ArticleHow to switch from a student to a skilled worker visa?

The latest updates from the Home Office, effective from 17 July 2023, have introduced substantial changes in the transition from a student to skilled worker visa. This tightening of regulations is a decisive move by the UK Government, impacting the future of many international students and their potential employers. As experts in UK immigration law, we at GigaLegal Solicitors are dedicated to helping you understand and navigate these significant changes.

What are the key changes for students in the UK?

Previously, students could switch to the Skilled Worker visa upon finding eligible employment. However, under the new rules, students must complete their studies or wait until their course completion date before they can switch. This applies equally to those intending to switch to a Skilled Worker dependant visa.

The Home Office, led by the then-Home Secretary Suella Braverman, initiated these changes to tighten immigration controls. This move aligns with the objective of reducing the rising net migration figures, emphasising the Government’s intent to use the student visa route strictly for educational purposes.

What are the eligibility requirements for students to switch to a skilled worker visa?

To transition to a skilled worker visa, students must now satisfy one of several conditions. These include completing their course of study, having a job start date aligned with their course completion date, and meeting other Skilled Worker visa requirements, such as minimum salary thresholds and English language proficiency.

Impact on dependent visa applicants

Students wishing to switch to a skilled worker dependant visa face similar restrictions. They must complete their courses before switching, highlighting a more regulated path for dependants under the new policy.

Long-term residency considerations

Time spent in the UK on a Student visa does not count towards the 5-year ILR qualification period. This separate timeline for ILR eligibility is crucial for those planning long-term residency in the UK, emphasizing the need for strategic immigration planning.

At GigaLegal Solicitors, we understand the complexities of these new regulations. Our expertise lies in providing comprehensive guidance for students and employers to ensure a seamless transition from Student to Skilled Worker visas. We offer tailored solutions and up-to-date advice on how to adapt to these changes while safeguarding your legal status and immigration goals in the UK.

  • Timely application: Students should plan their job applications according to their course completion dates and apply for the Skilled Worker visa within the permitted 3-month window.
  • Employer’s role: Employers must carefully align the start date of employment with the student’s course completion date and ensure all conditions for sponsorship are met.
  • Legal compliance: It is crucial for both students and employers to comply with the new rules. Missteps can lead to legal complications, affecting future visa applications and eligibility for ILR.

These regulatory changes reflect the UK Government’s stringent approach to immigration and its commitment to ensuring visas are used for their intended purposes. As a student or employer navigating this new landscape, it is imperative to stay informed and seek professional legal guidance. With GigaLegal Solicitors, you can confidently adapt to these changes, ensuring compliance and success in your UK immigration journey.

Get in touch:  For a comprehensive understanding of your options or queries on UK immigration matters, contact GigaLegal Solicitors at 02074067654 or click here to book a no-obligation consultation with an immigration expert.