Losing Your Job As A Skilled Worker Visa Holder

skilled worker visa lose employment


One of the conditions of the Skilled Worker visa is that the holder has a qualifying role and is sponsored by a Home Office approved employer.

Should the visa holder lose their job, however, this will impact their permission to remain lawfully in the UK.

Your former employer will be required to notify the Home Office of your contract termination within 10 days of your last working day. You should then receive a letter about your curtailed leave.

The rule states that a Skilled Worker visa holder who loses their job will have to leave the UK within 60 days, or the expiry of their visa, whichever is the shorter. There is no grace period. Once the 60 days are up the visa holder has to leave, or they will be considered to be overstaying and in the UK illegally.

Can you stay in the UK? 

A Skilled Worker visa holder who loses their job will have 60 days, or less if the visa expires sooner, to find another suitable job and apply for another visa, or apply for a different type of visa to remain in the UK.

Some alternative visa options for Skilled Worker visa holders in this position could include:

Apply for another Skilled Worker visa

If you do lose your job, it is of course possible that you will find another one. However, as with your original job, both the employer and the role will have to meet certain criteria. In addition, the job must be with a licensed employer. There is a ‘Register of Licensed employers’ on the gov.uk website.

Family visas

You could be eligible for this if you either have British children, or a partner or spouse who is British or has settled status in the UK.

The so-called ‘Partner’ visa allows you to obtain any job, with no minimum salary requirements and no requirement for the employer to be licensed.

Innovator Founder visa

If you have a business idea that is innovative, new and viable and you want to set it up in the UK, you may be able to switch into the Innovator Founder route. Before you can apply for the visa, you will need to first secure endorsement for your business idea from an authorised body.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) if you have already lived in the UK for at least five years under any legal immigration arrangement. If you were successful in obtaining ILR then you would be free to live in the UK without further immigration control and to obtain any type of job with any employer.

Student visa

You could enrol on a qualifying course of study and apply for a student visa.

However, the qualification you are studying for must be at a higher level than the qualification(s) you already hold. In addition, you will still have to seek sponsorship, only this time it will be from the higher education institution at which you intend to enrol. This can be a lengthy process. Therefore, it may not be a suitable option given the relative time pressure imposed by the 60 day period.

What are the timescales?

Skilled Worker visa holders should be careful that they follow the rules on notifying UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and the timescales that apply once their employment has been terminated.

Your employer is responsible for notifying UKVI of the end of your employment contract within ten days of the date it terminated. The employer also has to inform UKVI of the visa holder’s last known address. Therefore you should make sure that your employer has your current address in order that you receive the response from UKVI.

Once it has received your employer’s notification, UKVI will write to you to inform you that your visa has been shortened (or ‘curtailed’) to 60 days. If your visa already had less than 60 days to run then they will not shorten it, and may not write to you.

In law, the 60 day time period only starts to run once you are notified of it. It can take UKVI up to several weeks to write to you. In this way, you could gain an extra couple of weeks’ stay in the UK, on top of the 60 days.

If there are medical or family reasons why a curtailment to 60 days would be particularly difficult for you then you should write to UKVI at this stage to ask them to grant you more time.

It is also possible for UKVI to decide to send a visa holder back to their country of origin immediately and not allow them the 60 day period. UKVI may take this decision if it considers that the visa holder was to blame for losing their job.

If you resign from your employment, it is highly advisable that you send a copy of your resignation letter to UKVI in order that you are complying with your responsibilities under the visa regulations.

Provided that your new employer is able to grant you the certificate of sponsorship before the expiry of the 60 day period, you will be able to stay in the UK pending the grant of your visa.

In other words, you will be able to stay in the UK beyond the 60 day period, even though the application for your new visa is still pending at UKVI. You will not be able to undertake paid employment during this time so should be prepared to support yourself financially.

Government guidance states that you are not able to start your new job until you have received your biometric residence permit with your new visa.

It could be that you found a new job with an employer that issued you with a certificate of sponsorship and enabled you to make a fresh Skilled Worker visa application, while you are still in your old job. If this is the case, you can continue working for your original sponsor until the start date on your new certificate of sponsorship as long as your current visa is still valid.

What if you overstay?

If a Skilled Worker visa holder fails to obtain another qualifying job, or is unsuccessful in obtaining a different visa, then they will have to leave the UK. If they overstay, i.e. they remain in the UK beyond the expiry of the 60 day period, then they will be considered to be in the UK illegally.

The possible consequences of this are that the person will automatically be refused a visa if they apply to come to the UK in the future and / or that they will be deported from the UK.

As mentioned above, there is no longer a 28 day grace period after the expiry of the 60 day period. It is possible to argue that there were exceptional reasons why you applied late for the visa which were outside your control, or that of your representative. In this case you must still have made the application within fourteen days. It would be unwise to rely on this line of argument unless there really were extraordinary circumstances. Even then you cannot guarantee that the UKVI would decide in your favour.

Legal disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.


Losing Your Job As A Skilled Worker Visa Holder 1

Gill Laing is a qualified Legal Researcher & Analyst with niche specialisms in Law, Tax, Human Resources, Immigration & Employment Law.

Gill is a Multiple Business Owner and the Managing Director of Prof Services - a Marketing Agency for the Professional Services Sector.

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