UK Visas and Work Permits

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UK Work Visas, Permits and Migration

Expanding into a country or hiring a workforce abroad can lead your business to great profits, but unfamiliar laws and regulations can counteract your company’s goals and plans. At Bradford Jacobs, we want to eliminate this complicated part. By using our PEO-service we can arrange all needed visas and permits including the entire application process without your physical presence.

Few companies have these resources, or the time. We are experts in hiring staff, applying for work visas in the UK and ensuring employees meet UK work visa requirements with the correct documentation.

Our team is trained to research the latest information on UK visas and work permits and therefore, we created a guide to introduce you to the rules and requirements. By reading this guide you will get familiar with all the requirements so you or your employees can start working in the UK in no time.

UK Work Visa Permits

Applicants must have a confirmed job offer from a licensed UK employer who will act as sponsor, possess a Sponsorship Certificate issued by the employer and have passed a points-based assessment. The employer handles the procedure.

Obtaining a UK work visa involves meeting strict eligibility criteria, which may vary for different countries and can apply to high value workers as well as temporary employees and domestic staff under the tier system.

What are the types of UK Work Visas?

The points-based tier system assesses applicants, who must score a minimum number total, depending on the category of visa being applied for:

  • Tier 1: High Value Migrants
  • Tier 2: Skilled Workers
  • Tier 3: Unskilled Workers
  • Tier 4: Adult Students
  • Tier 5: Temporary Workers

We also advise on other routes into the UK. Commonwealth citizens with a British grandparent can apply for an ancestry visa. If an employee left the UK for over two years through ‘indefinite leave to remain’ (ILR) they may need only a returning resident visa to work. 

Applying for a Work Visa in the UK

Employees should apply three months before their start date, either via an application center or the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration Service. Applicants must check which tier of visa they need as evaluation and assessments can vary for each. Having only a visitors’ visa will not allow them to work.

Companies can onboard foreign employees into the UK, but various visa types depend on skills and qualifications, job offer, sponsorship and whether family travels with the worker.

No matter the type of Visa, an individual applying for a work visa requires: 

  • a valid passport or travel ID
  • two colored photographs taken in the last six months
  • proof of financial means
  • proof of accommodation
  • travel itinerary
  • test results from a tuberculosis test
  • biometric information
  • a sponsor confirmation from their UK employer
  • proof of English language ability
  • proof of healthcare
  • confirmation of receiving a minimum wage
  • certified translations of diplomas and/or certificates

Processing of a visa takes at least 3 weeks.

Make Bradford Jacobs your partner in applying for work visas in the UK and sidestep issues which will eat up the time you should be spending on advancing business expansion. UK work visa requirements are complex. Don’t risk mistakes that could cost time and money.

How much is a United Kingdom Work Visa?

UK work visa costs depend on the category and length of stay. 

A three-year Tier 2 (General) visa, for example, costs £575. Visa costs also depend on the applicant’s nationality. Since April 2018, Tier 1 fees vary from £608 to £1,021 - and up to £1,220 for a Tier 2 employee with a sponsorship letter for more than three years.

Work Visa UK

Individuals moving to the United Kingdom to work need a work visa as part of the UK Points Based System before they arrive to take up their post. Work visa categories cover various tiers of occupations. From January 1 2021, these requirements will also cover EU citizens being recruited by UK companies.

Business Visa UK

UK Business Visas include Innovator, Start-Up, Entrepreneur and Exceptional Talent categories among others, including the Standard Visitor Visa for business people, which allows short-term visits to attend meetings, negotiations, trade fairs and conferences.

UK Visa for EU Citizens

Before January 1 2021, European nationals were permitted to live in the UK are, with certain exceptions, still entitled to work without obtaining a permit or visa. European Economic Area (EEA - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway plus Switzerland) nationals and family members could be employed, self-employed or start their own business.

Post-Brexit, EU and EEA nationals can continue to visit the UK for holidays and short-term trips (no more than 90 days) without a visa by showing a valid passport or national identity card. However, from October 2021, individuals may only be able to enter the UK with a valid passport. 

For work or studying, EU Citizens now require a valid visa and/or permit, with the application process the same as written above.

UK Visa for USA Citizens

USA citizens visiting up to six months do not need a visa for tourist or business purposes. A valid USA passport is required. Longer trips need to qualify for a visa; family ties, established business connections or links with a Commonwealth country such as Canada may help. USA nationals seeking work must have a valid passport and a UK work visa. Green Card holders or USA residents may need a visa depending on their country of citizenship and reason for travel.

UK Visa for Canadian Citizens

Three visa types permit Canadian citizens to work in the UK – Youth Mobility Scheme, Ancestry and General Work Visas. The Ancestry Visa is available to Canadians aged 17-plus who have a grandparent born in the UK (or in Ireland before 1922). The General Work Visa is awarded on a points’ basis and can only be applied for after being offered a skilled job by an employer registered as a licensed sponsor.

UK Visa for Chinese Citizens

Since January 2016 Chinese nationals have been able to apply for a two-year multiple-entry visa, replacing the previous six-month maximum stay. Applicants still need to satisfy various immigration rules, such as they intend to return to China and have sufficient funds for their stay. The visa application has to be meticulously correct and professionally presented. Visas are not required for stays of up to six months.

Work with Bradford Jacobs PEO services

Bradford Jacobs are the global authority on UK work visa requirements and the vital link to solving complex visa issues. Mistakes will be costly to your business plans so don’t take the risk. Contact us today for more information.