If you have a job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor license and meet all the eligibility requirements, you can transition from a Tier 4 Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa (previously known as the Tier 2 Visa) while staying in the UK.
However, individuals on a short-term Student Visa are not eligible to switch to a Skilled Worker Visa within the UK.
The Skilled Worker Visa is the primary work visa program that enables skilled migrants from all over the world to work in the UK. Successful applicants of the Skilled Visa may obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain, which allows them to permanently settle in the UK after residing in the country for 5 years on this visa. This article will examine the regulations for switching from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa and the process of transitioning from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 visa.
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Requirements For Switching Tier 4 Student Visa To Skilled Worker Visa
To transition from a UK Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa, you need to fulfill the following criteria:
1. Obtain a job offer from an employer that possesses a Skilled Worker sponsor license.
2. Meet the minimum salary requirements. As a new graduate, you may qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa even if your salary is below £25,600 per year if you are a new entrant or hold a Ph.D. Please refer to the Tier 4 to Tier 2 new rules section for further information.
3. The job you have must be on the eligible occupation list.
4. Meet the English language proficiency requirements.
5. Possess enough funds to support yourself in the UK (this requirement is not mandatory if you have been residing in the UK for one year or more on a Student Visa).
To obtain more information regarding the general requirements, please refer to the Skilled Worker Visa page. Since the criteria for switching from a Tier 4 to a Tier 2 visa have been revised recently, it is crucial to comprehend the updated regulations mentioned below.
Lower Salary Requirements
Many new graduates who enter the UK job market may not meet the standard salary requirement of £25,600. However, there are still options available to switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa if you earn a lower salary and meet any of the following conditions:
1. You are classified as a ‘new entrant’:
If you are considered a new entrant, you only need to demonstrate that you will receive 70% of the going rate for your job. You will be categorized as a new entrant if you are:
– Under the age of 26 years, or
– Pursuing a recognized qualification in the UK-regulated profession, or
– Pursuing full registration or chartered status in the job for which you are being sponsored.
2. You possess a relevant PhD:
If Ph.D. holds a Ph.D. in a relevant or STEM subject, you can switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa. To determine if you have an appropriate Ph.D., check the Skilled Occupations list on the Home Office website and search for those that are qualified for Ph.D. points (SW). If you are eligible, you only require a salary of at least 80% (if you have a Ph.D. in a STEM subject) or 90% (if you have a Ph.D. in a non-STEM subject) of the usual going rate for your job.
How To Switch From A Student Visa To A Skilled Worker Visa
If you want to switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa while staying in the UK, you will need to complete the following steps:
1. Ensure that you have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your UK sponsor before applying.
2. Complete the application form to switch to a Skilled Worker Visa on the Home Office website.
3. Pay any application fees required (details of which are available below).
4. Provide evidence of your identity. You can do this either by attending a biometric appointment with your nearest UKVCAS service center or by using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check mobile phone app.
5. Upload any documents that are necessary to support your application.
6. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to attend an interview with the Home Office before your Skilled Worker Visa is granted.
Please keep in mind that you must apply before your current Student Visa expires; otherwise, you may be considered an overstayer. After submitting your application, you can stay in the UK until a decision is reached.
Tier 4 Student Visa To Skilled Worker Visa Fees
The fees that must be paid to switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa are listed below:
– £704 per person for a visa up to three years
– £1,408 per person for a visa of more than three years
– For roles on the shortage occupation list:
– £464 per person for a visa up to three years
– £928 per person for a visa of more than three years
In addition to the application fee, an immigration healthcare surcharge is also required, which provides access to the National Health Service (NHS). The charge is £624 per year.
How Long Can It Take To Switch To A Skilled Worker Visa?
To obtain a decision on your application to switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa, you can either use the standard service or pay extra for a quicker decision. The standard service usually responds within 8 weeks. However, if you prefer a faster decision, you can opt for the priority service, which costs £500 and guarantees a response within five working days. Alternatively, the super-priority service costs £800 and guarantees a decision by the end of the next working day (or two working days if your UKVCAS appointment is on a weekend day).
Can You Combine Your Time On A Tier 4 Student Visa And A Skilled Worker Visa Route For ILr?
Regrettably, the duration spent in the UK on a Student Visa does not generally contribute towards ILR. However, if you have spent several years studying in the UK and you submit an application under the 10-year-long residence route, you may qualify for ILR by combining the duration spent on a student visa and a Skilled Worker visa.
Can I switch to a Skilled Worker visa from a student visa in the UK?
You might be able to apply to change (‘switch’) to a Skilled Worker visa if you’re already in the UK on a different type of visa. Your partner or child’s visa will not automatically switch to this visa if you switch yours. If they do not switch their visa, it will be valid until its original end date.
Can I switch from a student visa to a work visa before my course ends in Canada?
If you decide to stop studying in Canada before you have completed your credential, obtaining a work permit in Canada will require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), with few exceptions.