The UK’s immigration requirements have experienced radical reforms since Brexit, making it easier for South Africans to live, work and even settle in the UK. Brexit sent shockwaves across the labour market in the UK. The Office for National Statistics notes that there were 1.19 million vacancies in the UK as of November 2022, with many businesses experiencing worker shortages.
Employment opportunities are ripe for the picking. New immigration rules have levelled the playing field and made it easier for South Africans to get a skilled worker visa UK based on skills and qualifications instead of nationality. Read on to learn more about working visa for UK from South Africa, skilled worker visa UK requirements and how to apply for work visa in UK.
Working visa for UK from South Africa
If you’re considering a visa application for UK from South Africa, a work visa may be the most viable option if you don’t have any family ties in the country. New immigration rules have made it simple and flexible for South African professionals to relocate to the UK for work.
The skilled worker visa UK has replaced the previous Tier 2 work visa, which presented various barriers to entry for South Africans and other foreign nationals. Under the skilled worker visa, requirements for UK visa from South Africa are more relaxed and transparent. You can apply to enter and work in the UK after getting an employment opportunity with a company or employer approved by the Home Office without worrying about proving that no one in the UK could do the job.
Under the Tier 2 visa, approved employers were required to apply to the Home Office and explain why no one in the UK or EU could reasonably perform the job that the foreign candidate could. With the skilled worker visa UK, such explanations aren’t required, but the vacancy must be genuine, and employers must maintain a record of the recruitment process.
Skilled worker visa UK Requirements
To qualify, you must meet the following skilled worker visa UK requirements:
- Have a job offer from a UK company with a valid sponsorship license
- The job must be on the eligible occupations list
- The job salary must meet the minimum required amount, which will depend on the type of work you do but generally starts from £25,600 annually.
- Be able to speak English proficiently
- Have an A-level qualification or equivalent
- Proof of enough funds to support yourself initially
- Have a certificate of sponsorship (Cos) providing information on the role
Applications will be judged based on a points-based immigration system, and you’ll need to obtain 70 points to qualify for a skilled worker visa UK.
What are the UK Points-Based Immigration System?
The UK points-based immigration system features new immigration to UK requirements and rules that aim to create a level playing field for migrant workers. It features changes to the previous tier 2 rules, including:
- Removing the resident labour market test
- Suspending the monthly limit on eligible applicants
- Reducing the minimum skills threshold
- Reducing the minimum salary level
You can get points for meeting various requirements, with the core 50 points earned by getting a job offer and showing evidence of English ability. There is flexibility around the criteria you must meet based on the qualifications, skills and job. You can get additional points through a match and mix or trading process depending on the salary, occupation shortages, and jobs requiring high-level qualifications.
The table below shows how you can get points for a skilled worker visa UK:
|Characteristic||Number of Points||Required/Tradeable|
|Job offers from an approved sponsor||20||Required|
|Appropriate skill level||20||Required|
|Speaking English at the required level||10||Required|
|Salary from £23,040 to £25,599||10||Tradeable|
|Salary from £25,600 and above||20||Tradeable|
|Job in shortage occupations||20||Tradeable|
|PhD in a job-relevant subject||10||Tradeable|
|PhD in a job-relevant STEM subject||20||Tradeable|
What documents are required for a UK visa from South Africa?
You must provide various documents with your UK visa application South Africa forms to demonstrate your eligibility. These include:
- Letters or bank statements showing you have adequate personal savings
- Proof of your English knowledge (CEFR level B1 minimum)
- The sponsorship certificate reference number from your employer
- Current passport or travel document with recent travel history
- A criminal record certificates
- Tuberculosis test results, if applicable
UK visa; how to apply
If you’re wondering how to apply for work visa in UK or how to apply for a visa to the UK for work, you can do it online. You can apply for a skilled worker visa UK up to 3 months before the day you’re due to start work in the UK through an online application form.
There are different forms depending on whether you’re making your visa application for UK from South Africa or are switching to a skilled worker visa within the UK. Once you submit the online application, you must visit a UK visa application centre to provide relevant documents and prove your identity. You can also scan your identity documents using the UK Immigration: ID Check app.
You can get a decision from the Home Office in around 3 weeks if you’re applying for a working visa for UK from South Africa or eight weeks if you’re already in the UK.
UK work visa cost in South Africa
Depending on your situation, the cost of UK visa from South Africa can range from £625 to £1,423. The fee can vary depending on the job or how long you’ll be in the UK. Other expenses can include a healthcare surcharge of £624 annually.
List of companies that can sponsor visas in the UK
Sponsors must have a license from the UK Home Office, allowing them to sponsor foreign employees and grant them the right to work in the UK. You can access the list of companies that can sponsor visa in UK from the UK government’s register of licensed sponsors.
Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal
If you need help applying for a skilled worker visa UK or are thinking of emigrating to the UK and don’t know where to start, FinGlobal is here to help! Emigration experts at FinGlobal provide tailor-made services to suit your needs and circumstances. You can get friendly support and expert financial emigration advice whether you’re already in the UK or are in South Africa and want to move to the UK for work.
Simply get in touch with the accredited FinGlobal team by calling +27 28 313 5600 or emailing email@example.com for prompt assistance!
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