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Expanding your company into the UK requires a team of skilled employees. Whether you already have a trusted team at your parent company ready to move and work in the UK or you’re opening up positions to people around the world, you need to know about the United Kingdom’s work permits and visas.

Many companies already handling global growth don’t have time to learn about work visas, permits, and how to obtain them.

Types of work visas in the UK

The United Kingdom’s main immigration route is through the Points Based System (PBS). First, if the professional or their family members started living in the UK on Dec. 31, 2020 or earlier, they may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme instead of applying for a visa. The deadline to apply was June 30, 2021, however, professionals may still apply if:

  1. They are joining a family member in the UK who was living in the country by Dec. 30, 2020.
  2. They have “reasonable grounds” for being unable to apply by June 30, 2021. For example, they can’t apply due to illness, or because they are a victim of domestic abuse.

Migrants outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can apply to one of the 3 visa categories, including:

  1. Long-term work visas
  2. Temporary work visas
  3. Investor, business development, and talent visas

Within each category, there are various visa types, including a Graduate visa, Service Supplier visa, Skilled Worker visa, and more.

Requirements to obtain UK work visas

The requirements for a UK working visa vary based on which visa category and type your team members need.

All general work visa applicants must have an employer or a licensed sponsor. Although the requirements vary by type of work permit, the most common include:

  • An application form.
  • 2 color photographs taken within the past 6 months.
  • A valid passport.
  • Proof of financial means to cover UK living costs.
  • Proof of accommodation.
  • Detailed travel itinerary.
  • Tuberculosis test results.
  • Biometric information.
  • A visa invitation letter if the individual is staying with a friend or family member.
  • Paid UK visa fees.
  • Certified translations of any document that’s not in English or Welsh.

Application process

Your teams members should apply for a UK visa 3 months before they want to begin working for you. It’s important to apply early at an application center or online through the UK Home Office Visas and Immigration Services website. The PBS system means the requirements and evaluations change for each visa type, and some categories may have additional requirements, so make sure your teams know what they need to apply.

The UK has announced plans to fully digitize its immigration process and permissions by 2025.

Other important considerations

There are other ways for people to work in the UK besides the traditional work permit and visa routes. For example, possible applicants include:

  • Commonwealth citizen
  • British international citizen
  • British international territories citizen
  • British national (international)
  • Citizen of Zimbabwe

A commonwealth citizen with a British grandparent can also apply for an ancestry visa to work in the country if they meet other eligibility criteria. These citizens may also have a right of abode to live in the UK. If your company has an professional who left the UK for less than 2 years through indefinite leave to remain (ILR), they may need only a returning resident visa to come back and work.

Discover how G-P can help you manage your global teams.

At G-P, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to global business, enabling opportunity for everyone, everywhere, and helping companies tap into the fullest potential of their workforce. We help you maintain full compliance with local laws and ensure everything from hiring and onboarding to paying your team is quick and easy, regardless of where they are in the world.

Find out more about how our Global Growth Platform™ can help you grow your team across the globe.

At this moment, G-P does not offer support processing work visas or permits in this particular location.


THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. You should always consult with and rely on your own legal and/or tax advisor(s). G-P does not provide legal or tax advice. The information is general and not tailored to a specific company or workforce and does not reflect G-P’s product delivery in any given jurisdiction. G-P makes no representations or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information and shall have no liability arising out of or in connection with it, including any loss caused by use of, or reliance on, the information.

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