UK Work Visas

Entrepreneurs, high-net-worth individuals, and recognised leaders in their fields may be eligible for one of many work visas offered by the Home Office. Apply for the correct business visa for your circumstances with personalised advice from leading UK immigration lawyers.
UK Worker Visa

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Here’s How We Can Help

Here’s How We Can Help

UK Work Visas often require sponsorship from an employer with a valid sponsor licence. There are however a few exceptions, including the high-potential person (HPI) visa and the graduate visa, which will be presented below. 

After Brexit, European Union (EU) residents are required to apply for a work visa to work in the United Kingdom, just like any other non-UK national. Individuals who received Pre-Settled or Settled Status via the EU Settlement Scheme are not required to have a work visa or permit to work in the UK.

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Do You Require a Visa to Work in the UK?

Do You Require a Visa to Work in the UK?

You’re legally required to obtain a work permit if you’re from outside the UK (except for Irish citizens). This applies to individuals from the EEA (European Economic Area) and other countries who don’t already have the right to work in the UK. This change occurred when the UK and EU stopped allowing free movement between their territories.

Which Visa Type is Right for Me?

Which Visa Type is Right for Me?

It’s important to select the appropriate work visa, as it’s not only crucial for legal compliance but also for aligning with career objectives. Work visas in the UK offer various pathways, tailored to accommodate both short-term assignments and long-term career goals. Short-term options might be expedited but come with strict limits, while long-term visas offer broader rights, like family sponsorship and a path to permanent residency, but might require a more substantial commitment and higher costs. Each route has distinct requirements, fees, and processing times, and grants different rights and limitations.

UK Visas That Grant Right to Work

The Skilled Worker Visa

Supports individuals with job offers in skilled occupations within the UK.

The Health and Care Worker Visa

Specifically for medical professionals, facilitates their employment in the NHS or the adult social care sector.

Global Talent Visa

For extraordinary individuals in fields like academia or digital technology, the Global Talent Visa offers entry based on leadership potential.

High Potential Individual Visa

Allows recent top global university graduates, with a route to seek employment in the UK without needing a job offer to begin with.

Graduate Visa

This visa offers international students who have completed a degree in the UK the opportunity to stay and work or look for work for up to 2 years post-graduation, or 3 years for doctoral graduates.

Scale-up Visa

This visa is targeted at skilled individuals who have a job offer from a UK business that is scaling up or has the potential to scale up.

Temporary Worker Visa

This visa is for short-term employment in specific sectors, with various subcategories including Creative and Sporting, Charity Workers, and Religious Workers.

Global Business Mobility Visas

This suite of visas is designed for overseas businesses to transfer existing employees to the UK for specific business purposes.


Other Visa Types

Other Visa Types

  • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa
  • UK Ancestry Visa

If you are planning to work in the UK for a company based in another country, you may want to consider getting a Global Business Mobility visa. This visa category could be a good option for individuals who want to work in the UK for a short-term period of up to 12 months.

  • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa
  • UK Expansion Worker Visa
  • Graduate Trainee Visa
  • Secondment Worker Visa
  • Service Supplier Visa
  • Overseas Domestic Worker Visa
  • Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

UK Temporary work visas are designed for temporary or seasonal employment in the UK. The length of time that a temporary work visa is valid for depends on the specific circumstances of the individual’s employment, but they typically last for a few months up to two years.

  • Seasonal Worker Visa 
  • Government Authorised Exchange Visa
  • Creative Worker Visa 
  • Religious Worker Visa
  • Charity Worker Visa
  • International Agreement visa

What makes Rove Legal your ideal partner?  

What makes Rove Legal your ideal partner?  

Sponsor Licence regime has seen many changes over the past few years. The Home Office constantly introduces new procedures to strengthen compliance which has made the process of acquiring and maintaining your licence a legal minefield.

A truly bespoke support

We provide a one-to-one service, bypassing the typical bureaucracy found in larger firms.
From Sponsor Licence application to requesting CoS  (Certificate of Sponsorship) we are always accessible to ready to support you.

Proactive Advice

Whether you’re thinking about getting your sponsor licence or looking for support with CoS issuance, we’ll take a proactive approach and anticipate any potential issue that may need fixing before they become problems.

Expert Lawyers

We’re a law firm, not an immigration advisory, adhering to the highest standards of client care and ethics regulated by the SRA.
Your case will be managed by an experienced solicitor, not case workers or paralegals.

Sponsor Licence Duties 2024 Update

What is the Points-Based System (PBS)?

What is the Points-Based System (PBS)?

The Points-Based System (PBS) is a system for people who want to work in the UK. It was created to make sure that the UK only grants work permits to skilled workers who can achieve a high score. The system works by giving points to applicants based on certain criteria, like their education level, work experience, language skills, and job offers in the UK. This system is fair and objective because it assesses applicants based on their skills, not their nationality or connections. The UK government can control immigration by setting criteria for applicants. The system also benefits the UK economy by letting skilled people work in the UK. 

The UK’s Points-Based System (PBS) encompasses various work visa categories such as the Skilled Worker Visa, Health and Care Worker Visa, Global Business Mobility Visas, and the Temporary Worker Visa. In contrast, visas like the Global Talent Visa, High Potential Individual Visa, Graduate Visa, and UK Ancestry Visa operate outside the PBS framework.

General Requirements for UK Work Visas

Score Enough Points

Under the PBS system, applicants need to obtain a certain number of points that are granted based on their sponsorship, salary, and skills to be considered eligible.

For the majority of UK work visas, receiving a job offer from a UK-based employer with a sponsor licence is essential. You can only apply for your visa after your employer, acting as your sponsor, gives you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). This certificate outlines the job position you have been offered and confirms that you meet the requirements of the role.

Most UK work visa applicants need to show their English language proficiency, but some applicants are exempt from this requirement. These applicants, such as those who are older than 65, people with certain health conditions, and individuals from specified countries, don’t need to prove their English skills for a UK visa. 


For others, proving English proficiency might involve presenting a degree taught in English or passing an English test at a specific CEFR level, from tests approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

Applicants are required to show they have sufficient funds to cover their initial stay in the UK. This is a crucial part of the visa application process, designed to demonstrate that applicants can support themselves.

The typical financial threshold for most work visas is at least £1,270 in savings. This amount is considered adequate for the applicant’s early days in the UK.

It’s important to note that some visas, such as the Graduate Work visa and the Domestic Worker visa, do not require this financial proof. Conversely, applicants for the Youth Mobility scheme need to demonstrate having at least £2,530.

Exemptions: These financial requirements may not apply if the applicant has already been living in the UK on a valid visa for over a year. Moreover, if an employer guarantees financial support of at least £1,270 for the first month, the applicant is also exempt from this requirement.

Candidates may be required to provide a criminal record certificate from all the countries they have lived in for at least 12 months within the past ten years, whether continuously or cumulatively. Criminal records become especially important for those who will be interacting with vulnerable groups, such as minors.

The Home Office considers multiple factors to determine an applicant’s suitability to enter or remain in the UK. Their character, conduct, and associations are evaluated, including any criminal convictions or actions that may be deemed non-conducive to the public good, such as hate speech or extremist behaviour.

The Home Office also reviews each applicant’s background to make sure they’re not a threat to the country’s safety. This review might include looking through different databases and working with other countries to spot anyone who could be dangerous.

In addition, the Home Office examines an applicant’s immigration history, for any immigration offences or breaches of stay conditions in the UK and even other countries. This refers to acts like staying in the UK after your visa has expired, entering the country without permission, or lying in any visa applications.

Our Process

A Step-by-step Guide to Applying for a UK Work Visa

A Step-by-step Guide to Applying for a UK Work Visa

Say goodbye to complicated immigration applications and endless documentation.  Our senior partners are ready to make the process smooth and easy for you!

1.  Determine the suitable visa type

Choose the work visa category that matches your job offer, qualifications, and work nature.

2. Obtain sponsorship

For most work visas, you will need a job offer from a UK employer who is authorised to sponsor immigrants. You’ll receive a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer, which is crucial for your visa application.

3. Gather your documents:

Prepare all required documents in advance.

4. Online Application

Fill out the visa application online through the official UK Government website, providing your personal details, CoS, and employment information.

5. Pay the visa fee and healthcare surcharge

Pay your visa application fees and any Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for yourself and your dependent.

6. Book and attend a biometric appointment:

As part of your application, you will need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a Visa Application Centre.

7. Submit your documents

Submit your documents, either by uploading them online or posting them to the application centre, based on your location.

8. Attend an interview (if required)

You may be asked to attend an interview in some cases.

9. Receive your visa decision

Wait for the decision on your visa application. Processing times can vary, so check the typical times for your visa type.

Documents Required for the Application

Documents Required for the Application

When you apply for a work visa in the UK, the documents you submit play a vital role in proving you’re eligible and prepared to work in the UK. While the exact paperwork needed might change depending on the type of visa and your situation, you typically have to provide:

Valid Passport: Ensure your passport has an extended validity period beyond your planned stay in the UK.

Sponsorship Certificate: A unique number provided by your UK employer, essential if your visa category requires employer sponsorship.

English Language Certification: Evidence of your proficiency in English, which could be a certified test result or proof of a degree taught in English.

Proof of Financial Stability: Bank statements or similar financial documents showing you have the means to support yourself during your stay.

Health Screening Certificate: For applicants from certain countries, a tuberculosis clearance certificate is mandatory.

Background Check Documentation: A criminal record certificate, particularly for positions involving interaction with vulnerable individuals.

Employment Salary Confirmation: An official statement from your sponsor detailing your job and salary in the UK.

These components are part of the standard checklist to ensure that applicants meet all regulatory requirements for working in the UK.

Your Rights Under a UK Work Visa

Your Rights Under a UK Work Visa

If you have a UK Work Visa, it means you’re allowed to work in the UK based on the conditions mentioned in your visa, such as your salary and working hours. Some visa types allow you to switch employers, but you need to update your visa details accordingly. You can also bring your family to the UK, and they can use public education and healthcare services, but you need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. While the NHS covers most primary care services like GP visits and hospital treatments, some services may require additional fees.

Skilled Worker Visa

The Skilled Worker Visa offers a pathway for skilled individuals from outside the UK to engage in employment within the country. This visa category, which replaces the former Tier 2 (General) visa, hinges on a points-based evaluation set forth by the Home Office. Successful applicants are granted the opportunity to contribute their skills to the UK workforce, assuming their roles in occupations deemed eligible by the UK government.

Key Requirements:

  • It’s necessary to have a job offer from an employer with a valid Sponsor Licence.
  • Obtain a CoS detailing the job offer and its compatibility with visa requirements.
  • Your job offer should be from the list of occupations approved by the Home Office.
  • Must meet or exceed the minimum salary threshold of £38,700 or the specific rate for the offered occupation, whichever is higher. Exceptions allowing a lower minimum salary exist for certain scenarios, such as applicants under 26 years, holding a PhD, or occupying a role on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Showing you can speak English well enough to meet the required level is crucial.


Holders of the Skilled Worker Visa are typically allowed an initial stay of up to 5 years, with the possibility to apply for an extension. Furthermore, after a continuous 5-year period in the UK, individuals may seek Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), paving the way towards permanent residency. This visa thus serves not only as a means for skilled professionals to work in the UK but also potentially settle in the long term, contributing their expertise to the UK’s diverse job market.

The Health and Care Worker Visa offers a dedicated route for medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and allied health and social care workers, to engage in employment within the UK’s healthcare sector under the sponsorship of licensed employers. This visa underscores the UK’s recognition of the pivotal role these professionals play in its healthcare system.

Key Requirements:

  • Applicants must be duly qualified in their healthcare profession
  • They need to receive a job offer from a UK employer with a valid Health and Care Worker license. 
  • The job must be among those listed as eligible health or care occupations by the UK government.
  • The offered salary must either meet or exceed the set minimum for healthcare professionals, reflecting the job’s responsibilities and the professional’s expertise.

The UK government has launched a specialised visa for critical healthcare personnel, outlining specific eligibility requirements and salary benchmarks. This visa offers advantages such as lowered application charges, expedited processing times, and waiving the Immigration Health Surcharge. However, there will be updates in 2024 that will adjust the salary thresholds and introduce a new rule against dependant family members accompanying visa holders. This is aimed at making it easier and faster for essential healthcare workers to enter the UK.

The UK Graduate Visa grants international students, who have finalized their higher education in the UK, the opportunity to remain and work in the country for up to two years, or three years for those with PhDs. Eligibility for this visa extends to students who have resided in the UK under a student visa visa. Graduates can work in any job, change positions, and kick-start their careers in the UK with this flexible visa option. While it doesn’t offer a route to permanent settlement or the possibility for an extension under the same category, it does open the door for graduates to transition to other visa categories, such as the Skilled Worker Visa, if they secure a qualifying job offer.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be in the UK on a student visa or Tier 4 student visa.
  • Must have completed a bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree, or Ph.D. from a UK institution.
  • The course must have lasted a minimum of 12 months under the student visa.
  • The educational institution must confirm the course completion to the Home Office.
  • Must apply from within the UK.

Designed for exceptional talents and promising leaders across fields like science, arts, and technology, the UK’s Global Talent Visa is a gateway for individuals with proven or potential expertise to contribute significantly to their sectors in Britain. 

Applicants must be over 18 and secure an endorsement from notable bodies such as the Royal Society or Tech Nation, reflecting their standout contributions or potential in their professional realms.

This visa offers flexibility and a clear path towards long-term residency, allowing an initial stay of up to five years with options for extension. It also opens the door for permanent settlement after a certain period, subject to specific endorsements, thereby acknowledging and rewarding the impactful contributions of global talents to the UK’s cultural and scientific communities.

Visa Tyoe
Application Fee
Healthcare Surcharge (per year)
Minimum Personal Funds
Skilled Worker Visa
£625 - £1,423
Start-up Visa
Graduate Work Visa
Not specified
Domestic Worker Visa
Not applicable
Not specified
Minister of Religion Visa
Youth Mobility Scheme
Global Business Mobility Worker Visa
Temporary Worker Visa

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