People who want to change employment on a Skilled Worker visa have asked us a lot of questions regarding the procedure. In particular, many workers have been confused about whether or not their dependents should also apply for new visas at the same time they apply for a new employment.
If you want to change occupations, do your family members who depend on you as a Skilled Worker also need to apply? The quick answer is no, their old visas are still good. They can apply at any moment before the visa they have now runs out.
We’ll explain how people with a UK Skilled Worker visa can change occupations in the first place. Then, we gave a more detailed answer to this inquiry from the Home Office and gave two different examples.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF CHANGING JOBS ON A SKILLED WORKER VISA?
Present holders of a Skilled Worker visa can take on other positions with their present employer or transition to a new employer, although most of the time they need to upgrade their visa to do so.
If you change jobs, you will always need to update your Skilled Worker visa.
If you stay with your present employer (sponsor), you will only need to update your visa if you move into a job with a different occupation code or if you move from a position on the shortage occupation list to a position that isn’t on this list. If you don’t know what your occupation code is, you can find it here on the ONS website.
If you have a Skilled Worker visa and want to change jobs, you will still need to complete all the usual conditions.
This means you’ll need to get a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer, and your new position must reach or surpass the minimum income criteria for your new role. If you’ve been in the UK for more than a year, you won’t need to bring any further proof with you when you apply.
When upgrading a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to pay the application fees, which range from £624 to £1,423 at the time of writing, as well as the Immigration Health Surcharge, which costs £634 per year.
You can change your visa up to three months before you start your new work.
Your family members do not have to apply for a new visa at the same time you do.
Most decisions take 8 weeks, but you may be able to pay an extra £500 for the priority option, which means you’ll get your judgment within 5 working days of your UKVCAS session.
There may also be a high priority option, which costs an extra £800 and gets you your answer the next business day after your appointment.
If you want to, you can submit your ID papers through the UK Immigration: ID Check app if you are using the normal or priority service. However, if you are using the super priority service, this option is not available.
If you have any further queries concerning your UK Skilled Worker visa, please look at our overview page or contact us directly.
The applications for dependent visas are handled independently from those for the primary applicant. Your Skilled Worker dependent family members do not have to apply to change their visas at the same time you do. The gov.uk website makes it clear that they can do this at any time before their existing visa runs out.
This is a recent and much-needed clarification, as previously this information was only found publicly in a response to an enquiry submitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Home Office provided the following response:
“Permission granted to a dependant is linked to the main applicant continuing to hold valid leave as before. If a main applicant is applying for permission to stay to work or study under a new sponsor, dependants do not have to apply with them for permission to stay. Instead, dependants can remain in the UK until the end of the validity period of their existing dependant leave.”
The full answer from the Home Office, FOI Response 63572, has this statement and more information about the rules for dependent visas.
Since Skilled Worker dependant family members also have to pay both application fees and IHS fees when applying for new visas, families might save thousands of pounds by not applying at the same time as the primary applicant. But there may be times when applying at the same time as the main skilled worker visa holder is a good idea.
Here are two examples to help you understand what we mean.
Tod’s first application for a Skilled Worker visa was approved for 5 years, from May 2021 to May 2026.
In April 2022, he realized he didn’t like his job. When he moved to the UK with his family, he was offered a chance to go forward in his job. He decides to find a new job with a new employer and fills out a Skilled Worker change of employment application, which is approved. This allows him to work for the new firm for three years, until April 2025.
Dependents can stay in the UK until the end of the time that their dependant leave is valid.
In this case, Tod’s family members already have visas that let them stay in the UK legally until May 2026.
Since Tod’s visa expires a year before theirs, they don’t need to file for new visas alongside him.
When Teresa first applied for a UK Skilled Worker visa, it was approved for three years, from July 2021 to July 2024.
In February 2024, a different corporation makes her an offer, and she decides to switch employment. Then, she applies for a change of job as a Skilled Worker and gets it. This lasts for three years, until February 2027.
In this case, Teresa’s dependents have visas that expire in 2024, three years before Teresa’s new expiration date. So, it would make sense to think about getting new dependent visas that are good until 2027 at the same time Teresa does.
Contact Atty Magsino
Our staff can help if you’re still not sure when to apply for new Skilled Worker dependant visas or how to start changing employment while on a Skilled Worker visa. Our lawyers have helped both Skilled Workers, so we know everything there is to know about getting a working visa in the UK.
We can answer your questions and give you and your family advice on the best way to move forward. If you need help, please contact us immediately on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 0203 643 7508 /07446 888 377 and one of our professional immigration lawyers will be able to talk to you directly.