People who don’t live in the UK need permission to work in the UK. Most of the time, this means getting a work visa for the UK. There are many ways to get a work visa, most of which are targeted towards skilled workers, businesses, investors, and special programmes meant to draw certain types of workers. It’s important to note that there is no general work visa or permission for part-time or low-skilled jobs. The first step is to choose the right group, making sure you are eligible and knowing how to apply, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. We recap the main UK work visa process in this guide. We explain who each visa is for, how long it lasts, what it lets the user do, the main requirements for qualifying, how much it costs, and if each route will lead to permanent residence.
Does UK Employment Need a Visa?
With the UK’s points-based system, there are many short-term and long-term ways for people from other countries to ask for permission to join or stay in the UK in order to work. After the expiration of the freedom of movement that occurs between the UK and the EU, all EEA and non-EEA countries that are not stable workers or do not have other permission to work in the UK will need a visa. According to UK employment visa requirements, the only people who will not need a visa are Irish citizens.
UK Visa for Workers
The skilled worker visa is a paid work visa for foreigners who want to work in the UK in a skilled job for a company that the Home Office approves. The skilled worker visa used to be used instead of the Tier 2 (general) visa.
Applying for UK work Visa
The cost of applying for a UK visa for workers varies for each applicant. It could cost between £610 and £1408. People who live in the EEA will no longer have to pay this fee. The fee will be less if the job is on the list of limited jobs. People who want to apply must also pay the immigration health surcharge.
An immigration skills charge is usually something that a company has to pay when they hire a skilled foreign worker. The amount payable is based on the role or size of the job and the time spent, as shown on the grant certificate. It costs £364 for the first year and £182 for every extra six months for small or good causes. It costs £1000 for medium- or large-sized donors and an extra £500 every six months after that.
Visa Guide for Working in the UK
If someone wants to get a skilled worker visa, they need to have a real job offer in the UK from a licenced sponsor that pays well and needs the right skills. The base pay and skills needed to hire skilled foreign workers have gone down because of the new rules. The UK can now hire them more easily, but they still need proof of backing from a company that is allowed to use this route. Additionally, the person registering must have a certain level of English skills and enough money to live in the UK.
If you get the job, you’ll be given a skilled worker visa for up to 5 years. You can get this visa renewed as many times as you need to, as long as your application keeps meeting the requirements. As a skilled worker, you can come to the UK in this way for 5 years. After that, you can apply to stay there forever.
The Global Business Mobility Visa
Five types of cards have been made for the Global Business Mobility route since it started on April 11, 2022. These cards are for different jobs.
Even though none of these tracks lead to permanent residence, they do make it easier to send skilled workers to the UK to help with business or project needs.
The senior or specialist worker visa has taken the place of the ICT visa. This makes it easy and quick for top and specialised workers to move between places in the UK and other countries. If the person isn’t making a lot of money, they must be working for the sponsor abroad right now and have worked for the sponsor outside of the UK for at least 12 months straight.
Graduate Trainee Visa
The Graduate Trainee Visa is for graduates who are working for UK companies that do business abroad. They need to get certain training before they can do work experience in the UK that will help them get a skilled job or a position in top management. If foreign companies let their trainees work in the UK as part of this plan, it can help improve their graduate training programmes. This can help establish stronger connections between businesses in various locations.
The UK Expansion Worker visa has taken the place of the Sole Agent Business visa. Other countries can now send more than one person to the UK to help them start up and grow their businesses there.
You can get a service provider visa if you live and work abroad as a freelancer or contract service provider. Businesses that need to hire skilled workers for very specific jobs or places will find this road useful.
The assignment worker visa is the fifth part of the GBM method. People from other countries can now come to the UK to work as part of a new, high-value deal or investment.
Visa for Health and Care Worker
Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals from outside the United Kingdom may apply for a sponsored work visa known as a Health and Care Worker to fill certain positions in the National Health Service (NHS), its suppliers, or the adult social care industry in the United Kingdom. In order to attract international medical experts to work in the United Kingdom, this visa subcategory—which is part of the Skilled Worker route—offers substantially cheaper rates.
From inside or outside the UK, the cost of applying for a Health and Care Worker visa ranges from £232 to £464 each year, with a discount of £55 applicable to the majority of European countries. Sponsoring businesses remain subject to the Immigration Skills Charge, but qualified candidates will not be liable for the healthcare surcharge.
A Health and Care Worker visa is available to those who satisfy the following criteria: they are medically certified, have a nursing degree, or work in health or adult social care for a licenced employer in the United Kingdom who pays at least the minimum wage. Additionally, candidates need to demonstrate proficiency in English and satisfy a financial maintenance requirement.
The Health and Care Worker visa, like other skilled worker visas, allows applicants a maximum of five years of leave at a time, but there is no maximum duration of residence. Upon completion of the 5-year visa programme, eligible applicants are eligible to apply for a permanent permit to stay.
Visas for Graduates
Graduate visa holders are international students who have earned a degree and want to remain in the United Kingdom for a minimum of two years to work or seek employment opportunities. For PhD students, this period is prolonged to three years. The application fee for a graduate visa is £700, with a concession of £55 available to those who qualify. The applicant incurs an additional expense with the Immigration Health Surcharge; however, no employer-related fees apply in this case.
Applicants seeking a graduate visa must have an undergraduate degree or one of the few recognized professional certifications from an accredited institution. In addition to meeting the time requirement for studying in the UK, they must also be in the UK with valid student visa status at the time of application.
The UK’s points-based system established a pathway in 2021 to help students acquire work experience in the UK after completing their degree of study. Employers in the UK will have the chance to tap into a vast network of talented overseas graduates. This visa allows candidates to work in any occupation, regardless of skill level or income level, and does not require an employment offer from a UK company since it is an unsponsored route. The ability to work independently, move professions, volunteer, and work flexibly is a perk for graduate visa holders.
After the first two or three years of leave, the graduate visa cannot undergo renewal; however, if the applicant fulfills the criteria, they might qualify to switch their visa to another type, such as a skilled worker visa. Afterwards, this will pave the way for settlement.
Strong Potential Individual Path
One possible outcome of the High Potential Individual Path is the expansion of graduate hiring initiatives to include non-UK graduates in an effort to attract them to the United Kingdom. To enter the UK without a work offer or a degree from a UK institution, graduates from certain high-quality foreign institutions may apply for a visa that opens on May 30, 2022. Eligibility conditions, such as having earned the degree within the last five years, must be met.
Visa holders are allowed to remain for a duration of 2 years, or 3 years if they possess a degree that is equal to a PhD in the UK. This visa is similarly temporary to the Graduate route, but it gives the bearer the option to transfer to a longer-term worker route, such as the Skilled Worker visa, after they fulfil the necessary criteria.
Visa for International Skill
Academic, scientific, cultural, and technological leaders and future leaders may apply for an unsponsored work visa to the United Kingdom under the Global Talent Visa programme. To apply for this visa, you need to pay a total of £608, which includes any relevant healthcare premium.
If an applicant has already filed for and been approved for a certification proving their status as a leader or future leader in their area of expertise, or if they have received an appropriate award, they may skip this step and apply for a Global Talent visa directly.
For up to five years at a time, the most talented migrants may visit the UK on the Global Talent visa, which gives them the freedom to do anything they choose without being reliant on a single sponsor. Their specialised expertise will be of use to the United Kingdom in this manner.
An expedited settlement process is available, in addition to limitless extensions and fast-track options. After just three years in the UK, a Global Talent visa holder may be eligible to seek permanent residency, depending on their chosen profession.
Visas for Startups and Innovators
For those who want to launch their first venture in the UK but need employment to sustain themselves as they cultivate their ideas, the start-up visa provides an unsponsored work visa option. Those who have been in the company for a while, have a good grasp of the sector, and have saved up at least £50,000 are eligible for the innovator visa. Individuals actively involved in the day-to-day operations of their endeavour and already holding the start-up visa may also apply.
Foreign nationals may expect to pay £363 for a start-up visa and £1021 for an innovator visa; British citizens can expect to pay £493 for a start-up visa and £1277 for an innovator visa; and qualifying European citizens can get a £55 discount. The healthcare premium is also payable by visa applicants.
A UK higher education institution or a company with a history of assisting entrepreneurs in the UK are the approved bodies that may recommend an application for either the Start-Up or Innovator visas. Each company or business concept must be original, sustainable, and scalable for the endorsing organisations to consider it. Candidates also need to be able to demonstrate proficiency in English and have a stable source of income.
After two years in the UK under the Start-Up route, applicants may be able to transfer to the Innovator visa if their stay is not extended. The innovator visa is initially issued for three years and may be renewed an unlimited number of times. After three years, you may ask for a settlement.
Visas for Temporary Workers
There are a variety of sponsored work visas available for the UK, including long-term sponsored routes, unsponsored routes, and short-term sponsored routes.
One of six different temporary worker routes can sponsor an international citizen to come to the UK: creative worker, charity worker, religious worker, government authorized exchange worker, international agreement worker, or seasonal worker. All applicants must submit a sponsorship certificate from a UK-registered sponsor. In addition to meeting other route-specific standards, they must also fulfil a financial maintenance requirement. The maximum duration of stay allowed for a successful visa holder depends on the specific route, which can range from 6 months to 2 years.
The Youth Mobility Scheme is another short-term option that does not need sponsorship. This cultural exchange programme gives young people (those between the ages of 18 and 30) from the participating nations the opportunity to live in the United Kingdom for a period of up to two years. This method doesn’t demand applicants to possess a work offer, but it does require them to show a significantly higher level of financial stability to sustain themselves in the UK.
Frequently Asked Questions about the UK Work Visa
What is the process for obtaining a work visa to the United Kingdom?
To apply for a work visa to the United Kingdom, you must do so online, pay the application fee (which may or may not include a healthcare premium), and upload the necessary supporting documents. To provide your biometric data, you may also have to schedule an appointment.
Is a UK work visa hard to get?
Depending on your intended path, obtaining a work visa to the United Kingdom might be a challenging process. Having a job offer that meets the minimal income and skill standards from a licenced sponsor is often necessary for the candidate.
What does a UK work visa cost?
Depending on the applicant’s situation and the kind of visa, the amount of money necessary for a UK work visa might vary. Furthermore, the authorities might mandate that applicants fulfill a financial maintenance requirement and make payments for the immigration health surcharge.
Is it possible to apply for a UK work visa without a job offer?
An employment offer from a UK licence sponsor is not necessary for some UK work visas, such as the High Potential Individual, Graduate, and Global Talent routes. However, we still need to fulfill additional conditions relevant to each route.