Skilled Worker Visa (Dependent’s Guide)

Are you planning to bring your family along as you embark on a new professional journey in the UK with a Skilled Worker Visa? Navigating the pathway for your loved ones to join or remain with you in the UK is made simpler with the Skilled Worker Dependent Visa. 

Designed as part of the UK’s points-based immigration system, this visa supports the families of those who have secured skilled employment in the UK, ensuring they can live together during this significant phase. 

From understanding the eligibility criteria—including relationship proof and financial requirements—to the application process itself, this guide covers essential information to help families unite or stay united on UK soil.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Skilled Worker Dependent Visa caters to the immediate family members of Skilled Worker visa holders, allowing them to live, work, and study in the UK.
  • Eligibility hinges on demonstrating a genuine relationship with the main visa holder and meeting financial requirements to ensure adequate support.
  • Applicants must navigate a detailed application process that includes gathering substantial documentation, attending biometric appointments, and meeting health care surcharge obligations.

Skilled Worker Dependent Visa

The Skilled Worker Dependent visa allows family members of someone holding or applying for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK to join or stay with them in the UK. This visa is designed for the dependents of individuals who are coming to or are already in the UK under the Skilled Worker route, which is part of the UK’s points-based immigration system. The Skilled Worker visa itself is aimed at individuals who have been offered a skilled job in the UK from a licensed sponsor.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Dependent visa, applicants must meet specific criteria related to their relationship with the main visa holder. Eligible applicants include:

  1. The spouse or civil partner of the Skilled Worker.
  2. Their unmarried partner, with the condition that you have cohabited in a relationship similar to marriage for a minimum of 2 years by the application date.
  3. A dependent child under 18 years of age of the Skilled Worker.

Dependent children over 16 years old must reside with the Skilled Worker unless they are attending a full-time educational institution such as a boarding school, college, or university. These children must be supported financially by the Skilled Worker, not be married or in a civil partnership, and not have any children.

Moreover, for those applying from outside the UK or from within the UK without having lawfully reside there for over 12 months, a financial requirement must be met. This entails showing sufficient funds for self-support, in addition to the £1,270 that the primary applicant needs to demonstrate. Specifically, partners of the primary applicant must show they have £285 for their initial support in the UK. 

This amount increases to £315 for the first dependent child, and for each additional child, £200 is required. Therefore, a family applying together with three dependent children would need to demonstrate available funds totaling £2,270 (£1,270 for the primary applicant, £285 for the partner, £315 for the first child, and £200 for each additional child).

Requirements For Dependents

Dependents applying for this visa must meet several requirements, including:

Relationship Proof

  • For Partners: Documentation is required to prove the relationship with the main visa holder. This could include marriage certificates, civil partnership certificates, or evidence of cohabitation for unmarried partners. The UK Home Office looks for genuine relationship evidence; for unmarried partners, this typically means having lived together in a relationship akin to marriage or civil partnership for at least two years.
  • For Children: Birth certificates or legal adoption papers are required to establish the child’s relationship to the Skilled Worker (or their partner). If one parent is not applying or already in the UK, written consent from the non-applying parent or legal guardian may be necessary, proving that the child can travel and live in the UK.

Maintenance Funds

  • Detailed Requirements: The specified maintenance funds must be in the bank account of the Skilled Worker or the dependent for at least 28 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of the application. Bank statements or similar documents are required to prove these funds.
  • Exemptions: In some cases, if the Skilled Worker’s sponsor (employer) is willing to provide a guarantee of maintenance for the dependents on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), the requirement for showing personal savings might be waived. This guarantee must cover the dependents for the first month of their stay in the UK.
  • Healthcare Surcharge: Additionally, dependents must pay the healthcare surcharge as part of their application, which grants them access to the National Health Service (NHS) during their stay. This is not part of the maintenance funds but is a separate, necessary cost.

Application from Inside or Outside the UK

  • Application Timelines: The timing and process might slightly vary depending on whether the application is made from within the UK or from abroad. For instance, applying from within the UK may be an option for dependents who are already in the country on a valid visa category that allows them to switch to a dependent visa.
  • Biometric Information: Regardless of where they apply from, dependants will need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). This process is done at a visa application centre outside the UK or at specific service points within the UK.
  • Supporting Documents: All documents must be in English or Welsh, or accompanied by a certified translation. When applying from outside the UK, additional documents related to the main applicant’s employment, like the Certificate of Sponsorship, may need to be shown.

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

Additional Considerations

  • Language Requirements: There are no specific English language requirements for dependents, contrasting with the main applicant’s need to meet a certain level of English proficiency.
  • Length of Stay: The validity of the dependent visa matches that of the main Skilled Worker visa holder, allowing for simultaneous extension applications.
  • Work and Study: Dependants have the right to work and study in the UK, with few restrictions, providing them with significant opportunities for personal development and contribution to family income.

Understanding these detailed requirements and preparing accordingly can significantly smoothen the application process for Skilled Worker Dependent visas, ensuring families can plan their relocation to the UK with greater confidence and clarity.

Application Process for Skilled Worker Visa

Completing an Online Application

  • Form Guidance: Each dependant must complete their own application form, accessed through the UK government’s official visa and immigration website. The form requires detailed information about the dependent’s personal details, relationship to the Skilled Worker, and their circumstances.
  • Accuracy is Key: It’s crucial to answer all questions accurately and fully, as any discrepancies can lead to delays or denial of the application. Applicants should prepare all necessary information beforehand, including dates of previous travel, relationship history, and details about the Skilled Worker’s employment and visa status.

Providing Biometric Information

  • Appointment Booking: After submitting the online application, dependants will need to book and attend an appointment at a visa application centre to provide their biometric information. This step is mandatory for all applicants, regardless of age.
  • What to Expect: The biometric appointment involves taking fingerprints and a photograph, which will be used for identification purposes and included on the biometric residence permit (BRP). Applicants should follow the specific guidance provided by the visa application centre, including any COVID-19 safety measures.

Submitting Supporting Documents

  • Document Checklist: The online application process generates a personalised checklist of documents that must be submitted. This typically includes proof of the relationship (like marriage certificates or birth certificates), financial documents to prove maintenance funds, and details of the Skilled Workers visa or application status.
  • Format and Translation: All documents must be presented in the correct format, as specified in the guidance. If documents are not in English or Welsh, certified translations must be provided.
  • Using ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app: In some cases, dependents applying from within the UK can use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity documents instead of attending an appointment at a visa application centre. This can streamline the process but is subject to eligibility.

Additional Considerations

  • Application Fee and Healthcare Surcharge: The application process also requires payment of the visa application fee and the healthcare surcharge. These costs vary depending on the duration of the visa and the country from which you are applying. The healthcare surcharge grants access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
  • Using Priority Services: For an additional fee, some applicants may opt for priority or super-priority services to expedite the processing of their visa application. Availability and eligibility for these services can vary by location.
  • Submitting the Application: Documents can often be uploaded digitally through the visa application website or presented physically at the visa application center, depending on local requirements and options.
  • Visa Decision: After submitting the application and attending the biometric appointment, applicants will receive a decision on their visa. The processing time can vary, but applicants can generally expect a decision within 3 weeks for applications outside the UK and 8 weeks for applications made within the UK.

By thoroughly preparing and understanding each step of the application process, Skilled Worker Dependent visa applicants can navigate their way more smoothly through the complexities of the UK’s immigration system, enhancing their chances of a successful outcome.

Can you travel with a pending application?

Should you need to visit an overseas Visa Application Centre (VAC) to verify your identity, they might retain your passport and other necessary documents for the duration of your application’s processing. Consequently, you will be unable to undertake any travel while awaiting a decision. 

Similarly, if you are applying from within the UK to transition to the Skilled Worker route from another visa category, it is imperative that you remain within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man until a decision is made on your application. Failing to adhere to this could result in the withdrawal of your application.

What is the cost of obtaining a Skilled Worker Dependent visa?

The fees for a Skilled Worker Dependent visa vary based on the intended length of stay in the UK and whether the application is filed from abroad or within the UK. For dependents of Skilled Workers planning to stay in the UK for less than three years, the application cost is £625 for applications made from outside the UK, with the fee rising to £1,235 for stays exceeding three years. For those applying from within the UK to switch to this visa, the cost is £719 for visas lasting up to three years, and £1,423 for longer durations.

Dependents of individuals employed in roles listed on the UK’s shortage occupation list are eligible for reduced fees. For these applicants, the charge is £479 for stays of up to three years and £943 for longer stays, irrespective of the application being made domestically or internationally.

An additional cost for all applicants is the immigration healthcare surcharge, presently £624 annually. This surcharge grants access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) throughout your stay. Thus, for a three-year visa, the total surcharge comes to £1,872. For applicants under 18, the surcharge is lower, at £470 annually, making the total for a three-year period £1,410.

Is it possible to extend a Skilled Worker Dependent visa?

Yes, if you hold a Skilled Worker Dependent visa, you can extend it to match the duration of the primary Skilled Worker visa holder’s stay, assuming they’re also extending their visa. Your visa’s validity is linked to the status of the main visa holder, meaning it expires when theirs does. 

But, if the primary visa holder applies for an extension and still meets the visa conditions, you’re eligible to apply for an extension as well. This applies even if children included in the visa have reached the age of 18 while in the UK. Remember, extending your visa isn’t automatic; you’ll need to actively apply for the extension alongside or following the main applicant’s own extension application.

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

How Can Boardroom Advisors Help With The UK Skilled Worker Visa

Getting a Skilled Worker Dependent Visa involves quite a few steps. It can get complicated, but that’s where Boardroom Advisors comes in. We specialise in giving you clear, straightforward advice on how to navigate the visa process. We connect you with immigration experts, including seasoned immigration lawyers and advisors familiar with every detail of the visa system, to simplify the process for you.

With us, you won’t have to worry about the tricky parts of the application. Our network of over 200 advisors is here to give you tailored advice, helping you with everything from filling out your application correctly to making sure you meet all the financial requirements.

Starting the process of applying for a Skilled Worker Dependent Visa is a big deal. Boardroom Advisors is ready to guide you from the very beginning, offering a free 30-minute chat with an immigration specialist to get you started on the right foot.

With Boardroom Advisors, you get the help you need to make your visa application as stress-free as possible, backed by people who know what they’re doing.

FAQ

What is a Skilled Worker Visa?

A Skilled Worker Visa allows individuals with a job offer from a UK employer to work and live in the UK for at least 2 years. To be eligible, one must meet the UK visa and immigration rules and submit a visa application to the UK Visas and Immigration.

How can I apply for a Tier 2 Dependent Visa?

To apply for a Tier 2 (General) Dependent Visa, now part of the Skilled Worker visa scheme, you need to ensure your eligibility as a spouse, partner, or child under 18 of a Skilled Worker visa holder. Start by gathering all necessary documents, including proof of your relationship to the visa holder and evidence of financial support. Then, complete the online application form on the UK government’s official website, pay the required visa fee and healthcare surcharge, and attend a biometric appointment at a Visa Application Centre. This streamlined process is designed for those looking to join or accompany a family member residing in the UK under what was formerly kn

Can I extend my current visa to stay longer in the UK?

If you are currently in the UK and need to extend your stay, you must apply to extend your visa within the immigration rules and ensure you meet the conditions of your current visa.

How can I apply for a Student Visa to study in the UK?

To study in the UK, individuals must apply for a student visa and meet the requirements set by the UK Visas and Immigration. Applicants must be able to prove that they are attending a recognised educational institution in the UK.

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.