UK Work Visas
Do you want to work in the UK? Find out more about how to get a work permit for the UK and the types of work visas that are available.
Our immigration lawyers can help you to obtain a UK work visa, for more information get in touch with our team today on 0333 305 9375.
Work in the UK
The UK has many opportunities for foreign nationals seeking work, however, before coming to work in the UK it’s important that you understand the UK’s immigration rules and that you legally have permission to work here.
All foreign nationals who do not have settled status are required to obtain a visa that permits them to work before they can start a job in the UK. Prior to Brexit EU nationals were able to work in the UK without a visa but freedom of movement has now ended and both EU and non-EU nationals are required to hold a valid work visa.
There are a range of UK Work Visas intended for foreign nationals who wish to come to the UK for work. As well as the range of work visas, there are also many other UK visas that permit you to work whilst in the country.
Types of UK work visas
There is a wide range of UK work visas that foreign nationals can apply for, they include long-term visas as well as temporary visas. The UK work visas include the:
- Skilled Worker Visa
- Minister of Religion Visa
- Sportsperson Visa
- Health and Care Worker Visa
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa
- Temporary Worker Visa
- Permitted Paid Engagement Visa
- Youth Mobility Scheme Visa
- Frontier Worker Permit
To be eligible for most visas you must have a job offer from a UK licenced sponsor employer and you will also need to meet other requirements such as minimum salary, financial and English language requirements.
The Youth Mobility Scheme is the only type of work visa that you can get UK entry clearance with without having a job offer in the UK. However, you could still work in the UK without getting a job offer prior to your arrival if you qualify for some of the other UK visas that grant you permission to work such as the Spouse Visa or Student Visa.
The Skilled Worker Visa
The Skilled Worker Visa is the most common type of UK work visa, it is a long-term visa for foreign nationals who can work in skilled occupations in the UK. The Skilled Worker Visa is valid for 5 years, can be extended after this time and can also be used as a route towards Indefinite Leave to Remain.
You could be eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa if:
- You have a job offer from a licensed UK employer
- You have a Certificate of Sponsorship from your employer
- Your job offer is for a role at the appropriate skill level
- You can demonstrate adequate knowledge of the English language
- You can meet the minimum salary requirement for the type of role you will be doing
- You have enough money to support yourself whilst in the UK
The Skilled Worker route recently replaced the Tier 2 Visa route. As well as the regular Skilled Worker Visa, there are also other categories of work visas that come under the Skilled Worker route, they include the:
- Health and Care Worker Visa – this is for foreign nationals with a job offer to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier or in the adult social care sector.
- Minister of Religion Visa – this is for those who plan to work full-time as a religious worker or religious missionary
- Sportsperson Visa – this is for elite sportspersons and qualified coaches who intend to work in a sporting role in the UK
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa – this is for foreign nationals who are being transferred to a UK branch of an overseas company
Temporary Worker Visa
If you plan to work in the UK for a short period of time then you could be eligible for a temporary work visa. There are several categories of temporary worker visas, they include the:
- Religious Worker Visa – for those who intend to work temporarily in a non-pastoral role, religious order or as a visiting religious worker.
- Charity Worker Visa – for those who intend to do unpaid voluntary work whilst in the UK
- International Agreement Worker Visa – for international workers who will temporarily be doing certain types of work such as work which is covered by an international law or treaty, work on behalf of a foreign government or work as a private servant.
- Government Authorised Exchange Visa – for foreign nationals coming to the UK to participate in a government-authorised exchange scheme who will share knowledge, experience and best practice.
- Creative Worker Visa – for someone who intends to come to the UK to work temporarily in one of the creative industries.
The Temporary Worker Visa category recently replaced the Tier 5 Visa category as part of the UK’s new points-based immigration system. The validity of the Temporary Worker Visa varies depending on the category that you have applied for and ranges from 6 months up to 2 years.
With a Temporary Worker Visa, you will be able to work in the UK in the job described on your Certificate of Sponsorship and you will usually also be permitted to study and take on a second job for up to 20 hours per week.
How to apply for a UK work visa
You can submit an application for a UK work visa by filling in the online form on the gov.uk website. You can usually make your application up to 3 months before the day you intend to start working in the UK.
As part of the application process for a UK work permit, you will need to prove your identity. You can do this by either scanning your identity documents on the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app or by attending an appointment at a visa application centre to have your biometric information taken, this is your photograph and fingerprints.
A key part of your UK work permit application is supporting documents. The documents that you will need to submit will vary depending on the type of work visa that you are applying for but you will need to provide a substantial portfolio of evidence to prove to the Home Office that you meet all of the requirements and that you score an adequate number of points on the UK points system.
How can Total Law help?
Applying for a UK work visa can be a complex process. You will need to meet strict requirements and must have a substantial portfolio of supporting documents to prove this, it can be difficult to know how to make a successful application.
Our immigration lawyers are highly experienced when it comes to UK work visa applications and can assist you throughout the application process. Our lawyers can assess whether you are eligible for any of the UK work visas and we can also offer you reliable legal advice about the best work visa routes available to you depending on your specific circumstances.
Once you have decided which type of work visa to apply for, our lawyers can help you to complete the application form, assist you with gathering your supporting documents and can even liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.
For more information about working in the UK as a foreign national, get in touch with our team of immigration experts today on 0333 305 9375.
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Frequently Asked Questions
You must apply online at the gov.uk website to get a UK work permit. There are many types of permits available. Usually, you will need to have a job offer in the UK to be eligible for a UK work permit, you will also need to satisfy other requirements before you apply, these will vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
Most UK work permits require you to have a job offer from a licensed sponsor in the UK. You may be able to get a work visa without a job offer if you are eligible for the Youth Mobility Scheme.
Another way to get a visa that allows you to work in the UK without a job offer is to apply for another type of visa that permits you to work in the UK. With a student visa, you are usually permitted to work for up to 20 hours a week. Partner Visa and Ancestry Visa holders are also permitted to work in the UK.
To get a work visa in the UK you will need to meet a certain number of requirements and score enough points on the points-based system for the type of visa you are applying for. Some of the requirements you will usually need to meet include:
- Having a job offer for a suitable job from a government-approved employer
- Meeting the general salary threshold
- Having enough funds to support yourself whilst in the UK
- Having a knowledge of the English language