Skilled Workers - guidance for individuals

  • Skilled Worker Eligibility Checker Tool

    The Home Office interactive Skilled Worker Eligibility Checker (SWEC) tool is intended to enable applicants and recruiting managers to immediately see if vacancies are eligible for a Skilled Worker visa. The tool can be found here: 

    What is the Certificate of Sponsorship process?

    Once you have secured a formal offer of employment from the University the HR Recruitment Team will contact you to provide you with the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).

    A CoS is not a paper document, but a number allocated to the University by the UK Home Office where certain criteria are met. In turn, the HR Recruitment Team will allocate the CoS number to you, and you will need the number before you apply for a visa to come to, or stay in the UK.

    The fact that a CoS has been assigned does not guarantee that you will succeed in getting permission to enter or stay.

    You must meet certain requirements for the relevant tier and category, and apply for permission to enter or stay.

    How long is my CoS valid?

    A CoS for a Skilled Worker visa is valid for three months from the date of issue. After three months the certificate will lapse and you can no longer use this to support your visa application.

    What am I allowed to do as a Skilled Worker?

    Information on what you can and can’t do as a Skilled Worker is available on the UKVI website.

    How do I apply for a Skilled Worker visa?

    You will need to apply after we have given you a CoS number. We would strongly advise you to read the full UKVI policy guidance carefully and check the application requirements in your country of residence before applying. Applications are submitted online in all countries except North Korea. As explained in the UKVI application guidance, you need to prove your knowledge of the English language (e.g. IELTS for UKVI test pass) and, if your job requires working with vulnerable people, you may need to obtain criminal record certificates for yourself and your dependents from any country you’ve stayed in for a total of 12 months or more over the last 10 years before you apply.

    How can I prove that I meet the English language requirement?

    The English language requirement can be met by meeting one of the options below:

    • Nationals from the following English speaking countries automatically meet the English language requirement: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the US
    • a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider (please see the  Home Office's guidance on the 'Knowledge of English' requirements and their list of   Approved English Language Test providers and centres.
    • having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English
    • having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English - if you studied abroad, you will need to apply for confirmation through UK ENIC (formerly UK NARIC) that your qualification is equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

    Those who are required to have their qualification verified by UK ENIC can  apply for verification online. A fee of £125+VAT is payable per application for verification. UK ENIC charge a single fee of £125 + VAT whether applicants are submitting one or multiple qualifications for verification and will return decisions by post within ten days. Applicants should be aware that an application to UK ENIC does not guarantee that they will certify the level of the qualification or that it was taught in English. Where verification is not successful, the applicant will need to take and pass an approved English language test instead.

    Any delay in verifying the English language requirement (such as the applicant needing to sit an English language test or have qualifications verified by UK ENIC) will delay the visa application.  

    How long will it take to obtain a Skilled Worker visa?

    You must not apply for a visa any sooner than three months before the start date given on your Certificate of Sponsorship. In addition, you will not be permitted to enter the UK any sooner than 14 days before the start date on your Certificate of Sponsorship. The length of time taken to process visa applications can vary considerably from country to country. You should get a decision on your visa application within 3 weeks.

    How long can I stay in the UK on my Skilled Worker visa?

    There is no limit on the length of time which can be spent under the Skilled Worker route. If the visa is issued for a fixed period further extensions might be possible.

    Who will pay the costs of sponsoring me as a Skilled Worker?

    • The University will pay for your Certificate of Sponsorship. We will certify maintenance for you and your dependents. 
    • You must pay for your Visa but if you are relocating to take up the position with Oxford Brookes (and are not currently resident in the UK at time of relocation) then you may be reimbursed by the University for up to £3,000 for the standard immigration visa fees for yourself or immediate family members (spouse/ partner and children only) after you have commenced employment.
    • You must pay all NHS Health surcharges required during the visa application process, and for any of your dependents’ health surcharges.
    • For more information see the University’s Relocation scheme.

    What if my visa application is refused?

    If you submit your visa application late, or fail to supply the correct documentation, your application will be refused and the Certificate of Sponsorship will be rendered invalid. The University will need to review the circumstances and decide whether to request another Certificate of Sponsorship from the UKVI’s next available monthly limit. Should the UKVI approve the request, the HR Recruitment Team will issue a new Certificate of Sponsorship to you, and you will then need to submit a fresh visa application. Further details on visa refusals and the right to appeal can be found on the UKVI website.

    I have been sponsored before and left the UK; can I be sponsored again?

    Yes as long as the University is satisfied that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Certificate of Sponsorship.

    I have my Skilled Worker visa and am about to commence employment for the University, what do I need to do?

    • You must meet your manager in person prior to, or on, your first day with either a Biometric Resident Permit or your passport and 30 day passport vignette.
    • We have some information for staff relocating to Oxford from overseas that you
      may find helpful. This can be found  here.
    • Whilst you are employed with us you have to notify your line manager immediately of any of the below. The University must record/report any of the below to the UKVI, strictly within ten working days of the date of the change:
      1. A change to your start date/that you did not arrive on your start date on your CoS;
      2. Any change in job details (e.g. job title/duties/salary/hours/work location);
      3. Changes in residential address/contact details;
      4. Unauthorised absences of more than ten consecutive working days:
      5. Authorised unpaid leave of up to one month in twelve months;
      6. Change in salary due to leave (maternity, paternity, adoption, sick);
      7. If you leave early (e.g. finish early/ resign/ funding withdrawn/ are dismissed);
      8. If you change your immigration status (e.g. granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)/other visa/change in nationality, etc.); or
      9. If you leave as expected in line with your visa expiry date.
        If you are unsure whether UKVI need to be notified of an activity, contact the HR employee services team.
      • When your visa expiry date is approaching you will receive an automated email from HR one month prior to expiry of your visa. If you are continuing employment with the University then you will need to be issued with a new
        CoS. HR will issue the new CoS to you and allow you sufficient time to apply for your visa extension. Please note that a CoS extension cannot be processed more than 3 months before your visa is due to expire. If you have any queries about your Skilled Worker visa please contact the HR employee services team.

      • The University will support you in this process but it is your responsibility to ensure you know the conditions of your visa, what is expected from you to comply with those conditions and to ensure any visa renewal is initiated in a timely manner. Further information can be found here.