Skilled workers are driving up UK visa application numbers. Of the 239,987 work-related visas granted in 2021, official government data shows that 63% were given to skilled workers. The total number of work-related visas granted is already 25% higher than it was in the last comparable period (2019). However, the figures are even more prominent when you focus on skilled workers. As per the stats, the number of Skilled Worker Visas granted in 2021 increased by 37,551 (33%) compared to 2019. This makes it the largest growth area for UK visa applications in recent years.
From Tier 2 to Skilled Workers
The increase comes a year after the UK’s Tier 2 visa was replaced by the Skilled Worker Visa. Although the new system doesn’t necessarily make it easier for applicants to get a visa, there were some notable changes. Some of the differences between Tier 2 and Skilled Worker Visa are:
- Tier 2 applicants had to have a job offer for a role that required a university degree or higher. The minimum qualification is now A-levels.
- The minimum salary a Tier 2 applicant was due to be paid had to exceed £29,999. Today, the limit has been reduced to £25,600.
- There was a monthly cap on the number of Tier 2 visas that could be granted. There is no such cap under the new Skilled Worker system.
On the surface, the changes appear to have made things easier. When you look at government statistics, the acceptance rate for applications is over 99.4%. However, this stat could be misconstrued. The acceptance rate is high because people have to meet strict criteria to apply for a skilled worker visa. Therefore, some people don’t even get to the application stage. This is where knowledge is vital. Learning how to complete the application process and, moreover, determining if you’re suitable is important.
Knowledge Leads to Better Success Rates
For those wanting to apply, there is help out there. Immigration lawyers not only help companies such as Samsung bring skilled workers to the UK, they can also offer individual services. As well as free consultations and online info, they can walk you through each stage of the application process. This can help you build up a foundation of knowledge from which to decide whether or not a Skilled Worker Visa is right for you. The application can cost up to £1,423 and decisions can take up to eight weeks. Therefore, you can’t afford to waste time and money if it’s not the right type of visa.
As well as working with experts to understand the application process and your own eligibility, it’s worth knowing some of the jobs skilled workers typically do. Data from the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory shows that healthcare is a popular sector, with applications increasing significantly since 2010. Other popular industries for skilled worker applications are finance, IT and science roles. Although obtaining a job offer in these professions doesn’t guarantee you’ll get accepted, the data shows that they are where a lot of skilled workers land.
Navigating any visa application process is tricky, but it’s even tougher when rules change and new systems come into play. The good news for potential applicants is that the data is positive. The UK has granted more Skilled Worker Visas in recent years. That’s partly because certain thresholds have changed and partly because there are attractive employment options in various industries. Therefore, with the right advice and knowledge, it’s more than possible to make it through the application process successfully.