Immigration. Travel. Living.

Getting an employment visa – work permit in the United Kingdom 

The UK’s immigration policy has altered dramatically since it left the EU. Your ability to work in the nation today mostly relies on the kind of job you seek. The point-based immigration system used in the UK is intended to draw candidates for skilled and vacant employment. This indicates that to begin working, you will often require a job offer and a UK work visa.

UK employment visa categories

UK work visas typically fall into one of three categories, each of which has some subclasses. In the UK, the most common forms of work visas are:

Short-term UK work visas

Short-term work visas are for six-month to one-year jobs in the UK. Visa extensions are possible in several instances. Short-term visas are usually excluded from the points-based system because they’re only provided for specified jobs. Short-term UK work permits are :

  • Unpaid charity work permits. 
  • Temporary work as a dancer, actor, musician, or film crew member 
  • Government-authorized employment or training visa. 
  • Serving a foreign government or being a diplomat’s family are examples of international law or treaty work. 
  • Non-pastoral religious worker visa. 
  • Seasonal worker visa for picking fruit, working on farms, or driving heavy trucks (HGV) 
  • Youth Mobility Scheme visa for 18-30-year-olds with £2,530 in savings. 
  • Graduates who want to study and work in the UK can apply for graduate visas. 

Long-term UK work visas

These are visas that are normally renewable and have a validity period of two to five years. They have greater eligibility requirements since they provide the bearer a longer period of residence in the UK, often with the opportunity to subsequently seek permanent residency or UK citizenship. Long-term UK employment visas include:

  • Visa for skilled professionals, who often must fulfill minimal standards under the UK’s points-based scheme
  • Health and care worker visa for medical experts to work for the NHS or in adult social care.
  • Senior or specialist worker visa for employees of foreign firms to work at a UK branch.
  • Minister of religion for top jobs with a UK-based religious organization.
  • International sportsperson visa for elite athletes or trained sports coaches.
  • Overseas Business Representative Visa for solo representatives of foreign companies to open a branch or subsidiary in the UK.

Visas for entrepreneurs, new businesses, and talent

To work as a freelancer, be self-employed, or launch a company in the UK, a general visa is not yet available. There are, however, a few visas available to those who satisfy certain requirements. These are listed below:

Innovator visas or startup visas

These visas, known as innovator visas or startup visas, are for those who have fresh company concepts that are distinct from anything else currently available in the UK.

Global talent visa

If you have been acknowledged as a leader in academics, research, the arts, culture, or digital technology, you may qualify for the Global Talent Visa.

Student work permits in the UK

The number of hours you can work in the UK with a student visa depends on your studies and the job’s timing. You can’t create a business or be a pro player or coach. Students with a child student visa can work up to 10 hours per week during the school year and full-time during holidays. Internships are another option. Short-term study visa holders who are taking English classes cannot work. If you finish your studies in the UK while on a student visa, you can apply for a Graduate visa, which permits you to stay for two years and hunt for work. Ph.D. graduates have three years. 

General requirements for applying for UK work visas

You may submit your application online or at one of the international UK visa application centers. You will need the following to do this:

  • Genuine picture identification.
  • Sponsorship reference number.
  • Personal savings documentation e.g bank statements.
  • Results of your tuberculosis test if you are traveling from certain countries.
  • Biometric information at a visa application facility or scan your IDs (online).
  • Proof of English proficiency, unless you are coming from a nation where it is spoken.
  • Info about your employer.
  • Your profession, pay scale, and title.
  • Criminal record certificate for certain employees.
  • If starting a firm on an investor visa, you must provide proof of investment funds. 

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