Work Permits for the United Kingdom

European Union (EU) nationals do not need a visa to work or live in the United Kingdom, but all other foreign nationals will need a work visa.

Expats wishing to obtain a work permit for the United Kingdom should prepare to wade through a maze of requirements and eligibility stipulations. 

The points-based system in the UK awards points depending on how well the applicant satisfies a particular set of criteria within a category of application.

Separate criteria for what seems like countless categories can prove overwhelming for those not used to unravelling red tape. Furthermore, only a certain number of visas are granted in total each year, though certain conditions are exempt from the cap.


Getting a work visa in the United Kingdom as a non-EU citizen

The criteria by which work visas are issued can be difficult to understand. There are numerous schemes and skill enticements – but the more highly skilled and experienced an applicant is in a desirable field, the better the chances of a smooth and speedy application process. Key fields include doctors, scientists, engineers and MBAs.

Category requirements for a UK working visa

There are many different categories under which a non-EU national can apply for a UK work visa. Each has unique requirements and entitles the individual to a specific set of rights.

It is vital to note that when submitting documents for application, applicants must include the original document as well as a copy. The documents must be in English and must include contact details where appropriate. Documents in another language must be accompanied by a certified translation of the document

The main category that expats from outside of the EU would be interested in is the Tier 2 (General) grouping.

Skilled workers with a job offer in the UK (Tier 2 General Work Visas)

This category is for skilled workers who have a formal job offer made by a registered UK company. These workers must be able to prove that they can fill a gap in the workplace not adequately being satisfied by current UK citizens.

Each year the UK designates a list of prospective occupations marked by shortages; expats who are able to work in these fields have a higher chance of receiving a work visa than those who have a job offer from an industry sector not on the list.

To be eligible for a Tier 2 visa, expats will need to satisfy a number of requirements and provide proof of qualifications, future expected earnings, sponsorship from an employer, sufficient English language skills, and available maintenance (funds).

*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.

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