A UK visa is the authorization document that gives citizens of the world the right to enter, stay temporarily or live forever in the territory of the United Kingdom. A visa is usually a stamp you receive in your passport or a document issued by a UK consulate or embassy in your country of residence.
If you are issued a visa, it means that you are eligible to enter the UK and that you meet the requirements of the particular visa you have been granted. There are several reasons why people want to apply for a UK visa, such as:
- Working and doing business
- For short stays and tourism
- To join family members who are already in the UK
- To transit through the UK to another country
- o live permanently
- As a refugee or as a person in need of humanitarian protection
- As a stateless person
- Like someone who needs a residence permit
Types of work visas in the UK
The UK’s main immigration route is through the Points-Based System (PBS). First, migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) apply for one of 5 tiers based on their desire to work, study, invest or train in the country. They must pass a points-based assessment focusing on the conditions, rights and entry requirements for each level. Applicants must obtain sufficient points based on age, qualifications, language, earnings and funds to gain permission to enter or remain in the UK.
All 5 levels include certain visas:
Tier 1: These visas are intended for highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors and graduate students living outside the European Union (EU) and EEA. These candidates do not need a job offer to apply.
Tier 2: Skilled workers, professional sportspeople and members of the clergy from outside the EEA may apply for a visa within Tier 2 when they have a job offer and can fill gaps within the country’s workforce. The Skilled Worker Visa recently replaced the Tier 2 Visa.
Tier 3: Tier 3 visas were intended for low-skilled workers providing temporary work. However, the government decided not to accept immigrants from third countries for level 3 positions and has since removed these visas.
Tier 4: Students over the age of 16 from countries outside the EEA should apply for a Tier 4 visa if they wish to study at a school, college or university in the country.
Level 5: This category has 6 sub-levels of temporary workers relating to creative and sporting positions, charities, religious workers and young people working in the UK during working holidays.
Requirements for obtaining work visas in the UK
The requirements for a UK work visa vary depending on the level and visa your employees need. Tier 2 includes most long-term visas, with the exception of the special talents mentioned in Tier 1. The Tier 2 UK General Work Visa is the most common for expanding businesses, as it is for people at from outside the EEA and Switzerland who have a job vacancy in the UK.
All applicants for a general work visa must have an authorized employer or sponsor. While requirements vary based on the type of work permit, the most common include:
- An application form
- 2 color photographs taken within the last 6 months
- A valid passport
- Evidence of financial means to cover living costs in the UK
- Proof of accommodation
- Detailed travel itinerary
- Tuberculosis test results
- Biometric information
- A visa invitation letter if the individual is staying with a friend or family member
- I paid the UK visa fees
- Certified translations of any document other than English or Welsh
Who needs a UK visa?
Citizens of the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Commonwealth countries are not required to apply for a UK visa before entering the UK. For a full list of countries whose citizens require a visa to the UK, visit this page.
How to apply for a UK visa?
The UK visa application process depends a lot on the type of visa you are applying for. Especially if your visa type belongs to one of the points system categories. Although most of the requirements are the same for each category, the way they are evaluated in the system is different. There are also additional requirements that vary from category to category.
When should I apply for a UK visa?
You can apply for a UK visa at the earliest three months before your intended travel date here. However, please note that processing your visa application may take up to three weeks. Apply early, so you can give the consulate enough time to process your visa.
What documents are required for a UK visa?
There are some standard UK visa requirements that every applicant must meet. These requirements vary based on the type of visa and the nationality of the applicant.
To qualify for a UK work visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification and two years of professional experience.
- Must have a valid job posting from an authorized home office sponsor. The job offer must meet the required language level: RFQ three or above (A level and equivalent)
- The candidate must have at least a B1 level of English in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
- The general salary limit for entry-level candidates is £20,800 and for experienced candidates it is £30,000. So it would be better to fall into this category.
- To make sure you know which visa to choose, here is the list of different types of work visas.
DOCUMENTS THAT MUST BE SUBMITTED
To apply for a skilled worker visa in the UK you will need the following documents:
- The applicant’s Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) reference number.
- The name and address of the employer.
- Employer’s guarantee license number.
- Pass the English test result to demonstrate proficiency in English.
- A valid passport or other acceptable valid document showing the applicant’s nationality and identity.
- The annual salary
- The Labor Occupational Code.
How to apply for a skilled worker visa in the UK
The process of applying for a skilled worker visa from outside the UK is completed online on the Home Office website. You will be able to complete and submit your application once you receive the job offer, certificate of sponsorship, and supporting information listed above. If necessary, you can complete part of the application and save your progress, allowing you to complete the process later.
The application phases are as follows:
- Check your eligibility for a skilled worker visa
- Secure a job offer from an authorized sponsor in the UK
- Receive your certificate of sponsorship from your UK employer
- Prepare the necessary documents to prove your eligibility for a skilled worker visa
- Complete the application form online: The form you will need to complete depends on whether you are applying from outside the UK or whether you are switching from a different visa to the UK.
- Pay the registration fee, biometric fee and health surcharge (see below).
- Upload all documents necessary to support your request.
- Schedule a biometric appointment to have your fingerprints and photo taken.
You can expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks of the date of your application if made outside the UK. If further information is required to support your application, you will be contacted by UKVI.
Changing employers with worker visa
If you hold a skilled worker visa and wish to change employers, you will need to apply for a new visa. This is the case if you want:
- Change employer
- Change occupation
- Change profession code
Moving from an occupation on the Shortage Occupation List to an occupation not on the list
Assuming your current work visa is still valid, you will be able to apply from the UK and continue to live and work here until a decision is made by the Home Office.
You will also need to apply for a new visa if you take on a second role with a different employer in a different profession.
Your application to change jobs or employers can be made up to 3 months before the start date of your new role. It is important to apply as soon as possible as it may take up to 8 weeks to receive a decision on your application. You should not start working for your new employer until you have received a positive decision on your application.
For more information, visit our article Changing Employers with a Skilled Worker Visa.
OTHER IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS YOU NEED
WELL DRAFTED CV
Most applications require a resume or CV. Here you can list your personal contact information, recent applicable careers, any skills specific to your profession, letters of recommendation from previous employers, and your educational experience.
If you have a UK work permit from India, you will be favored by many employers. Please note that individual applications may vary depending on the type of job. For example, if you’re applying to be a writer, you can also submit writing samples.
Now coming to the fees, the cost of a UK visa application depends on the type of UK visa you need to obtain to enter the UK. Let’s see what the requested rate is:
The cost of a UK visa application depends on the type of visa needed to enter the UK. The UK Visas and Immigration Service collects fees from applicants to cover the administrative costs of processing visa applications. If you are from India, UK work visa costs for Indians will be within the following ranges:
- Six month short term visa: varies between INR (10,000-20,000)
- Two year long term visa: varies between INR (34k-40k)
- Five-year visa: varies between INR (60,000-70,000)
- Ten-year long-term visa: varies between INR (70,000-80,000)
In order to encourage the mobility of young people Visa UK from India, the British and Indian governments have signed a new Immigration and Mobility Partnership, which promises to develop a young professionals plan to enable graduates aged between 18 and 30 years old or applicants with comparable work experience in this age range to obtain a two-year visa. This will, consequently, motivate youth mobility to a large extent.
Potential candidates should carefully analyze each requirement before making the final decision and hence in such scenarios professional help is a must.
Why seek professional help when applying for a work visa?
Every year, many applicants from around the world compete to obtain work permits in the UK, so it is vital that you seek qualified legal assistance to ensure your application package has the best chance of being accepted. Missing or incorrect information can lead to a failed bid, which can be heartbreaking. If your application is rejected, your case will be permanently recorded in the UK immigration database. So it’s essential to get it right the first time!