provide the outcome you need in the shortest time possible. It is important to act quickly if you wish to consider an administrative review, as a strict deadline will be in place to do so.

Speak to one of our specialist immigration solicitors on 020 3744 2797 today.

How can Reiss Edwards help?

Our immigration solicitors can handle any matters relating to a refusal of your Skilled Worker visa. Contact our team if you need advice or help with:

  • Checking your application and documents prior to submission to UKVI
  • Preparing your application on your behalf
  • Applying for an administrative review
  • Applying for a judicial review
  • Preparing and submitting a fresh application following a refusal.

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