Applying For UK Work Visa: Citizens Of These Countries Are Exempt From English Language Requirement

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You’re probably eyeing a move to the UK for work and have the requisite skills in your profession. Or maybe you also have decent funds and savings to sustain you in the UK while hunting for a job. Still, there’s one thing you’ll need to know about and acquire for your dream career move to be realized: the Skilled Worker visa.This visa is the main UK immigration route for non-UK resident workers. In short, without this visa, you won’t (under normal circumstances) be able to work in the UK if you’re a non-resident.

The Skilled Worker allows employers to recruit non-UK resident workers for certain eligible, skilled roles. It replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa under the UK’s new single points-based immigration system, effective 1 January 2021.

According to UK laws, you are a skilled worker if you have a skill level of RQF3 or above, (equivalent to A level), as set out under Appendix Skilled Occupations to the Immigration Rules (applicable from 1 December 2020). 

The Skilled Worker visa has specific requirements such as skill and salary level, English language ability and having a qualifying job offer from a UK sponsoring organization or prospective employer. 

As we have said above, reading, writing, speaking and understanding English is a key requirement for the Skilled Worker visa, but here we focus on countries whose citizens are exempt from the English language requirement. 

Most Skilled Worker visa applicants will need to prove they meet the English language requirement, unless they have already done so as part of a previous UK immigration application or if they are a national of one of a number of exempt countries.

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Applicants are exempt from the English language requirement if they are from:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

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So, if you’re not from these listed countries and are in need of the Skilled Worker visa, then your language ability must be evidenced by either having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English; having a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English; or passing an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). 

A good thing about the Skilled Worker visa is that it has clear provision for spouses, ‘durable’ partners and dependent children to apply to join the main visa applicant in the UK.

Hence, even if you are not exempt from the English language requirement, it is usually worth it to acquire the necessary English language skills for this visa.

Note that English language requirement is only one of several factors used to determine your suitability for the visa, so you’ll need to tick a number of boxes to be granted this key visa to work in the UK.

To understand better the different other requirements for the UK Skilled Worker Visa, read documents prepared by immigration law firm Davidson Morris HERE.

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