Skilled worker visa refusals are quite common

Skilled worker visa is one of the most popular and commonly used visa categories to immigrate to the UK.  There are many applicants who prepare their skilled worker visa application without any input from an immigration lawyer. Those applicants frequently receive refusals and only then decide to contact a lawyer. This article is focused on the most common reasons for refusal and what failed applicants can do next.

Why skilled worker visas are refused

Key reasons why skilled worker visas are rejected or refused

There are a number of reasons why skilled worker visas are rejected or refused.  We list the most common refusal reasons further below, so you can avoid them for your application.

  1. Your Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) does not meet the Home Office requirements (e.g. the type of CoS is wrong, the Cos is expired, the minimum salary is not met, the minimum skill level is not met, etc.).
  2. You failed to provide the required specified evidence of your English language ability.
  3. You failed to disclose criminal offences, past immigration history (e.g. previous visa refusals), or other matters that are required to be disclosed in the visa application. This is a very serious reason as Home Office may categorise is as deception and result in an entry ban for 10 years.
  4. You failed to provide any other mandatory evidence or the evidence you submitted was already expired (e.g. TB test, criminal record certificate(s), English language evidence).
  5. You failed to meet the maintenance requirement. Usually ticked on the CoS but if not, you need to prove it by providing personal bank statement(s).
  6. Your job role is not genuine in the view of Home Office decision maker. The genuine vacancy test – Home Office caseworker thinks that your job role is mainly created for the purpose to bring a foreign national to the UK and is not genuinely required by the business or does not meet the Skilled Worker visa requirements (e.g. your employer deliberately adjusted your job description and chose SOC code that is higher skill level than your actual job role).
  7. Unpaid NHS debt of £500 or more.
  8. You failed to provide additional evidence requested by Home Office or the evidence you provided does not meet the requirements.
  9. Your UK employer’s sponsor licence is revoked.

Visa refused – invalid or fake COS

In many instances we were contacted by applicants whom Home Office informed that their COS could not be located in the Home Office records. What it means in practice is that they were provided with a fake (non existant) COS.

Unfortunately, there are no means to check the validity of a COS available to the applicant. Only the organization that issued the COS and Home Office can access it. It is fairly simple for an unscrupulous individuals or organizations to procure prospective applicants with fake COS references and sell them to unsuspecting visa hopefuls. Therefore we would advise the prospective Skilled worker visa applicants to remain cautious when dealing with such agents and try to establish their credentials before committing any money.

Consequences of visa refusal

When your skilled worker visa is refused you will lose the application fees. We write more on the immigration fee refunds in our other article here.  You need to also remember that if your visa is refused then any dependant family members that applied with you will also receive a refusal. This will further increase your financial losses.

When skilled worker visa is refused you will require a new Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to reapply for skilled worker visa. It may take some time for your sponsor employer to assign you a new CoS. Some sponsor employers may not wish to reissue another CoS and simply decide that they no longer wish to sponsor you.

There will be both time and money lost when your application is refused. In worst case scenario you may lose the opportunity to immigrate to the UK.

What to do after skilled worker visa refusal

As with any UK visa application, if your Skilled Worker visa is refused you would need to check the Home Office refusal letter to see the reason(s) given for the refusal. Then you should analyse it to see if the Home Office decision is correct, or it breaches Home Office immigration rules and/or Home Office guidance. You may need to instruct an immigration lawyer to help you with this assessment.

If after careful consideration you come to conclusion that Home Office decision maker made an error, you can apply for an administrative review. Administrative review is an application to challenge the refusal when there was a caseworking error. As an example, you provided the required document with your application but the Home Office caseworker overlooked it. There is strict deadline to submit the admin review application: 28 days from the date of refusal letter for entry clearance (out of the UK) applications and 14 days for leave to remain (in country from inside the UK) applications. The application fee is £80.

Unfortunately, the Home Office processing time for administrative review applications is up to 6 months. This is why you may decide not to use this option.

Instead of challenging the refusal, depending on the reason for the refusal, you may decide to submit a new Skilled Worker visa application. The advantage of this is that it has shorter processing time than the administrative review. However, you lose the application fee that you previously paid and you would need to pay the application fee again.

You will need to take the various considerations into account to then decide what steps you take after the refusal of your skilled worker visa application.