If your company is growing globally, bringing on the best talent means having to manage work visas. To do so successfully, you need a clear understanding of UK work visas and their requirements.
For instance, the main Skilled Worker Visa route requires that applicants accrue 70 points. To do so, they need a job offer from a licensed sponsor.
Understanding the Points-Based System for UK Work Visas
Non-EU citizens typically move to the UK to take up high-wage jobs through a point-based system. They are given points for their education, skills and work experience. And those who have enough can receive a UK visa to allow them to live and work in the country.
There are some exemptions to this system, such as the two-year Youth Mobility Scheme. That allows citizens of eight countries to travel to the UK and work for up to a year. Or the International Agreement Worker and Government Authorized Exchange worker routes. However, it is highly unlikely that low-wage workers will be allowed to migrate to the UK through these routes.
The new points-based system, which came into force in January 2021. Aims to reduce migration to the UK by prioritizing skilled workers. There are 50 points available to applicants for the Skilled Worker route. Of which 10 points are awarded for speaking English and having a job offer. The rest are awarded for educational qualifications, the job’s Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code. And whether or not it is listed on the Shortage Occupation List.
Types of UK Work Visas: Eligibility and Requirement
Whether your company is expanding into the UK or you have an employee who’s being transferred from another country. There are many different types of work visas that can be used to move individuals into the country. It’s important to understand which visa type is best suited for your individual circumstances. As the wrong choice can lead to delays and even denial of your application.
Some of the most common UK work visas include the Skilled Worker Visa and the Graduate Visa. The latter is for people who want to stay in the UK after finishing a degree. Such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The former is for people who have a job offer in an eligible occupation from a sponsor that has been approved by the Home Office.
There is also a Health and Care worker Visa for professionals who want to live and work in the UK to do a specific role in the NHS or an NHS supplier. This visa is cheaper than other UK work visas, and it doesn’t require a healthcare surcharge.
Key Factors for a Successful Application
If your company is expanding into the UK. It’s important to understand the different visa options for workers from around the world. G-P can help you to determine which tier and work visa route your employees need, from general UK work visas for skilled workers, to specialized routes for professionals and athletes, as well as a route for Commonwealth citizens with British ancestry.
One key factor for a successful UK work visa application is proving English proficiency. This is because the UK points-based system weighs your ability to speak and understand English highly. Having enough points in this category can earn you up to 70 of the required total of 140 points for your visa.
Another key factor is a confirmed job offer from your employer. Most UK work visas require a sponsored job offer from your employer to be granted, although there are some exceptions. The ‘High Potential Individual’ route, for example, enables graduates from top global universities to enter the UK without a specific job offer. Similarly, the ‘Scale-up’ route enables highly talented individuals to enter the UK with an offer of employment from a qualified scale-up business.
Sponsorship and Employer Responsibilities
Most non-UK citizens who want to work in the UK will need to have a sponsor license from their employer. Obtaining this isn’t as simple as it sounds, as applicants must score a minimum of 70 points in order to be approved for a visa. This includes mandatory points for speaking English at a required level, having a job offer by a licensed sponsor, and the role itself being middle-skilled or higher. The remaining points can come from a variety of characteristics including salary level, being a part of a shortage occupation and education qualifications.
The responsibilities of being a sponsor depend on the type of visa you’re applying for, but generally your business will need to have a sponsorship licence, be able to prove that it has enough resources to employ a sponsored worker and keep records of visa status. It’s also important that you have a system in place to track your sponsored workers’ status and ensure compliance with UK employment law.
Lastly, you’ll need to have a fast, cost-effective way to move money overseas – which we’ll show you how to do later in this guide using a Wise multi-currency account.
Applying for a UK Work Visa
There are a number of important steps involved in applying for a work visa in the UK. You will need to present a valid passport, a visa application form (which includes your biometric data), a medical certificate and evidence of funds sufficient for your initial stay in the UK. In addition, you will probably be required to take a tuberculosis test, especially if you are coming from an area with endemic transmission.
Depending on your occupation, you may be able to apply for a Tier 2 visa or the EU Settlement Scheme. The latter allows non-EEA citizens to live and work in the UK if they have a job with an employer licensed by the Home Office. The Tier 2 route also encompasses the Health and Care visa, which allows individuals to enter the UK to fill positions in certain shortage occupations (e.g. nurses).
The UK has a points-based system where applicants are assessed on a set of criteria in order to score points. Mandatory points are a part of this assessment, and tradeable points can be awarded in the form of qualifications, earnings, age, English language skills and more.
FAQs and Answers:
- FAQ: What is the Skilled Worker Visa, and how do I qualify for it?
- Answer: The Skilled Worker Visa is for individuals with a job offer in the UK. To qualify, you need a job from an approved sponsor, meet the required skill level, and have knowledge of the English language.
- FAQ: What is the Intra-Company Transfer Visa, and who can apply for it?
- Answer: The Intra-Company Transfer Visa is for employees of multinational companies transferring to a UK branch. Eligibility depends on the specific intra-company transfer route.
- FAQ: How are points allocated in the UK’s points-based system for work visas?
- Answer: Points are allocated based on factors such as job offer, skill level, salary, and English language proficiency. Meeting the minimum point requirement is essential for a successful application.
- FAQ: Can I switch to a UK work visa from another visa category while in the UK?
- Answer: In some cases, you can switch to a work visa from another visa category while in the UK. The eligibility criteria for switching visas may vary, so it’s important to check the specific requirements.
- FAQ: What are the sponsorship requirements for employers hiring foreign workers in the UK?
- Answer: Employers wishing to hire foreign workers must become licensed sponsors and meet certain sponsorship duties. Including providing a valid Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to the employee.
- FAQ: How long can I stay in the UK on a work visa, and can I extend it?
- Answer: The duration of your stay depends on the specific work visa category. Most work visas are initially granted for a specified period. And you can often apply for extensions if you meet the eligibility criteria.