Work in the UK

There are various routes to working in the UK, some requiring an employer to sponsor you, and others not. There is a route for high value migrants including entrepreneurs and investors, routes for those with a job offer, a route for those from British Commonwealth countries who have a UK-born grandparent, a route for young people from various specific countries, one for charity workers, religious workers, sportspersons and entertainers, representatives of businesses setting up an office in the UK…it’s just a case of knowing what your specific options are!

If you are wondering which routes could apply to you simply contact de Prey Consulting with an outline of your circumstances and what work you are wanting to do in the UK, and Nikki will talk you through your options.

The Points Based System: old and new

Until November 2020, the UK operated a five-tier Points Based System for most work and study visa applications, which you may still see reference to:

Highly skilled migrants – for those wishing to start a business, or with ‘exceptional talent/promise’

Out with the old, in with the new: 2021

Due to the end of ‘free movement’ with Brexit, which means European nationals fall under the same UK visa requirements as the rest of the world, as of 1 December 2020 the UK Government has introduced a new Points Based System.  The above categories still broadly hold, but re-branded, and in some instances it will be easier to obtain a visa than previously, due to:

  • The elimination of the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ (if you don’t know what this is don’t worry, it no longer matters; if you do know what this is you’ll be relieved it’s been eliminated!)
  • The suspension of the ‘cap’ on visas (note: it is referred to as a ‘suspension’ meaning the government has left themselves room to re-introduce it in future), and
  • The elimination of the previous 12 month ‘cooling off’ period outside the UK for Skilled Workers, that was previously required between visas if your visa expired while you were outside the UK (NB: a cooling off period is still in place for some temporary workers, ‘T5’, previously called ‘Tier 5’) .

How a Points Based System works

To obtain a visa under the Points Based System you must score a minimum number of points. Each visa has various mandatory areas under which the points must be scored, such as having a Certificate of Sponsorship, or having sufficient funds or English language level.

In addition, the Skilled Worker route (previously known as ‘Tier 2 (General)’) has ‘tradeable points’, where you may be able to get points based on age, or the type of job you have (a ‘shortage occupation’ or certain jobs within healthcare), or by having a PhD relevant to the role, for example.

Non-Points Based System work visas

Alongside the above, there have always been, and continue to be, other work and study visas that have never fallen under a points based system, such as:

  • UK Ancestry – for citizens of a British Commonwealth country with a UK-born grandparent, what Nikki calls the ‘golden egg’ of visas, as it is granted for 5 yrs up front, leads to permanent residency (‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’) and the person can work anywhere
  • Representatives of Overseas Businesses or News Agencies – for those setting up a UK branch of office of an existing non-UK company
  • Short-term study – for those studying for up to 6 months in the UK, or coming to study an English course of up to 11 months.

Whilst UKVI caseworkers have some discretion to exercise over documentation provided with a work visa application, that discretion is not limitless, and therefore a well prepared application first time is your best asset.

Often a phone consultation can be sufficient to give you the information you need to prepare well.  Alternatively Nikki de Prey can walk you through it from start to finish, or simply conduct a document review of your self-prepared application before you submit it.

As always please e-mail or use the enquiry form if you’d like to enquire about your options or status, or would like Nikki’s support in preparation of your visa application.

About Nikki de Prey

de Prey Consulting is an immigration consultancy based in Edinburgh, UK. Nikki advises clients on the variety of visa applications for entering or remaining in the UK. For more information read about her background in About dPC.