6 things to do after arriving
in the UK on a Skilled
Worker visa

Receiving a letter from the Home Office notifying you that your Skilled Worker visa has been granted is an exciting milestone in your immigration journey. If you have applied for your Skilled Worker visa from overseas, this is the point where you can safely book your travel and begin making the necessary arrangements for your relocation to the UK.

Whilst it may seem as though you’ve done everything you need to do once you’ve touched down in the UK and passed through border control, there are some important final steps you will need to take after you arrive.

To help you plan your next steps, Smith Stone Walters has put together the below post-arrival checklist for Skilled Worker visa holders.

Collect your BRP

If you applied for your Skilled Worker visa from overseas, you will need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) once you have arrived in the UK. A BRP is a document issued to foreign nationals who have been granted a visa or immigration permission to live, study or work in the UK. Your BRP is an important document which provides evidence of your immigration status in the UK.

You will usually need to collect your BRP before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. BRPs can be collected from either:

  • A named Post Office branch
  • An Alternative Collection Location (ACL).

Certain organisations such as legal representatives or large volume sponsors can request to become an accredited ACL if they meet the Home Office eligibility requirements. Smith Stone Walters is pleased to offer this service to our clients, with both of our UK office locations accredited as ACLs. By instructing SSW to manage your visa application, you can choose to have your BRP sent to our office address where it will be held securely until you can collect it or we can send it to your address. Your dedicated SSW Account Manager will take receipt of your BRP when it arrives at the SSW office, and notify you when it has arrived.

Know how to prove your immigration status

Your Skilled Worker visa grants you permission to live and work in the UK for the duration of its validity. However, there are certain situations that may arise during your stay where you need to prove your immigration status to others, such as your employer or landlord.

Before you start work, your sponsoring employer will need to carry out a right to work check to ensure you have the necessary permission to work in the UK. Likewise, before you can enter into a tenancy agreement to rent a property in England, your landlord will need to carry out a right to rent check.

Recent changes to the rules on right to work checks and right to rent checks mean that employers and landlords can no longer accept some physical documents such as BRPs as proof of your status. Instead, they will need to carry out the necessary checks online. This is also the case if you have an eVisa.

To enable your employer or landlord to carry out an online check, they will ask you to provide them with your date of birth and your ‘share code’. Your share code is a 9-character long unique code which you can generate online and will enable your employer or landlord to access the necessary information on the Home Office system.

Register with the police

Under UK immigration rules, certain foreign nationals are required to register with the police shortly after arriving in the UK or after getting permission to stay for longer in the UK. You will usually need to register if all of the following apply:

  • You are 16 or over
  • Your visa (or permission to stay in the UK) is for longer than 6 months
  • You are a citizen of a listed country.

You can find out if you need to register by checking your visa ‘vignette’ (sticker in your passport), or the letter or email you got from the Home Office when your application was approved. To register, you will need to attend an appointment at the police station for your area and pay the £34 fee. Where you register is determined by where you live as opposed to where you work or study.

After registering, you will be issued with a Police Registration Certificate (PRC), a document which proves the holder has complied with the requirements of their UK visa. You will need to keep your PRC for the duration of your stay in the UK, and must inform the police of any changes to your circumstances, such as a change of address or if you have been granted a new visa.

Important Note: The police are currently working through a backlog of registrations following COVID-19, leading to long delays in securing appointments. The Metropolitan Police has issued a statement on their website informing visa holders that the next available appointments for police registration are not until 2023. No penalty action will be taken as a result of earlier appointments not being available.

Open a UK bank account

Opening a UK bank account is one of the first things you should arrange when you arrive, if you haven’t already done so. Many employers will specify that their employees must have a UK bank account or building society which their salary will be paid into. In most cases, you’ll also need a UK bank account to set up a mobile phone contract and pay household bills directly.

To open a bank account in the UK, you will usually need to provide proof of your address in the UK and confirm your identity using documents such as your passport and BRP, if you have one. In some cases, you may be able to open an account with a UK bank before you arrive here. Some banks offer international bank accounts which can be opened overseas before you travel. If you choose this option, it may take a little longer than if you open one in the UK.

For more information and help with setting up an account, you are advised to contact your chosen bank directly.

Apply for a National Insurance number

You need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) number if you intend to work in the UK. You can only apply when you’re in the UK. You can start work without a NI number if you can prove that you have a right to work in the UK. If you have a BRP, you might have a NI number already – it will be printed on the back of your BRP if you do.

You are advised to speak to your employer’s HR team who may be able to help with a temporary NI number when you are added to the payroll. More information on obtaining a NI number can be found here.

Register with a doctor

Most people applying for a Skilled Worker visa are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of the application process. The IHS is a fee which allows migrants to access free healthcare on the NHS for the duration of their stay. You will usually need to pay the health surcharge if you’re applying for a visa that’s valid for more than 6 months, unless an exemption applies.

You can start using the NHS as soon as you arrive in the UK. It is a good idea to register with a GP surgery close to where you will be living. More information on finding a local GP surgery and how to register can be found here.

SSW’s Skilled Worker visa service

If you have a confirmed job offer in the UK and need help with applying for your Skilled Worker visa, Smith Stone Walters can help.

Our immigration experts can guide you and your employer through the entire process, from filing the application right through to post-arrival support and next steps once your visa expires. To find out more about the UK immigration services we offer, please contact us today.

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