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Skilled worker visa

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For all non-UK nationals who are entering the UK for the first time must obtain a visa which will grant you the right to enter and work in the UK.

  • If you are already in the UK on another type of visa, you may be eligible to ‘switch’ to a visa which will permit you to work for the University.
  • If you are outside the UK, you must obtain a visa in advance.

For individuals who do not hold the right to work but who have been offered a job at the University, in most cases we can help you obtain a visa. This is usually through the Skilled Worker visa route.

Please note that the Skilled Worker rules changed significantly from April 2024. The following information is for applicants seeking to apply for their visa after 4 April 2024. For those who have an existing Skilled Worker visa please contact immigrationcompliance@sunderland.ac.uk for information on your transitional protection.  

Skilled Worker Visa

If we have made you a job offer, and you do not have the right to work in the UK then the most common route for you to get the right to work in the UK is under a Skilled Worker visa. To gain this visa, you must score a minimum number of points against required criteria.

Points Requirements

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, the individual must score a minimum of 70 points from the following attributes:

Offer of a job from the University

20 points

Job offer at an appropriate level (RQF level 3 and above) supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS)

20 points

English language level at B1

10 points

Minimum salary requirements met

20 points

Other Visa Requirements

Over and above the requirement to 'score' 70 points, as above, the are other requirements that the individual must meet as part of the Skilled Worker Visa application process.


The individual and each of their dependants must meet these requirements. See more information about the Skilled Worker visa: How much it costs on the gov.uk website.

ATAS requirements

From 21 May 2021, 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. This must be arranged by the recruiting faculty

View further guidance on the ATAS scheme and how to make an application.

Skilled Worker Visa conditions

The individual will not be allowed access to state benefits or other public funds.

The only work that they can do is:

  • The job described in the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), working for the designated sponsor.
  • Supplementary employment in the same profession and at the same professional level, outside their normal working hours or in a job on the shortage occupation list, for up to 20 hours per week.
  • Voluntary work.

Skilled Worker Visa – Minimum Salary requirements

Where recruiting into any given role at the University, and where a Skilled Worker Visa (SWV) is required for a non-UK national filling that role, you must assess whether that role can meet the minimum salary requirements required for the individual to gain this visa. 

The most common roles are mentioned below. If a role is not on the list or if you are unsure of the eligibility of any given role, please contact the Immigration Compliance team for verification.

These salaries are based on a 37.5 hour week.  We can therefore pro-rata the salary to a 37 hour week as needed.   

If the minimum salary falls below £38,700 then this is the minimum that must be paid.

Check if your job is eligible

You will need a four-digit occupation code.

The main roles that the university recruits to are shown below but this list is not exhaustive.


Eligible occupation code

Minimum salary (unless discount applies)

Academic and research roles

All generic post-doctoral research roles



Chemical scientist



Biological scientists and biochemists



Physical scientists



Social and humanities scientists



Higher education teaching professionals



Administrative and professional

Business and related associate professionals not elsewhere classified



Data analysts



IT business analysts, architects, and systems designers



Cybersecurity professionals 



Human resources officers



Web design and development professionals



When can someone be paid less?

There are several circumstances when someone can be paid less. Find out more about when you can be paid less.

Published: 9 April 2024