UK Work Visas for Canadian Citizens & Residents

In order for Canadian citizens to work in the United Kingdom, they must apply for a UK work permit. Find more about it here.

If you have any questions regarding the UK work visa for Canadians or if you need some help navigating the application process, call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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    What Are The Eligibility Requirements For Canadian Citizens Wanting To Work In The UK?

    The UK has a variety of work visas available to Canadian citizens wishing to pursue employment in the UK.

    These work visas are available to Canadian citizens currently located in Canada as well as Canadian citizens currently in the UK on other visas. However, note that not all UK visas will allow holders to switch to a work visa.

    Eligibility requirements may include having a job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor, as well as meeting minimum financial requirements.

    Some work visas may also require you to have certain qualifications or be specialists in certain industries.

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    What Are The Work Visas Available For Canadians?

    You will need to pick the right work visa before you start work in the UK. Work visas can be broken down into four specific visas:

    • Short-term work visas
    • Long-term work visas
    • Investor, business development, and talent visas
    • Other work visas

    There are certain individuals who do not need to apply for a visa before starting work in the UK. These people include:

    • Political diplomats
    • Overseas government ministers going the UK to perform official business
    • Members of Commonwealth or Overseas Territories armed forces who are posted to the UK
    • Professionals working as a head of state

    The skills which determine the right visa type will depend on:

    • Your qualifications, if you’re a skilled worker
    • Whether or not you have a job offer, sponsorship, skilled job
    • The type of work you’ll be doing
    • How long you would like to stay in the UK
    • Whether you want to bring your family members with you to the UK
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    Long-Term UK Visas

    Most long-term and short-term work visas require the intended employer grant a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ (CoS) to the applicant. CoS’s are an electronic record, with a unique number that the applicants use for the visa application on the application form.

    Furthermore, it should be noted that most long-term visas (and some short-term visas) allow dependent family members (i.e. a spouse or your dependent children) to join you in the UK.

    Skilled Worker Visa

    The Skilled Worker visa route permits holders to live or stay in the UK, and work in a qualifying role with an approved employer/sponsor. The visa lasts for up to 5 years before a UK visa renewal is required.

    Skilled Worker visa applicants need to have a confirmed, valid job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor. The role must also be in an eligible occupation, and you’ll need to be paid a minimum salary specific to the type of work you’ll be doing.

    Health and Care Worker Visa

    This is a visa reserved for medical professionals who would like to work an eligible job with the National Health Service, an National Health service supplier, or within adult social care. This visa allows 5 years in the UK before renewing. To get this visa, you need a valid job offer that meets the minimum salary requirements.

    Senior or Specialist Worker visa

    The Senior or Specialist Worker visa is specifically for employees to come to the UK to work in a branch of their employer’s.

    Once again, this visa has numerous eligibility criteria you must fulfil, including being paid a certain minimum amount and having a job on the eligible list of occupations.

    Note that unlike many other long-term work visas, this visa will not eventually allow you to settle in the UK permanently.

    Minister of Religion visa (T2)

    This UK visa is reserved for Canadians who work within the faith community, such as ministers, members of an order, missionaries, etc that hold a valid job offer. This visa grants you just over 3 years in the UK, which can then be extended.

    International Sportsperson Visa

    As the name suggests, this visa is solely reserved for internationally established sportspeople, athletes and qualified coaches. To be eligible for this visa, you must prove that you will be able to practice and develop in your sport in the UK at the highest level.

    You will also need to provide a certificate of sponsorship and meet the other necessary requirements.

    Scale-Up Visa

    The Scale-Up visa is a unique work visa that allows Canadian citizens to work for a an eligible fast-growing business in the UK.

    You must work for the employer you will be sponsored by for at least 6 months. However, after this period elapses, you will be able to leave your job and seek employment elsewhere without having to update your visa.

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      Temporary Worker And Short Term UK Work Visas

      Short-term work visas permit entry authorization to the UK on a temporary basis. Depending upon the visa and immigration status,  applicants can get between 6 months – 12 months to work in their job in the UK.

      Creative Worker Visa

      The Creative Worker visa allows workers in the creative industries to work in the UK for a period of up to 12 months. Creative workers can include professions such as actors, dancers, musicians or film crew members.

      This visa requires you to have a valid certificate of sponsorship from an employer.

      Seasonal Worker Visa

      This is a temporary visa for people to come to the UK in order to work in either horticulture for up to 6 months, and/or poultry from 2 October to 31 December. Horticulture includes work such as picking fruit, vegetables or flowers.

      Graduate Visa

      This temporary UK work visa grants holders the chance to work in the UK for up to 2 years after completing an educational course in the UK, or up to 3 years for a Ph.D. or other doctoral qualification.

      The completed course must be either a bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or another eligible course. A graduate visa must be applied for before the student visa expires.

      Religious Worker Visa

      The Religious Worker visa is for individuals looking to work temporarily in the UK in certain non-pastoral roles or religious orders.

      You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship for an eligible role, as well as prove you have enough money to support yourself in the UK.

      Charity Worker Visa

      This visa is specifically dedicated to allow individuals to carry out unpaid, voluntary work for an eligible charitable UK employer.

      You must have a valid certificate of sponsorship for the role you’re planning to carry out, as well as prove you have enough money to support yourself.

      Government Authorised Exchange Visa

      This visa is for individuals who are coming to the UK temporarily for work experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme.

      You will need to ensure that your role fits within the eligibility and has an approved certificate of sponsorship.

      Global Business Mobility Visas

      This is a category of visas that are specifically aimed at helping to facilitate international business and trade.

      These visas include the following:

      • Graduate Trainee visa
      • Secondment Worker visa
      • Service Supplier visa
      • UK Expansion Worker visa

      Other Available UK Work Visas

      Innovator Founder Visa

      This work visa is for people who want to work in the UK in order to establish and run an innovative business. To be eligible, the business has to be deemed unique and truly stand out from the market. The visa applicant must be 18 or older and it permits you to stay for 3 years, before the ability to renew.

      UK Ancestry visa

      This work visa is reserved for citizens of certain countries who can prove they have at least one grandparent that was born in the UK. Applicants must be 17 years or older and intend to work while in the UK. Holders of this visa may stay in the UK for up to five years on this visa, before the ability to renew.

      Youth Mobility Visa

       The Youth Mobility Scheme visa is available for young people aged 18 – 30 (35 in some instances) who wish to live, work and travel in the UK for up to two years.

      High Potential Individual Visa

      This visa is allows graduates of certain prestigious universities to come and work in the UK for up to 2 or 3 years. It is an open-ended visa that does not require a certificate of sponsorship with an employer for a candidate to be eligible.

      Global Talent Visa

      The Global Talent visa is for leaders or potential leaders academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology.

      To be eligible for this visa, you will need to seek endorsement from an eligible endorsing body confirming your credentials, or provide proof that you have won an eligible internationally recognised award.

      This visa allows holders to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, after which it can be extended.

      How Can Interested Canadians Apply For A UK Work Visa?

      After determining which UK work visa fits your specific needs and circumstances, you will then be able to apply for it online via the UK government visa page.

      Typically, the earliest that a Canadian citizen can complete the online application form is 3 months before the job in the UK is due to start. One can browse job boards for recognized workplaces to try and get a job offer in the first instance from Canada.

      Depending on the visa category, each has a list of required documents needed for the application and proof of identification that applications are required to provide.

      After a Canadian citizen applies online for their UK visa from Canada they must wait around 3 to 8 weeks for a decision.

      For professional assistance with applying for UK work visas, speak to our immigration team today by calling: +1 844 290 6312

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        What Are The Required Documents For A UK Work Visa?

        Each visa type requires different documents. In general, you can expect to submit documents such as the following:

        • Certificate of the sponsorship reference number, which will be provided by your employer
        • Proof of personal savings, like bank statements, showing you can financially support yourself in the UK
        • A valid Canadian passport, with at least one blank page, or travel document that shows your identity and nationality
        • Any  expired but valid passports/travel documents to show your travel history
        • Tuberculosis test results (if applicable)

        All documents need to be submitted in English or Welsh. Some Canadian citizens may have documents in French, so they must be translated by an approved translator first.

        What Are The Fees For A UK Work Permit?

        The costs for the right to work in the UK will be different depending on the visa category you are applying for. Some visa fees costs are as follows:

        • The Skilled Worker visa application costs between £719 – £1,619 per person
        • The Global Business Mobility visas and most temporary work visas are £298 per person
        • The Health and Care Worker visa application is between £284 – £551 per person

        You may also have to pay the immigration healthcare surcharge, which allows you to access NHS medical services in the UK. This is £1,035 per adult, paid yearly.

        There may be additional fees for biometric information and biometric testing in order to get a biometric residence permit.

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                How Can Total Law Help?

                The UK offers a huge variety of potential work visas for Canadians wishing to immigrate to the UK.

                However, the range of eligibility criteria for each may be overwhelming when choosing which one to apply for.

                If you require any additional assistance with your UK work visa application, however, Total Law is here to help.

                We are a team of expert immigration advisers fully committed to helping you move to the UK and obtain the right work visa for you. Whether you need extra advice on the application process, the eligibility criteria for your chosen work visa, or practical advice on how to make the immigration process from Canada easier, we can help.

                Call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  In most cases, yes, you will need to have a valid job offer from an eligible sponsor before applying for a work visa.

                  Work visas that require job offers will often ask you to provide your certificate of sponsorship number when applying.

                  There are a small handful of UK visas that do not require job offers for you to be eligible, such as the Global Talent visa, High Potential Individual visa and Graduate visa.

                  Whether you can settle in the UK permanently with a work visa will depend entirely on the type of work visa you have.

                  As a rule, most temporary work visas will not offer viable direct pathways to permanent settlement, unless you switch to a different route that will allow you to.

                  However, certain work visas such as the Skilled Worker visa, Health and Care Worker visa and the Innovator Founder visa will allow you to apply for permanent settlement after spending a certain amount of time in the UK (normally between 3 and 5 years).