Work Permit in the United Kingdom

Why is Work Permit Needed?

A work permit is an official document that validates an individual’s right to reside and work in a foreign country.

The UK is among the most desirable countries for foreigners, but one cannot just move to the country and start working. A work permit in the UK is mandatory to work here legally.

About the UK Job Market

England is one of the most popular destinations in the world for expats. Other than tourism and educational opportunities, a lot of people look forward to migrating to the UK for employment. The flexible labor laws, high-paying salaries, and market-oriented economy make it an ideal country where people can work. 

The country has a lot of opportunities, especially for skilled workers in multiple sectors such as wholesale and retail, healthcare, administration, and scientific fields.

Let us understand few essential things about the UK job market:

Number of Expats

 6.5 million (Figures subject to change)

Expat Job Websites

EURES, Careerbuilder, FindAJob, Totaljobs

Popular Industries for Expats in the UK

Engineering, Hospitality, Healthcare, IT, Science and Technology, Marketing

Types of UK Work Visa

The United Kingdom’s immigration is based on a points-based system (PBS). An applicant has to apply for one of the five tiers based on the desire to work, study, invest or undergo training in the country.

A UK work visa is broadly classified under several types of short-term work visas, Long-term work visas, and Investor, Business development and Talent visas. 

Different categories of UK work visas are divided under these tiers:

Tier 1

These work visas are for highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, investors and graduate students living outside the EU and EEA. These applicants do not necessarily need to have a job offer to apply for this visa. 

The different types of UK work visas under this category include: 

Innovator Visa

This visa is meant for foreigners who want to set up their own business in the UK. 

UK Start-up Visa

This visa is for foreigners authorized by government bodies to start their own business in the country.

UK Graduate Entrepreneur Visa

Graduates who have been endorsed of having credible business ideas can apply for this visa. 

UK Investor Visa

This UK work visa is specifically for investors who want to invest £2,000,000 or more in the country. 

Tier 2

If you want to hire foreign employees, they will majorly fall under this category of the PBS. Skilled workers and professional sportspeople outside the EEA can apply for visas within the Tier 2 category. These are long-term work visas for which employees need to have an initial job offer in hand. 

The different types of UK work visas under Tier 2 are: 

Skilled Worker Visa

This general work visa or skilled worker visa UK is for those who have a job offer from an employer approved by the Home Office. 

Intra-company Transfer Visa

This visa is for employees who have been offered a role in the UK branch of their organization. 

Minister of Religion Visa

This visa is issued to people who have been offered a job in the UK within a faith community (missionary or member of religious order)

Sportsperson visa

This visa is applicable for an elite sportsperson or qualified coach recognized by the sport’s governing body for being at the highest level of their profession internationally. 

Tier 3

These visas are meant for low-skilled workers for temporary labor. However, the government does not accept immigrants outside the EU for this category, so these visas are no longer available. 

Tier 4

This category includes students who wish to study at a school, college, or university in the UK. 

Tier 5

This category is applicable for temporary workers and young people who wish to work in the UK on working holidays. The sub-categories of UK work visas under this tier are: 

Charity worker visa

This visa is issued to those who want to do unpaid voluntary work in the country. The charity organization has to be recognized by the government. 

Creative and Sporting Visa

This visa is issued to people who have been offered work as a sportsperson or creative worker in the country. 

Government Authorized Exchange Visa

Those coming to the UK for training or overseas Government Language Program, research fellowship through an approved government authorized exchange scheme, or to gain some work experience come under this work permit UK. 

International Agreement Visa

People who work for a foreign government or a private servant in a diplomatic household in the country should apply for this UK work visa.

Seasonal Worker Visa

Applicants under this UK work visa can travel to the UK to do farm work for up to 6 months. 

UK Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

This is a special visa issued to people between the age of 18-30 who have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries. 

Besides these, there are other UK visas that allow certain people to seek a work permit in the UK, such as:

Ancestry Visa

A commonwealth citizen who can prove their grandparents were born in the UK is eligible to work in the UK under this visa.

Requirements for UK Work Permit

Given that there are so many types and categories of work visas in the UK, the list of requirements also varies. 

Most of your employees to whom your company has offered a job will fall under the Tier 2 long-term visas. The skilled worker visa UK is the most common for hiring foreign employees outside the EEA and Switzerland. 

To apply for a UK work visa, the employer must be a licensed sponsor for the employees. This Certificate of Sponsorship is necessary for your employee to apply for their work permit. 

Given below is the UK work permit document checklist:

  • ~Application form
  • ~Recent color photographs
  • ~Valid passport
  • ~Signed employment contract
  • ~Certificate of Sponsorship
  • ~Financial documents as proof to cover the cost of living in the UK
  • ~Proof of accommodation
  • ~Detailed travel itinerary
  • ~Certificate of character determining no criminal record against the employee 
  • ~Biometric information
  • ~Payment receipt of UK Visa fees

UK Work Visa Application Process

The process of getting a work visa in the UK starts with the employer. So, you have to issue the letter and sponsorship certificate first.

The process for your employee gets lengthier because of the points-based assessment. An applicant has to get a certain number of points based on the requirements for each tier. Additionally, the PBS requirements and evaluations change for each tier. 

The PBS evaluation is based on the following factors: 

  • ~Qualifications
  • ~Future salary expectations
  • ~Sponsorship certificate
  • ~English speaking skills
  • ~Financial means 

Note: A UK work visa for Indians requires a score of 70 points.

So, ensure your employees have the required documents at the time of making the application. 

  • ~Once you issue the employment contract and sponsorship letter, they can begin the application process. 
  • ~The applications can be made online through the official website of UK Home Office Visas and Immigration Services. 
  • ~Submit the forms and the required documents. 
  • ~Pay the UK work visa fees 
  • ~Wait for the processing of the UK work visa. 

Timeframe for UK Work Visa Processing

Your employees should apply for a UK work visa about three months prior to beginning their work. This date is listed on the certificate of sponsorship. The visa processing can take up to three weeks, so it is better to start the application early. Since the PBS evaluations change for each visa type, it takes a little longer for processing. 

UK Work Visa Fees 

The below table gives all the costs of UK work visas:

Visa Type Fees (In US$)
Innovator Visa $1382
Start-Up Visa $491
Graduate Entrepreneur $491
Investor Visa $2198
Skilled Worker Visa $1256
Intra-Company Transfer Visa $826
Minister of Religion $826
Tier-5 Temporary Worker $330.5

How Does Multiplier Help With Work Permits?

As a global EOR solution, Multiplier helps organizations onboard and manage employees across the globe. With a local presence in over 150 countries, we efficiently provide end-to-end HR solutions. 

Getting a work visa in the UK seems tedious, so you can partner with Multiplier to ease the process. Let our team of in-house experts take care of the rest. You can apply for a UK work visa via our SaaS-based system. From documentation to costs, we will keep you informed at all points from the beginning to the end. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the validity of a UK work visa?

A Skilled worker visa UK lasts for five years. This is a long-term visa. In contrast, the short-term work visas are valid for one year. 

Do Romanians need a visa to work in the UK?

Yes, Romanians are required to apply for a visa to work in the UK under the points-based immigration system.

How can I apply for permanent residency in the UK? 

A holder of a work permit in the UK can qualify for permanent residency after spending a minimum of five years in the country. 

‍Can I work in the UK on a student visa? 

A student can work in the UK if they have a Tier 4 student visa. One cannot work on a short-term study visa. However, working for up to 10 hours per week during term time and full-time during vacations is possible. 

To work after completing graduation, students need a post-study work visa in the UK. 

Do EU citizens need a work permit in the UK?

Starting 1 July 2021, EU passport holders have to prove evidence of lawful immigration status in the UK. In addition, EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens wanting to work in the UK for longer than six months need to apply for a work visa. So a UK permit for EU citizens is necessary to undertake long-term work in the country.

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