Switching from Youth mobility to Skilled Worker Visa
Historically, the UK’s Home Office has limited the range of visas that can be switch to a work visa from within the UK. Under the current Skilled Worker visa scheme, it is now possible for most visa holders in the UK to make this switch without having to leave the country to apply. Being able to switch to a Skilled Worker visa within the UK not only means that applicants do not need to go through the hassle and uncertainty of uprooting themselves and their family, it means they are in a position to apply for jobs and attend interviews in the UK. In this article, we will look at how those on a Youth Mobility visa can switch to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK.
Can I Switch From A Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa To A Skilled Worker Visa?
Yes, the current Home Office guidance states that all immigrants already in the UK with a valid visa can switch to a Skilled Worker visa in-country, with the exception of migrants:
- on a visit visa
- on a short-term student visa
- on a Parent of a Child Student visa
- on a seasonal worker visa
- on a domestic worker in a private household visa
- on immigration bail
- given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example, on compassionate grounds
Youth Mobility visa holders will also need to meet the eligibility requirements for a Skilled Worker visa and meet the English language requirements (both explained below).
What Are The Eligibility Requirements For A Skilled Worker Visa?
Even though you are allowed to switch from a Youth Mobility visa to a Skilled Worker visa, you will still need to meet all of the requirements of the visa you are applying for, as follows:
A Job Offer From A Licenced Sponsor In The UK
In order to secure a Skilled Worker visa, you will first need a job offer from an employer in the UK with a Home Office sponsor licence. If you do have an offer of employment and the business does not have a sponsor licence, they will need to apply for one before you can acquire a visa. They will then be able to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
Meeting The Job Requirements For A Skilled Worker Visa
Not all role types are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa; this is because the Home Office is focused on encouraging workers with sufficiently high skills to come to the UK. Your job role type must be on the Home Office’s list of eligible occupations. The jobs on this list all require skills that are the equivalent of RQF level 3 or higher.
Assuming your role is eligible, you will also need to meet the salary requirements for a Skilled Worker visa. Broadly speaking, you will need to have a role with a salary of £25,600 per year or at least the ‘going rate’ for your occupation. The list of ‘going rates’ can be found on the Home Office website. Different salary requirements apply for those in education and healthcare roles.
If you do not meet the salary requirements above, you may still be eligible if any of the following apply:
- your job is in a shortage occupation
- you are under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
- you have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject, your salary must be at least £23,040)
- you have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education
you must still receive at least £20,480 per year or at least £10.10 per hour. Depending on which situation applies to you, the salary requirement is reduced to between 70% and 90% of the going rate for your role:
- Roles on the shortage occupation list require a salary of 80% of the job’s usual going rate
- Those who are under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training can be paid 70% of the going rate; and
- The salary requirement is 80% of the going rate for those with a PhD in a STEM subject or 90% in a non-STEM subject.
Meeting The English Language Requirements For A Skilled Worker Visa
You will not need to meet the English language requirements if you are from an exempt country. To prove your English language proficiency, you have three main options:
- Pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider – this must be at level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
- Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained through study at a UK school that you began when you were under 18
- Have a degree that was taught in English - if you studied abroad, you will need to apply through Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) for confirmation that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
If you are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa, you can complete the application process within the UK online. As part of the application process, you will be asked to register your biometrics (i.e. your fingerprints and photo) either by using a mobile app or by visiting a UKVCAS office. Any other documents you need to submit with your application will be explained when you apply. The current cost of the visa is between £610 and £1,408 depending on your circumstances, and you will also need to pay £624 per year for the immigration health charge (to allow you to access the NHS) and £19.20 to process your biometrics. If you need any help with securing a visa for you and your family members, speak to an immigration lawyer who can explain your options and handle the process for you.