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What kind of visa do I need to work in the UK?

What is a work visa?

If you wish to come to the UK to work, to invest, to start a business and pursue your career, then you may want to consider a work visa. The visa you need to apply for will depend on your age, English language ability, qualifications, previous and future salary, work experience and maintenance funds. In some cases, your work visa can also lead to settlement in the UK giving you permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain.


What types of working visa are there?

The UK Employment Visas are categorised in four main groups, as follows:

  1. Short-Term work visas

  2. Long-term work visas

  3. Investor, business development and talent visas

  4. Other work visas

Short-term work visas for the UK


The UK short-term work visas are all part of the Tier 5 Visas, part of the UK Point Based System. The main categories of these visas, also know as the UK Temporary Worker Visas, are as follows:

  • UK Charity Worker Visa (Tier 5) - If you wish to do unpaid voluntary work for a charity in the UK can apply for this visa. A certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer is required.

  • UK Creative and Sporting Visa (Tier 5) - If you have been offered work in the UK as a sports person or creative worker, you can apply for this visa. The main criteria include the possession of a certificate of sponsorship from a licensed employer in UK.

  • UK Government Authorized Exchange Visa (Tier 5) - You can apply for this visa if you want to come to the UK for experience or to do training, an Overseas Government Language Program, research, or a fellowship through an approved government authorized exchange scheme.

  • UK International Agreement Visa (Tier 5) - If you want to move to the UK for a short-term in order to do religious work, such as preaching or working in a religious order, you can apply for this visa.

  • UK Seasonal Worker Visa (Tier 5) - You can apply for a Seasonal work visa if you want to travel to the UK and do farm work for up to 6 months

  • UK Youth Mobility Scheme Visa (Tier 5) - A visa for persons who have certain types of British Nationality pr are from certain countries, between the age of 18 to 30.


Long-term work visas for the UK


The UK long-term work visas are all part of the Tier 2 Visas, part of the UK Point Based System. The main categories of the UK long-term work visas are as follows:


  • Tier 2 General UK work Visa - This visa is for those who live outside the EEA and Switzerland who have gotten a job offer in the UK. The applicant must be employed by licensed sponsor in order to be able to apply.

  • Tier 2 UK intra-company Transfer Visa - You can apply for this visa if you have an overseas employer has offered a role in a UK branch of the organisation

  • Tier 2 UK Minister of Religion Visa - A visa for non-EEA and Switzerland nationals who have been offered a job in the UK within a faith community

  • Tier 2 UK Sportsperson visa - Elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who has been recognised by their sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of their profession internationally, can apply for this visa.


Investor, business development and talent visas


The UK has established several visa types for foreign investors, business developers and talented people. There are several UK visas for these categories, as listed below:

  • UK Innovator visa - This is a visa for someone who wants to set up a business in the United Kingdom. Endorsement by an authorised body is a must

  • UK Start-up visa - You can apply for this visa if you wish to set up a business in the United Kingdom.

  • UK Global Talent Visa - If you work in a qualifying field and have been endorsed as a recognised leader or an emerging leader, you can apply for this visa.

  • UK Graduate Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1) - Graduates officially endorsed of having a genuine and credible business idea should apply for this UK work visa

  • UK Investor visa (Tier 1) - This is a visa for investors that went to invest £2,000,000 or more in the UK


Other United Kingdom work visas

  • UK ancestry visa - You can apply for this visa if you're a Commonwealth citizen and can prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK. Successful application of this visa permits you to get a job in the UK.

  • Domestic Workers in a Private Household UK visa - Domestic worker in a private household that wish to visit the UK with their employer can apply for this visa

  • Representative of an Overseas Business UK Visa - You can apply for this visa if you are the sole representative of an overseas company planning to set up a UK branch. Employees of overseas media posted on a long-term assignment to the UK are also eligible.

  • Turkish Businessperson UK visa - This visa is for Turkish nationals who want to move to the UK to start a new business or to help run an already established business.

  • Turkish Worker UK visa - This visa is for Turkish nationals who have worked in the UK for at least one year as the spouse of a Briton or a settled person


Can I settle in the UK on a work visa?

After working continuously in the UK under a Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa, (or with specified variations of working visas) you may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK after 5 years.


Find out more about indefinite leave to remain here.


 
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