SKILLED WORKER ROUTE: THE IMPACT OF EMPLOYMENT TERMINATION ON YOUR UK STAY
If you are currently on the Skilled Worker route, your stay in the UK is tied to your employment with the same employer and in the same role. The same applies if you have valid permission under the historic Tier 2 (General) worker route.
This does not apply if you have settled under the EU Settlement Scheme, as you are not a sponsored worker.
If your employment ends, it will affect your permission to remain in the UK. The impact remains the same regardless of how your employment was terminated, and this has become especially relevant with increased redundancies in the technology sector.
How Much Time Do I Have to Decide?
Your employer, as a sponsor license holder, must report the cessation of your sponsorship to UK Visas and Immigration within 10 days of the termination of your employment, using the Sponsor Management System.
Subsequently, you will receive a “curtailment of leave” letter, granting you 60 days from the end of your employment to make arrangements. The exact expiry date of your leave will be mentioned in the letter. In some cases, leave can be curtailed immediately, but this is only in exceptional circumstances. For more information on curtailment of leave, refer to this blog.
Even after your employer has ceased sponsorship, you are entitled to work for any applicable notice period in your current job, including gardening leave. During this time, you can also explore new job opportunities or immigration routes.
Is Switching to Another Route Possible?
There are various business immigration routes available, depending on your circumstances, such as the Global Talent route, Scale-Up route, or Innovator Founder route. Alternatively, you may consider personal immigration routes like the Spouse route, Unmarried Partner route, or a Student visa.
Staying on the Skilled Worker Route
You may be able to remain on the Skilled Worker route by finding a new employer willing to sponsor you. The new employer must hold a sponsor license and issue a certificate of sponsorship to allocate you. This certificate will enable you to apply for permission to work in your new job.
To be successful, you need to demonstrate that the job is a genuine vacancy at the appropriate skill level and meets the salary requirements. Additional information on the eligibility requirements for the Skilled Worker route can be found here.
It’s worth noting that self-sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route is possible if you set up a business in the UK or if you already own one that can sponsor you. However, the company would need to obtain a sponsor license first.
Regardless of whether you switch routes or stay on the same one, it’s essential to submit the application before your existing permission expires. Upon submission, your permission is automatically extended under section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 until a decision is made.
Impact on Supplementary Work and Indefinite Leave to Remain
When your employment ends under the Skilled Worker route, you are no longer permitted to engage in supplementary or secondary employment.
The termination of your employment may also impact your prospects of applying for indefinite leave to remain. This application is possible after a 5-year continuous period as a Skilled Worker or under the historic Tier 2 (General) work route. If sponsorship ceases, obtaining confirmation from your employer for future work and a minimum salary becomes challenging.
If you switch to another route, check if you can combine your time spent in the UK under the Skilled Worker route towards a settlement application.
Traveling During This Period
If you’ve submitted an immigration application, it’s not advisable to travel due to potential risks when returning, depending on the timings. Entering the UK as a visitor once your sponsorship has ended comes with different conditions than those of a Skilled Worker.
You can leave the UK before your existing permission expires to avoid overstaying and make an entry clearance application later if needed.