Immigration to UK From Pakistan

The United Kingdom is a popular immigration destination for nationals from Pakistan and you may be interested in checking what UK visas are available for you to work, study or join family in the UK.

Our highly experienced immigration lawyers can support and advise you on choosing a UK visa appropriate for your circumstances or provide any other help with your visa application and immigration. Call Total Law today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online.

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    Overview of Immigrate to the UK From Pakistan

    As a country with one of the largest economies in the world, the United Kingdom offers good employment and business opportunities, not to mention accessible public healthcare services and other benefits for British citizens.

    For these reasons, the UK is a popular destination for people looking to settle there permanently and many people from Pakistan choose to travel to the UK for work or to live there permanently.

    The UK’s immigration laws seek to reduce rates of legal migration, and many visas have stringent requirements; for example, a minimum salary and knowledge of the English language. However, if you are eligible for one of the available UK visas and have prepared the correct documentation for your visa application, this should not hinder you from being approved for a visa to the UK.

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    Do I Need a UK Visa From Pakistan?

    Yes. Typically, nationals of Pakistan will need a visa to travel to the UK, except for a few exceptional circumstances where you may not need to. For example, if you are visiting a family member from the EU who has been living in the UK since 2020.

    The UK Home Office offers several visas depending on your purpose in the UK, from tourism and visiting family to medical treatment and joining a partner. The UK is tightening legislation to reduce the amount of people moving to the UK each year; however, this should not prevent you from applying for a UK visa that is suitable for you if you wish to work, study or live in the UK.

    New UK Immigration Rules

    New rules have been put in place in 2023 for people applying for visas in Pakistan. These new rules are to protect Pakistani people who are genuinely applying for visas and to take action against fraudulent agents who are blocking out visa appointments and taking payment from genuine customers for appointments that don’t exist.

    Firstly, all people must attend their visa appointment themselves and provide their appointment letter, passport, and document checklist for validation.

    Secondly, agents are not allowed into visa application centres, or to collect passports or schedule on-demand mobile visas for their clients.

    Finally, to rearrange a visa appointment you must email a copy of your passport, appointment letter and personal details directly to VFS.

    Coming to UK for a Short Visit

    A Standard Visitor visa will allow you to travel to the UK for short-term activities, typically up to six months. This visa allows you to:

    • Visit for a holiday
    • Visit family or friends
    • Volunteer with a registered charity
    • Pass through to another country
    • Attend certain business activities, e.g., a meeting or interview
    • Attend a school exchange programme
    • Attend a recreational course
    • Study or take an exam
    • Travel as an academic, senior doctor or dentist
    • Travel for medical reasons

    While in the UK on this visa, you can’t do paid or unpaid work, claim public funds, live in the UK through frequent visits, or marry.

    Coming to UK for Work

    For people travelling to the UK from Pakistan to work for more than six months, several work visas permit you to take up employment. What type of employment you will be undertaking will determine which visa you are eligible for; these include the following:

    • Health and Care Worker visa: For doctors and nurses working for the National Health Service (NHS), an NHS supplier or adult social care.
    • Skilled Worker visa: For people with job offers to work in eligible professions.
    • Senior or Specialist Worker visa: For high-skilled employees moving to their employer’s UK office.
    • Graduate Trainee visa: To undertake specialist graduate training in your employer’s UK office.
    • UK Ancestry visa: If you intend to work in the UK and your grandparents were born in the UK.
    • Government Authorised Exchange visa (Temporary Work): To take part in an approved training or work experience scheme.
    • High Potential Individual visa: For recent graduates from eligible top global universities.
    • Scale-up Worker visa: If you have a job offer from a UK business that is growing fast.

    Each visa offers different permissions in the UK; you will need a job offer, minimum salary and proof of English language level to apply for some work visas, and others cannot be extended or do not allow you to settle permanently.

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      For Business - Innovator Founder Visa

      The UK offers the Innovator Founder visa for people who want to set up and run a business that has been endorsed by an approved endorsing body. For this visa, your proposed business must be new, innovative, possible and scaleable, with planning for growth into national and international markets and an aim to create jobs. You must also submit evidence of your English language level when you apply.

      This visa will permit you to stay for three years; however, you will have to have a meeting with your endorsing body at 12 and 24 months to show that your business is progressing. If the endorsing body withdraws its approval, your visa may be cut short and you will have to find a new endorsement before your visa expires.

      Coming to UK for Family

      The UK has many different visas if you are travelling from Pakistan to join family in the UK for more than 6 months, including joining your partner or family, getting married or staying with your child while they’re studying at school.

      Family Visa

      When joining a partner or family member, if they have British citizenship or are settled in the UK you will need to apply for a Family visa, although you may be able to apply for a free family permit if they are a citizen of an EU country or some countries in Europe and have been in the UK before January 2021.

      If they are working or studying in the UK, you may be able to apply as a dependent on their UK visa.

      The UK Family visa options include:

      • UK Partner and Spouse visa
      • Fiance visa
      • Child Dependent visa
      • Adult dependent visa
      • PBS (points-based system) Dependent visa
      • Parent visa
      • Ancestry visa
      • Family Reunion visa
      • EUSS Family permit

      Marriage Visitor Visa

      You can apply for a UK Marriage Visitor visa if you and your partner are planning to get married or enter into a civil partnership in the UK. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for six months, cannot include any dependents and does not allow you to work, study or settle.

      If you are looking to apply for a UK visa which allows you to settle, the Fiance or Spouse visa may be more appropriate.

      Fiance Visa

      The Fiance visa is similar to the Marriage Visitor visa; it allows you to stay in the UK for six months as long as you are getting married or entering into a civil partnership during this period.

      This visa differs as it allows to you apply for a Spouse visa once you and your partner are married, as long as your partner fulfils the criteria as a person living in the UK under eligible immigration status.

      Parent of a Child Student Visa

      Some parents outside of the UK will send their children to independent schools in the UK to receive their education. The Parent of a Child Student visa allows parents of younger children to travel to the UK with them while their child is at school. This UK visa only applies to parents of children under 12 years old at independent day (not boarding) schools; otherwise, the Standard Visitor visa is available for six-month stays for parents of children over 12.

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        Coming to UK for Study

        People from Pakistan will need a visa to study in the UK; there are three depending on personal circumstances:

        • Short-Term Study visa: To study an English language course for up to 11 months.
        • Student visa: If you are planning to study in college or university.
        • Child Student visa: For children between 4 and 17 years old to study at an independent school.

        Settle Permanently in UK

        If you are looking to settle in the UK permanently with indefinite leave to remain, you will have to live lawfully in the UK for a certain minimum time period, alongside other requirements.

        Typically, you will have to spend five years in the UK under a form of settlement visa (for example, a Spouse visa or Skilled Worker visa), although there are certain routes where you can apply after two or three years.

        Once you are granted indefinite leave to remain, you will be able to live, work and study in the UK with no time limit or any restrictions and eventually apply for naturalisation and full citizenship.

        Seek Asylum in UK

        The Home Office offers humanitarian protection to people worldwide who are unable to live safely in their country free from persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or other protected social characteristics (for example, gender).

        Seeking asylum in the UK can be a complicated process; you must enter the country safely and legally to avoid deportation and try to gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible.

        Documents Required

        Each UK visa will request several baseline documents to prove your identity; however, you will also have to supply many additional documents which will depend on which visa you choose to apply for. The Home Office may also request additional documents beyond those outlined on the UK government website.

        Generally, you will have to submit:

        • A valid passport.
        • A Tuberculosis test certificate if you have lived in Pakistan for more than six months in the previous six months.
        • Evidence of your financial situation to show you can support yourself while in the UK.

        Some Work visas will require you to have a job offer from a UK employer, in which case, you will have to provide a copy of your job offer or employment contract and details of your sponsor.

        The Spouse and Family visa applications will request evidence of your relationship with the person in the UK and their UK visa or settlement information.

        Applications to study will need a letter of acceptance from a UK college or university and a letter of consent from parents for children under 18 years old.

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          Tuberculosis Test

          As part of your visa application, you will have to provide tuberculosis (TB) test results if you have lived in Pakistan (or another country that is on the UK TB list) for more than six months and have been living there within the last six months.

          A TB test certificate is needed if you’re applying for a UK Family visa or are a returning resident who has been away for over two years.

          Processing Time

          The estimated amount of time it can take to process your visa application will depend on the visa you apply for.

          The UK government website advises that most visas, for example, Work visas, Study visas and Visit visas, are estimated to take three weeks to process. Outliers to this three-week turn around are the family visas, where you can expect to wait 24 weeks, and the Innovator Founder visa if you are applying from inside the UK, which is eight weeks.

          Decisions on asylum are considered separately and take considerably longer to process. The average waiting time for an asylum application in 2021 was 20 months, and some people can wait up to five years.

          Visa Fees

          The cost of your visa will also depend on what visa you apply for. A short-term visa for up to six months can cost 42,712 PKR, whereas a long-term visa for up to five years can cost 286,357 PKR.

          How to Apply for a UK Visa

          UK visa applications can be made online. You can select your visa and check the required documents and eligibility criteria through the UK Home Office website. At this point, you will pay your visa fee and the health surcharge required from Pakistani nationals, and provide your documents and TB test certificate.

          Once your application has been submitted online, you will have to attend an interview at a local visa application centre to provide your biometric information (fingerprints and photograph). If your visa is more complex, you may be invited for an interview with an officer while at the application centre.

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            How Can Total Law Help?

            Selecting the correct visa, collating all required documents, and navigating foreign websites can be particularly complicated, and applicants are keen to make sure their visas are completed correctly to avoid receiving a negative decision and losing their visa fee. As the UK tightens its borders to legal migration, it is now more important than ever to make sure your application is completed diligently.

            Instructing a legal representative ensures you are supported along every step of your visa application process, whether you are seeking initial advice, would like someone to check your application, or want someone to complete the application forms on your behalf.

            Total Law are experts in immigration who offer a range of services from fast-track visa applications to appealing a negative visa decision and put every effort into achieving your immigration goals.

            To hear more about how we can help you, call us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us online, to speak to an immigration advisor.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      The healthcare surcharge must be paid by people applying for a visa from outside the UK to stay for more than six months, or by people who are applying from inside the UK to stay for any amount of time. Although this doesn’t apply for Visit visas or to remain in the UK permanently.

                      This amount is £470 per year for students and applicants under 18 years old at the time of application; this increases to £624 per year for all other visa applications.