September 24

Skilled Workers – an overview for UK employers

With the end of the transition period looming, freedom of movement between the UK and the EU will come to an end on 31 December 2020, and from 01 January 2021 there will be new rules for overseas workers.

This Skilled Worker category will make it more difficult for EEA nationals to work in the UK, as they will now need permission where they have not needed it before, but for workers from other parts of the world, the new category makes it easier for people to move to the UK to work.  For employers, there is work to be done to be ready for the change.

Who the new rules will apply to

All overseas workers will be subject to the new rules, except for:

  • Irish citizens
  • EEA and Swiss nationals and their families already resident in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • Overseas nationals who are already in the UK in a category that permits them to work, for example as a spouse or on the Ancestry visa

Skill Level

The skill level required is being lowered from RQF 6 (degree level) to RQF 3 (A level).  This skill level relates to the job, not the qualifications of the individual.

Minimum Salary

The minimum salary is £25,600 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher.  In some circumstances a salary of £20,480 will be acceptable, if there are points that the applicant can 'trade', such as, for example, if they have a PhD, or the job is in a shortage occupation.

The salary rules are different for new entrants, and for some jobs in the health and education sectors.

Inter Company Transfers

Inter-company transfers will continue to exist for people who have been employed by the company overseas for at least 12 months.  Jobs will need to be at RQF 6, and the minimum salary is £41,500 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher.

Workers will be able to stay in the UK for five years out of any six, though people who earn more than £73,900 will be exempt from the requirement to have worked for the company overseas for 12 months, and will be able to stay in the UK for nine out of every 10 years.

What employers need to do now

If you are already a licenced Tier 2 or Inter Company Transfer sponsor, you don't need to do anything - you will automatically get a new licence.

If you aren't already a licenced sponsor and you think that you will be employing people from overseas, you should apply for a sponsor licence now.

Applying for a sponsor licence?

Call now to speak to someone.  Get advice and help before you apply.


employers, Skilled workers, Tier 2

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