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Eames Insights: Unlock wider candidate pools by considering a Skilled Worker Visa

  • Publish Date: Posted 8 months ago
  • Author:by Andrew Mackay

​As a specialist recruiter within a highly technical market such as financial services, there will always be a shortage of candidates for any position, so we are always seeking to leverage any and all tools available to support our clients.

One such talent pool is the Skilled Worker Visa cohort. We have found a high number of Skilled Worker Visa (SWV) holders work within professional services (audit / advisory etc), or with larger banking and asset management firms. They typically are mid-senior level (£60k-£150k) and have 12months+ of experience in the UK, so they can be seen as low-risk hires, who are also more likely to remain with a firm that is sponsoring as they seek to obtain indefinite leave to remain (ILR), thus reducing turnover in a team when compared to their UK/ILR colleagues who are able to move firms without restrictions.

Our view is that this is a massively untapped pool of motivated and experienced candidates who are looking for new opportunities, especially in technical areas where candidates are in short supply, and being open to SWV holders would help ease the pressures many firms are facing in terms of positions open for extended periods.

What is it?

A replacement for the Tier 2 visa, which came into effect on the 1st of December 2020.

What is the criteria?
The SWV is a points-based visa, requiring applicants to have the following criteria:

Cost and time to secure
If you’re applying from inside the UK to extend, switch or update your visa, fees are as below:

  • Up to 3 years - £719 per person

  • More than 3 years - £1,423 per person

  • Healthcare surcharge - £624 per year

Decision provided within 8 weeks of application

Fast Track decisions (Within 5 days/next day) are available for a fee of £500/£800

Differences to the Tier 2 Visa

  • No requirement for the labour markets assessment

  • Lowered Skill and salary thresholds

  • No Cap on the number of SWVs that can be issued

Skilled Worker Visa Attitudes Survey 2023
Eames Consulting recently ran a survey seeking to gather information about attitudes and awareness of the SWV within financial services.

We identified that whilst 85% of firms were open to hiring using the SWV route, only 10% had all roles open to SWV candidates

Of those who had additional criteria to consider, the length of time the role had been open, and the level of technical skills required were the primary reasons to be open to an SWV hire.

We also asked about objections to using the SWV. The cost of the visa itself and the time to secure were the top responses, however, with most firms within financial services conducting screening that can take up to 8 weeks on financial/criminal elements, coupled with the relatively low cost when hiring experienced candidates, this points to a requirement for more information to be provided to show that the material impact is low.

As a recruiter, my experience of the SWV has been nothing but positive, and it has proven on many occasions to be the key that unlocks a challenging recruitment process, enabling firms to recruit niche and highly technical roles in a timely manner.

Should any of the above be of interest, and you would like to have a further conversation on how to increase your candidate pool, reduce hiring time and improve diversity within your organisation. please do get in touch: andrew.mackay@eamesconsulting.com