The Skilled Worker route allows employers to sponsor certain non-British non-Irish employees to work for them in the UK.
Employers who wish to do this must be registered with and approved by the Home Office as a sponsor and be able to offer a role which is:
- On the list of eligible occupations here; and
- Be paid the relevant minimum salary (usually £25,600 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher).
There are other criteria which must be met under this visa category (such as the English language requirement) and further details can be found here.
A Skilled Worker Eligibility Checker Tool has been published by the UK Government which may help establish whether a specific recruit is eligible to be sponsored under this route. The Checker Tool can be found here. We recommend that you also consult the Skilled Worker Route Guidance when using this checker tool.
Not all roles are eligible for sponsorship - only those which are 'medium skilled' or above (which is deemed at RQF Level 3 (broadly A Level and equivalent)).
The list of roles deemed eligible for sponsorship can be found here. Each eligible role is given a 'job code' which is a 4 digit code which will be needed for the application process. It is important for the job code to be the best fit for the role which is being recruited for.
There is also a list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies, this is known as the 'Shortage Occupation List'. This list is reviewed regularly and can be found here.
Further details on eligible roles can be found here.
Those being sponsored must also be paid the minimum relevant salary. This is usually £25,600 per year or the going rate for the job code – whichever is higher. However, there are some cases where a sponsored worker can be paid less and still be eligible fort sponsorship, for example:
- The job is in on the shortage occupation list;
- The recruit is considered to be a new entrant under the rules (which includes those under 26, certain individuals who are studying, are recent graduates, or are undertaking certain professional training); or
- The recruit has a PhD in a STEM subject or a PhD relevant to the role in question.
If any of these apply, the recruit may obtain 'tradeable' points which means it may be possible to pay the sponsored worker less that the normal baseline of £25,600 in line with the table below:
Further details on when you can be paid less can be found here.