Skilled Worker (former Tier 2 General) ILR

A person applying for ILR as a Skilled Worker must apply online on the website on the specified application form and must be physically present in the UK on the date of application. To qualify for Skilled Worker ILR applicant must meet requirements that we explain further below.

skilled worker ILR

Suitability (‘good character’) requirements for settlement as a Skilled Worker

The applicant must not be:

(a) in breach of immigration laws, or

(b) on immigration bail.

The applicant must not fall for refusal under Part 9: grounds for refusal (‘suitability/good character’). Permission to stay must be refused where:

  • the Secretary of State has personally directed that the applicant be excluded from the UK; or
  • the applicant is the subject of an exclusion order; or.
  • the applicant is the subject of a deportation order, or a decision to make a deportation order.

An application for permission to stay must be refused where:

  • the applicant’s presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good because of their conduct, character, associations or other reasons (including convictions which do not fall within the criminality grounds).

An application for permission to stay must be refused where the applicant:

  • has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a custodial sentence of 12 months or more; or
  • is a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law; or
  • has committed a criminal offence, or offences, which caused serious harm.

An application for permission to stay may be refused where the applicant:

  • has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a custodial sentence of less than 12 months; or
  • has been convicted of a criminal offence in the UK or overseas for which they have received a non-custodial sentence, or received an out-of-court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record.

Key eligibility requirements for Tier 2 General/Skilled Worker ILR

The applicant:

  • must have, or have last been granted, permission as a Skilled Worker (or the Tier 2 General).
  • must have spent a continuous period of 5 years in the UK.
  • The 5-year continuous period must consist of time with permission on any of, or any combination of, the following routes:
    • Skilled Worker; or
    • Global talent; or
    • Innovator; or
    • T2 Minister of Religion; or
    • International Sportsperson; or
    • Representative of an Overseas Business; or
    • as a Tier 1 Migrant, other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant; or
    • permission on any other route, during the time the applicant was waiting for a decision on their application as a Skilled Worker, providing that application:
    • was for permission to stay;
    • was made between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 (inclusive); and
    • was supported on the date of application by a certificate of sponsorship assigned by a licensed sponsor; and
    • was granted.
  • must meet the continuous residence requirement as set out in the Home Office Appendix Continuous Residence
  • must meet the knowledge of Life in the UK requirement as set out in Appendix KOL UK (Life in the UK Test and English language evidence).

Absences for Skilled Worker ILR

Continuous residence is broken in specified circumstances such as when an applicant is absent for more than 180 days in any 12-month period without permitted reasons.

Continuous residence is also broken in other specified circumstances such as when an applicant is subject to a deportation order or convicted of an offence.

It may be helpful for some applicants, that If their permission to stay expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, and they have overstayed during that time, there is no evidence required of the reason for any overstaying during this period. Any overstaying during this period must be disregarded by the Home Office in line with paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules. This is in line with the Home Office COVID exceptions policy published at the time.

When assessing the continuity of residence and absences, it is worth looking into the exceptions when the Home Office policy allows for certain absences to not be counted towards the permitted 180 days. Those exceptions apply if absence is for one of the following reasons:
• if the applicant was assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas
• travel disruption due to a natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic
• compelling and compassionate personal circumstances, such as the life threatening illness of the applicant or a close family member
• research activity undertaken by a Skilled Worker which was approved by their sponsor and where the applicant was sponsored for a job in one of the following occupation codes:
o 2111 Chemical scientists
o 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists
o 2113 Physical scientists
o 2114 Social and humanities scientists
o 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified
o 2150 Research and development managers
o 2311 Higher education teaching professionals
• research activity undertaken by a person on the Global Talent route who qualified using a prize in table 6 of Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes or who was endorsed by:
o The Royal Society
o The British Academy

o The Royal Academy of Engineering
o UK Research and Innovation

skilled worker ILR

The Applicant’s sponsor employer:

  • must still be approved by the Home Office to sponsor Skilled Workers on the date of decision.
  • must confirm that they still require the applicant to work for them for the foreseeable future, and that the applicant is paid, and will be paid for the foreseeable future, at least the salary that meets the current minimum for the Skilled Worker visa for the job in question.
  • the applicant’s salary must equal or exceed the specified salary requirements for the Skilled Worker visa.
  • If the applicant is currently absent from work for one of the reasons set out below, or has returned from such an absence within the month before the date of application, consideration will be based on their salary on their return to work, as stated by their sponsor:
  • statutory maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave, or shared parental leave; or
  • statutory adoption leave; or
  • sick leave; or
  • assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis, providing their sponsor agreed to the absence for that purpose; or
  • taking part in legally organised industrial action.

What documents are required for Skilled Worker ILR

The key documents for Skilled Worker ILR application are:

  • Evidence of continuous residence in the UK with the relevant visas in accordance with Appendix Continuous Residence;
  • Letter from sponsor employer confirming the employment and salary for the foreseeable future as well as confirmation of absences;
  • Life in the UK Test pass in accordance with Appendix KOLL;
  • English language evidence in accordance with Appendix KOLL;
  • Travel Schedule listing all absences from the UK during the 5 years relied on for the continuous residence;
  • Most recent payslip and personal bank statement showing the salary received on bank account.

Most common reasons for Skilled Worker ILR refusal

Common problem encountered by many Applicants is exceeding the permitted 180 days absences from the UK in any 12 month period, causing break in the continuity of residence for ILR.

Another issue that we encounter surprisingly frequently when applying for Skilled Worker ILR is finding out that due to various reasons the sponsor employer lost their sponsor licence. This of course is a problem for ILR applicants as the employer would first have to apply and be granted a new Skilled Worker licence, for the ILR application to be possible at this employer.

Frequent problems relate to ‘suitability’ good character requirements under the ‘General Grounds for Refusal.’ Having a criminal conviction or out of court disposal recorded on Applicant’s criminal record depending on the circumstances may or must lead to ILR refusal.

can dependent family members apply for ILR at the same time

Dependent Partner family member may be able to apply for their ILR at the same time as the Main Applicant if the Partner has 5 years continuous residence in the UK on dependant Partner visa linked to the Main Applicant. If not, the dependent Partner will need to first extend their visa and then apply for ILR separately from Main Applicant, once the 5 years continuous residence requirement is met. There is a Home Office guidance for dependants in Work Routes that provides some useful information.

Dependent children do not need to have 5 years continuous residence as long as both parents already have ILR (sometimes the parent who previously held the Tier 2 General/Skilled Worker visa already obtained British citizenship) or one parent already has ILR and the other parent is applying at the same time as the children for ILR as Dependent Partner of the Main Applicant Skilled Worker.

It is advisable to contact an immigration lawyer to seek guidance on the eligibility and suitability requirements for Skilled Worker ILR.