Seek more insights? Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter
Imagine landing in the UK, ready to dive into its bustling work scene, where history meets innovation. The UK's visa system is your golden ticket, designed to match your skills with the perfect job opportunities. It's a big world of different visas, each with its own path to potential adventures and career growth. But, picking the right one? That's where the real journey begins.
Choosing your visa isn't just about paperwork; it's about finding your fit in the UK's vibrant work culture and paving your path to success. It might seem daunting, but that's where this article comes in. We're here to help you navigate through the maze of UK worker visas, making the complex simple and guiding you step by step. Let's embark on this journey together, unlocking doors to new opportunities.
The UK's Points-Based System (PBS) is a cornerstone of its immigration policy, particularly following the country's departure from the EU. This system assesses applicants based on specific criteria, awarding points for various attributes such as skills, qualifications, salary levels, job offers, and proficiency in the English language. To qualify for entry into the UK, prospective migrants must accumulate a requisite number of points.
Under the PBS, there are mandatory points that are awarded for core criteria necessary to qualify for a visa, and tradeable points, which allow for flexibility in meeting the eligibility requirements. For instance, to apply for work in the UK, applicants need a total of 70 points, with mandatory points being allocated for having a job offer from an approved sponsor, the job being at an appropriate skill level, and speaking English at the required level. Additional tradeable points can be earned through salary levels, education qualifications, and whether the job is in a shortage occupation.
Specifically, for the Skilled Worker visa, an applicant needs to secure 50 mandatory points by having a job offer from a licensed sponsor, the job being at the required skill level, and meeting the English language requirement. Tradeable points can then be used to reach the total point threshold required for eligibility, based on salary or qualifications.
The PBS applies to several visa types, including the Skilled Worker visa, Global Talent visa, and more. Each category has its own set of requirements and points allocation, designed to attract different types of workers and talents to the UK.
This structured approach aims to simplify the immigration process, making it transparent and objective, focusing on the skills and contributions of applicants to the UK's economy and society. By prioritizing skilled workers, the system seeks to fill essential roles and drive innovation across various industries.
Types of UK Work Visas
The UK tech sector thrives on innovation and global talent, offering a variety of visas to cater to the unique needs of professionals. Here's a brief overview:
This visa is a pathway for professionals who secure a job offer in the UK. The role must meet certain skill and salary requirements, but it notably opens the door to permanent residency after five years. With tech roles often featured on the Shortage Occupation List, applicants might benefit from more favorable conditions.
To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must meet the following conditions:
Starting from the Spring 2024, the minimum salary threshold will rise from £26,200 to £38,700, following the governmental ruling of December 2023.
Though not exclusive to tech workers, the Graduate Visa allows international students who've completed their studies in the UK to stay and work for up to two years, or three for doctoral graduates. This is an excellent opportunity for those in the tech field to transition seamlessly from education to professional practice in the UK. Note that this visa type does not lead to settlement.
The UK Global Talent Visa caters to exceptional talents and emerging leaders across various sectors, allowing them a flexible route to work in the UK without the need for a job offer. This visa is split into categories based on professional fields, with each category having its own set of eligibility criteria and endorsement requirements. Here's an outline of the different types within the Global Talent Visa framework:
This category is tailored for individuals in science, engineering, medicine, humanities, and social sciences. Applicants must be endorsed by a recognized UK body such as the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
Individuals in the fields of combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre, and visual arts fall under this category. Endorsement must be obtained from Arts Council England, and applicants should demonstrate exceptional talent or promise in their field.
This category is for leaders in the digital technology sector, requiring endorsement from Tech Nation. Applicants should prove their exceptional talent or promise in the tech industry.
The application process involves obtaining an endorsement from the relevant body in the applicant's field, followed by the visa application to the UK Home Office. Certain prestigious prize holders can bypass the endorsement stage.
The UK Global Talent Visa is a testament to the UK's commitment to attracting global talent across a spectrum of disciplines, offering a unique combination of flexibility and opportunity for individuals aiming to develop their careers in the UK.
The upcoming Scale-up Visa aims to support fast-growing tech businesses by facilitating the recruitment of highly skilled individuals. This visa is especially geared towards roles with a significant salary threshold, offering a unique blend of flexibility and opportunity for those looking to contribute to the UK's tech growth.
Each visa offers a distinct route into the UK's tech sector, whether you're a recent graduate, a seasoned professional, or a global leader in your field. With the tech industry's rapid evolution, these visas provide the means to not only enter but thrive in one of the world's most dynamic professional landscapes.
The UK offers several visa options for individuals working for an overseas employer or looking to undergo professional training in the UK. These visas cater to senior or specialist workers, overseas domestic workers, and graduate trainees under the Global Business Mobility scheme. Here's a summary of these visa categories:
This visa category is designed for employees of an overseas company who are being transferred to work in the UK branch or subsidiary of the same organization. Applicants must be existing employees of a company approved by the Home Office as a sponsor and have a certificate of sponsorship from their employer. The job must be on the list of eligible occupations, and applicants must be paid at least £45,800 per year, or the going rate for their specific job, whichever is higher. The visa allows stays of up to 5 years, with the possibility of extension, subject to a maximum stay depending on the salary level.
The UK Expansion Worker Visa is designed for international businesses planning to expand their operations into the UK. It falls under the Global Business Mobility Visa scheme and came into effect on 11 April 2022, replacing the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business Visa. This visa category allows established and actively traded overseas businesses to send senior managers or specialists to the UK to establish a commercial presence.
To qualify for the UK Expansion Worker visa, the following criteria must be met:
Employers need a valid sponsor license for this visa category to sponsor applicants. The license is a crucial part of the UK's immigration system, allowing UK employers to hire non-UK nationals for specific roles. To obtain a sponsor license, the employing organization must demonstrate a UK 'footprint' by providing evidence of UK business premises or proof of registration as an overseas company branch or a subsidiary. Additionally, the organization must present a credible plan for expanding into the UK and show an ability to establish a new UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary within two years of obtaining the license. If you want detailed guidance on obtaining the UK Sponsor Licence, check our recent guide.
Seeking assistance in figuring out what type of UK worker visa would work best for you or your employees?
Tech Nomads is ready to assist you in sponsor license application and further renewal processes.
To explore your options for hiring foreign employees, you may:
Subscribe to our social media platforms to stay up-to-date on global mobility opportunities and updates: