If you’d like to work in the UK and you live outside the European Union (until the UK leaves the EU), you have to apply for a visa.
The first step is to figure out what kind of visa you should apply for. The UK offers foreign workers three options:
If you’re offered a job in the UK, you need to apply for a Tier two ‘General’ visa which allows you to stay in the country for up to five years. Your employer must be willing to sponsor you and issue you a certificate of sponsorship- bear in mind you can only start applying for a second job once you’ve started working for your sponsor. The cost depends on various criteria such as how long you plan to stay, but to give you an indication, a three-year visa costs £587.
You should also apply for a Tier two visa if your current employer is transferring you to their UK office. In this case, you apply for the ‘inter- company’ version which allows you to stay up to nine years as long as you’re earning over £120,000 per year.
Temporary workers should apply for a Tier five visa. These visas cover several different types of temporary jobs, including sports, creative and charity. Like the Tier two visas, you need to be sponsored by your employer, but you can only stay a maximum of twelve months. The Tier five visa is cheaper too, costing around £235 depending on your circumstances.
High value workers
High value workers, such as investors and entrepreneurs, can apply for a Tier one visa. However, the criteria are quite strict- entrepreneurs need to have access to at least £50,000 of investment funds, while investors must have a minimum of £2 million to invest in the UK. Tier one visas allow you to stay a maximum of three years, and they’re more expensive than the other types, costing over £1,000.
You should hear back about your application within three weeks, and you can apply up to three months before starting your new job.
To find out more about the application process, visit the UK government’s immigration portal here.
The next step is to apply for the visa on the Visa4UK website. This involves completing a form, paying the fee and then arranging an appointment at a visa application centre in your country of residence. You can find a list of centres here.