How to Get a Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage

17-March-2023
17-March-2023 16:31
in International
by Sam Hodgson
How to Get a Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage

It can be difficult to get a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage because some high street lenders are unfamiliar with processing more complex mortgage applications.

Skilled Worker Visa, known as the Tier 2 visa before December 2020 can allow you to live and work in the UK for up to five years. Especially for those who have come to the UK as a skilled worker since 2020, the term 'Tier 2 Visa' is no longer legally accurate, but in many cases is still used to refer to this visa type. 

It’s common for Skilled Worker Visas to be extended to a permanent residence - also known as indefinite leave to remain.  

During this time, it’s natural to settle down and begin thinking about the future. You may have met a long-term partner and are thinking about a joint mortgage for your future home, or maybe you want to invest in the UK property market for financial gain.  

Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering how your visa type affects your ability to buy a house and what mortgage deals are available to you.

How to get a tier 2 visa mortgage, Clifton Private Finance

Can I buy a house in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa? 

Yes, it is very possible to buy a house in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa. There are very few limits to buying property in the UK as a foreign national, whether you’re based in the UK or not. 

So, what about getting a mortgage? 

  • Getting a mortgage in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa is also possible.  
  • Historically, skilled worker visa holders needed to be UK residents for 2-3 years before they could be eligible for a mortgage. But currently, you can apply for a skilled worker mortgage if you've lived in the UK for as little as 12 months.
  • Additionally, if you have an income over £100k per year, it's likely you'll be eligible for a skilled worker mortgage if you've lived in the UK for less than a year. Not every lender will be able to offer complex mortgage products like this, so it's recommended to consult a specialist mortgage broker to get a full overview of your options. 

But aside from that, your mortgage eligibility is typically more dependent on your income and overall financial circumstances. 

The main things lenders will want to know about your residency status are: 

  • How long you’ve lived in the UK 

  • How long you have left on your visa 

Your mortgage eligibility is usually based on your individual circumstances, and depending on factors like your salary, deposit, and job security, it’s likely there will be a range of lenders out there willing to offer you a mortgage deal. 

What do the experts say?

Carly-Marie Cheeseman 
Head of International CeMAP CeRER

Our mortgage brokers at Clifton Private Finance are specialists in securing Skilled Worker Visa mortgages. We can scour the market for the best deals for your situation and present you with your options. 

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See similar: US Citizens buying London Real Estate: 9 Things You Need to Know

What is a Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage? 

Skilled Worker visa mortgages are mortgages tailored specifically for foreign nationals living in the UK on skilled worker visas. 

  • In many cases, the more complicated your mortgage application is, the higher risk it is to lenders. So if you’re a foreign national, the extra paperwork can be an additional complexity that takes some lenders out of the equation completely.  
  • Many high street lenders are not specialists – their focus is processing large volumes of standard mortgages for UK citizens, and they don’t want to invest time and resources into areas they’re less familiar with. 

How to get a Tier 2 Visa mortgage, Clifton Private Finance

There are, however, lenders who are more well-versed in dealing with these types of applications and the criteria that come with international mortgages

  • But a number of these specialist lenders are not accessible in the same way as a high street bank or building society. They can be harder to find as they don’t have the same marketing budget as mainstream banks.  
  • Some require a pre-established relationship or recommendation prior to applying for a mortgage. 
  • This is where working with a specialist mortgage broker can really help.

At Clifton Private Finance, we have relationships with international lenders and experience in getting property finance for foreign nationals. We can help you get the best deal on the market for your circumstances and ensure a smooth and informed application process. 

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How long do you have to live in the UK to get a mortgage? 

Generally, most lenders will expect you to have lived in the UK for at least 2 years before you apply for a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage.  

The main reason for this is that you can build up a strong financial record and credit history in the UK before you apply, which makes it easier for lenders to verify your ability to keep up with repayments.

When is the best time to apply for a Tier 2 Visa mortgage? 

While it’s good to build up a strong financial record and work history in the UK before you apply for a mortgage, timing plays an essential role in this process.  

If you don’t have very long left on your Tier 2 visa when you apply for a mortgage, it should still be possible to get a loan (depending on your circumstances), but it may be more expensive, and it could reduce your choice of lenders.  

Applying for a mortgage when you’ve lived in the UK for a couple of years, but still have a few years left on your visa could help you save money on your mortgage deal.  

How to get a Tier 2 visa mortgage, Clifton Private Finance

Can I get a buy to let mortgage with a Skilled Worker visa? 

Yes, you can get a buy to let mortgage on a Skilled Worker visa.

It’s important to know that there are stricter criteria for buy to lets than residential mortgages if you’re on a Tier 2 visa, and the deals can be more expensive.  

But knowing it’s possible is a great starting point. 

A specialist broker will have extensive knowledge of the market and may be able to help you get better rates than if you were looking by yourself, which could save money in the long run.

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How do I get a mortgage in the UK on a Tier 2 visa? 

Applying for a Tier 2 Visa mortgage is not too different from applying for a standard mortgage.  

  • Lenders need to review your income, financial history and expenses, as well as confirm your identity and credit history.  
  • They also want to see how secure you are financially (for example, how much you earn and what sort of job security you have) and whether you have managed your finances reliably in the past (such as any missed payments or history of personal loans).  
  • The aim of this is to determine whether you’ll be able to keep up with your mortgage payments over time. 

Having permanent employment in the UK will also be a massive asset to your mortgage application, because it both indicates that you are staying in the UK long-term, and that you have a certain level of job security.  

It could also pay to work with a specialist mortgage broker. An experienced mortgage broker would be able to find you the best lenders for your circumstances and advise you on how best to prepare for your mortgage application.  

At Clifton Private Finance, we have an award-winning client services team, and we pride ourselves on providing an exceptional client experience. 

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What documents do you need for a Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage?  

In order to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage, you will need: Proof of ID and your proof of residency – Such as a passport and visa 

  • Proof of address – Usually utility bills from the last three months with your name and address on, or a council tax letter from the current year 
  • Lenders will also want to review your monthly expenses and any loans you have yet to pay off, such as credit card bills.  

This information is required so that the lender can see if you fit the criteria to offer you a deal. The strictness of this criteria depends on the lender, as they all measure slightly differently.  

When lenders assess this information, they are determining the level of risk it would be to lend to you based on your circumstances. The risk of the potential loan is calculated through factors such as: 

  • How likely it is your circumstances will change (Such as your UK residency or your job) and whether you’ll be able to afford to keep up with the payments even if your circumstances do change. 
  • Your track history for keeping up with payments in the past (Eg. Your credit history, paying bills on time etc.) 

How to get a Tier 2 visa mortgage, Clifton Private Finance

Can I get a Tier 2 visa mortgage if I have a bad credit rating? 

Yes, it is possible to get a Tier 2 visa mortgage even with a poor credit rating.  

Being a foreign national without permanent residence presents unique risks that some lenders avoid. Poor credit can be seen as an indicator that you haven’t managed your finances reliably in the past.  

Some circumstances that can affect your credit rating are: 

  • History of payday loans - These are loans you can take out to last you until your next payday. They can bring down your credit rating because they may be seen as an indicator that your outgoings are larger than your income.  
  • County Court Judgements – also known as CCJ are court orders for you to pay money for any payments you have missed. 
  • Unpaid credit card debt 
  • Default payments – agreed payments you have missed, such as phone bills or previous mortgage payments 

But there are specialist lending companies who will be open to understanding the context surrounding these credit issues.  

With lenders who are more experienced with these cases, it can be possible to illustrate your past credit issues more positively, which could give you a better chance of being accepted for a mortgage. 

Older credit issues do tend to have less influence on a mortgage application. Since your British credit report will cover less than six years, it could give you the advantage to get your affairs in order before you apply. 

Will all lenders consider a Tier 2 Visa mortgage applicant?

Sadly, not all mortgage lenders consider applicants with a Tier 2 visa.  

  • It’s common to approach mainstream banks and building societies for property finance, but a few of these lenders simply may not be an option for some foreign nationals.  
  • Many high street lenders are not as familiar with foreign national mortgage applications and don’t have the experience to process a mortgage deal suitable for a Tier 2 visa applicant.  

This is by no means the end of the road, though. There are many lenders open to working with mortgage applicants living in the UK on a skilled worker visa, and working with a specialist mortgage broker can not only speed up this process but potentially save you money on your mortgage deal.

Want to know what we can do for you? Give us a call on 0203 900 4322 for a no-obligation discussion with one of our team or book a consultation below.

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