The United Kingdom welcomes employees in a diversity of professional fields. The Work Permit allows UK companies to fill up labour shortages.

The Work Permit is the trendiest form of consent obtained by overseas nationals who wish to work in the UK. The application is dividing into two main rows. Tier 1 provides to intra-company transfers, inward investment and senior board members. Tier 2 allows skilled non-EEA nationals to come and work in the UK. Tier 1 also provides for individuals immediately required in the UK due to labour shortages in particular professions.

Work permits are issued by Work Permits (UK), part of the Home Office’s The UK Border Agency. A work permit refers to a particular person and a specific profession. The work permit system lets UK employers recruit or move people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), while still protecting the interests of local workers in the UK. Work permits also allow overseas nationals to come to the UK for training or work experience.

UK Work permit

To obtain a work visa or work permit for the UK, in most cases, you will need to receive a job offer from a sponsor-licensed employer. However, there are some exceptions, including the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa and the graduate visa, as explained below. After Brexit, EU citizens wishing to work in the UK will also need to apply for a work visa or work permit. However, EU citizens with Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme do not require a work visa or permit to work in the UK.

There are different types of work visas and work permits available in the UK; these include the following:

  • Skilled worker visa
  • Increase the visa
  • Temporary worker visa
  • Global Business Mobility Visa
  • High-potential individual visa
  • Graduate visa
  • Global Talent Visa
  • Ancestry Visa in the UK

Skilled worker visa

The Skilled Worker Visa is a sponsored work visa which allows skilled foreign nationals to work in the UK and replaces the previous Tier 2 (General) visa. To apply for a skilled worker visa, applicants must obtain enough points on the Home Office’s Points Based System (PBS):

  • Have a job offer from an authorized sponsor
  • Have a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
  • Have a job on the list of eligible occupations1

Meet the minimum salary requirements (£25,600 or the ‘going rate’2 for your profession. You may qualify for a lower salary requirement depending on your circumstances, including if you have a job on the understaffed occupations list3 or if you have under 26, or if you have a PhD)

Meet English language requirements

Skilled worker visa applicants are normally allowed to stay for a maximum of 5 years, after which they can apply to extend their stay. It is also possible to obtain UK Permanent Residency (ILR) after 5 years.

Visa for health and care worker

The Health and Care Worker visa is very similar to the Skilled Worker visa. This visa is open to qualified doctors, nurses, health workers and adult social care professionals who are sponsored to work for an approved health and care employer in the UK. Applicants for the health and welfare visa must have a suitable job and meet the salary requirements for this category.

Increase the visa

The Scale Up visa is a brand new immigration route which will open on 22 August 2022. The Scale Up visa is for foreign nationals with high levels of skills or qualifications with a job sponsored by a UK company in the scale up phase. growth). It is expected that there will be two options available with the Scale-Up visa; sponsored and unsponsored. Scale-Up Visa 2022 applicants are expected to require:

  • A high level of skills or being considered “academically elite”
  • A certificate of sponsorship is required when applying for the first time; If you have previously been granted permission to remain as a Scale-Up operator, you will not need sponsorship.
  • A highly qualified job offer from a Scale-Up company (i.e. with annual growth in staff or turnover of at least 20% in the last 3 years)
  • A salary of £33,000 or more
  • Sufficient knowledge of the English language

It is also expected that the Scale Up visa will be renewable (i.e. can be further extended) and holders will be able to settle in the UK (ILR) after spending 5 consecutive years here.

Temporary worker visa

Temporary worker visas allow foreign nationals to work in the UK for a short period, but only for permitted purposes. There are several types of temporary work visas available in the UK, as follows:

  • Charity worker visa
  • Creative Worker Visa
  • Government-authorized exchange visa
  • Visa with international agreement
  • Visa for religious worker
  • Seasonal worker visa

Temporary worker visas are issued for a period of between 3 months and 2 years; this will depend on the visa you choose. In most cases, you will need to be aged 18 or over, have a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from a licensed temporary worker sponsor, and have sufficient funds to support yourself (at least £1,270). It is important to check the exact eligibility criteria for the visa you choose.

You will also be able to extend your temporary worker visa, but holders should be aware that there is often a maximum allowable length of stay. While you cannot take up a permanent role in the UK on a temporary visa, you may be able to switch to a different type of visa which will allow you to do so (for example a skilled worker visa). Similarly, temporary worker visas do not provide a route to the direct solution, but you may be able to switch to a different type of visa that qualifies for ILR.

Global Business Mobility Visa

The Global Business Mobility visa scheme launches in 2022 and includes 5 new visas, all intended to make it easier for foreign businesses to operate in the UK. Visas under this route allow existing employees of overseas companies to come to the UK to work for a company here or, in the case of the expansion visa, establish a new branch or subsidiary. The new visas are as follows:

  • Senior or Skilled Worker Visa: Replaces the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Visa
  • Graduate Internship Visa: Replaces the Graduate Visa for intra-company transfers
  • UK Expansion Worker Visa: Replaces the current single representative of an overseas business visa
  • Visa for posted worker
  • Service provider visa

Global Business Mobility visa applicants must have a certificate of sponsorship and meet certain criteria specific to the visa they are applying for. The length of stay allowed under this program varies from 6 months (for the service provider visa) to 5 years (for the senior or skilled worker visa). In most cases, it is possible to extend a Global Business Mobility visa, but only within the maximum length of stay allowed. None of the global business mobility visas provide a direct path to settlement, however it is possible to switch to a different type of visa that qualifies for ILR.

How to get a UK work permit without a job offer

You can get a work visa or work permit in the UK without a job offer by applying for a High Potential Individual Visa, a Graduate Visa or a Global Talent Visa. While a job offer is not required, applicants will need to meet other criteria to successfully make an application for a non-sponsored work visa in the UK.

High-potential individual visa

The High Potential Individual (HPI) Visa is a new route opening on 30 May 2022. It is aimed at foreign nationals with a recently obtained overseas “undergraduate” qualification from a top university on the Ministry’s Global Universities List of the Interior. HPI visa applicants do not need a job offer and are free to find work once here. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, hold an overseas degree from an educational institution in the Global Universities List within the last 5 years, meet the English language requirement and have sufficient support funds of at least £1,270.

Potential Individual Visa holders can normally stay for up to 2 years (or 3 years if they hold a PhD), however, the option to extend is not available. However, it is not possible to obtain ILR as a High Potential Individual Visa holder. Those wishing to stay longer or settle here will need to consider switching to a different type of visa (e.g. skilled worker visa).

Graduate visa

The UK Graduate Visa is for foreign nationals who have successfully completed a degree or postgraduate course in the UK and allows them to stay for a further 2 years (3 years with a PhD).

Graduate visa applicants must apply from the UK, hold an existing student visa or Tier 4 student visa and have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the UK.

Graduate visa holders cannot extend their stay or apply for accommodation, however it is possible to switch to a different type of visa if they wish to continue to remain in the UK.

Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa is aimed at foreign nationals who are considered leaders or potential leaders in academia or research, arts and culture, or digital technology. Applicants for the Global Talent Visa must be at least 18 years of age and approved as a leader or potential leader by an approved approving body.

Successful Global Talent visa applicants are normally allowed to stay for a maximum of 5 years, and this period can be further extended. The Global Talent visa also allows holders to apply for Permanent Residency (ILR) after 3 or 5 years. To qualify for a fast track fix after 3 years, Global Talent visa holders must have been approved by the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, UK Research and Innovation, Arts Council England or Tech Nation.

Ancestry Visa for the United Kingdom

The Ancestry UK visa is for citizens and citizens of the Commonwealth and British Overseas. Applicants must have a grandparent born in the UK (or the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man). Ancestry visa holders can stay for up to 5 years, after which they can apply for ILR.

The eligibility criteria for the Ancestry visa requires applicants to be at least 17 years old and be Commonwealth citizens, British Overseas citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, British (Overseas) citizens or Zimbabwean citizens. Applicants must also apply from outside the UK, provide evidence that their grandparents were born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, intend to work in the UK and have sufficient funds to support themselves and their dependents.

Other work permits in the UK

In addition to the work visas or work permits mentioned above, there are several other immigration categories that grant the right to work; these include:

  • Permit for cross-border worker
  • Dependent family permit
  • Visa for foreign domestic worker
  • British National (Overseas) Visa.
  • Visa for the youth mobility program

Those wishing to work in the UK can also consider applying for a business visa (e.g. innovator visa or start-up visa), which allows them to establish and work in their own innovative business. If you are unsure about the best work visa route to suit your needs, how to get a work visa in the UK or whether you are eligible, speak to an immigration lawyer at Reiss Edwards today, who will be happy to advise you in based on your specific needs circumstances.

There are six different types of work permit that the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) present. They are:

Business and Commercial
This work permit allows an individual to fill a particular position within a UK corporation that could or else be filled by a resident worker.

Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES)
The TWES allows an individual to come to the UK for training or work practice with a specific UK company.

Sports and Entertainments
If you are a entertainer or sportsperson, this permit allows you to come to the UK to contribute to the entertainment or sporting business of the country.

Student Internships
This type of work permit allows a student to complete a three month internship at a UK company.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
This work permit allows the employee of a company based outside the EU to come to the UK on a service contract won by their company.

Sectors Based Scheme (SBS)
This scheme allows workers from Bulgaria and Romania to come to the UK to work in the food production industry.

If you do not have a job offer in the UK, you may be eligible to come to work in the United Kingdom as a highly skilled migrant worker. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Work Permit Visa?
A work permit is a lawful consent that is issued to your employer, by the Home Office. This gives you permission to be working in a specific company for a set period of time.

What is the Work Permit procedure? How long does the process take?
Most of the applications of the work permit take between 1 -2 weeks for the Home Office to decide. We will provide you with details of any timing and/or immigration issues from the outset.

How do I apply for a Work Permit?
If you have a job offer from a UK company, contact us for a free work permit appraisal. You will need to provide us with your CV, passport pages and full details of the post that you have been offered. We will advise you on your chances of making a successful work permit application, together with a quote for responsibility this work on your behalf.

I do not have a job offer? Can you still help me apply for a Work Permit?
If you have not been offered a position within a UK Employer, then you cannot make a work permit application. You need to speak to employment organizations and employers directly. on the other hand you may be eligible for the Highly Skilled Migrant [HSMP] scheme. If you think you may be eligible you will need to complete our HSMP assessment form.

Can I work in the UK without a work permit?
The Immigration policies allow people to come to the UK for particular types of employment without a work permit. You can get more information from other guidance notes:

More advice and information About Work Permit:
For more advice and information contact:

Working in the UK
Run by the Home Office’s Border and Immigration Agency, this site provides essential advice on working schemes and employment in the UK.

Customer Relations Team
Work Permits (UK)
PO Box 3468

General enquiries: (+44) (0)114 259 3776

For more advice and information about visas:

London SW1A 2AH
General enquiries: 0845 010 5555

Please note that this number may not work from outside the UK. If you are calling from outside the UK, please contact your nearest British mission where there is a visa section:
UK diplomatic missions overseas

Application forms: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308
Textphone: +44 (0)20 7008 8457
Border and Immigration Agency
For more advice and information about extending your stay once you are in the UK, contact:
Border and Immigration Agency
Croydon Public Caller Unit
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
Croydon CR9 2BY
General enquiries: (+44) (0)870 606 7766
Application forms: (+44) (0)870 241 0645

Immigration Advisory Service (IAS)
The Immigration Advisory Service is the UK’s largest charity providing advice and representation in asylum, immigration and nationality law. It has offices right across the UK and abroad, and provides a free service to those who are eligible. It may also be able to help those who are not. The IAS is a non-profit service.

Immigration Advisory Service

Immigration Advisory Service
3rd Floor, County House
190 Great Dover Street
London SE1 4YB
Telephone: (+44) (0)20 7967 1200
Duty Office (open 24 hours a day): (+44) (0)20 8814 1559
Fax: (+44) (0)20 7403 5875

Revenue & Customs

For advice on bringing personal belongings and goods into the UK contact:
HM Revenue & Customs

Dorset House
Stamford Street
London SE1 9PY
Telephone: (+44) (0)845 010 9000

Drugs warning
Anyone found smuggling drugs into the UK will face serious penalties. Drug traffickers may try to bribe travellers. If you are travelling to the UK avoid any involvement with drugs.

False documents
Travellers to the UK may commit an offence if they produce a false travel document or passport to the UK immigration authorities for themselves and their children. People found guilty of this offence face up to two years in prison or a fine (or both).

Alternative formats
In the UK we also have versions of our guidance notes in Braille, on audio tape and in large print. If you would like any guidance notes in one of these formats, please contact us:

London SW1A 2AH

Phone: (+44) (0)20 7008 8308

Click Here For More Information About Work Permit Visa.

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