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Complete guide to switching from student to a skilled worker visa in the UK

In this article, we are going to look at the possibility of switching from a student visa to a skilled worker visa, the necessary prerequisites and the legal process, as well as we will know how to process those steps to make it easy for students who study in the UK.

Yes, it is possible for students having a Students Visa (Tier 4) to switch from a Student visa to a Skilled Worker visa provided that they meet the visa eligibility criteria given below:

Eligibility Criteria:

The applicants (students) must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be made sure that they meet the job’s eligibility requirements

  • They must be ensured to speak, read, write and understand English effectively.

You can apply to change (‘switch’) to a Skilled Worker visa if you are already in the UK on a different type of visa. UK employers can employ student visa holders within certain restrictions and where the individual’s visa conditions allow.

Due to the significant number of switching cases, a few modifications have been made to the skilled worker visa, previously known as the Tier 2 visa. It was redesigned to make applications smoother, including lowering the salary threshold and removing the resident labour market test.

Once approved, it will allow the candidates to work legally in the UK for up to five years before applying to extend their visa or apply for permanent residency.

However, once this change to the skilled worker visa is made, the applicants are no longer required to hold a degree-level qualification to apply. In addition, students on a short-term student visa are not eligible to apply to switch to become skilled workers.

Students who can secure a job offer from an employer approved by the Home Office can then apply to switch from the student route visa to the skilled worker visa immediately, without any need to complete their degree.

The partner or children of the applicant will need to apply separately to switch their visa. They can apply simultaneously as you or before their visa expires. Moreover, you can travel outside the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man once you decide. Your application will be withdrawn if you do.

Conditions where you cannot apply:

If you fall in one of the following categories and you are currently in the UK, you cannot apply to switch to this visa:

  • If you are on a visit visa

  • If you are on a short-term student visa

  • If you are on a Parent of a Child Student visa

  • If you are on a seasonal worker visa

  • If you are a domestic worker on a private household visa

  • If you are on immigration bail

In such cases, if you fall into one of the above categories, the proper course is that you must first leave the UK and apply for a Skilled Worker visa from abroad if you are in one of these categories.

Fees Structure details:

Each person applying will need to pay the following:

  • The visa application fee

  • The healthcare surcharge for each year of their stay – check how much you will have to pay

  • You will also need your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo). Again, there is no fee for this.

  • If you have been in the UK for less than one year, you must prove you have enough money to support yourself.

Moreover, the Skilled Worker visa includes a financial requirement, but this clause is not for students living in the UK with a valid passport for at least 12 months. If the applicant does meet this exemption, they will need to show they have held at least £1270 for a consecutive period of 28 days by providing a bank statement ending no later than one month before the date of application or, if you are an A rated sponsor, you can state on the CoS that you will maintain and accommodate the applicant to the end of the first month of employment in the UK up to £1,270.

Post-apply Procedure:

When you complete the application process,

  • If you need to change something in your application after you have sent it, contact UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

  • You can ask to cancel your application. However, your fee will only be refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.

  • You will get an email or a letter containing the decision on your application. This will explain what you need to do next for you.


The process could be more straightforward for applicants who want to switch from a Student visa (Tier 4) to a Skilled Worker visa Tier 2). However, the process can be made considerably more accessible with the help of our expert overseas education consultants and professionals, who are ready to guide you through every step. Students switching to the Skilled Worker route can start work as soon as they submit their application. However, sponsors usually have the policy of waiting for visa approval before allowing employment to commence.

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