Skilled Worker Visa

With the end of free movement for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals from 1 January 2021, the UK's new immigration system will apply equally to new arrivals of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals as it will to new and existing non-EU nationals who require a visa.

This guidance will refer to the ‘Skilled Worker Visa’ route (on 1 December 2020 this route replaced the Tier 2 (General) route which was closed). This is the most applicable to Aberystwyth University employees. Information on the other sub categories of Tier 2 visas can be found on the UKVI website.

No further applications for skilled worker visa can be made from 1 December 2020, but existing Tier 2 visa holders will retain their current visas with no change to their conditions, and at the point of extension will apply for a Skilled Worker Visa under the rules of this visa route.

What is a Skilled Worker Visa?

A Tier 2 (General) visa is for migrants who have a skilled longer-term job offer in the UK. 

Before applying for a visa Aberystwyth University must issue you with a Certificates of Sponsorship. Certificates of Sponsorship permit Aberystwyth University to employ you without it you would be unable to take up your employment and therefore, it is required before applying for your visa.


Eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa

Eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa

Points Requirements

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, the individual must score a minimum of 70 points from the following attributes:

  • Offer of a job by an approved sponsor 20 points
  • Job offer at an appropriate skill level (RQF Level 3 and above) supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship 20 points
  • English language at Level B1 10 points
  • Minimum Salary requirements met 20 points

Over and above the requirement to 'score' 70 points, as above, the are other requirements that the individual must meet as part of the Skilled Worker Visa application process

ATAS Requirements

From 21 May 2021, relevant international researchers applying for a Skilled Worker Visa must have obtained an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate as part of their visa application. The ATAS requirement only applies to certain nationalities, and in certain roles and research fields.

For further guidance on the ATAS scheme and making an application, please see the guidance here.

The UK NARIC can assist you in finding out if you are eligible


Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa

Applications should be made online on the GOV.UK website here.

If you are applying for a visa for dependents please apply online on the GOV.UK website here.

Migrants applying from outside the United Kingdom for a Tier 2 must apply in the country in which they reside.

You may only apply from within the United Kingdom if you:

  • currently hold a Tier 2 visa and you are reapplying due to a change in job
  • currently hold a Tier 2 visa and you are applying to extend it
  • currently hold a different visa and you are applying to switch to a Tier 2 visa.

For those applying from inside the UK, it is essential that they apply for their new visa before their existing visa expires. Failure to do so will jeopardise their ability to start work/continue working for the University.

Important Note: All future employees must provide evidence of their right to work in the United Kingdom prior to starting work. We have produced some guidance on right to work documentation to make it clearer.


Extending a Skilled Worker Visa

Applications for extension must be made prior to your current visa expiring. As the process for extending/renewing a visa can take up to 8 weeks it is highly recommended that individuals apply early for an extension. Options are available for a faster service which can give the individual a decision quicker but at an increased cost.

Tier 2 visa holders are permitted to stay a maximum of six continuous years in the UK, providing they have been given a Certificate of Sponsorship. After five years of continuous Tier 2 sponsorship, Tier 2 visa holders are able to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Family Members of Skilled Worker Visa

Individuals applying for a Skilled Worker Visa can also apply for visas for their dependents - family members able to come with Tier 2 visa holders include:

  • Your partner/wife/husband
  • Your child under 18 years old
  • Your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as a dependent.


Fees for a Tier 2 (general) visa can vary depending on the length of time on the visa. Along with the cost of the visa a Tier 2 (general) visa application may require the payment of a healthcare surcharge which enables all visa holders to use the NHS. Health surcharge costs can be calculated using the UKVI health surcharge calculator.

Skilled Worker visa holder’s responsibilities and conditions

When an individual has been provided with a Skilled worker visa they have additional responsibilities, examples of these are to keep their contact details up to date and to make sure all leave is booked through ABW, guidance has been created to help employees.

Conditions of a Skilled Worker visa include:

  • The individual will not be allowed access to state benefits or other public funds. See the UKVI website for full definitions.
  • Registration with the police (only required if they are a national of these countries and they will be resident in the UK for more than 6 months).
  • The only work that they can do is:
    • The job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), working for the designated sponsor; and
    • Supplementary employment in the same profession and at the same professional level, outside their normal working hours or in a job on the shortage occupation list, for up to 20 hours per week; and
    • Voluntary work.

Attendance Monitoring Guidance for Current Employees

1. Introduction

1.1 The UKVI imposes a duty on sponsors to:1.1.1 Keep a record of the absence of sponsored individuals (including sickness absence, annual leave, maternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave, research leave and attending conferences).

1.1.2 Report unauthorised absences of more than ten working days to the UKVI.

1.2 During audits, UKVI inspectors very often ask to meet with named sponsored individuals. They need not give prior notice of such requests. It is therefore, important that the University is in a position to locate sponsored individuals quickly.

2. Home Office Requirements

2.1 For all sponsored individuals, normal University procedures should be followed for the absences listed above. In addition, institutions must immediately tell the Compliance Manager about any unauthorised absences of a sponsored individual of 10 working days or more.

2.2 The UKVI does not require Universities to monitor attendance during recognised vacation periods.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

3.1 Each employee must ensure that all absences are recorded on PoblAberPeople.

3.2 Each Line Manager/ Institute is responsible for ensuring that the individuals follow the appropriate reporting mechanism for recording absences, and for reporting any unauthorised absences to the Compliance Manager.

3.3 The Compliance Manager is reponsible for reporting unauthorised absences to the Home Office. The Compliance Manager is also responsible for providing information to the Insitutes regarding which employees are subject to UKVI requirements.

3.4 The Compliance Manager will periodically review the employee files of sponsored employees. This can include an annualised check of documents.

4. Procedure for reporting unauthorised absence

4.1 When an Institute becomes aware that a member of staff has had unauthorised absence from their place of work for 2 consecutive days, this must be reported to Human Resources immediately. We are required to report unauthorised absence to the UKVI within 5 working days of the tenth day of absence.

5. Authorised Absences

5.1 Any absence must be formally approved by the relevant Institute. If it is not approved then there is a risk this will be reported to the UKVI.

5.2 It is essential that authorised absences are documented and that these records are easily accessible. These records will be subject to audit by the UKVI in the event of a site visit. Most site visits occur without advanced warning.

6. Contact Details

Personal Contact Details

UK Visas and Immigration imposes a duty on us to maintain a history of the personal contact details of sponsored individuals. This includes unpaid Tier 5 visitors as well as Tier 2 and Tier 5 employees. All sponsored individuals should be asked to provide the University with up-to-date UK contact details on arrival (even if it includes a temporary address), and be reminded of their requirement to keep these up to date whenever they change. They can provide these details through PoblAberPeople or to the Compliance Manager in Human Resources.

Work Contact Details

HR keeps a record of individual's work addresses. These must be kept up to date for all employees, but this is especially important for sponsored individuals as we have to report changes to the UKVI within ten working days of the change.

7. Contractual and other employment changes

The University is also required to report certain contractual and employment changes to the UKVI within ten working days of the change occurring.

If you are contemplating any of the following changes, then please consult the Compliance Manager first:

  • Any changes to contractual hours
  • Any change to salary or allowances (other than increments and cost of living increases)
  • Any requests for unpaid leave (other than increments and cost of living increases)
  • Substantial changes to duties. If you are unclear about whether changes are substantial, please contact the Compliance Manager.
  • Change of job, especially where it involves a change in pay, hours, department.
  • TUPE transfers into or out of the University.
  • Secondment to another role/ Department or organisation.

For all other changes, listed below, the line manager/ institute must inform the Compliance Manager:

  • Change of work place/ campus even if this is within the Aberystwyth. We have to report the full address to the UKVI.
  • Any planned restructures or redundancies which may affect the sponsored employees.

8. Ascertaining an employee's right to work

8.1 The Compliance Manager is responsible for checking the visa status of international employees.

8.2 On arrival in the UK the sponsored employees must bring their original documents evidencing their right to work in the UK to the department of HR prior to commencing in post.

9. Contacts and Further Information

9.1 For queries regarding any compliance issues, please contact the Employee Services Team on 

Migrant Tracking and Monitoring

In accordance with the terms of our UK Visas and Immigration Sponsor License, relating to the tracking and monitoring of migrant workers. 

The UK Visas and Immigration requires all organisations that sponsor employees, to keep certain records and report particular changes to them. Failure to comply with this could result in our licence being revoked, suspended or downgraded to a B-rating, and/or a reduction to the number of Certificates of Sponsorships (CoS) we are allowed to assign. If we lose our licence, we will no longer be able to employ individuals sponsored under Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points-based Immigration System and all existing sponsored employees would have their leave curtailed.

It is therefore, vital that the following circumstances are reported to the Department of Human Resources immediately by emailing or phoning 01970 628555 so that HR can inform UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

  • If a sponsored migrant does not report for his/her first day of work, this must be reported to HR immediately so that contact can be made with the migrant to establish the reason for his/her non-attendance. If it is established that the migrant will not be taking up employment or no response is received, then this will be reported to the UKVI within 10 working days by HR.
  • If a sponsored migrant is absent from work for more than 48 hours, without the University’s permission, the Institute/Department should inform HR. The Institute/Department should attempt to make contact with the individual to establish the reason for the absence.   If there is no justifiable reason for the absence, or no response is received, this must be reported immediately to HR. It is a UKVI requirement that HR inform them within 5 working days of the 10th day of absence.
  • If there are any suspicions that a sponsored migrant is breaching the terms of his or her leave, this must be reported immediately to HR. It is a UKVI requirement that HR inform them within 5 working days of the 10th day of absence.

The following circumstances will also be reported to the UKVI by HR:

  • If a sponsored migrant’s contract of employment is prematurely terminated (including resignation or dismissal), this will be reported to the UKVI within 10 working days, including the name and address of any new employer the migrant has joined (if known).
  • If the University stops sponsoring the migrant for any other reason (for example if the migrant moves into an immigration category that does not require a sponsor), this will be reported to the UKVI within 10 working days.
  • If there are any significant changes in the migrant’s employment circumstances (for example in the duration of the contract or a change of job or salary, but not job title or annual pay increase), please inform HR who will reportthe information to the UKVI within 10 working days.

Please see below for the circumstances in which HR are obliged to report to UKVI :

  • Sponsor stops sponsoring the migrant
  • Migrant off for more than 10 days without permission
  • Migrant may have breached conditions of leave
  • Significant changes in migrant circumstances
  • Migrant leave or visa application is delayed
  • Migrant has left the sponsor
  • No migrant leave or visa application submitted
  • Migrant has not arrived at the expected time
  • Migrant leave or visa refused

Annual checks

The University is also required to carry out an annual check to ensure staff with ‘limited leave to remain’ are still entitled to work in the UK.  HR may contact employees at any time to check that their leave is still valid, and the employee will be required to produce relevant and up to date documentation on request.

If an employee changes his/her contact details, they should update their details through the Staff Portal, however if an employee’s visa status changes during employment, they must contact HR immediately, providing original documentation supporting this.