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Switch from a Student Visa to a Skilled Worker Visa in the UK

Dec 21, 2022

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Students are eligible to apply or to change (switch) to a skilled worker visa if they are already in the UK on another type of visa. For instance, if you are in the UK with a student visa then you can seamlessly switch to the skilled worker visa category, which became effective on December 1st, 2020, replacing the Tier 2 route.

Read on to understand the process of switching from a student visa to a skilled worker visa if you are already living in the UK.


Who is permitted to switch?

There is an immigration status requirement under the new point-based system through which the eligibility criteria are determined. 

Students, who are applying for permission to stay in the UK, must be in the UK at the time of application. An applicant who is not holding a student visa but staying in the UK with below mentioned visa statuses are not permitted to apply for switch visa category within the UK - 

  • A visit-visa
  • A parent of a child's student visa
  • A short-term student visa
  • A domestic worker on a private household visa
  • A seasonal worker visa
  • An immigration bail
  • Living outside the immigration status rules (e.g., on compassionate grounds)

This is to say you can change from the student visa category to the skilled worker category within the UK. 


What are the main requirements?

If you are a new entrant, you can be automatically considered, given that your age is under 26. You may also be deemed as a new entrant if one of the following circumstances apply to you –

  • Your last visa was a student visa
  • Your student visa was up for renewal lesser than two years prior to the application date
  • You were sponsored to pursue one of the following courses during that student visa or any previous student visa (and not any other qualifications of an equivalent level): a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, a Professional Graduate Diploma of Education, a UK Bachelor's degree, a UK Master's degree, a UK PhD, or another doctoral qualification.
  • You completed the course mentioned above or are applying no more than 3 months before you expect to complete it. If you are studying for a PhD then you should have completed at least 12 months of study in the UK towards PhD.

There are some other criteria as well to be qualified as a new entrant –

  • If your most recent permit was as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant
  • In case you are a postdoctoral researcher in any of the following occupation codes:
    • 2111 Chemical Sciences 
    • 2112 Biological Sciences and Biochemistry 
    • 2113 Physical Sciences 
    • 2114 Social and humanities types of research
    • 2119 Natural and Social Science professionals (unclassified)
    • 2311 Teaching professional at a higher education level
  • If you have a job offer in a UK-administered profession and you are pursuing a recognised professional qualification for the same
  • If you are pursuing a full registration or chartered status with the relevant professional body for the job for which you are being sponsored

All these may seem like a lot, but we at KC Overseas, one of India's fastest-growing Ed-tech companies, make sure that none of our students goes through any troubles while filling out the applications.

Moreover, at KC Overseas, we help you to find a suitable financing option to fund your education in the UK and seamlessly manage the cost to study in the UK. We also help you to find and apply for suitable scholarships to help you manage your finances better.


Advantages of being inducted into the labour market

As a neophyte in the labour market, you may get employed by companies seeking to hire capable workers through the skilled worker route with a salary equal to or ranging from the general threshold (£25,600) and 100% of the standard rate for the position (as specified in the relevant occupation code mentioned above), whichever is higher. 

As a new entrant to the labour market, you may get a wage that is equivalent to or greater than £20,480 per year and 70% of the industry standard. This value is much lower and will allow new hires to be paid less.  However, you can be paid anywhere between 70% and 90% of the usual going rate for your job if your salary is at least £20,480 per year and you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Your job is in a shortage occupation
  • You’re under 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training
  • You have a science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification that’s relevant to your job (if you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,040)
  • You have a postdoctoral position in science or higher education


Age Requirements

Though there is no age restriction for this route, however, you must be at least 18 years old by the date you apply to be a skilled worker. 


Other significant requirements to switch from student visa to skilled worker visa

For you to qualify for a skilled worker visa, you need to fulfil conditions for UK Visas and Immigration Policies –

  • You have a current Certificate of Sponsorship for the work you want to undertake
  • Your employment offer is legitimate
  • You are proficient in English at least CEFR Level B1 (equal to IELTS 4.0)
  • Your sponsor has paid any Immigration Skills Charges that are necessary
  • Your job requires a certain degree of expertise

Apart from that, you have to meet the financial requirements set by the Government of the UK if you are seeking permission to stay or have been permitted in the UK for 12 months or more at the time of application. As a result, the majority of students asking to switch will be spared from producing further financial documentation. Furthermore, in the case of individuals transferring within the UK, a TB and criminal record certificate are not necessary.

To sum up, if you are planning to study in the UK and then stay there for work, then understanding this process of switching from a student visa to a work visa is imperative. 

Need guidance? Let us help you.

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