How To Get A UK Work Visa
Working abroad can be a wonderful experience and one that teaches you many of life's lessons. However, before you set your sights on working in the UK, there are a number of hoops through which you may have to jump or else run the risk of the whole project falling flat. Here we look at a practical guide as to what you need to do before you travel, so that when you do, you will be able to focus on the work itself, rather than any of the inevitable red tape regarding your UK work visa.
Despite the recent Brexit vote, the UK currently remains a member of the EU. Whilst this may change in the future, currently the rules governing EU citizens, namely Article 50, mean that they can work in the UK without a visa, though their employers may need to see some evidence of eligibility such as a national passport. Croatian nationals may also have to apply for a registration certificate due to transitional arrangements that form part of their EU membership.
But what about none EU nationals?
Are you eligible for a UK work visa?
The exact process of obtaining a UK work visa actually differs from country to country and so before you even consider working in the UK, it is important to ensure that you are in fact eligible to do so.
Your eligibility may depend on the type of work that you are hoping to undertake, since different work fits into a tier-based system, with each tier corresponding to varying eligibility conditions. For applications prior to 6th April 2016 there was an additional points based system, which has since been replaced by UK NARIC.
- Tier One – Highly Skilled – investors, entrepreneurs, and recent graduates from UK Universities will fit into this tier. You will not actually need a job offer, just a certain score based on the points based system or NARIC.
- Tier 2 – Skilled – You will need an actual job offer and a certain points/NARIC score. This may include religious ministers, sportsmen or intra-company transfers.
- Tier 3 – Temporary Low Skilled – your country will need a returns arrangement with Britain, you will need a work sponsor, and you will not be able to apply for permanent residency. There is no language requirement but currently Tier 3 is indefinitely suspended.
- Tiers 4 and 5 – Covers students and temporary workers.
The UK work visa application form
Once you have checked whether or not you can apply, then you need to know what to do next. If your nationality is eligible, then you can apply for a visa on the Visa4Uk system.
In order to process an application on this site, you will need to have a registered account. The application form itself is only available in English and more importantly must be completed in English. There are certain countries that will require the form to be printed out and completed by hand. Supporting documentation that is to be filed with the application can however be provided in your native language.
Your form must be completed by you, and not on your behalf. Whilst you can get help, you have to sign it and are responsible for its contents. It is essential that you therefore understand what it is you are actually signing before you file the form, as there are serious penalties for false information, as can be seen below.
UK visa application centre
You will need to attend a visa application centre in person, provide fingerprints and facial recognition, and, depending on your country of origin, prove that you have been screened for tuberculosis.
Applications are generally decided within 10-15 days of the form being filed. They will not be decided upon immediately. An additional interview for clarification purposes may be required.
False information leading to a refused visa may lead to a ban from applying for 10 years, so you must ensure that it is fully correct and honest. However, a refusal for other reasons can be reviewed or appealed.
Like any process there are formalities. A failure to recognise and conform to these formalities may mean that your application is refused, and moreover may preclude you from applying again in the future. It is therefore imperative that you consider the application fully, have the requisite documentation and ensure that the answers are accurate and honest.
If you'd like to know more, check our UK visa resources here, which provide further information on eligibility and costs.