Currently, the UK is a European Union (EU) member state, which means that citizens of EU states have the freedom to travel to and work in the UK without restrictions. However, due the Brexit vote results in 2016, the UK is intended to leave the European Union on 29th March 2019. Depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation the situation for EU nationals may change after 29th March 2019. It might be possible that people from outside the EU will have more opportunities to come to the UK for work.
All non-EU nationals who want to work in the UK need a work permit the UK relating to the type of work they want to do. To apply for most of the UK work visa a secure job offer and a sponsorship letter from the UK based employer is required. Currently, the UK work visas for low-skilled work are not available for non-EU nationals however, regulation may change after 29th March 2019 when the UK will leave EU. Currently most of the UK work visas are issued only if you have specialist skill which are in shortage in the UK. The different categories of work visa under which you can apply are:
- Tier-2 or long-term work visas
- Short-term work visas
There are different categories of UK Tier -1 work visas under which can currently apply. These visas are for those wanting to work as a freelance, self-employed or to run a business in the UK or who have exceptional talent in a demanding field. The visa come under tier-1 category are:
Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa: This UK work visa for those who are recognized as leaders or emerging leader in field of science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology and the arts. Initially, you need to apply for your talent to be endorsed by the UK Home Office before you apply for visa. Under this category only 2,000 of these visas are issued each year. It is valid for up to 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years. You can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years with an exceptional talent visa or 5 years with an exceptional promise visa.
Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa: This work visa is for those who want to set up and/or run a business in the UK. To apply for this visa, you need to have access to at least £50,000 of investment funds to invest in the UK. Initially you will get visa for 3 years and 4 months and can be extended for another 2 years. You can apply for settlement once you’ve been in the UK for 5 years
Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa: This work visa is for those graduates who has a business idea that has been endorsed by either the UK Department for International Trade or a qualifying UK higher education institution. The visa is valid for 1 year and can be extended for a further 1 year.
Tier 1 (Investor) visa: This work visa is for those who are willing to invest £2 million or more in the UK. The visa is valid for 3 years and 4 months and can be extended for a further 2 years. Under this route you can apply to settle after 2 years if you invest £10 million and after 3 years if you invest £5million.
Tier-2 or long-term work visas
Tier-2 visas are sponsored visas where you need to have a secure job offer from a UK employer or from a religious institute in the UK. The visa come under the tier-2 category are:
Tier 2 (General) visa: This UK work visa is for those who have been offered a skilled job offer and sponsorship by a licensed organisation. You need to be paid at least £30,000 per year or the ‘appropriate rate’ for the job you’re offered – whichever is higher. This visa is normally valid for 5 years. You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 5 years, as long as your total stay is not more than 6 years.
Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa: This work visa for those whose overseas employer has offered them a transfer to a UK office of the same organisation and you are from outside EU (EEA). The employer will provide certificate of sponsorship for the intended employee for intra company transfer. On this visa you can stay in the UK up to the maximum stay allowed for your visa type, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship which can be up to 9 years, depending on the position offered.
Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) visa: This work visa is for those who have been offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion) in the UK. Your sponsor will provide certificate of sponsorship. On this visa you can stay in the UK up to the maximum of 3 years and can be extended maximum up to 6 years.
Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa: This UK work visa is for elite sportspeople or qualified coach recommended by their sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally. On this visa you can stay in the UK up to the maximum of 3 years and can be extended maximum up to 6 years.
Short-term work visas
These are short-term visa generally granted for 6 months This UK work visa is granted to those who want to engage in unpaid charity work or for domestic workers. The visa come under this category are:
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa: This UK work visa is for those who want to engage in unpaid charity work. If want to work on a government-authorized exchange program as part of an international agreement. You can work as a religious worker, as a sports person or a creative worker. Your sponsor will provide a certificate of sponsorship for this visa. On this visa, you can stay in the UK up to a maximum of up to 1 or 2 years depending on the purpose and details on sponsorship certificate.
Domestic Worker in Private Household visa: This work visa is for private domestic workers who have already worked for their employer for at least a year. Domestic worker includes cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks and others. On this visa you can stay in the UK for a maximum of 6 months.
Applying for a UK work visa
Your eligibility for a UK work visa is determined by the number of points you score on the UK points system. Points are awarded based on different set criteria’s, Points are awarded for the following:
- English language skills
- Expected earnings
- Sufficient available funds
If you want to apply in your home country, you can make your UK work visa application at the nearest UK visa application center or if are already in you and your current visa allow you to switch to other categories you can apply from within UK.
Depending on the type of UK work visa you are applying for you may need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport or travel ID
- Evidence such as current bank statements or sponsorship letter to confirm that you can support yourself financially for the length of your stay in the UK.
- Proof of English language.
- Proof of payment of the healthcare surcharge
- You may also require undergoing a tuberculosis test if you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are from certain countries.
The UK work visa application processing times may vary depending of type of work visa and where you submit your application. Your work visa length will depend on the length of your employment contract and you might be permitted to extend it if you haven’t exceeded the maximum length for your UK work visa type. You will need to apply for an extension either online or at a UK visa premium service centre.
SUKC also assist clients whose visa has been refused and are allowed to appeal against the decision. We can help to find the qualified and experienced solicitor who can assist you with Appeal, administrative Review or Re-applications. For any queries about Appeals please contact us
DISCLAIMER: OUR TEAM BASED IN THE UK PROVIDE ASSISTANT TO OUR CLIENTS POST LANDING. THEY DO NOT PROVIDE ANY IMMIGRATION ADVICE HOWEVER, THEY WORK WITH SELECTED SOLICITOR FIRMS WHO CAN PROVIDE IMMIGRATION ADVISE IF REQUIRED