Working in the United Kingdom as a foreigner requires obtaining the appropriate visa.
Here are the various visa types that allow you to live and work in the UK:
Tier 1 (Highly Skilled Worker) Visa
The Tier 1 (Highly Skilled Worker) visa is designed for highly skilled individuals who wish to live and work in the UK for up to five years, with the possibility of extension.
Previously, this visa did not require a job offer, but that requirement was removed in 2016.
After five years, you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), which grants permanent residency in the UK.
The Tier 1 visa offers several advantages, including the freedom to work for any UK employer, the ability to bring family members, and the opportunity to apply for permanent residency.
To be eligible for a Tier 1 visa, you must earn sufficient points in the UK Points-Based System. Points are awarded based on factors such as age, education, work experience, English language proficiency, and available funds for maintenance.
You can apply for a Tier 1 visa online through the UK government’s Visa and Immigration website.
The application requires personal information, documentation of qualifications and experience, also, evidence of financial stability.
Tier 2 (General) Visa
It allows individuals to work in the UK for a UK-based employer who holds a Certificate of Sponsorship.
The Tier 2 (General) visa can be valid for up to five years and 14 days, or the duration specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship.
Extensions are possible if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
A plus is that spouses and partners with dependent children can accompany Tier 2, visa holders.
To be eligible, you must have a job offer from a UK employer who possesses a Certificate of Sponsorship.
The job must be at a skill level equivalent to National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 6 or higher.
Meeting the English language and maintenance requirements is also necessary.
Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa
The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa is suitable for individuals coming to the UK temporarily to work or engage in non-economic activities such as volunteering, charity work, or sports-related endeavours. It is typically valid for one or two years.
The Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) visa includes five distinct categories such as:
• Creative and Sporting: For sportspeople, entertainers, or creative artists.
• Charity Worker: For individuals undertaking voluntary work for a charity.
• Religious Worker: For religious workers.
• Government Authorized Exchange: For work experience, training, research, or fellowships through an approved exchange scheme.
• International Agreement: For individuals under international agreements or diplomatic staff.
Depending on the category, the Tier 5 visa allows family members to accompany applicants. However, some categories do not permit dependents.
Eligibility criteria vary depending on the specific Tier 5 category. Generally, you need a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a UK employer or organization, English language proficiency, and sufficient funds for maintenance.
Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) Visa
It allows them to live and work in the UK for up to two years. However, with few restrictions.
The YMS visa has certain restrictions, including a two-year limit with no extension. No option to switch to another visa category, and limitations on working as a professional sportsperson, doctor, or dentist in training.
It also does not grant access to public funds, and dependents cannot accompany the visa holder.
To qualify for the YMS visa, you must be a citizen of a participating country. Aged between 18 and 30 at the time of application.
You must have sufficient savings in your bank account, and hold a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from your home country’s government (except for citizens of Hong Kong and South Korea).
How do I determine which visa to apply for?
The appropriate visa depends on factors such as your job offer, qualifications, and work experience. You can use the UK government’s Visa and Immigration website to find the visa that suits your circumstances.
Can I work in the UK without a visa?
In most cases, a visa is required to work in the UK as a foreigner. However, there are exceptions for specific types of work and certain nationalities. It is advisable to consult UK immigration authorities to determine your eligibility.
The specific type of UK work visa you should apply for depends on your unique situation and the nature of your employment. It is recommended to refer to the provided websites for detailed information, as this summary serves as an overview. Good luck with your application!