Skilled Worker Visa to ILR : Building a Future in the UK

Skilled Worker Visa to ILR: your Guide | Fresh Start UK

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The Skilled Worker visa is a vital pathway for talented individuals wishing to contribute their expertise to the UK economy. 

One of the most significant milestones for visa holders is obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which grants them the right to live, work, and study in the UK without any time restrictions. 

This article will explain the journey from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR, providing an in-depth guide for applicants.

Understanding the Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) visa in December 2020, forming a part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system. 

This visa is designed for non-UK residents who have been offered a skilled job by a UK employer holding a valid sponsorship licence

To qualify for a skilled worker visa to ILR, applicants must meet specific criteria, including a job offer from an approved sponsor, a minimum salary threshold, and English language proficiency.

Key Requirements for the Skilled Worker Visa

To successfully apply for a Skilled Worker visa to ILR applicants must meet several key requirements. 

These criteria ensure that only qualified individuals are granted entry to work in the UK, supporting the country’s economic needs.


  1. Job Offer from a Licensed Sponsor: The job must be on the list of eligible occupations, and the employer must have a sponsorship licence.
  2. Salary Threshold: The job offer must meet the minimum salary requirement, typically £25,600 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher.
  3. English Language Proficiency: Applicants must prove their ability to speak, read, write, and understand English to at least the B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.
  4. Maintenance Funds: Applicants must show they have enough personal savings to support themselves unless they are exempt due to their employer covering costs.
  5. Genuine Job Requirement: The role must be a genuine vacancy requiring the applicant’s skills and expertise.

The journey from Skilled Worker Visa to ILR

Securing ILR is a significant step for Skilled Worker visa holders. 

It allows them to live and work in the UK indefinitely, providing more stability and access to various benefits. 

Here’s a detailed look at how to transition from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR.

Eligibility for ILR

To apply for ILR, Skilled Worker visa holders must meet the following requirements:


  1. Continuous Residence: Applicants must have lived in the UK continuously for at least five years on a Skilled Worker visa. 

Time spent on other eligible visas may also count towards this period.

  1. Absences from the UK: During the five years, applicants must not have been outside the UK for more than 180 days in any 12 months.
  2. Knowledge of Life in the UK: Applicants must pass the Life in the UK Test, which assesses knowledge of British traditions, history, and culture.
  3. English Language Requirement: Similar to the initial visa application, applicants must prove their English language proficiency.
  4. Salary Requirement: The salary for the job must meet the required threshold, which can be the general salary requirement or the ‘going rate’ for the job, whichever is higher.

Application Process for ILR

Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) involves a detailed and structured process to ensure all requirements are met. 

Here are the essential steps you need to follow to successfully apply for ILR, especially if transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR.


  1. Prepare the Documentation: Gather necessary documents, including passports, biometric residence permits, evidence of continuous residence, and proof of English language proficiency.
  2. Complete the Application Form: Fill out the ILR application form (SET(O) form) online. Ensure all details are accurate and match the supporting documents.
  3. Biometric Information: Attend an appointment to provide biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) at a designated centre.
  4. Submit Supporting Documents: Upload or submit all required documents as part of the application process.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: The fee for ILR applications is substantial, so ensure you have the funds ready.
  6. Attend an Interview: In some cases, applicants may be required to attend an interview or provide additional information.

Processing Time

The processing time for ILR applications can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to six months. 

During this period, applicants may be asked for additional information or documents. 

It’s crucial to respond promptly to any requests from the Home Office.

Benefits of Obtaining ILR 

Obtaining Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) offers numerous advantages, significantly enhancing the quality of life for visa holders, particularly for those transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR.

Here are the key benefits of securing ILR.

  • Permanent Residency: ILR grants the right to live, work, and study in the UK without any time restrictions. 

This provides long-term stability and the freedom to plan for the future without the worry of visa expiry.

  • Access to Public Funds: ILR holders can access public funds and benefits if needed. This includes various forms of financial support, healthcare services, and housing assistance.
  • Pathway to Citizenship: After holding ILR for 12 months, individuals may apply for British citizenship. 

This opens the door to full rights and responsibilities as a UK citizen, including the ability to vote.

  • No Need for Visa Renewal: ILR holders do not need to renew their visas, saving time and money. 

This eliminates the recurring stress and costs associated with visa renewals and applications.

  • Family Stability: ILR can also lead to more stability for family members living in the UK. 

Dependants can also secure ILR, ensuring the entire family can stay together without immigration uncertainties.

Tips for a Successful ILR Application 

Securing Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is a crucial step for many immigrants, providing long-term security and numerous benefits. 

To increase your chances of a successful ILR application, especially if transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR, consider the following tips.

  • Maintain Accurate Records: 

Keep thorough records of all travel in and out of the UK to prove continuous residence. 

This includes dates, destinations, and reasons for travel, ensuring no absences exceed the allowed limit.

  • Meet All Requirements: 

Ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria before applying, particularly regarding absences and salary thresholds. 

Double-check that your employment and earnings meet the necessary standards.

  • Prepare for the Life in the UK Test: 

Study and prepare adequately for the Life in the UK Test. Use official study materials and take practice tests to ensure you are well-prepared.

  • Seek Professional Advice: 

Consider seeking advice from an immigration solicitor to ensure your application is complete and accurate. 

A professional can help navigate complex rules and prevent common mistakes.

  • Stay Informed: 

Immigration rules can change, so stay informed about any updates that might affect your application. Regularly check the Home Office website or consult with an immigration expert for the latest information.

Expert Guidance from Fresh Start UK for Your Immigration and Investment Needs

If you are seeking advice from an immigration and investment organisation, Fresh Start UK offers comprehensive services to guide you through the complexities of immigration processes. 

With a strong focus on personalised support, Fresh Start UK helps individuals and families navigate visa applications, including the Skilled Worker visa to ILR and the pathway to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). 

Their team of experienced professionals provides expert advice on meeting eligibility requirements, preparing documentation, and understanding immigration rules. 

​​For those transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR, Fresh Start UK ensures that every step of the process is handled with care and expertise.


Transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR is a significant achievement that opens many doors for non-UK residents. 

By understanding the requirements and following the application process carefully, visa holders can secure their future in the UK. 

This guide aims to provide all the necessary information to make the journey smoother and more straightforward. 

Remember, preparation and attention to detail are key to a successful skilled worker visa to ILR application.

The Fresh Group

We are part of an established and successful group of UK-based companies, who for the last 12 years have focused on innovation and investment in the United Kingdom.


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How long do I need to live in the UK to qualify for ILR after holding a Skilled Worker visa?

To qualify for ILR, you typically need to have lived in the UK continuously for at least five years on a Skilled Worker visa, with no more than 180 days of absence in any 12-month period.

Can I apply for British citizenship after obtaining ILR from a Skilled Worker visa?

Yes, individuals holding ILR for 12 months may apply for British citizenship, provided they meet the necessary requirements, including passing the Life in the UK Test and meeting residency requirements.

What are the advantages of obtaining ILR after holding a Skilled Worker visa?

Securing ILR grants permanent residency in the UK, allowing individuals to live, work, and study without any time restrictions. Additionally, ILR provides access to public funds, a pathway to British citizenship, and eliminates the need for visa renewal.

How can Fresh Start UK assist with transitioning from a Skilled Worker visa to ILR?

Fresh Start UK offers comprehensive support and guidance throughout the visa application process, including Skilled Worker visa to ILR transitions. Their experienced professionals provide expert advice on eligibility requirements, document preparation, and understanding immigration rules, ensuring a smooth and successful application process.

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