Individuals on a Skilled Worker visa can apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to settle in the UK. Skilled Worker visa holders must have resided in the UK for a continuous qualifying period of at least 5 years. Applicants for Skilled Worker ILR will need to satisfy a number of requirements such as the minimum earnings requirement, Knowledge of Life and Language (KoLL), employment requirement and absences requirement.
Our award-winning team of immigration lawyers have a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with Skilled Worker ILR applications of any complexity. Contact us now for professional help and support regarding your ILR application on a Skilled Worker route.
You can find more information below on the main requirements for the ILR as a Skilled Worker migrant. Skilled Worker ILR route replaced the Tier 2 (General) ILR route on 1 December 2020.
Skilled Worker ILR Requirements
Skilled Worker visa holders will need to satisfy the requirement of the Immigration Rules in order to successfully apply for settlement. This article will only refer to specific requirements for Skilled Worker migrants, as different requirements will apply for other visa categories of Global Mobility routes.
The main requirements for settlement for Skilled Worker visa holders include:
- Meeting the salary threshold based on the applicable SOC code
- Fulfilling the requirements for completing the necessary qualifying period
- Providing specified employment evidence and earnings documents
- Satisfying the continuous residence requirement i.e. absences from the UK
- Provide evidence to satisfy Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK – evidence of passing life in the UK test and knowledge of English language level B1
All the main requirements are considered in depth below.
Qualifying period for ILR from Skilled Worker visa
To qualify for the ILR, you must have lived in the UK continuously for at least 5 years.
When the application for Skilled Worker ILR is submitted, you must be residing in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa. However, the 5 years must consist of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes:
- Skilled Worker (or Tier 2 (General); or
- Global talent; or
- Innovator; or
- T2 Minister of Religion; or
- International Sportsperson; or
- Representative of an Overseas Business; or
- as a Tier 1 Migrant, other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant; or
- permission on any other route, during the time the applicant was waiting for a decision on their application as a Skilled Worker, providing that application:
- was for permission to stay; and
- was made between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 (inclusive); and
- was supported on the date of application by a certificate of sponsorship assigned by a licensed sponsor; and
- was granted.
The 5-year qualifying period for settlement will begin from the date of issue of the initial permission, whether entry clearance or leave to remain. The Home Office will consider only the most recent 5 years. For those who resided in the UK longer, ILR on 10 year basis may be available as an alternative.
The earliest the application for the Skilled Worker ILR can be submitted is 28 days prior to reaching 5 years in the UK from the date of issue of the first visa. Those applying earlier are likely to see their application refused.
Absences under Skilled Worker Visa
When applying for ILR under the Skilled Worker visa category, applicants should not have more than 180 days’ absence from the UK during any consecutive 12-month period within the 5 year qualifying period the ILR application is based on.
Please note, that the rules were updated in 2018 to include absences in any consecutive 12 month period. Previously, the 180 days of absence was considered for fixed 12 months periods going back from the date of application.
Applications submitted after 11 January 2018 will be subject to the current requirements where absences are considered on a rolling basis, rather than in separate consecutive 12-month periods.
When applying for the ILR, you will have to provide a schedule of absences during the qualifying period, including the reasons for those absences. The same information will need to be confirmed by the current and previous employers. This is something our team of immigration lawyers can assist you with when preparing your application.
Should the absences requirement not be met, the application may fall for refusal, so it is recommended to seek assistance from an experienced immigration advisor.
The Home Office is able to exercise direction over excess absences in certain situations. This may include exceptionally harsh consequences or absences of a compassionate/compelling nature. For complicated reasons, it is always advisable to explain the reasons fully in the covering letter.
Earnings Threshold for the ILR
While there is no longer an “earnings threshold” for Skilled Worker ILR applicants, but applicants will still need to provide evidence that the salary is sufficient based on the appropriate rate for the job.
For most applicants, the salary threshold will be £25,600/ at least £10.10 an hour or at a going rate for the job, whichever is higher. There are certain exceptions to this rule, for example, applicants sponsored under shortage occupation will need to satisfy a salary threshold of £20,480 or £10.10 an hour or the going rate for the position, whichever is higher.
Even though secondary employment is allowed for Skilled Worker visa holders, it is not possible to include it to calculate the salary to meet the requirement.
English Language Requirement for Skilled Worker 2 ILR
Skilled Worker visa holders will need to satisfy the English language requirement when applying for the ILR. English language requirement can be met by either:
- Relying on a degree taught or researched in English
- An English language test level B1 (Speaking and Listening) for an approved provider
- Being national of majority English speaking country
Life in the UK Requirement for Skilled Worker ILR
When applying for the ILR, all applicants over the age of 18 will need to submit proof of knowledge of “life in the UK“. This is done by taking and passing the Life in the UK rest, which consists of 24 questions and requires at least a 75% pass mark.
Documents Required for Skilled Worker ILR
The documents required for the application will vary depending on the circumstances of the applicant.
- Some of the documents required for the settlement application include:
- Letter from the employer confirming job details, earnings and that the applicant will be required for the foreseeable future;
- Letter from the sponsor verifying the absences and reasons, i.e. work-related or annual leave;
- Confirmation of gross annual salary from the current employer;
- Evidence of earnings to show that the minimum earnings threshold is satisfied;
- Payment details, i.e. a payslip and a bank statement;
- Documents to satisfy KoLL requirements, i.e. English language and life in the UK;
The Home Office will also carry out automated PAYE checks to confirm the level of salary paid in the 12 months before the date of the application.
Once our team of immigration solicitors is instructed to act on the case, we will provide a comprehensive list of documents, letter templates and guidance on how to meet the requirements for the application.
Expiry of ILR status on a Skilled Worker Route
As with most other routes, the ILR can lapse through a consecutive absence from the UK for more than 2 years. Please refer to the following page for more comprehensive information on losing the ILR status in the UK.
Applying for ILR from a Skilled Worker Category?
The application for settlement must be done using the online form. This guidance will be updated with any changes, however, Immigration Rules are subject to a request change, so it is advisable to contact us directly to obtain the most up-to-date legal advice.
Our immigration solicitors can advise you on the merits of your ILR application and assist you with preparing the supporting documents, completing the form and writing a cover letter with legal representations.
Start the process bow by booking a consultation with our award-winning immigration team.
FAQ – Skilled Worker to ILR
The Home Office application fee is £2,404 for standard consideration of up to 8 weeks. The decision can be expedited to 5 working days for 24 hours for additional fees of £500 or £800 respectively.
Can my spouse and children apply for the ILR?
It is possible for the dependant to apply for the ILR together with the main applicant. The dependants will need to satisfy additional requirements, such as absences, qualifying period etc., and pay an additional fee of £2,404 per applicant.
What is the waiting time for a decision on the Skilled Worker ILR application?
The standard consideration is usually up to 8 weeks, but can take longer during busy periods. The decision can be expedited to 5 working days or 24 hours for additional fees, see above. For more up-to-date information on processing times, please refer to the Home Offices website.
What is the earliest the application for the ILR on a Skilled Worker route can be submitted?
The application can be submitted up to 28 days prior to reaching 5 years on a Skilled Worker visa from the date of the visa issue.
Our Skilled Worker ILR Services Review
Our experienced team of Immigration Lawyers in London deal with Skilled Worker ILR applications on a daily basis and would be glad to help you with your application.
Start by booking a consultation with one of our specialist lawyers for Skilled Worker ILR applications so that we can assess your case and guide you to make a successful application.