Most employment routes are now governed by the Points Based Visa System (PBS). The rules are complex and it is, therefore, vital that you consult a specialist immigration solicitor for legal advice and information before applying to work in the UK.
We also have considerable experience advising sole representatives of overseas companies, whose applications are considered outside the PBS scheme.
How do I apply to work in the UK?
There are some categories of worker who may seek entry to work in the UK outside the Points Based System; for example sole representatives of overseas companies or news agencies, or domestic workers in diplomatic households. However, the majority of foreign workers fall to be considered under Tiers 2 & 5 of the PBS.
The Points Based System is intended for foreign (non-EEA) nationals who wish to work in the UK. Since its introduction, the system has been altered to meet changing economic conditions following the global economic downturn. It is governed by immigration rules, appendices to those rules and published policy guidance, and is split into five tiers. Those tiers are:
- Tier 1 Visa is for entrepreneurs, investors and high-value migrants
- Tier 2 Visa is for skilled workers, ministers of religion and sportspeople
- Tier 3 Visa is currently suspended
- Tier 4 Visa is for students with a place at independent school, college or university
- Tier 5 Visa is for temporary creative and sporting workers, charity workers, religious workers
Tier 2 (General) Visa
A Tier 2 visa is available for skilled workers based outside of the EEA that have been offered a position from an eligible UK company via a sponsor licence. Alternatively, you may be able to eligible for a Tier 2 visa if you have a skill which is deemed to be in short supply by the UK government, if you’re being relocated by your current employer or if you’re a Minister of Religion or Sportsperson.
If you are granted a skilled worker visa, you are eligible to remain in the UK up to 5 years. You may be eligible to settle in the UK at this point, or continue in Tier 2 employment for a further year.
Different rules apply depending on whether you are abroad, or already in the UK in another immigration category. Latitude’s specialist business lawyers can advise whether your application is subject to the government’s annual cap on restricted certificates of sponsorship, and how best to deal with the issues this raises.
Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) Visa
This route is for those already employed by a sponsoring business overseas, who are transferring to take up a role with the same company’s UK office. If moving long-term you must have been employed by the company for at least 12 months outside the UK. This category does not lead to settlement, and is restricted to a maximum of 5 years for long-term transferees. Less onerous requirements exist for graduate trainees whom an employer wishes to transfer to the UK to gain experience here for up to 12 months.
How we can help
Latitude Law has advised foreign workers and families on the Points Based System since its introduction in 2008, and our immigration lawyers have acquired a particular in-depth knowledge of Tier 2 Visas. We advise a wide range of companies in relation to their overseas workers and work with you to identify the tier which best suits your circumstances. Our lawyers help to prepare and review your application to ensure it’s completed correctly and that you’ve gathered the right supporting documentation.
We can advise employers and prospective workers on the challenges involved in this increasingly complex area of immigration law.
Why choose us?
Our aim is to give you the best chance of successfully securing your work visa so you can be employed in the UK. We have helped many other migrant workers successfully through the Points Based System and pride ourselves on the efficiency of our processes. We aim to be responsive, and proactive in the pursuit of your case.
We are known for going that extra mile to ensure clients are successful in their endeavours whilst maintaining professionalism and ethical standards at all times. Our team is friendly and approachable and are always willing to answer any questions you might have.
We can meet you in our London, Liverpool or Manchester offices or take your instructions via telephone or video conference.