Work and Study Visas

Skilled Worker Visa

On 1 December 2020, the new Skilled Worker route was launched by the UKVI. This new UK Immigration category replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa as the main immigration route for skilled workers as part of the UK’s new Points- Based Immigration System.

Both EU, EEA and non-EEA citizens are now subject to the same immigration rules. This means that unless they have the right to live and work in the UK by other means, foreign nationals coming to work in the UK must hold a job offer from an approved sponsor at the required skill and salary levels for this route.

Key Features of the Skilled Worker Route

The UKVI promise a quicker, streamlined approach to applying:

  • The cap has been removed – under Tier 2 (General) there was an annual quota of migrants who could enter; there is no longer a limit on the number of people who can enter.
  • Lower Salary and Skills thresholds are in place. Roles now need to be skilled to RQF3 (‘A’ level) and above, where previously it was RQF6. The salary has also been lowered to the higher of £25600 or the going rate for the role.
  • Employers are no longer required to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test.
  • Intra-Company Transferees can switch to the Skilled Worker Route faster.
  • Individuals in the UK on dependant or Tier 5 visas can now switch into the Skilled Worker Route from within the UK.
Points Thresholds

Applicants must score 70 points to be granted entry. All applicants must meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • They hold a confirmed job offer from an approved sponsor (20 points).
  • The job must be at an appropriate skill level (20 points).
  • The applicant must speak English to an acceptable standard (10 points).

To make up the required 70 points, applicants can earn a further 20 “tradeable” points based on their salary, having a job offer in a shortage occupation or a relevant PhD.

Intra Company Transfer Route

The basic principles of this route remain the same; it allows for temporary moves of key personnel to business entities bound together by common ownership. Applicants need to have been employed overseas for at least 12 months prior to entry. Do note that the skill level for ICT is a minimum of £41,500 and roles must continue to be skilled at RQF level 6 (degree level) and above. Moreover, it is not a route that leads to settlement in the UK. One advantage, however, is that there is no English language requirement, which would allow employers to transfer employees into the UK as quickly as possible for temporary assignments. Applicants under ICT are then also permitted to switch into Skilled Worker Route whilst in the UK.

Tier 4 – Student

Under Tier 4 the Educational Institution acts as the sponsor and takes on the sponsor responsibilities of reporting and issuing the Certificate of Acceptance of Study (CAS). The Education Institution therefore needs to be a Tier 4 Licensed Sponsor in order for them to issue the CAS. The individual student again qualifies for the entry clearance application (Student Visa) on a Points base system.

Tier 4 is divided in 2 categories:

Child Student
  • A child who wishes to undergo schooling in the UK at an Independent Fee Paying School can do so with a Child Student Visa.
Adult Student
  • Adults who wish to further their studies in the UK are able to do so under this category. It is possible for a school leaver to study in the UK and obtain a UK degree level qualification. If you already have a degree qualification and wants to further your studies in the UK i.e. MBA degree, you are able to pursue this on the Tier 4 student visa route.Part time work is permitted for Adult Students depending on the level of course and whether you are enrolled at a Higher Education Institution or a Private Education Institution. Adult Students sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at NQF level 7 or above which lasts 12 months or more; are able to bring with spouse and child dependents.
  • Short-term study visa You can apply for a Short-term study visa if you’re doing a short course of study in the UKYou must prove that you:
  • have been offered a place on a course in the UK at an accepted place of study
  • have enough money to support yourself without working or help from public funds, or that relatives and friends can support and house you
  • can pay for your return or onward journey

If you’re under 18 you must also:

  • have made arrangements for your travel and stay in the UK
  • have permission from your parent or guardian to study in the UK

Tier 5

Temporary worker – creative and sporting
  • The creative and sporting worker category is for people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists for up to 12 months.  Before you apply under the creative and sporting worker category, you must have:

    • a sponsor; and
    • a valid certificate of sponsorship.

    Before assigning your certificate of sponsorship in the sporting sub-category, your sponsor must have an endorsement for you from the governing body for your sport, which confirms you meet the governing body’s requirements to give their endorsement. The governing body must be recognised by the UKBA.

Temporary worker – charity workers

This sub-category is for people coming to the UK to do voluntary (unpaid) work for a charity. The work must be directly related to the work of your sponsor’s organisation.  Before you apply under Tier 5 (Temporary workers – charity workers), you must have:

  • a sponsor; and a valid certificate of sponsorship.

Ancestral Visa

This visa is for:

  • Commonwealth nationals
  • older than 17 years of age and
  • whose grandparent was born in the UK,
  • can apply to go to the UK to settle there under the Ancestral Visa rules provided
  • that they intend to work and settle in the UK.
  • This visa is issued for an initial 5 year period and allows for the holders to work unrestrictedly in the UK.  Provided you meet the requirements it  can lead to Permanent Residence status and in the end becoming a UK Citizen via naturalization.  You are able to have visa dependents including partner/spouse and children who will follow the settlement process with you.

Offshore Worker Visa

  • Employment on oil, gas and any other, installations fixed to the sea bed that are wholly at sea on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
  • This visa is issued for a period of 1 year and allow for the holders to work unrestrictedly provided the work is wholly and only offshore in the UKCS.
  • This should not be confused with the 12 mile zone which is defined as ‘UK territorial waters’ (where immigration control applies).
Immigration UK

Contact us:

Tel: +27 (0)21 403 6423
Tel: +27 (0)72 478 3621

Office Location:

Spaces V&A Waterfront
Dock Road Building
Corner of Dock and Stanley Road
Cape Town, 8001