If you have been working in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa, also known as the T2 visa, you may be wondering what happens when your visa comes to an end.
The maximum duration for a skilled worker T2 visa is five years and five years also happens to be the amount of time required for you to apply for settled status. So, if your T2 visa is coming to an end, it’s time to start thinking about applying for settlement or indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
Once you have secured ILR, you will have the right to live, work and study in the UK without restrictions. It also means that you can move jobs and employers with ease because you won’t be limited to working for companies with a UK visa sponsor licence.
The section of this we will focus on today is the financial requirements, also known as the salary requirements. All ILR applications are subject to financial requirements, and the requirements for your case will all depend on your current visa status. Let’s explore the financial requirements for skilled workers applying for indefinite leave to remain in more detail.
The financial requirements might seem quite simple, but once you start to explore further, you’ll find that the requirements can be quite complex. In short, you need to meet the following financial requirements:
If you’re earning over £25,600 per year, you might think: “great, I meet the requirements!” But this isn’t always the case. This is because you need to meet the highest of the three above.
So, if your salary is £28,000 you might feel like you are confidently in the clear for the financial requirement. However, if the going rate for your job is listed as £35,000, then you will fail to meet the financial requirement.
Some professions are exempt from the minimum income requirements, typically because they are classed as “shortage occupations”. This means that we don’t have enough people in the UK to fill all of these roles, so it’s important for the UK government to make it easier for these workers to come to the UK.
You do not have to meet the minimum income threshold if you are:
In short, it doesn’t always matter what you are paid, because if this is considered to be lower than the going rate for your occupation, then you won’t meet the requirements. Rather than let employers and industries determine the going rate for a role, this is actually decided by the Government and published here.
This is intended to give an average salary that the government would expect you to be paid for a particular role. This could help to prevent fraud in the application process, as it means that employers have to be honest about the worker’s role. They cannot inflate the job title to meet the requirements without also offering a salary to match.
Interestingly, there is no consideration given to London weighting. London-based workers are often offered an increase in salary known as “London weighting” to help with the higher cost of living in the capital. Some believe that this unfairly penalises those taking jobs outside of the capital, as they are more likely to struggle to meet the “going rate” for their role.
There are options available to you if you find that you do not meet the financial requirements. First of all, don’t panic. Just because one route is closed to you, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other options available.
The first option would be to renew your existing T2 visa rather than apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This won’t grant you the same freedoms as ILR, but it will allow you to continue living and working in the UK in your current job.
The second option would be to speak to your employer. Explain that your salary is below the going rate for your profession and explore if you might be due a pay rise in your role. It could be that you have been overlooked for a pay rise and you simply need to ask for this to be granted. This could be financially beneficial to your employer, as the cost of increasing your salary might be less than it would cost to renew your work visa for another five years.
And finally, you could also explore other routes to settlement. This could include a spouse visa if you are married to a British citizen or someone with relevant immigration status.
If you’re not sure which routes are available to you, get in touch with our expert immigration team today. We can advise you on the next steps to take if you fail to meet the financial requirements for indefinite leave to remain. Stay Connect with our legal Blog