How to Get a Skilled Worker Mortgage

29-February-2024 9:21
in International
by Sam Hodgson
How to Get a Skilled Worker Visa Mortgage

You may be wondering if you can buy a house in the UK on a skilled worker visa - and the answer is a resounding yes! There are some additional challenges, but it is very much possible with the right lender.

Skilled Worker Visa (also 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 skilled workers since 2020, the term 'Tier 2 Visa' is no longer legally accurate, but in many cases, it 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.  

It’s natural to settle down and begin thinking about the future during this time. 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.

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, buying a house in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa is possible. 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 mortgages. We can search the market for the best deals for your situation and present you with your options. 

Carly Book an Appointment

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

What is a Skilled Worker 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 the risk 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 entirely.  
  • 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

  • However, many 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 before applying for a mortgage. 
  • This is where working with a specialist mortgage broker can 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 expect you to have lived in the UK for at least 2 years before applying for a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage.  

The main reason for this is that you can build up a solid 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 Skilled Worker Mortgage? 

While it’s good to build up a solid 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 on your Tier 2 visa when you apply for a mortgage, getting a loan should still be possible (depending on your circumstances), but it may be more expensive and 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 Skilled Worker 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 Skilled Worker Visa? 

Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage is not too different from applying for a standard mortgage.  

  • Lenders must review your income, financial history and expenses and 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 (such as any missed payments or history of personal loans).  
  • This aims to determine whether you can 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 indicates that you are staying in the UK long-term and 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 pride ourselves on providing an exceptional client experience. 

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What Documents Do You Need for a Skilled Worker Mortgage?  

To apply for a Skilled Worker Visa mortgage, you will need Proof of ID and 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 these criteria depends on the lender, as they all measure slightly differently.  

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

  • How likely 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 Skilled Worker Mortgage if I Have a Bad Credit Rating? 

Yes, it is possible to get a Skilled Worker 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 

However, 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, giving 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 of getting your affairs in order before applying. 

How to Apply for a Skilled Worker Mortgage

If you're living in the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa, there can be additional challenges when applying for a mortgage. However, with the right help, it can be a smooth and cost-effective process.

At Clifton Private Finance, we have a dedicated team of brokers who can guide you through your options. As a whole-of-market brokerage, we have relationships with high street, private and specialist lenders and access to market-leading rates. 

We offer tailored advice on the best route to take and find you the best deal for your circumstances.

To see what we can do for you, call us on 0203 900 4322 or book a free consultation below.

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