Top 5 Visas to Work in the UK

The ability to work in the UK is an attractive proposition to many overseas nationals. The Top 5 visas that allow you to work in the UK are as follows:

Skilled Worker visa

Formerly, the Tier 2 (General) visa, the Skilled Worker visa allows an overseas national to travel to the UK, or stay in the UK, to work in the UK in a skilled role.

The role must be offered by an employer that is approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to sponsor overseas nationals.

The sponsor will assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the overseas national. That Certificate will provide details about the nature of the job role, place of work and salary offered. Once assigned, the overseas national may go on to apply for a Skilled worker visa to enter or stay in the UK.

Upon their entry to the UK, the overseas national may work for the sponsor in the job role outlined in the Certificate of Sponsorship.

However, the overseas national may not change jobs or sponsors in the UK unless they apply to UKVI to update their visa.

The benefit of the Skilled Worker visa is that it will allow the visa holder to support their partner’s and their children’s visa applications to accompany them to the UK or join them in the country.

An added benefit is that the Skilled Worker visa offers a route to settlement after 5 years’ of continuous and lawful residence. It also offers a route to citizenship.

Family visa

An overseas national may apply for a family visa to accompany their partner to the UK, be it a British or settled spouse, civil partner, or unmarried partner. They may also apply for a visa to join their British or settled partner if that partner is already in the UK.

If eligible, the overseas national will be entitled to work in the UK in any job role for any sponsor. It  will not be necessary for the job role to fall within the Standard Occupation List or for the employer to be approved to hire overseas nationals, as per the Skilled Worker visa.

The benefit of the family visa is that it offers a route to settlement after 5 years’ of continuous and lawful residence. It also offers a route to citizenship.

Ancestry visa

For those with ancestral links to the UK, the Ancestry visa may prove beneficial.

To qualify for an Ancestry visa, the overseas national must fall within one of the following:

  • Commonwealth citizen
  • a British overseas citizen
  • a British overseas territories citizen
  • a British national (overseas)
  • a citizen of Zimbabwe

The overseas national must evidence that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man.

If successful, the Ancestry visa holder may work in the UK in any role and for any employer. Unlike the Skilled Worker visa, the visa holder is not required to take up employment with a UKVI approved sponsor. The Ancestry visa holder may also take up self-employment.

The Ancestry visa offers a route to settlement and citizenship and allows the person to sponsor their partner and children to accompany them or join them in the UK.

Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme replaced the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa.

The visa offers overseas nationals, aged between 18 and 30, the opportunity to work in the UK.

The visa holder may work in the UK in various roles, though they are not permitted to take up work as a professional sportsperson such as a coach.

The visa is limited to 2 years only. It does not offer a route to settlement.

Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa

Formerly, the Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa, this visa offers overseas nationals the opportunity to travel to the UK, for a short time, for work experience or to undertake training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved government authorised exchange scheme.

Similar to the Skilled Worker visa, the overseas national must secure sponsorship from a UKVI approved sponsor to work in the UK.

As part of the application, the Sponsor will need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the overseas national. That Certificate will outline how the person’s anticipated work, training or research in the UK is related to the work of the sponsor’s organisation.

The sponsor may fall within any of the following:

  • an organisation running an approved exchange scheme
  • a higher education institution (if you are a sponsored researcher, visiting academic or examiner)
  • a government department or agency

The visa may be issued for up to 1 year or 2 years.

Once in the UK, the Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa holder may work in the UK in the job role specified in the Certificate of Sponsorship. They may also work in the UK in a second job role providing that such employment does not exceed 20 hours per week.

The overseas national may not take up permanent employment. And the visa does not offer a route to settlement.

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Top 5 visas that allow you to work in the UK.

Bonus Option

Global Talent visa

Another visa that allows an overseas national to work in the UK is the Global Talent visa.

This allows the overseas national to work in the UK if they are a leader or potential leader in one of the following fields:

  • academia or research
  • arts and culture
  • digital technology

The Global Talent visa offers a route to settlement and citizenship.

Conclusion

There are many visa options available to work in the UK. Much will depend on the individual circumstances and the intentions of the overseas national, such as whether they simply gain short term work experience or settle in the UK, with their family members, over the longer term. The above list provides a brief glimpse of the different visa options.

If you would like specific immigration advice, you can arrange a telephone consultation to discuss the merits of a visa application.

We also offer professional immigration assistance with preparing a visa application, to help the process go as smoothly as possible.


Written by Carla Thomas – Managing Director at Thomas Chase immigration.

Thomas Chase Immigration offer immigration assistance to individuals and families.

Call to action

If you have questions or concerns or you would like straightforward immigration advice, or help with applying for a visa, Thomas Chase Immigration can help.

Our processes are tried and tested. We offer an individual touch when assisting you and presenting the matter to UKVI.

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