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The UK Visas and Immigration provides work visas to people from non-EEA countries based on 5 Tier Visa System. The system divides different types of applicants based on their purpose to come to the UK, their skills, education and financial worth. We can advise you on the various UK work visa categories for a person who wants to stay in the UK.
The UK five-tier visa system consists of the following:
- Tier 1 Visa –for high-value migrants including investors, entrepreneurs, and exceptionally talented individuals.
- Tier 2 Visa – for skilled workers from non-EEA countries who have successfully acquired a job offer from a UK company. This includes the transfer of employees to the UK by a multinational company and skilled workers wherever there is a proven shortage of that particular skill set, as well as sportsperson and minister of religion.
- Tier 3 Visa – for low-skilled workers required to fulfill temporary labour shortages within the United Kingdom. To date, the UK Government has not granted any visas under this scheme.
- Tier 4 Visa –for students over the age of 16 from non-EEA countries looking to study in the UK.
- Tier 5 Visa –for temporary workers in six different areas including charity, creative and sporting, religious workers and the youth mobility scheme. These visas are provided to young individuals from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the United Kingdom.
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UK Tier Visa System - What You Need To Know
Tier 1 General Visa:
This category was closed on 6th April 2015. The people who already have a visa under this category and want to apply for settlement in the UK before the closure to Tier 1 (General) applicants on 6 April 2018.
Tier 1 Investor Visa:
The Tier 1 (Investor) visa category applies to the applicant who wishes to invest £2 million or more in the UK. The applicant under this category can also apply for his family members, including spouse and children under the age of 18. Under this category, you will get visa for three years and four months and can then be extended for another two years, by providing evidence that an investment of at least £ 2 million was made in the UK. The length of time required to qualify for permanent residence depends on the amount of investment, as follows:
The applicant can be eligible for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years in the UK if he invests £2 Million. If the applicant invests £5 million then he can apply indefinite leave to remain after 3 years in the UK. The earliest you can apply for this visa is 3 months before you travel. The fee for this visa is £1,350 with Immigration Health Surcharges. Please note that you need to pay the same fee if you want to apply for further extension under the same category.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa:
Entry Clearance of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category has been replaced by Innovator visa. Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa has been closed by the Home Office UKVI from 29 March 2019 for initial applications. If someone is already in the UK under Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can continue with their stay under Tier 1 Entrepreneur category and will be able to apply for extension and ILR under Tier 1 Entrepreneur category.
UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
The Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa category has been closed by the Home Office UKVI from 30 March 2019 for initial applications and has been replaced by Innovator visa category. Those who are already in the UK under Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa can continue with their stay under Tier 1 Entrepreneur category and will be able to apply for extension and ILR under Tier 1 Entrepreneur category.
Extension/Renewal of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
ILR As Tier 1 Entrepreneur
ILR As Tier 1 Entrepreneur (Accelerated Route)
Applications by PBS Dependants of Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant
Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
You can apply for Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur Visa) if you are from the outside the UK and have been officially endorsed as having a credible and genuine business idea. Under this category, you can stay in the UK for one year. Before your visa get expired, you can apply for another one-year extension. You can bring your family members with you as a dependent. Under this category, if you want to be eligible for this visa, then you must be endorsed by a UKTI or HEI. For graduates of UK universities who are endorsed by their university or by the UK government’s UK Trade and Investment department. Limited to 1,900 places in 2015.
Our Immigration expert can assist you by making you familiar with the complex guidance and immigration rules for this category. Please note that visa application must be submitted within 3 months of the endorsement being issues.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent
The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category is mainly for exceptionally talented person in the field of digital technology, arts, engineering, science and humanities. There are 2 stage for this application. First the person has to be endorsed by the Home Office and then second stage is to apply for visa after the endorsement. Under this category, individual needs to recognised at the highest-level world leader.
Under this visa, you have to get a unique reference number from the UK Border agency. This stage must state the appropriate designated body. The places are very limited under this category. You can apply for this visa only 3 months before you travel. The visa fee for stage 1 endorsement is £287. You also have to pay Immigration Health Surcharges. If you are outside the UK, you can apply for 5 year and 4 months visa and if you are in the UK, then you can apply for 5 years. Once you have completed your 5 years, you can apply for settlement.
Tier 2 General Migrant:
This category of the Point-Based System is created for the skilled workers and it enables the UK employers to employ nationals from outside the residence workforce to fill particular jobs which cannot be filled by a settled or EEA workers. Tier 2 (General) is for those who have an offer of a skilled job from a Tier 2 Licence holder business. You can switch into Tier 2 (General) inside the UK if you are any Tier 1 main applicant, any Tier 2 main applicant, Tier 4 (Student), a dependent partner of a Tier 4 (Student), or a Representative of an Overseas Business. Whether you are applying in or out of the UK you must score 70 points in total. You can score 30 points if you have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed sponsor and 20 points for appropriate salary. You must also score 10 points for your English language skills and 10 points for maintenance.
Whilst you are in the UK under Tier 2 (General), you can take supplementary employment and voluntary work. You can also study but you will need to obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate. You may also change your employer; however, you will need to have a new Certificate of Sponsorship from your new sponsor and you must meet all the points requirements. You will be able to apply for settlement under Tier 2 once you have reached 5 years continuous leave in the UK.
Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT)
This tier of the Point-Based System is for the existing employees of a multinational employer who need to be transferred to their UK branch for training purposes or to fill a specific vacancy that cannot be filled by a settled or EEA workers. Currently, there are three sub-categories:
Long Term Staff – this is for a period of more than 12 months, up to a maximum stay of 5 years (9 years if you earn more than £120,000 a year). You will need to have worked for your company for more than 12 months, unless the employer is going to pay you £73,900 or more a year to work in the UK.
Short Term Staff – this is for a maximum period of 12 months. You will only be able to apply under this sub-category if your Certificate of Sponsorship is assigned on or before the 5th April 2017. Employers cannot give new Certificates of Sponsorships for this sub-category because it is now closed.
Graduate Trainee – this is for recent graduate recruits being transferred to a UK branch of the same organisation for training and is for a maximum period of 12 months. You will need to have at least 3-month experience with your employer overseas. You can switch into Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer: Long Term Staff) category inside the UK and only if you are a Representative of an Overseas Business. You must be still working for the same employer named on your previous application.
Tier 2 Sportsperson Visa
Sport plays a very important part in the UK and our specialist immigration consultants are available to advise and assist you with the Immigration rules and legislation. We work with sports club and the sports individuals. Sportspeople and coaches can come to the UK under Tier 2, Tier 5 category and the Sports Visitor Visa to take part in specific sporting events here in the UK. Sporting sector Tier 5 category will allow to enter the UK for short term contracts for a maxim period of 12 months. Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 3 years with a possibility of extending for a further 3 years. Although Tier 2 (Sportsperson) sounds more attractive in respect of a possibility of settlement in the UK, you will have to satisfy an additional requirement of the English language skills. It is possible to switch from Tier 5 into Tier 2 within the UK, subject to meeting certain requirements.
Tier 2 Minister of Religion:
This Tier 2 category is for people who have been offered a job or employment with in their faith or community in the UK. It can be a member of a religious worker or missionary. For this category, the worker must have a Certificate of Sponsorship and must have a confirmed job in the UK in a religious organisation. Religious organisation must have a valid Sponsorship Licence to employ someone from the abroad.
Applicant can apply for this visa only up to 3 months before the due date to start the employment. This visa applicant must always apply from outside the UK. Fee dependents upon your situation, where and how you apply. Once you apply for this visa application, you get decision in 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK. Under this category, you are also allowed to bring your family members as a dependent.
Under this category of Tier 2 (Minister of religion) visa, Applicants must have funds of at least £945, and must have had this amount consistently for 3 months or more. The Tier 2 sponsor can guarantee their maintenance with the UK Home Office. Only ‘A rated’ sponsors have this option.
Domestic Worker Visa:
The ‘domestic worker in a private household’ category allows overseas employers to bring their domestic workers with them when they come to the UK. If you apply for Entry Clearance as a Domestic Worker, you will be given UK visa as a Domestic Worker for six months which cannot be extended from inside the UK. If you made your initial Entry Clearance as a Domestic Worker under the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2012 and you are in the UK on Domestic Worker visa, you can apply for extension of Domestic Worker visa from inside the UK. You can apply for ILR as Domestic Worker upon completing 5 years residence in the UK under this category. The dependents of Domestic Workers who have leave to remain for 12 months according to the Immigration Rules in place before 6 April 2012 can apply for entry clearance or switch into dependent visa from inside the UK. Read More About Domestic Worker Visa Category.
Sole Representative Visa:
If you have an overseas company and you are planning to set up a UK branch of that overseas company, it will cover under Sole Representative Visa category.
Sole Representative application is always applied from outside the UK. Applicant is allowed to bring their dependent. Before you apply for Sole Representative Visa, you need to make sure that you do not have any subsidiary branch of that parent overseas company. Before you apply for Sole Representative visa, you must prove that:
- You are a senior employee of Parent overseas company
- You should not be a majority shareholder in parent overseas company.
Applicant can apply for Sole Representative visa only 3 months before they travel.
Applicant must show the enough savings and also meet the requirement of English language requirement. Generally, an applicant must either be:
Sole representative of an overseas company who intends to establish and operate a registered a branch of wholly owned subsidiary for an overseas parent company an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK. A Sole Representative visa is valid for 3 years but Applicant can also extend for a further 2 years. There might be an opportunity for settlement after 5 years.
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