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UK Business Visa For Emiratis

Citizens from the United Arab Emirates will need a valid business visa to legally work in the UK, either for themselves or for an employer.

Nationals of the United Arab Emirates need to ensure they’re applying for the appropriate business visa class in order for their visa application to be accepted. Total Law’s team of specialist immigration solicitors work with both individuals and businesses daily to have such applications approved. Call us on 0333 305 9375 to speak to our British office for guidance.

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    UK Business Visas: An Overview

    Anyone hoping to work in the UK who is not a citizen of Great Britain or Ireland must obtain an appropriate visa to do so legally. There are different types of business visa, each designed for different circumstances and professions.

    If an employer is sponsoring an employee to travel to the UK to work for them, they must help them complete the UK visa application by supplying a valid Certificate of Sponsorship and detailing their intended job role to UK immigration authorities. In most cases, employers will pay the visa application fee for the employee, too.

    While there is a great deal of business travel to and from Dubai for British businesses, it should be noted that Emirati citizens require a visa even for leisure travel to the UK – and so there is no way for them to enter the country without valid travel permissions. It is therefore recommended that specialist legal advice, such as that from Total Law, is sought. We are contactable on 0333 305 9375 and can help with your visa application or appeal no matter how complex the situation.

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    Types of UK Business Visas

    There are numerous different classes of visa for those arriving in the UK for professional purposes. These include:

    Standard Visitor Visa (Business)

    The Standard Visitor Visa for the UK allows for stays of up to six months in duration and can cover the visa holder carrying out ‘permitted paid engagements’ for professional purposes. These are specified as:

    • Attending interviews, conferences (including trade fairs), seminars and meetings
    • Negotiating and signing deals or contracts
    • Attending work-related training (if not available in the UAE)
    • Giving talks or presentations (as long as not for profit)
    • Carrying out site inspections or visits
    • Delivering training or sharing knowledge with UK-based employees of your employer
    • Overseeing the delivery of goods and/or services to your employer provided by a UK-based business
    • Carrying out the contracted obligations on an IT software/hardware contract with a UK-based business (such as installing, dismantling, repairing, servicing or advising on equipment).

    Certain stipulated further paid engagements are permitted for those employed as an archaeologist; artist, entertainer or musician (or member of their production team/tour staff/security); bodyguard; camera operator (or any member of a film crew); driver; internal business auditor; journalist; lawyer (or expert witness called by the British Department of Justice); market researcher; PA; pilot or cabin crew member; professor from an academic institution; religious worker; scientist; sportsperson (or sports official); translator or interpreter.

    Eligible applicants from Dubai and the UAE for a Standard Visitor Visa for Business will need to fit the eligibility criteria for the Standard Visitor Visa, but may need to provide additional information pertaining to their profession.

    Skilled Worker Visa

    The Skilled Worker Visa was previously known as the Tier 2 (General) Work Visa; but holds more specific criteria than its predecessor. This allows for employees of Home Office approved employers to enter the UK to work for up to five years before renewal.

    The employer of the visa applicant must be specifically listed by the Home Office as ‘approved’ for international talent recruitment, and the employer must provide a Certificate of Sponsorship for their employee. The role which the visa holder will carry out must be on the list of eligible occupations and must be paid a minimum salary.

    Visa holders of the Skilled Worker Visa may apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain (settlement) in the UK at the end of their five year tenure, providing they remain eligible.

    Health and Care Worker Visa

    The Health and Care Worker Visa is designed to attract medical and care professionals to the UK for work. To qualify for this visa class, the applicant must:

    • Be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
    • Work in an eligible health or social care job related to their qualification
    • Work for the UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
    • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship from the employer detailing the role the applicant has been offered in the UK
    • Be paid a minimum salary for the role being completed.

    The Health and Care Worker Visa allows the holder to stay in the UK for up to five years, after which time they may apply for Indefinite Leave To Remain.

    High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa

    The HPI Visa is open to individuals who have recently graduated with a degree-level, PhD or doctoral level qualification from a university or academic institution ranking in the UK’s eligible university listing within the last five years. This visa allows for the individual to job hunt for a role with a UK business and usually lasts two years but can last three for higher level qualifications.

    The application must be filed by an individual rather than a business and does not provide any pathway for settlement in the United Kingdom.

    Temporary/Seasonal Worker Visa

    Overseas workers looking to enter the UK for temporary employment may do so through a Temporary Worker Visa. This visa class allows for stays up to six months for workers in either the horticulture or poultry sectors. A Seasonal Visa for horticulture can be applied for at any time of the year but for poultry must be applied for by 15th November annually.

    Seasonal Workers are primarily fruit, vegetable and flower pickers. Applicants must be sponsored by an employer and must have a job offer in place.

    Innovator Founder Visa

    The Innovator Founder Visa provides a route into the UK for entrepreneurs looking to establish their own business on British soil. The business in question must not yet exist and must be endorsed as ‘innovative’ by a trade body approved by the Home Office.

    Not all businesses will be considered eligible for this visa class and so it is critical that the applicant is able to demonstrate the innovation, viability and scalability of their company in order to be accepted.

    Innovator Founder Visas allow for stays up to three years.

    Global Business Mobility Visa

    Global Business Mobility Visas allow for the holders to continue working for their overseas employer but in the UK – either at a UK-based branch or office, or on a particular mission or project. There are various classes of Global Business Mobility Visa including permissions specifically for specialist workers, domestic workers, graduate trainees, those on secondment roles and those helping their employer expand into the UK.

    The Global Business Mobility Visa replaced the previous Intra-company Transfer Visa (ICT Visa). The duration of stay is dependent upon the job being carried out, but can last up to five years.

    Explore the Business Visa pathways in the UK for UAE nationals. Contact our experts today. Contact Us

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      Eligibility criteria for UK Business Visas

      To apply for a British Business Visa, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria. This is dependent on the role they are carrying out and the employer they work for. However, the general visa requirements are as follows:

      • The applicant must hold a valid Emirati passport
      • The applicant must be aged 18 or over
      • The applicant must be able to demonstrate a sufficient command of the English language
      • The applicant must already have a job offer in place from an eligible sponsoring employer (except for an HPI Visa)
      • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial means to support themselves while in the UK and place no claim on benefits paid from state funds
      • (In some cases) The applicant’s role must be paid a minimum salary
      • (In some cases) The applicant must have an endorsed and eligible business plan
      • (In some cases) The applicant must be able to demonstrate their eligible qualifications.

      The exact criteria for eligibility varies dependent on the visa type being applied for. For more information on your eligibility, speak to Total Law on 0333 305 9375.

      UK Business Visa Application Process


      The exact process to apply for a visa depends on what the application will be in the UK for specifically; which will also dictate which visa type is most appropriate. However, the following can be considered a general outline of the typical visa application process.

      Receive job offer

      Most UK Business Visas require applicants to be in receipt of a valid and eligible job offer from an employer, whether the firm itself is based in the UAE or UK. This should be in writing and detail the role and salary, as well as information on why it needs to be based in the UK.

      If the employer is to provide a Certificate of Sponsorship, it should also be filed at this time.

      Collate supporting documents and evidence

      The applicant must ensure that they have all appropriate supporting documentation to evidence their eligibility for the visa. This includes a valid UAE passport and identification as well as details of their home address, finances, education and profession.

      Complete online visa application form

      The online application form is completed on the GOV.UK website and can be completed by either employee or employer, dependent on preference. The visa fee is paid when the form is filed; again, who pays this is to be determined between parties.

      Attend UKVCAS appointment

      Once the online application form has been filed and the UK immigration authorities notified of the application, the applicant should attend a pre-booked appointment at their nearest UKVCAS (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service) office. At this appointment they will provide copies of their identification alongside biometric information including a photograph and fingerprints.

      Await visa decision

      Both employer and employee will be notified of the decision to grant or refuse the visa in writing. In some cases employers can pay for an expedited decision making process and so this period could last anything from a few days to weeks.

      Travel from the UAE to the UK

      If the visa is granted, the holder may travel to the UK and begin work as soon as it is valid.

      UK Business Visa application fees

      An application fee is associated with all British visa applications. As of March 2024, these fees are:

      • Standard Visitor Visa (Business) – £115
      • Skilled Worker Visa – £719-£1,500
      • Health and Care Worker Visa – £284-£551
      • Temporary/Seasonal Worker Visa – £298
      • HPI Visa – £822
      • Innovator Founder Visa – £1,191
      • Global Business Mobility Visa – £719-£1,500.

      These fees cover only the processing of a visa application and no other endorsements or accreditations.

      Applying for a Business Visa can be complex. Reach out to us for a hassle-free experience. Contact Us

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        How Can Total Law Help?

        Total Law works with businesses and individuals to help them obtain the correct visas and travel permissions to enter the UK. Our team of specialist immigration lawyers communicate without jargon and work around the clock to help ease your journey to Great Britain. Whether it’s helping one person with their application form or filing them en masse for corporations, our team approach every job individually to help receive the best possible outcome.

        Call our UK office on 0333 305 9375 now to discuss your circumstances.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  Emirati citizens are expected to provide a relevant language certificate as proof of their command of the English language. This is usually a CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) qualification.

                  The exact qualifying requirements for applicants are dependent on the visa being applied for – but not all require specific qualifications. Speak to a Total Law advisor to learn more: call 0333 305 9375.

                  There are eight UKVCAS centres in the UAE, each open different days and times (subject to change during Ramadan). These can be found at Abu Dhabi city centre, Al Ain, Dubai, the Radisson Blu Abu Dhabi, the Radisson Blue Ajman, the Radisson Damac, the Radisson Red DSO and Sharjah PAC.