Apply for a UK Work Visa

Are you looking to work in the UK? Our immigration lawyers are experts in processing visas across all employment categories.

Some employment routes are governed by the Points Based Immigration System (PBIS). The rules can be 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.

This new Skilled Worker visa route is a rebrand of the Tier 2 general visa, and offers the ability to be supported by an employer or other sponsoring organisation. There is also an Intra-Company Transfer visa available if you are moving internationally between your employer’s offices.

We also have considerable experience advising sole representatives of overseas companies, whose applications are considered outside the PBIS scheme.

EU Settlement Scheme for European immigrants

Please note: you do not need to apply for a work visa if you moved to the UK before 1st January 2021 if you immigrated from the EU or the following countries:

  • Switzerland
  • Norway
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein

You may instead apply for the free EU Settlement scheme. To see if you apply, call our specialist immigration lawyers now on 0044 161 234 6800 for our Manchester office, or 0044 203 752 6620 for our London office.

How do I apply to work in the UK?

There are numerous visa routes under the Immigration Rules which allow applicants to enter the UK for the purpose of work:

You must also be sponsored by a company or organisation based in the UK and possess a certificate stating this, and they must have paid the Immigration Skills Charge.

Furthermore, you and your situation must adhere to the following list of requirements:

  • You must be at least aged 18
  • Your job must be of an appropriate level and a valid vacancy
  • Your salary must be equal to or exceed the ‘going rate’ for your industry and position
  • You are proficient with the English language and can show it (CEFR Level B1 at least)
  • You can sustain yourself and your family without needing public or government funding
  • Your criminal record is available to see, as this may affect your ability to immigrate
  • You have a valid TB certification, if necessary

If you are unsure about any of these requirements, contact our expert immigration solicitors now.

Skilled Worker Visa

A Skilled Worker visa is available for skilled workers that have been offered a position by an eligible UK company which is a registered sponsor.

There are various requirements that must be met for this visa, relating to the job you will undertake, the salary you will be paid, your English ability and your ability to maintain yourself during your stay.

If you are granted a Skilled Worker visa, you are eligible to remain in the UK for up to 5 years. You may be eligible to settle in the UK at this point.

The requirements for this visa are complex and therefore you should seek advice from an immigration specialist before you proceed with an application.

Latitude Law’s business immigration lawyers can advise you of the requirements specifically relating to you, and ensure that the conditions of your employment offer are suitable to meet the Immigration Rules.

If you would like to extend your UK Skilled Work visa, you can apply to do this if you are in the same job as you were when you first successfully applied, you are in the same occupation code, or you are still working for the same employer that sponsored your application.

If you are moving jobs, your new employer must be licensed.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa (discontinued)

The intra-company transfer route (ICT) has now been retired from use. In its place, you may be eligible to apply for the Global Mobility Visa. The visas available under this route include:


Application refusal

The process of applying for a visa is not an easy one, and there are many important factors to consider. If your application has been refused, it may be due to not holding appropriate certificates, making a mistake in the submitted documentation, criminal history issues, failure to provide evidence of the above, or fees that were paid (or were not paid) in the process.

If your application is refused, contact our specialist solicitors now and we will sit down with you to analyse what went wrong, in the calmest and most efficient way possible.

How we can help

Latitude Law has advised thousands of foreign nationals seeking to work in the UK and our immigration lawyers have acquired a particular in-depth knowledge of Skilled Worker visas.

We also advise a wide range of companies in relation to their sponsor licence and overseas workers. Our lawyers help to identify which visa route best suits your circumstances and prepare your application to ensure the best chance of success.

We can advise employers and prospective workers on the challenges involved in this complex area of immigration law.

Our specialist solicitors engage with changes to Brexit and various other issues relating to modern legislation on a day-to-day basis, meaning we are always immersed in the complexities of international law, and have an empathetic approach to all our clients and cases

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 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 the 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 Manchester, London or Brussels offices or take your instructions via telephone or video conference.

UK Work Visa Q&As

When can I apply to work in the UK?

In order to work in the UK, you will need to be sponsored by a UK organisation that holds a valid sponsor licence. If you are offered a role, they should issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which will allow you to make an application to work in the UK.

What documents do I need to apply to work in the UK?

To apply for a work visa, you must be able to provide:

  • A valid passport or equivalent travel document;
  • Your Certificate of Sponsorship reference number;
  • Evidence of how you meet the English language requirement
  • Evidence of how you meet the maintenance requirement

Additional documents may be required depending on the country you will be applying form (or the visa you will be switching from if applying from within the UK), the role you are intending to take and if your family members are also applying with you as your dependants.

Am I eligible for a Intra-company Transfer visa?

The ICT route is for companies wanting to transfer workers to the UK from an overseas linked entity or organisation. The company that you will be working for in the UK must hold a valid sponsor licence, and must issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship. You will also need to meet requirements relating to the job that you will undertake and the salary you will be paid

Am I eligible for a Sportsperson visa?

The company that you will be working for in the UK must hold a valid sponsor licence, and must issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship.

You can apply for a Sportsperson visa if all the following apply:

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by your sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally
  • your sport’s governing body is endorsing your application
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level
  • you meet the other eligibility requirements

Am I eligible for a Minister of Religion visa?

The company that you will be working for in the UK must hold a valid sponsor licence, and must issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship. You can apply for a Minister of Religion visa if:

  • You’ve been offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK
  • You meet the other eligibility requirements

Am I eligible for a Temporary Worker visa?

  1. Temporary Worker – Charity Worker visa is for workers who have an unpaid/voluntary job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK charity with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. The job taken must be directly related to the sponsor charity’s work.
  2. Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa is for very highly skilled workers who have a job offer as a sportsperson or creative worker – such as a musician or actor – in the UK, and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. Sportspeople on this visa must be internationally established at the highest level in their sport, and/or their job must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level.
  3. Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa is for workers coming to the UK through an approved government authorised exchange scheme. This visa allows the worker to do work experience, training, academic research or a fellowship, and to take part in an Overseas Government Language Programme.
  4. Temporary Worker – International Agreement visa is for workers who have a job offer that is covered by international law, such as embassy and diplomatic household workers, and a certificate of sponsorship from an organisation with a valid Tier 5 sponsorship licence. This includes workers under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and similar agreements.
  5. Temporary Worker – Religious Worker visa is for workers offered a job, such as preaching or work in a monastery or convent, by a religious order in the UK.
  6. Temporary Worker – Seasonal Worker visa is for workers in edible horticulture doing seasonal work in the UK with a sponsor.

Can I extend my Skilled Worker visa?

Yes. There was previously a maximum time limit that you could spend in the UK as a Skilled Worker visa however this has now been removed.

Can I extend my Temporary Worker visa?

You can stay in the UK for a maximum of 12 or 24 months depending on which sub-category of Temporary Worker you apply under.

What happens after I am granted permission to work in the UK?

If you applied from outside the UK, your passport will be endorsed with a 30-day travel vignette and you will be provided with a letter confirming permission has been granted. The 30-day travel visas should be valid from the intended travel date, as stated on your visa application form. You must travel to the UK within the 30-day validity of the travel visas or it will expire, and you will need to apply for a replacement visa.

Your “full visa” will be issued in the form of Biometric Residence Permits (BRP’s) and will be available for collection once you arrive in the UK. Once in the UK, you must collect your BRP’s within 10 days of arrival, from the Post Office branch detailed in the decision letter.

If your visa is for a period of 6 months or less, your “full visa” will be issued as a stamp in your passport and you will not need to collect a BRP upon arrival to the UK.

If your application is approved from inside the UK, the Home Office will issue your BRP card for the duration of your Certificate of Sponsorship and send this to you directly upon approving your application.

Is a suitable job role on the UK Shortage Occupation List?

Suitable job roles for sponsorship can be found in Appendix Skilled Occupations. Your employment role must fit appropriately under this code and you will also need to be paid an appropriate salary for the role as confirmed in the Immigration Rules.

Some job roles can be found in Appendix Shortage Occupations. These are occupations which UK employers are struggling to fill. Where you are applying to fill a shortage occupation role, there is a reduction of the salary you must be paid and also the application fees you will need to pay.

Jobs on the UK Shortage Occupation List are generally very specific, so we will need to assess your circumstances and the job that you will be doing to determine whether you fit into one of these roles.

Can I switch employers on a Skilled Worker visa?

Yes, you can switch employers on a Skilled Worker visa. You will be required to submit a new Skilled Worker application before you can make the switch. Intra-company Transfer migrants are generally not permitted to switch employers but may be eligible in limited circumstances.

When am I eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?

You may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) on the basis of your Skilled Worker permission once you have resided in the UK continuously for five years. As a general requirement, you can only apply if you meet the continuous residency requirement for the 5 years, your sponsor still needs you for the job, you are paid the relevant salary listed in the Code of Practice and you meet the minimum salary for the ILR.


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What our clients say…

Stalled EU Settlement Scheme application

Just to thank you all for the help given with Bodil's EU Settlement Scheme application, which came through in the last few days.

A good friend of ours once said: "People do not employ lawyers because they help; they employ them because they make a difference".

I'm convinced that referral to Latitude did jolt the Home Office into progressing consideration of the application, and it made all the difference.

T & B.

Allowed Appeal

To Gemma and the team, Thank you very much for your amazing job done. You are life savers.

Four British passports

The British passports of my four children successfully reached us this week.

I wanted to thank the Latitude Law Firm for the constant professional support provided to us throughout the process. Your services have been helpful for us at each stage of the process. We would be happy to hire you again in the future for the process of my husband, and would also recommend your firm to others around us.

Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the hard work of Joel Reiss towards the successful completion of our case. His support for all of us from day 1 till the very last day has been commendable. Me and my children are very thankful to him for the smooth execution.

Looking forward to hiring the firm for our next case as well.

All content on this page was reviewed by Latitude Law and is accurate as of 11/02/2019