Skilled worker visa to ILR Guidance 2024

Skilled Worker migrants can apply for settlement, i.e. for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’) after having spent 5 continuous years lawfully in the UK.

As an international skilled worker in the United Kingdom, obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a significant milestone in your journey towards permanent residence. ILR grants you the right to live and work in the UK without any time restrictions. It is the ultimate goal for many individuals who come to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa. In this article, we will explore the process of transitioning from a Skilled Worker Visa to an ILR, including eligibility criteria, required documents, challenges, and tips for a successful application.

The Skilled Worker Visa, formerly known as the Tier 2 General Visa, allows skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to work in the UK. This visa category is employer-sponsored, meaning that you need a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK to apply. The Skilled Worker Visa is a points-based system, and you must score a minimum number of points based on factors such as your job offer, English language proficiency, and salary level.

Applying For ILR As A Skilled Worker

You can apply for indefinite leave to remain 28 days before completing 5 years in the UK as a skilled worker. Generally, skilled worker visas are granted for a period of up to five years. At the end of 5 years as a skilled worker, you are eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

After obtaining ILR, you will have the right to live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions. After indefinite leave to remain, you can apply for British citizenship.

If you require Immigration Advice Services or help with an immigration problem, please contact +441614644140 or email us at for fast, professional, and affordable immigration advice from our highly experienced UK immigration lawyers. You can book an appointment online for a detailed immigration consultation.

ILR as a skilled worker/tier 2 general migrant worker

Our expert and experienced team of immigration lawyers can help you to apply for ILR as a skilled worker once you have lived in the UK 5 years as a skilled worker. You can ask a question to our skilled worker visa lawyers for free immigration advice or book an appointment for detailed legal advice regarding your ILR application.

Eligibility criteria for ILR from Skilled Worker Visa

You must:

  • have lived and worked in the UK for 5 years – there are rules for what counts towards your time in the UK
  • meet the salary requirements
  • continue to be needed for your job and meet the salary requirements after you get indefinite leave to remain – you’ll need a document from your employer (sponsor) to confirm this

If you’re not eligible using your T2 or Skilled worker visa, there are other ways to apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Knowledge of language and life in the UK

If you’re 18 to 64 you’ll need to book and pass the Life in the UK Test.

You do not need to prove you meet the English language requirements when you apply to settle using your Skilled Worker, T2 or Tier 2 visa. This is because you did this when you applied for your visa.

Indefinite leave to remain if you have a Skilled Worker, T2 or tier 2 visa

You may be able to settle permanently in the UK if you have one of the following visas:

  • Skilled Worker or Tier 2 (General)
  • T2 Minister of Religion or Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • International Sportsperson, T2 Sportsperson or Tier 2 (Sportsperson)

Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It’s also called ‘settlement’. It gives you the right to live, work, and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can use it to apply for British citizenship.

‘T2’ visas have replaced ‘Tier 2’ visas. If you have a Tier 2 visa, you can still apply for indefinite leave to remain if you meet the requirements.

tier 2 to iLR salary requirement

You usually need to be paid at least a minimum salary if you hold a T2 or Skilled Worker visa. How much you must be paid depends on your visa.

You’ll usually need to be paid at least whichever is the highest out of the following:

  • £25,600 per year
  • £10.10 per hour
  • the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing

Qualifying period for ILR as a skilled worker

The qualifying period to apply for a skilled worker to ILR is 5 years. In the 5 years you’ve lived in the UK, you can include time you’ve had on any combination of the following visas:

  • any Tier 1 visa – except Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Skilled Worker or Tier 2 (General)
  • Scale-up Worker
  • T2 Minister of Religion or Tier 2 (Minister of Religion)
  • International Sportsperson, T2 Sportsperson or Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Innovator Founder
  • Global Talent
  • Representative of an Overseas Business

You must have lived in the UK for 5 years before you can apply for indefinite leave to remain. The earliest the application for the Skilled Worker ILR can be submitted is 28 days before reaching 5 years qualifying period in the UK.

Length of stay and qualifying period for ILR

The qualifying period for ILR from a Skilled Worker Visa is five years. This means that you can apply for ILR after completing five years of continuous residence in the UK as a skilled worker.

During your qualifying period, you must ensure that you do not spend more than 180 days outside the UK in any consecutive 12-month period. Any absences exceeding this limit can reset your qualifying period, delaying your eligibility for ILR.

Continuous residence/absences under a skilled worker visa

To qualify for ILR after 5 years as a skilled worker, you must have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months. If you don’t meet the residence requirement under Appendix continuous residence, the application is likely to be refused.

Please note, that the immigration rules were updated in January 2018 to include absences in any consecutive 12 month period. Previously, the 180 days of absence was considered for fixed 12 months periods going back from the date of application.

Applications submitted after 11 January 2018 will be subject to the current immigration rules where absences are considered on a rolling basis, rather than in separate consecutive 12-month periods.

Salary requirement for the ILR as a skilled worker

To apply for a skilled worker visa to ILR, the applicant’s salary must be at least above £26,200 per annum or the ‘going rate’ for their job, whichever is higher. For example, if the applicant’s salary is £26,200 but the ‘going rate’ for their job is £30,000, they will not satisfy the salary requirement for indefinite leave to remain.

For most applicants, the salary threshold will be £26,200/ at least £10.75 an hour or at a going rate for the job, whichever is higher.

Sponsorship requirement

The eligibility rules under Appendix Skilled Worker (paragraph SW 24.1.) require the sponsor (employer) to still hold a Skilled Worker licence at the time of your ILR application. The sponsor must confirm they require the applicant to work for them for the foreseeable future, and the applicant will be paid at least the minimum salary in paragraph SW 24.3. for the foreseeable future. You will need your certificate of sponsorship number to complete the application.

Super priority for ILR under the skilled worker

You have the option to apply for ILR as a skilled worker under super priority service to get a faster decision. Our experienced immigration lawyers can submit your ILR application under priority submission to get you a quick decision.

The fee for indefinite leave to remain is £2,885. It costs an additional £1000 for super priority processing (24 hours) and £500 for priority processing (5-day processing) where eligible.

Home Office fee to apply for skilled worker visa to ILR

It costs £2,885 for each person applying for ILR as a skilled worker. You can include your partner and children on the same application form if they’re eligible.

Why choose Deluxe Law Chambers for your ILR application?

Choosing the right and best immigration lawyer for your immigration needs can be stressful. While it could seem like a difficult choice, let us simplify things for you. Here are a few good reasons why you should choose Deluxe Law Chambers to assist you with your UK visas and immigration matters.

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Frequently asked questions for skilled worker visa to ILR

Can my partner and children apply for the ILR?

The dependant can apply for the ILR together with the main applicant. It costs £2,404 per applicant.

What is the waiting time for a decision on the Skilled Worker ILR application?

The ILR processing timeline is up to 8 weeks. However, it can take longer due to various reasons.

When can I apply for ILR with a skilled worker visa?

The earliest you can apply for ILR with a skilled worker visa is up to 28 days before you complete your 5-year qualifying residence period. If an application is submitted any sooner than 28 days before completion of this period it may be refused.

Can I apply for ILR before 28 days?

You cannot apply for ILR any earlier than 28 days before completing your 5-year qualifying residence period. If an application is submitted any sooner than 28 days before completion of this period the application is likely to be refused.

Am I eligible to change from a Skilled Worker Visa to ILR?

Yes, you can apply for ILR under a skilled worker visa if you meet the relevant requirements.

Can I switch employers while on a skilled worker visa and still apply for ILR?

Yes, you can switch employers as long as you continue to meet the requirements of the skilled worker visa and do not exceed the maximum time limit.

What are the main requirements for ILR as a skilled worker?

You must have continuously resided in the UK for 5 years, met the salary requirements, passed the Life in the UK test, and met the English language requirements.

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