Apply for a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK

Updated on 13 September 2023

If you intend to move to the UK to take up a job offer from the University of Dundee you may need a Skilled Worker visa.

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If you are a non-UK national and have been made a job offer from the University, you may need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. Where you have no ties to the UK through prior residence, family or ancestral links, it is likely that this will mean the Skilled Work visa.

A Skilled Work visa grants you time limited rights to work in the UK, after which you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK

The University of Dundee is an A-rated sponsor licence holder for the Skilled Worker category which covers skilled workers with a job offer.

(If you are a recruitment manager,  view our advice for managers page.)

Check if you need a UK visa

You can check on the UK Government website which type of visa you require.

You need to answer three questions and will be told which type of visa you need, plus any additional requirements.

The University will issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to an applicant with a job offer when satisfied that there has been strict adherence to the sponsorship duties detailed by the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration.

Once you have received your sponsorship details from the People Support team, you then need to apply under the Sponsored Skilled Workers category of the UK Points Based System to apply for either:

  1. Entry Clearance - permission to enter the United Kingdom or,
  2. Leave to Remain - if you are already in the UK with permission to stay in an immigration category that allows you to switch into the sponsored skilled worker category or,
  3. visa extension - if you are already in the UK as a sponsored skilled worker and want to extend your permission to stay within your existing category.

Further information on these requirements can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website. If the appointee is outside the UK the University must apply for a Defined Certificate of Sponsorship (previously called Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship).

It is your (the appointee's) responsibility to obtain Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain as applicable.

If you already have a Tier 2 visa

The Tier 2 (General) visa route closed to new applicants on 1 December 2020, and was replaced with the Skilled Worker Visa route.

All current Tier 2 visa holders can extend their leave under this new route and obtain a Skilled Worker visa.

All time already accrued on Tier 2 visas will still count toward the five year settlement requirement where combined with time spent on a Skilled Worker visa.

Duties the University has as Skilled Worker visa sponsor

As a sponsor the University has a number of duties these include:

  1. Keeping copies of your passport, Biometric Residence Permit or UK immigration status documents, and contact details (address, telephone number, mobile telephone number). Your contact details must also be kept up to date.
  2. Reporting duties, which include reporting to UKVI if:
    • you do not turn up for your first day of work
    • you are absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days, without the University’s reasonably granted permission
    • your employment (including if you resign or are dismissed) or any registration you need to work in the UK (such as with a governing body) ends
    • the University stops sponsoring you for any other reason (for example, if you switch into an immigration route that does not require a sponsor)
    • there are any significant changes in your employment circumstances, for example, a change of job, a reduction in your hours of work or salary, or a change in the location where you are working
    • the University has information which suggests you are breaching the conditions of your leave.
  3. providing the police with any information held, which suggests that you may be engaging in terrorism or other criminal activity.

You must give the University all the information required to allow it to fulfil its duties as a sponsor under the UKVI system.

Covid-19 travel restrictions

There are exemptions in place if your visa is affected by Covid-19 travel restrictions into, or out of, the UK.

No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to Covid-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.

Requirements for a Skilled Worker visa

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you need to 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

You also need to meet the following requirements:


For Skilled Worker Visa applicants, the University will certify that, should it become necessary, we will maintain and accommodate.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

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.

As part of the ATAS application process, the individual will be required to submit information about their programme of research including the relevant 'CAH3' code.

Further guidance on the ATAS scheme / making an application (GOV.UK)

Genuine Vacancy

The Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), which existed under the Tier 2 route, has now been abolished However there remains a requirement for us to prove that any given sponsored role is a genuine vacancy.

Issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship

If the appointee requires a Certificate of Sponsorship CoS, then the recruiting manager will need to request one on 1U, or on the New Appointment Authorisation form. The People Support team will then liaise with them, if necessary, to issue the Certificate of Sponsorship on behalf of the University.

The contract of employment will be prepared and issued clearly stipulating that the appointment is dependent upon the University being able to employ the individual without breaching UK immigration or other legislation. Under its sponsorship duties, the University is obliged to vet all new members of staff's identification and immigration status (if applicable) at the start of their employment. A right to work check will be arranged with the new staff member before their first day of work. 

Information required from appointee

The Senior People Partner or People Support staff will contact the appointee directly with questions required of them for the Certificate of Sponsorship and will refer to the post file for all other details and as advised by the Recruiting Manager.

Once CoS is issued

On receipt of the Certificate of Sponsorship number, the Senior People Partner or People Support staff will email the appointee advising them of the action they must now take. The action required differs depending upon whether the individual is already in the UK or in another country.

Further information on these requirements can be found on the UK Visas and immigration website if the appointee is applying from outside the United Kingdom.

It is the appointee's responsibility to obtain this Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain as applicable. The University of Dundee does not meet the cost of applying for Entry Clearance/Leave to Remain.

Spouses and dependants

Your dependants can apply at the same time as you to enter the UK. Alternatively, they can wait until you have entered the UK and started work before they apply. 

Skilled Worker visa: Your partner and children (GOV.UK)

The spouse of a sponsored Skilled Worker is allowed to undertake paid employment. They may only be employed while their spouse is residing and working within the UK, and holds a valid visa.


Applications from outside the UK

This will vary depending on the country in which you submit your visa application. See Visa processing times (GOV.UK).

Certain countries provide enhanced services which will expedite the visa application. For details on which services are available, including the processing times and the cost, see:

Applications from inside the UK

UK Visas and Immigration provide for an eight week service standard for all online applications. The eight weeks starts from the date you enrol your biometrics at a UKVCAS centre.

For applications made through the Priority and Premium services, you will receive your new Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) by post within ten working days.

Visa refusal

UKVI will write to the individual detailing the reasons why their application for further Leave to Remain or Entry Clearance has not been granted. When advised of this, the Senior People Partner or a member of the People Support team will then liaise with the Recruiting Manager to decide the best way to proceed.

Request an extension to a Certificate of Sponsorship

The People Support team will contact departments approximately four months before the expiry date of the individual's work permit to establish if an extension to the Certificate of Sponsorship to enable the employee to apply to further extend their Leave to Remain will be required.

This usually coincides with the expiry of the individual's fixed term contract. An extension to a Certificate of Sponsorship will only be sought, if the individual's contract is being renewed.

For Skilled Worker extensions, individuals must bear in mind that they cannot apply for a new visa more than three months before their current visa expires.

Issuing an extension

In most circumstances, to be considered for an extension, applicants must be continuing to work in the same or a similar job. 

The procedure is similar to that of the initial issue of a Certificate of Sponsorship. The People Support team will issue the Certificate once satisfied that we have met our sponsor obligations and in doing so will contact the individual to confirm personal details and the Recruiting Manager, to confirm the reasons as to why a further Certificate of Sponsorship is required

On receipt of the Certificate of Sponsorship number, a member of the People Support team will email the employee advising them of the action they must now take.

Applying for Further Leave to Remain in the UK

Further information on this requirement can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

It remains the individual's responsibility to obtain permission for Further Leave to Remain.

Once your visa is granted

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

Your visa status will be granted as a ‘digital status’, linked to your passport, which will facilitate your entry into the UK.

You can view your status, and share it with the department, via the link here: 

Non-EEA nationals

If your application is granted, the visa you initially receive inside your passport will be valid for 90 days (which is a concession due to Covid-19; normally they are issued for only 30 days). This is known as an entry vignette and will facilitate your entry into the UK. You must enter the UK before the vignette expires or you will have to re-apply for your visa.

Within ten days of your arrival in the UK, you are required to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) from a UK Post Office. The BRP will state the full length of leave you have been granted and will supersede the entry vignette.

Full details of how you arrange collection of your BRP will be provided to you by UKVI at the point your application is approved. For further guidance, please see the UKVI webpages:

Applying under the Global Talent Route

You can apply for a Global Talent visa to work in the UK if you're a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields: 

  • academia or research
  • arts and culture
  • digital technology

There are four routes to obtaining endorsement for a Global Talent visa in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. The decision tree at this link will help you identify which route may be most appropriate.

Costs and relocation

The University will reimburse the costs associated with meeting immigration requirements where an employee requires a visa to live in the UK and work for the University. This includes the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Read our policy on reimbursement of immigration costs

Relocation expenses

The University provides relocation expenses as per our relocation policy, full details are available on our relocation expenses webpage.

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Guide category Human resources