Switching the Visa from PBS-dependent to Skilled Worker Route

What Is Meant By ‘Switching’?

‘Switching’ a visa means that an applicant is allowed to change from one valid visa type to another without needing to leave the UK to do so.

Each route has its own rules explaining which routes are eligible to be switched into. Immigration Rules state that usually visitors, short term students, people holding leave outside the rules, seasonal workers, parents of a Child Student and domestic Workers in Private Household are not eligible to switch into Skilled Worker route.

Dependant visa to Skilled Worker (former Tier-2) Route switching requirements

To switch from your current dependant visa to a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to meet all the requirements for your new visa, as follows:

Employment requirements

Before applying to switch from dependant visa to a Skilled Worker visa, you must have an offer of a job in an eligible occupation from a licenced sponsor. You must also have the qualifications and professional accreditation to perform the role you are offered.

Minimum salary requirements

You will need to prove in your application to switch to a Skilled Worker visa that you will receive a salary of at least £26,200 or the ‘going rate for your job (whichever is the higher amount). You may only need to meet a lower salary threshold of £20,960 per year if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have a job on a shortage occupation list[1]
  • Are under the age of 26, studying or a recent graduate, or in professional training.
  • If you have a science, technology, engineering, or maths (STEM) PhD level qualification.
  • If you have a relevant PhD level qualification in any other subject your salary must be at least £23,580.

[1] Immigration Rules – Immigration Rules Appendix Shortage Occupation List – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


English language requirements

Skilled Worker applicants must meet the English language requirements. You can meet this requirement in several ways, including:

  • By coming from an eligible English-speaking country
  • Passing an approved English language test proving you can read, write, speak, and understand English to level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale
  • Holding a degree-level qualification that was taught or researched in English.

Complex Issues

  1. If the person stays on the Skilled Worker Route for 5 years can apply for the settlement i.e., Indefinite Leave To Remain (ILR) in the United Kingdom.

If a PBS-dependent visa holder switches their visa from Skilled Worker and becomes the main application they need to finish a new journey of 5 years to get a settlement.

An example is if the PBS dependent spouse becomes the main applicant as a skilled worker after obtaining a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from their employer, they need to resume their journey from the beginning to complete their 5-year route for settlement, doesn’t matter if they have already spent 2 years or 4 years as a dependant before coming on Skilled Worker. If someone switches their visa as a main applicant in Skilled Worker, they need to start from the beginning to apply for their settlement for ILR

If anyway, they want to switch their employer first they need to ask for the COS to apply from the new employer they need to work. Then they can resign from their first employer.

If the employment is terminated and the first employer informs the Home Office (which is their duty to inform that the person is no longer working with the company), The Home Office issues a letter of curtailment. A curtailment letter mentions that you have 60 days to make another application to leave to Remain in the UK or leave the UK.

If the curtailment letter is received while outside the UK, its effect is immediate and the person can no longer enter the UK. The Home Office has some delays in issuing the curtailment letters after the employers withdraw sponsorship, however, it is advisable to monitor the email and postal address given to the Home Office and the employer to see if a curtailment letter is issued.

Benefits of Switching

Dependent visa holders opting for the Skilled Worker Route gain the advantage of solidifying their immigration status without undergoing substantial upheaval.

By meeting all the requisite visa requirements, individuals can independently secure their place in the UK, fostering stability for themselves and their families. Engaging in this transition is a strategic move towards establishing a robust foundation for a prosperous future within the country.

Professional Guidance

Before embarking on the journey to obtain a Skilled Worker visa, it is highly advisable to consult with immigration advisors. These professionals can provide tailored guidance, helping individuals assess eligibility under alternative routes based on their specific circumstances and duration of residence in the UK.

This proactive approach ensures that applicants explore the full spectrum of options available to them, optimizing their chances for a successful transition.

Dependent Work Flexibility

Being a dependent of a Skilled Worker visa holder brings a unique set of advantages and challenges.

Notably, dependents enjoy greater flexibility in their employment options compared to the primary visa holder, who is typically tied to a specific employer. This freedom allows dependents to explore diverse professional opportunities, contributing to their personal and financial growth.

Duration Limitations

However, it’s crucial to recognize the temporal limitations associated with dependent status. The ability to stay in the UK is contingent upon the main visa holder’s continued presence and active visa status.

Consequently, dependents may find themselves at a crossroads when the main applicant faces changes in their immigration status, such as visa expiration or departure from the UK.

Transitioning to Independence

In many cases, dependents of Skilled Worker visa holders opt to transition to a Skilled Worker visa in their own right. This decision may stem from securing independent employment or the need to safeguard their immigration status due to changes in the main applicant’s circumstances.

This article will delve into the process, requirements, and key considerations for Skilled Worker visa dependents seeking to make this transition, offering a comprehensive guide for a seamless and successful Immigration journey.  

Should you need guidance pertaining to your Individual, Business or Humanitarian UK immigration matter,


contact us to book a consultation.

To arrange meeting with our lawyers, contact us by telephone at

 +44 2077202156 or by email at office@goodadviceuk.com.

If you have instructed us before, we would be pleased to know your feedback about your experience.