Extend Your Visa: UK Skilled Worker Visa Extension Guide (2024) 

Are you a skilled worker in the UK looking to extend your visa? Do you want to ensure a smooth transition and continue working in your chosen profession? We have all the information you need to navigate the process with confidence and ease.

Extending your Skilled Worker visa can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding the requirements, steps, and timelines involved, you can make informed decisions and take the necessary actions to secure your future in the United Kingdom.

Key Takeaways:

  • Extending a Skilled Worker visa requires meeting specific conditions, including staying in the same job and working for the same employer.
  • Renewing your Skilled Worker visa entails continuing to work in the same job and meeting salary requirements.
  • Processing times for Skilled Worker visa extensions are typically within 8 weeks, but faster options are available for an additional fee.
  • If you change jobs or employers, you will need to update your visa instead of extending it.
  • The Skilled Worker visa route offers a pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after a qualifying period of 5 years.

Steps to Extend a Skilled Worker Visa

To extend a Skilled Worker visa in the UK, there are certain steps that need to be followed. These steps ensure that your visa extension application is successful and that you can continue working in your current job without any interruptions.

Current Job and Occupation Code

When applying to extend your Skilled Worker visa, it is crucial that you are still working in the same job as when you were granted your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK. This means that the job title, responsibilities, and duties should remain the same.

Additionally, your current job must fall under the same occupation code. The occupation code is a system used to classify jobs based on their skills and qualifications required. It is important to ensure that your new visa application reflects the same occupation code as your previous visa.

Furthermore, the employer who provided the current certificate of sponsorship should still be the same. Your employer plays a crucial role in the visa extension process and must continue to hold a valid sponsorship license during the application process.

Lastly, it is important to remember that traveling outside of the UK is not permitted until a decision on the visa extension is received. Any travel plans should be postponed until the application process is complete.

By following these steps and ensuring that your current job, occupation code, and employer remain the same, you can successfully extend your Skilled Worker visa and continue working in the UK.

Steps to Extend a Skilled Worker Visa
1. Continue working in the same job
2. Ensure the job falls under the same occupation code
3. Validate that the employer still holds a valid sponsorship license
4. Postpone any travel plans until a decision on the visa extension is received

What are the requirements for a Tier 2 (General) visa extension?

Renewing a Skilled Worker visa in the United Kingdom comes with certain eligibility criteria and salary requirements that must be met. To ensure a smooth renewal process, you need to satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Continuing Employment: You must still be working in the same job as when you were granted your previous permission to enter or stay in the UK. It is essential to maintain your employment status to qualify for the visa extension.
  2. Valid Certificate of Sponsorship: You should possess a valid certificate of sponsorship (CoS) from your employer. The CoS signifies that your job is recognized as suitable for a Skilled Worker visa. If a new CoS is issued, ensure that it aligns with your renewed visa application.
  3. Sponsorship License: Your employer must still hold a valid sponsorship license issued by the Home Office. Without this license, they cannot endorse your visa renewal.

The salary requirements for renewing a Skilled Worker visa may vary depending on when your certificate of sponsorship was issued. It is crucial to meet the minimum salary threshold or the going rate for your occupation to successfully renew your visa. Failure to satisfy the salary requirements may lead to a visa rejection.

Note that if you hold a Tier 2 General visa, the eligibility criteria for your visa renewal may differ based on when your certificate of sponsorship was obtained. Make sure to review the specific requirements applicable to your case.

Visa Type Eligibility Requirements
Skilled Worker Maintain the same job

Possess a valid certificate of sponsorship

Employer holds a valid sponsorship license

Tier 2 General Maintain the same job

Possess a valid certificate of sponsorship

Employer holds a valid sponsorship license

Meet salary requirements based on CoS issue date

Ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements and salary criteria is crucial when renewing your Skilled Worker visa. By satisfying these conditions, you can increase your chances of a successful visa extension, allowing you to continue working in the United Kingdom without interruption.

READ MORE: Self Sponsorship Visa UK: Your Pathway to Work In The UK via Self-Sponsorship 

Processing Times for Skilled Worker Visa Extensions

When applying to extend your Skilled Worker visa in the UK, it’s important to consider the processing times for a decision on your application. The average processing time for Skilled Worker visa extensions is usually within 8 weeks from the date of application submission. However, it’s essential to note that this timeframe can vary depending on certain factors.

If your application requires additional verification or an interview, it may take longer to receive a decision. These extra steps are typically taken to ensure the validity and accuracy of the information provided in your application.

To expedite the decision-making process, the Home Office offers a priority service for Skilled Worker visa extensions. By opting for the priority service, you can receive a faster decision on your application for an additional fee. This can significantly reduce the waiting time and provide reassurance for individuals who need a quicker resolution.

To avoid any unnecessary delays, it is highly recommended to apply for your visa extension well in advance. By submitting your application early, you allow ample time for processing and any potential issues that may arise during the decision-making process. Planning ahead can help minimize the stress and uncertainty that can come with waiting for a visa extension decision.

Visa Renewal with a New Employer

If you are considering changing your job or employer while on a Skilled Worker visa, it is important to understand the process of updating your visa rather than extending it.

If you have remained with the same employer throughout your previous grant of leave and your job remains the same, you do not need to apply again. However, if you change your job into a different occupation code or leave a job that is on the shortage occupation list, it is crucial to update your visa.

Updating your visa with a new employer requires a formal application to the appropriate authorities. This process involves submitting the necessary documentation and forms to reflect the change in your employment situation.

By updating your visa, you ensure that your stay in the UK remains valid and in compliance with the immigration regulations. It is crucial to fully understand the requirements and procedures for updating your visa with a new employer, as any discrepancies may result in jeopardizing your immigration status.

Updates Visa Extension
Required when changing job or employer Required when staying with the same employer and job
Involves a formal application May not require a separate application
Changes to occupation code or leaving a job on the shortage occupation list necessitate the update No change in job or occupation code

It is important to seek professional guidance and assistance when updating your visa with a new employer, as any mistakes or omissions could have significant consequences. Immigration experts can help ensure that your application is complete, accurate, and meets all the necessary requirements.

READ MORE: Skilled Worker Visa (Tier 2) Dependent Visa

Transitioning to Indefinite Leave to Remain

The Skilled Worker visa route also offers a pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). After holding a Skilled Worker visa for a qualifying period of 5 years, you can apply for ILR, allowing you to live and work in the UK without any time restrictions. This opportunity to settle in the UK permanently is a significant milestone in your journey.

To be eligible for ILR, certain requirements need to be met. One such requirement is continuous residence, which means you must have spent a specified amount of time in the UK without any significant breaks. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate your knowledge of Life in the UK by passing the Life in the UK Test. These requirements ensure that you have integrated into British society and have a good understanding of its values and culture.

Applying for ILR provides you with stability and security. Once granted, you will have peace of mind knowing that you can continue to live and work in the UK without the need for visa extensions. It opens up a range of opportunities for you and your family, such as accessing public funds, education, and healthcare. ILR is the key to making the UK your permanent home.

How Can Boardroom Advisors Help With The UK Skilled Worker Visa

Navigating the Skilled Worker Visa process comes with its set of challenges, yet Boardroom Advisors is here to ease this journey. Specializing in business consultancy, we assign your visa and immigration queries to our skilled immigration lawyers and advisors, who are proficient in handling the Skilled Worker Visa procedures, facilitating a more straightforward approach to obtaining your visa.

With Boardroom Advisors, the intricacies of applying for a Skilled Worker Visa are made more approachable. Our team comprises over 200 skilled business advisors and Regional Directors, ready to offer insights and targeted advice to help achieve your objectives. Whether you need clarity on UK business setup requirements or strategic guidance, you have our full support.

Taking the first step towards meeting the Skilled Worker Visa requirements is significant. Boardroom Advisors invites you to initiate this process with us, where you’ll receive detailed business advice and access to immigration expertise. We also provide a no-cost 30-minute session with an immigration specialist, aimed at clearing up any questions regarding the immigration and legal aspects of your visa application.

Choose Boardroom Advisors for a guided experience through your Skilled Worker Visa application, ensuring you proceed with the necessary knowledge and support.

FAQ

What is a Skilled Worker Visa Extension?

A skilled worker visa extension refers to the process of prolonging the duration of your visa in the UK beyond its current expiry date. This extension typically falls under the tier 2 category, allowing skilled workers to continue their stay and work legally in the country.

How can I apply for a Skilled Worker Visa Extension?

To apply for a skilled worker visa extension, you need to submit an extension application to UK Visas and Immigration before your current visa expires. Ensure you meet all the eligibility requirements and provide necessary supporting documents along with your application.

Is it necessary to update my visa before it expires?

Yes, it is crucial to extend your visa before it expires to maintain your legal status in the UK. Failing to extend your visa on time could lead to potential immigration issues and barriers in the future.

Can I apply to extend my visa online?

Yes, you can often apply to extend your visa online through the official UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services. This offers a more convenient and efficient way to submit your application without visiting a physical location.

What are the consequences of staying in the UK after my current visa expires?

Staying in the UK after your current visa expires can result in serious repercussions, including potential legal action, deportation, and difficulties in obtaining future visas or residency permits. It’s essential to follow the proper procedures for visa extensions to avoid such issues.

Do I need a priority service for my visa extension application?

If you require quick processing of your visa extension application, you may opt for a priority service or even a super priority service for expedited handling. These services come at an additional cost but can significantly shorten the processing time.

Written by: John Courtney

John is highly ranked in the Top 100 UK Entrepreneurs list by City AM and is winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from techSPARK. He has been a Board Director himself for over 40 years and first started placing Non-Executive Directors over 25 years ago. John founded and ran seven of his own businesses including a Management Consultancy for 10 years, a Corporate Finance offering for 10 years and a mid-sized Digital Agency for another 10 years.