The Skilled Worker visa, which used to be called the Tier 2 general visa, can be extended or renewed if you still meet the requirements for a UK Skilled Worker visa (see below for more details). It’s important to know that if you’ve lived in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa for 5 years straight, you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).
We suggest that you send in your application for a skilled worker visa or a Tier 2 visa extension as soon as possible, before your current visa runs out. You can apply to extend your skilled worker visa up to 60 days before the end of your current visa. Once you’ve sent in your request for an extension, you can legally stay in the UK even after your visa has run out while UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) looks into your case. But it’s important that you send in your application for a new visa before your old one expires.
The old Tier 2 (General) visa had a maximum stay of 6 years, but that rule no longer exists. This means you can renew your Skilled Worker visa as often as you want.
Requirements for Skilled Worker visa extension
As a person who wants to extend their Skilled Worker visa, you must meet the following:
- You still work for the same company and do the same job as when you got your last work visa.
- Your job must not have changed, since the code for it hasn’t changed. This is because the Skilled Worker visa route is only for people with certain jobs.
- You have a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) for the UK that covers your longer employment.
- Your employer still has a valid UK sponsorship licence that lets them hire people with Skilled Worker visas.
- You still get an annual salary that meets the minimum salary requirements, which are £25,600 (£10.10 per hour) or the “going rate” for your job.
The salary requirement is lower for people with a Ph.D. in a science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) field, a job in a shortage occupation, or who are under 26 years old, in school, or in professional training.
The Tier 2 general visa is no longer available for new applications, but if you already have one and want to stay longer, you can do so through the Skilled Worker visa route. The criteria you need to meet to renew your Tier 2 general visa for a Skilled Worker visa are mostly the same as above, but there may be some small differences depending on when you got your Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) and what you do for a living, as follows:
Tier 2 general visa extension requirements
- For CoS given out before November 24, 2016
– You need to get a new visa by May 23, 2023.
– You only need to make £20,800 a year, unless the “going rate” for your job is higher.
- For CoS sent out on or after November 24, 2016
– For renewals sent in before December 1, 2026, you will need to meet the newer salary requirements for the Skilled Worker visa. But you can include allowances that are guaranteed for the length of your stay in the UK, like London weighting. The minimum salary for a Skilled Worker visa is only £25,600, which is much less than the Tier 2 general visa’s requirement of £30,000.
How to apply to extend Tier 2 visa and Skilled worker visa
The Tier 2 general visa is no longer available for new applicants, but if you already have one and want to stay longer, you can do so through the Skilled Worker visa route. Most of the requirements to renew your Tier 2 general visa for a Skilled Worker visa are the same as above, but there may be some small differences depending on when you got your Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) and what you do for a living, as follows:
- Before November 24, 2016, CoS were given out.
- By May 23, 2023, you need to get a new visa.
- You only need to make £20,800 a year unless your job pays more than the “going rate.”
- CoS sent after November 24, 2016, or on that day
- For Skilled Worker visa renewals sent in before December 1, 2026, you will have to meet the new salary requirements. But you can include things like London weighting that are guaranteed for the length of your stay in the UK. The minimum salary for a Skilled Worker visa is only £25,600, much less than the £30,000 needed for a Tier 2 general visa.
Once you have fully submitted your application, documents, and payments and provided your biometrics, you can expect to receive a decision within 6 – 8 weeks. It is possible to pay an extra fee of £500 to use the priority processing service for a decision within 5 working days or £800 for the super-priority service for a decision by the end of the next working day.
For an extension of your UK Skilled Worker or UK Tier 2 visa, you may need to show one or more of the following documents:
- A new number for the Certificate of Sponsorship
- Current passport
- photo and fingerprints were updated (biometrics)
- Proof of £1,270 or more in support funds, like a bank statement. If you’ve been in the UK for 12 months or more, you don’t have to show this.
- Proof that you can speak and write in English (e.g. pass certificate for an approved English language test at level B1 on the CEFR scale)
- If your job requires it, an up-to-date criminal record certificate.
Skilled Worker visa extensions cost:
- Up to three-year visa application: £719 per person.
- Over-3-year visa application fee: £1,423 per person
- Immigration healthcare surcharge: £624 (£470 for under-18s) per person per year. The immigration healthcare surcharge provides full UK healthcare.
What happens after extending your Skilled Worker visa?
You can extend your Skilled Worker visa or apply for UK settlement (ILR) afterward. Tier 2 and Skilled Worker visa holders can apply for ILR after 5 years in the UK.
ILR removes immigration restrictions. You no longer require visas to enter or stay in the UK. You can switch occupations without UKVI approval. Importantly, ILR holders can apply for UK citizenship after 12 months.
How to contact Atty Magsino
Atty Magsino handles UK work visas, including Tier 2 general and Skilled Workers. Our immigration lawyers:
- Prepare and submit your Skilled Worker or Tier 2 general visa extension application for you.
- Submit visa extensions for your dependent family member (i.e. spouse and children).
Reject a skilled worker visa.
- Call 07446 888 377 / 0203 643 7508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for a consultation with our immigration lawyers about extending your Tier 2 or Skilled Worker visa.