Research Assistant needing a Skilled Worker Visa

Rafael is 25, a Brazilian national and has just finished the equivalent of a Masters at a university in Brazil. He's just had an interview for a job as a grade 6 Research Assistant, fixed term for 2 years, and the panel would like to offer him the job.

What's the main consideration from a right to work in the UK perspective?

To gain the required 20 tradeable points based on salary alone, Rafael would need to be paid at least the higher of £25,600 and the going rate for the job (as a research role, this is £33,000 based on a 39 hours week, which we can pro-rate down to £31,731 for a 37.5 hour week).  The salary offered to Rafael is £29,176, which isn't enough to earn the required 20 points for a Skilled Worker Visa.

Does that mean we can't appoint?

Not necessarily; depending on Rafael's circumstances, he may be eligible for a salary concession.

Firstly, does he qualify as a New Entrant to the UK labour market? We need to ask the following questions: 

1. Will the contract be for more than 4 years? No, so...

2. Is he in the UK already? No, so...

3. Is he 25 or under? Yes, so he is eligible for a New Entrant salary concession.

What does that mean?

As Rafael meets the above criteria, we can reduce the going rate for the job by 30% - the minimum salary we need to pay Rafael is now £22,212. So we can appoint him.

What if he hadn't met any of the New Entrant criteria?

There are two other possible salary concessions: a job in a shortage occupation or a PhD which is relevant to the job. In this case, the job is not in a shortage occupation and Rafael does not have a PhD. We would therefore be unable to sponsor him as a Skilled Worker. Rafael wouldn't be able to work in the job unless he had another way of getting permission to work in the UK (such as a dependent visa). 

Relevant rules

Skilled Worker Visa

To qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, a job/applicant must accrue 70 points from a number of criteria. The first 50 points are from mandatory criteria:

  • a job offer at an appropriate level from an approved sponsor
  • proof of knowledge of English to an appropriate standard

The remaining 20 points must be accrued through 'tradeable' criteria:

  • salary level (0 - 20 points depending on amount, plus one of the following if required):
  • eligibility as a New Entrant to the labour market
  • a job in a shortage occupation
  • a PhD which is relevant to the job

Right to work

Nationals of some countries (including Brazil) are known, rather misleadingly, as 'non-visa nationals' (see Definitions). This does not mean they don't need a visa to enter the UK; rather that they can request entry clearance at the border when they arrive. However, any entry clearance granted this way allows them to stay for up to 6 months, and only as a tourist. If they're coming for work, business or academic purposes, they'll need to apply for a visa in advance.  

The visa is in the form of a 30 or 90 day vignette (sticker) in a passport which we can accept as right to work until a Biometric Residence Permit, which covers the whole of their permission to stay in the UK, has been issued to them.

(Note: EEA/Swiss nationals will not receive a vignette or BRP, but will have an online portal which proves their right to work). 

Follow-up right to work checks are required whenever permission to stay expires.