This page provides an overview of the various UK immigration routes for overseas applicants that wish to come to the United Kingdom for work. They provide an overview of both Points Based System (PBS) employment routes and non-PBS visa categories. Every visa category or sub category contains a brief description of that particular visa category, as well as a reference to the relevant Immigration Rule. This section will help you decide which work category applies to your circumstances. Please note that this information is provided for informative purposes. Immigration rules are subject to frequent change and you should therefore always visit the UKBA website for correct and up-to-date guidance. The use of the information contained in this page is entirely at your own risk.
|UK Visa Category|
|Subcategory||Brief Description of Visa Category||Immigration Rules|
|High Value Migrants|
|Tier 1 Exceptional Talent||Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) is for people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts, and who wish to work in the UK.||245B- 245BF|
|Tier 1 Entrepreneur||Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) is for non-European migrants who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running of, a business or businesses here.||245D-245DF|
|Tier 1 Investor||The Tier 1 (Investor) category is for high-net-worth individuals who want to make a substantial financial investment in the UK. You do not need a job offer to apply in this category. UKBA will assess your application based on your ability to invest £1,000,000 in the UK.||245E-245EF|
|Tier 2 General||The Tier 2 (General) category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. For the year from 6 April 2012 to 5 April 2013, a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers can come to the UK under Tier 2 (General) to do jobs with an annual salary below £150,000. There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £150,000 or above.||245H-245SD|
|Tier 2 Minister of Religion||The Tier 2 (Minister of religion) category is for people who have been offered employment or posts or roles within their faith communities in the UK as: ministers of religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work; missionaries; or members of religious orders.||245H-245SD|
|Tier 2 Sportsperson||The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category is for elite sportspeople and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level, and will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport. Your application will need to be endorsed by your sport’s governing body. If you want to come to the UK as a sportsperson for a short time only, you should apply under Tier 5 (Temporary worker – creative and sporting). Please read the UKBA Guidance for both categories to check which category is most suitable for you.||245H-245SD|
|Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer||This category is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their overseas employer to a UK branch of the organisation, either on a long-term basis or for frequent short visits. There are 4 sub-categories:
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker- Creative and Sporting||The creative and sporting worker category is for people coming to the UK to work or perform as sportspeople, entertainers or creative artists for up to 12 months.If you are a sportsperson, you must be internationally established at the highest level in your sport, and/or your employment must make a significant contribution to the development and running of sport at the highest level in the UK.If you are a coach, you must be suitably qualified to do the job.||245ZM-245ZS|
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Charity Worker||This sub-category is for people coming to the UK to do voluntary (unpaid) work for a charity. The work must be directly related to the work of your sponsor’s organisation.||245ZM-245ZS|
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Religious Worker||The religious worker category is for people coming to the UK to work temporarily as a religious worker.Religious workers can do:
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange||The government authorised exchange category is for people coming to the UK through approved schemes that aim to share knowledge, experience and best practice, and to experience the social and cultural life of the UK. This category must not be used to fill job vacancies or to bring unskilled labour to the UK.Your sponsor will be an overarching body who manages the government authorised exchange scheme. This overarching body must have the support of a UK government department.Individual employers and organisations will not be allowed to sponsor migrants in this category, even if they are licensed as sponsors under other tiers or other categories of Tier 5. The only exceptions to this are if you are coming to the UK:
Any work you do must be skilled which means it must be equivalent to NVQ or SVQ level 3 or above. This is unless you are taking part in the scheme set up as part of the European Union’s lifelong learning programme, where you can do vocational education and training at a lower skill level.
You may be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 12 or 24 months under this category, depending on the scheme you are using and the length of time of your work as shown on your certificate of sponsorship.
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker – International Agreement||The international agreement category is for people coming to the UK under contract to do work that is covered under international law, including:
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker – Youth Mobility Scheme||The youth mobility scheme is for young people from participating countries and territories who want to come and experience life in the UK. Every year, the UK government allocates a number of places on the scheme for each country and territory.The countries and territories participating in the scheme, and the number of places allocated to them for 2012, are:
If you are a citizen or passport-holder of a country or territory listed above, and that country or territory has not used all its places for this year, you might be able to come to the UK under the youth mobility scheme. Your national government will be your ‘sponsor’ during your stay.
You can also apply under the scheme if you are a British overseas citizen, a British overseas territories citizen or a British national (overseas). You will not need a sponsor, and there is no limit on the number of places on the scheme.
|245ZI – 245ZL|
|Other (Work categories)|
|Domestic workers (private households)||The ‘domestic worker in a private household’ category allows overseas employers to bring their domestic workers with them when they visit the UK for up to 6 months. To come here as a domestic worker, you must be an established member of your employer’s staff – you must have worked for your employer for at least a year before you apply for a visa.Domestic workers include cleaners, chauffeurs, cooks, those providing personal care for the employer or a member of the employer’s family, and nannies. You must work in your employer’s household in the UK.You will be given permission to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You must return home at the end of the 6 months or when your employer returns home, whichever is sooner. We will not extend your permission to stay past 6 months or past the time that your employer is in the UK.You are not allowed to change employer while you are in the UK or change to a different type of employment.
You cannot bring your dependants with you but they may apply to come here in their own right, for example as visitors.
|Representatives of overseas businesses||You may be able to come to the UK under this immigration route if you are:
|UK Ancestry||You can apply to come to the UK in this category if you can show that:
You must also show that at least 1 of your grandparents was born:
You can claim ancestry if your relationship to the relevant grandparent is in the legitimate or illegitimate line.
You cannot claim UK ancestry through step-parents, but you can apply if you or your parent (through whom you are claiming ancestry) are adopted. You must show evidence of the legal adoption with your application form.