Overview of UK Work Visa Categories

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          
Work
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
Skilled Workers
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:

  • Long-term staff – for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce
  • Short-term staff – for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for 12 months or less to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce
  • Graduate trainee – this route allows the transfer of recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation, as part of a structured graduate training programme which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role
  • Skills transfer – this route allows the transfer of new graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation to learn the skills and knowledge required to perform their job overseas, or to impart their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.
245G-Z45GF
Temporary Workers
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:

  • preaching, pastoral work and non-pastoral work;
  • work in the UK in the same way you are working in an overseas organisation (although your duties in the UK may be different). The job should be done during a break from your job overseas; or
  • work in a religious order with community which involves a permanent commitment like a monastery or convent. The work in a religious order must be in the order itself or outside work directed by the order. You can apply if you are a novice whose training means taking part in the daily community life of the order.
245ZM-245ZS
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:

  • as a sponsored researcher, where the higher education institution you are coming to work at will be your sponsor; or
  • to work for a government department or agency.

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.

245ZM-245ZS
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:

  • the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
  • similar agreements between the UK and another country;
  • employees of overseas governments and international organisations; and
  • private servants in diplomatic households.
245ZM-245ZS
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:

  • Australia – 32,500 places
  • Canada – 5,000 places
  • Japan – 1,000 places
  • New Zealand – 10,000 places
  • Monaco – 1,000 places
  • Taiwan – 1,000 places
  • Republic of Korea – 500 places

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.

159
Representatives of overseas businesses You may be able to come to the UK under this immigration route if you are:

  • the sole representative of an overseas company, intending to set up a wholly owned subsidiary or register a UK branch for an overseas parent company; or
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation who is being posted on a long-term assignment as a representative of your overseas employer.
144-151
UK Ancestry You can apply to come to the UK in this category if you can show that:

  • you are a Commonwealth citizen;
  • you are aged 17 or over;
  • you are able to work and you plan to work in the UK; and
  • you can adequately support and accommodate yourself and your dependants without help from public funds – the Rights and responsibilities section on the UKBA website explains what public funds are.

You must also show that at least 1 of your grandparents was born:

  • in the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man); or
  • before 31 March 1922 in what is now the Republic of Ireland; or
  • on a British-registered ship or aircraft.

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.

186-193
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Overview of UK Work Visa Categories, Work and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s