If you are thinking about making the move to the UK there are plenty of parameters to check out. The first, and probably most important, thing to look for is a working visa. With the UK in an uncertain position right now, due to the travel restrictions and various global lockdowns as well as the pending implications of Brexit, there are still measures you can look into to begin preparations to relocate.
In the past few years, the UK government has tweaked the criteria of migrants looking to find work from outside the EU. ‘Managed migration’ has become quite a contested topic, with salary thresholds and language qualifications being the two greatest challenges facing non-EU workers from gaining access to the UK with a work visa.
If you are an EU citizen, you have the freedom to travel and work legally in the UK until the end of 2020 when the Brexit deal is set to go through. Of course, the current global climate is very much up in the air right now when it comes to foreign travel, and depending on how the rest of the year plays out we might see an extension or changes to the Brexit deal.
What Is A Skilled Worker?
The term ‘skilled worker’ can be a little confusing in and of itself. Essentially, a skilled worker visa for the UK encompasses people working as:
- Academics and researchers;
- Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technology experts;
- Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals;
- Any other market sector with a skill shortage at the time of your application.
If you’re looking to set up in the UK as a self-employed skilled worker, you’ll either need to have at least 50,000 GBP in investments or a fantastic startup pitch that shows plenty of scope for growth and innovation.
How Can You Qualify For A UK Skilled Worker Visa?
The most common way of gaining a UK visa is by going through the Tier 2 (General) visa application process. To qualify for a UK skilled worker visa you must be earning a salary of 30,000 GBP. You have to have an employer in the UK who can approve this salary and help you gain access to the country. Your General visa lasts for up to six years and will cover you as long as you are in employment with the organization that approved your work permit.
The Tier 2 General visa is the only long-term work visa offered in the UK. For anyone who is interested in the possibility of transferring to the UK via their current employer, a Tier 2 intra-company transfer visa is available, saving you the trouble of finding a suitable employer in the UK before moving.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, EU citizens right now are not in need of a skilled worker visa. However, come January 2021 (as things stand), the UK leaves the EU and the requirement of a skilled worker visa will stretch to EU citizens. So what do you need to demonstrate prior to your application being approved?
- Sufficient understanding of the English language;
- Ten years of a clean criminal record;
- A sponsorship and job offer from a licensed UK employer;
- Able to provide the required savings and salary thresholds.
What If I Can’t Apply For A Skilled Worker Visa?
Currently, workers classed as non-skilled from outside the EU are not eligible for work within the UK. This is because low-skilled jobs are reserved for UK/EU citizens. With the impending Brexit deal these circumstances are potentially subject to change, so I would keep an eye on this situation as it develops into early 2021. You may find the job pool opens up to include or even prioritize non-EU citizens depending on your region.
How Much Does A UK Visa Cost?
Currently, it will cost £610 to apply for a Tier 2 General visa, and a further £610 per person for any family dependants. You can check out the UK government’s website at gov.uk for any potential changes or exceptions, as well as the prices of all other visas. Cost depends largely on the quality and length of the visa, so each one is different.
How Do I Apply For My UK Visa?
You should have a UK visa application center nearby where you can submit your application. A full list of the worldwide application centers can be found by visiting gov.uk. Just like the costs of each visa is different, the documents you need to show change on a tier to tier and even visa to visa basis. If you’re looking for a Tier 2 General visa for skilled workers you will need to provide:
- Passport or travel ID;
- Bank statements or a statement of financial security from your employer sponsor;
- Proof of your English language ability;
- Confirmation of your payment of the healthcare charge.
With the UK in an interesting position heading towards 2021 in terms of its position in the EU as well as the lasting after-effects of COVID-19, there might never have been a better time to take the plunge and make the move to work and live in the United Kingdom. If you are a skilled worker you have an excellent chance to take advantage of any job offers from UK employers. Once you have the sponsorship of a licensed company, getting a skilled worker visa is simple enough, provided you have the relevant documents and get all your permit applications sent off with plenty of time.
There are other things to consider when you land in the UK, like housing and registering your visa with the police service, and all this information and more can be found by visiting the gov.uk site. It is the home of all things government-related for the UK. Any updates or changes to migrant status can be found there. You can currently apply for full UK citizenship once you have resided there for five years. Finally, I wish you luck in your new challenge!