If you are working in the UK on a skilled worker visa, you may need to renew it. We answer the question how long does a skilled worker visa last and take a look at what you need to do as the expiry date approaches.
If you are working for your employer under a skilled worker visa, you need to ensure that it does not expire. If it does, your right to live and work in the UK will be affected. Your status as an overstayer could also cause difficulties if you try to obtain another visa.
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How long does a skilled worker visa last?
A skilled worker visa can last for up to five years and then needs to be extended. If your partner and children also have visas, they will need to apply separately to extend them.
How do I know when my skilled worker visa will expire?
You should not rely on the immigration authorities or your employer to tell you when your skilled worker visa expiry date is approaching. The Home Office does not contact workers to advise them that their visa is coming to an end and your employer is not required to advise you of this either.
You will need to check your visa yourself. Your biometric residence permit should also state when your visa expires.
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When should I take action to extend a skilled worker visa?
It is advisable to start work to renew your skilled worker visa several months before the expiry date. This will give you enough time to put together the documents that will be needed in support of your application and to deal with any requests for information that you may receive, as it can take the authorities four months to process an application.
How do I extend a skilled worker visa?
As the expiry date approaches, you can apply to extend your visa or, if you have lived and worked in the UK for five years, you may be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
To qualify for an extension, you must still be employed by the same employer and be in the same occupation with the same occupation code. If your job or your employer has changed, you will need to apply for a new visa instead of extending your existing one.
You will also need to obtain a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer confirming that they will be employing you for the extension period. Your salary must continue to meet the minimum salary requirements. This will generally be either £25,600 per year or the going rate for your occupation. In some cases, the minimum salary is lower, for example if you are working in a position with a shortage of workers, you are under 26 or you have a PhD in a STEM subject.
The government aims to provide a decision on your application within 8 weeks, although at busy times this increases and can be 16 weeks. You may be able to pay extra to have a faster decision.
Going from a skilled worker visa to indefinite leave to remain
If you want to move to the UK permanently, then you can apply for indefinite leave to remain after you have lived in country for five years.
You will need to provide evidence that you have been resident in the UK continuously for the period, with no more than 180 days away from the UK in any year.
It is still necessary to be employed by the same employer and meet the minimum salary requirements. You will also need to pass the Life in the UK test.
Contact our expert immigration solicitors for skilled worker visas
At Halliday Reeves, we are immigration specialists with in-depth knowledge of the immigration system and how to secure the visa you need.
Our team can work with you to ensure that your skilled worker visa extension is accurate and that all of the necessary documents are included to support your application.
We offer a free 15-minute enquiry service so that you can have an initial conversation with us about obtaining a skilled worker visa and answer any questions you may have.
We have offices in Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Wakefield and Nottingham. To speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers, ring us on 0330 133 7777, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our Contact Form.
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