A UK work visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.
Can I apply for a work visa?
You may apply for a work visa provided you meet the following requirements:
- You have received a job offer from a company in the UK that is a Licensed Sponsor and is able to sponsor you;
- You will receive a salary above the minimum salary required for your job role as specified by the Home Office;
- Your particular role is eligible for sponsorship;
- You have sufficient funds to maintain and accommodate yourself in the UK or, alternatively, your employer has certified that they will undertake to maintain and accommodate you, should you not be in a position to do so;
- You are able to demonstrate a knowledge of the English language to a level equivalent to CEFR Level B1 in Speaking and Listening.
You may be required to undergo tuberculosis screening as part of the application process, depending on the countries in which you have resided in.
If you have received a job offer from a company in the UK that is not a Licensed Sponsor, that company may first apply for a Sponsor Licence in order to be able to sponsor you.
How long does it take to obtain a UK work visa?
If you are applying from outside the UK:
Once the visa application is submitted, applications are currently being processed between 15 to 30 working days. Priority services are available in certain countries where you can expect to receive a decision within 5 to 10 working days. In countries such as the USA, a Super Priority service is available, whereby a decision can be made within 24 hours of your biometric appointment.
If you are applying from within the UK:
The processing times for standard applications submitted from within the UK is between 6 to 8 weeks. The processing times for applications submitted on a priority basis are either 5 working days or the next working day (depending on the priority service that has been paid for).
With all applications, priority services are subject to availability.
I am an EU citizen- do I need to apply for a work visa?
If you were not living in the UK before 31 December 2020 and do not hold any status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be required to apply for a work visa in order to work in the UK.
How long will I receive a work visa for?
If your application is successful, you will be granted a work visa in line with the length of your employment as declared by your employer. Your visa will expire 14 days after the end date of employment as declared by your employer on your Certificate of Sponsorship.
Can I apply to live in the UK permanently while on the work visa?
You may be eligible to apply to live in the UK permanently, also known as ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’, once you have completed 5 years of continuous residence in the UK on the work visa. You may also count periods of stay on certain other visa types towards the required 5-year period.
How many days can I spend outside the UK in order to be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
You must not be absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period during your 5-year period of residence. Should you exceed the permitted number of absences, your ILR application will be considered on a discretionary basis.
Can I access the National Health Services while in the UK?
As part of the application process, you will be required to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge. This is currently fixed at £624 per year. Once you have been granted a work visa, you will therefore be able to access the NHS services in the UK during your stay in the UK.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with all aspects of UK immigration law and is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on all immigration issues closely. We have a specialist corporate immigration team who service the needs of a large number of companies. If you would like to speak to a member of our corporate immigration team in respect of any of the issues raised in this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.