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You can switch to this UK work visa even before you graduate from university

The United Kingdom has made changes in the eligibility criteria of their Skilled Worker Visa, making it easier for international students already in the country, to switch over.

As per the new rules, applicants no longer need to hold a degree level qualification to apply for the skilled worker visa. Students who can secure a job offer from an employer approved by the Home Office, can then apply to switch from the student route visa to the skilled worker visa immediately, without any need to complete their degree.

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More and more international students have been opting for this route since it offers a cheaper and faster pathway to full-time employment in the UK. The graduate route, on the other hand, requires students to pay expensive course fees and maintenance for the duration of their course, before entering the jobs market.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  1. work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office

  2. have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK

  3. do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations

  4. be paid a minimum salary – how much depends on the type of work you do

You must also be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.

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You cannot apply to switch to this visa if you’re currently in the UK:

  1. on a visit visa

  2. on a short-term student visa

  3. on a Parent of a Child Student visa

  4. on a seasonal worker visa

  5. on a domestic worker in a private household visa

  6. on immigration bail

  7. because you were given permission to stay outside the immigration rules, for example on compassionate grounds

How much will it cost When you apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you’ll need to have enough money to:

  1. pay the application fee – the standard fee ranges from £625 to £1,423 depending on your circumstances

  2. pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 per year

You’ll pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list. If you’re applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, the standard fee depends on whether you’ll be in the UK for:

  1. up to 3 years – £719 per person

  2. more than 3 years – £1,423 per person

If you’ve been in the UK for less than 1 year, you’ll also need to prove you have enough money to support yourself- you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available in your bank account.

You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

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