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What Jobs Are Eligible For Sponsorship In The UK?

At the start of 2021, the UK’s immigration system will see a radical change as a result of Brexit and the end of free movement. Whereas EU citizens are currently able to come to the UK to live, work, and study freely, they will need to apply for a visa from 2021. As part of these changes to the immigration system, the work visa scheme has been overhauled to encompass EU citizens. The pathway for lower-skilled migrant workers has been closed off, however, the skill level for the Skilled Worker visa (previously the Tier 2 General visa) has been lowered to compensate. As such, the range of jobs for which non-UK citizens can secure a work visa has increased considerably. In this article, we will discuss which jobs are eligible for sponsorship under the new Skilled Worker visa.

What Skill Level Is Required To Apply For A Skilled Worker Visa?

In addition to the minimum salary and English language requirements which must be met by Skilled Worker visa applicants, they must also have an offer of a job with a skill level at RQF level 3 (equivalent to the UK A-Level) from a licensed sponsor. Prior to 2021, skilled workers needed to have a job with a skill level of RQF 6 (equivalent to degree level); this represents quite a large reduction in the level of skill required. There is a common misconception that applicants must have qualifications equivalent to A-level or degree-level, but this is not the case; rather, applicants need the skills to be able to perform a role at this skill level.

How Do I Know The Job I Am Applying For Meets The Requirements Of The Skilled Worker Visa?

The Home Office publishes a list of all jobs which meet the skill level required for a Skilled Worker visa, hence if your occupation is on this list, you will be able to apply. The way by which the Home Office identifies qualifying roles is by using four-digit Standard Occupation Codes (SOC). If you are unsure of the SOC for your role, you can ask your employer or use the webpage provided by the Office for National Statistics, which will allow you to search for your occupation and corresponding code. When you know your code, you can then search in the list of all jobs available for the Skilled Worker visa.

For example, if you are an accountant, the SOC code is 2421, and this is on the list of eligible roles. Here is a sample of the many occupations on the list:

SOC 1115 Chief executives and senior officials – includes Chief executive, Chief medical officer, Civil servant (grade 5 and above), and Vice president

SOC 1184 Social services managers and directors – includes Care manager (local government: social services) and Service manager (welfare services)

SOC 1 251 Property, housing and estate managers – includes Estate manager, Facilities manager, Landlord (property management), Property manager

Roles On The Shortage Occupation List

The shortage occupation list (SOL) only includes roles for which there is a lack of demand to meet supply. The SOL has also been updated to reflect the lowering of the skills required for sponsored workers and includes roles such as:

SOC 2111 Chemical scientists – only jobs in the nuclear industry

SOC 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists – all jobs

SOC 2114 Social and humanities scientists – only archaeologists

SOC 2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers – all jobs

SOC 2137 Web design and development professionals – all jobs

SOC 3414 Dancers and choreographers – only skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK ballet or contemporary dance companies.

SOC 5215 Welding trades – only high integrity pipe welders, where the job requires three or more years’ related on-the-job experience

As such, the SOL includes a highly diverse range of occupations, from dancers and welders to nuclear scientists.

There is a separate SOL for roles in healthcare and education. This list includes the following occupations:

SOC 2211 Medical practitioners – all jobs

SOC 2212 Psychologists – all jobs

SOC 2217 Medical radiographers – all jobs (including radiotherapy practitioners/technologists)

SOC 2222 Occupational therapists – all jobs

SOC 2223 Speech and language therapists – all jobs

SOC 2231 Nurses – all jobs

SOC 2314 Secondary education teaching professionals – only teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin

SOC 2314 Secondary education teaching professionals – only teachers in Gaelic

2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals – only Gaelic medium teachers

SOC 2442 Social workers – all jobs

SOC 3213 Paramedics – all jobs

What If I Can’t Find My Occupation On Any List?

If you can’t find your occupation, it may be that the role has a different name or description to the one you are searching for. If you have already been offered a role from a licensed sponsor, they will have checked that the occupation is suitable for the purposes of sponsorship, and be able to provide you with a SOC. If you are still unsure, speak to an immigration Solicitor in the UK who will be able to advise you whether your occupation is eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, and if so, which SOC to use.

Wrapping Up

Applying for a work visa in a foreign country can seem like a daunting process, but this does not need to be the case. Despite Brexit, employers are extremely keen to recruit and welcome workers from all over the world. The range of occupations for which migrant workers can acquire is now extremely broad. Whether you are a welder, scientist, careers advisor, or childminder, if you can get a job with a licensed sponsor in the UK, and you meet the salary and other eligibility requirements, the process of gaining a work visa should be straightforward. If you are unsure if you meet the eligibility requirements for a UK work visa, speak to an immigration lawyer who will be able to advise you and guide you through the application process for you and your family.


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