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What is business immigration?

Over the last few years immigration policy has not been based on evidence, but on political agenda. We appreciate the positive impact of migration on the economy and society, and are happy to advise professionals, employers, entrepreneurs and investors as to the UK work visa routes that are open to them so that they can be economically active in the UK.

At Danielle Cohen Solicitors we have experience in dealing with entrepreneurs who are intending to start a new business in the UK, and we work closely with specialists who can provide a bespoke business plan relevant to your case.

What is the points-based immigration system?

The UK’s points-based visa system is the primary immigration path for non-EEA nationals to enter the UK to work, study and invest. The points-based system was adopted completely in 2010.

The points-based system used to be divided into five separate tiers, and in order to be eligible for a UK work visa under any of the tiers, an applicant must score the necessary points-based threshold. Visas under the points-based system are no longer categorised into five tiers; however the point-based system still remains. In working visa applications, points are typically awarded in relation to the applicant’s skill set and ability, their experience and their age.

The minimum points required for your application will depend on the visa for which you are applying.

The points-based system sets out the requirements for migrants to come to the UK to work, to study or for some other economic activity.

The United Kingdom has now left the EU and the Government issued a statement as to how a new point-based system will be introduced. From the 1st January 2021 EU and non-EU citizens will be subject to the same immigration rules in the way in which they can come to the UK to work or to study. The Government will replace free movement with the UK points-based system.

The points-based system

Innovator Founder

The Innovator Founder visa, previously known as the ‘Innovator visa’, is for those who wish to set up an innovative business in the UK which is different from anything else already on the market. Someone wishing to make an application for this visa must be able to demonstrate that their business idea is new, innovative, viable with potential for growth and scalable. Those on an Innovator Founder visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 years of continuous residence in the UK.

To apply for an Innovator Founder visa click here.

Long-term work

These categories of visas are for non-UK nationals who are coming to the UK for long-term work. This category includes skilled workers who are transferring into the UK via Intra-company Transfer, professional sports people, ministers of religion and skilled workers where there is a shortage in the UK. Applications under the following long-term work routes must be made outside of the UK if you are coming to stay in the UK for the first time, but those who are in the UK on a different visa and wish to switch, may make the applications from within the UK.

Skilled Worker

The Skilled Worker visa replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa and allows for non-UK nationals to come to the UK to do an eligible job with an approved licensed employer. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on Skilled Worker visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK click here.

UK Expansion Worker (Global Business Mobility)

The UK Expansion Worker visa allows those working for an overseas business as either a senior manager or specialist employee to set up a branch of the overseas business that has yet to start trading in the UK. For businesses that are already trading in the UK, applicants should make an application for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa. This visa does not lead to settlement.

To apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a UK Expansion Worker visa from inside the UK click here.

Minister of Religion (Tier 2)

Tier 2 Minister of Religion visas are for those who have been offered a job within a faith community in the UK. Those wishing to make an application for this visa will need to be employed by a licensed sponsor, have a certificate of sponsorship, prove their knowledge of English, meet the financial requirements, demonstrate their travel history over the last 5 years and demonstrate that they can travel. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a Minister of Religion visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To apply for a Minister of Religion (T2) visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a Minister of Religion visa from inside the UK click here.

Senior or Specialist Worker

The Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows for specialist employees to work in the UK for their overseas employer’s UK branch. This visa replaced the Intra-company Transfer visa, which closed on 11 April 2022. This visa does not lead to settlement.

To apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa from inside the UK click here.

Secondment Worker

The Secondment Worker visa allows an overseas employer to temporarily transfer an eligible worker to the UK as part of a high-value contract with a UK organisation. This visa does not lead to settlement.

To apply for a Secondment Worker visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a Secondment Worker visa from inside the UK click here.

Graduate Trainee

The Graduate Trainee visa allows employers to sponsor non-UK nationals from overseas to their UK branch as part of a graduate training programme for managerial and specialist roles. If the role is not part of a graduate training programme, you may still be eligible to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa. This visa does not lead to settlement.

To apply for a Graduate Trainee visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a Graduate Trainee visa from inside the UK click here.

International Sportsperson

The International Sportsperson visa allows licensed sports organisations to sponsor elite sportsperson or qualified coaches to work in the UK. This visa replaced the Sportsperson (T2) visa and the Temporary Worker – Creative and Sporting visa (T5). Those wishing to make an application for this visa will have to have their application endorsed by their sport’s governing body who will need to confirm that the applicant is internationally established and that their employment will develop the sport in the UK to the highest level. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on an International Sportsperson visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To apply for an International Sportsperson visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for an International Sportsperson visa from inside the UK click here.

Short-term work

Graduate visa

The Graduate visa allows those who have successfully completed a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible course in the UK and are on a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa to stay in the UK for at least 2 years. Those who have completed a PhD or other doctoral qualification in the UK will be granted a Graduate visa for 3 years. These applications must be made from within the UK and the education provider must have informed the Home Office that the course has been successfully completed. These visas cannot be extended. This visa does not provide a direct route to settlement, however time spent on this visa will count towards 10 years lawful residence in the UK for the purpose of Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

To apply for a Graduate visa click here.

High Potential Individual visa

The High Potential Individual visa allows those who have been awarded a qualification equivalent to at least a UK Bachelor’s degree from an eligible university listed on the Global Universities List. This list is based on the university rankings from around the world. Those with qualifications from UK institutions are not eligible to make an application for this visa, however may be eligible to make an application for a Graduate visa. Applications must be made outside of the UK if you are coming to stay in the UK for the first time, but those who are in the UK on a different visa and wish to switch may make the applications from within the UK. This visa does not provide a direct route to settlement, however time spent on this visa will count towards 10 years lawful residence in the UK for the purpose of Indefinite Leave to Remain applications.

To apply for a High Potential Individual visa from outside the UK click here.

To apply for a High Potential Individual visa from inside the UK click here.

Youth Mobility Scheme

The Youth Mobility Scheme visa allows those from specific countries who are aged between 18 to 30 to work in the UK for 2 years. Nationals from Australia, Canada or New Zealand may make an application to extend their visa by one year before their leave expires, however this can only be done once.

To apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa click here.

To apply to extend your Youth Mobility Scheme visa click here.

Temporary Work

There are 6 categories of Temporary Work visas, namely Seasonal Worker, Charity Worker, Religious Worker, Creative Worker, Government Authorised Exchange and International Agreement workers. The requirements to be met by the applicant differ depending on which Temporary Work visa is being applied for. These work visas do not lead to settlement.

To apply for a Seasonal Worker (Temporary Work) visa click here.

To apply for a Charity Worker (Temporary Work) visa click here.

To apply for a Religious Worker (Temporary Work) visa click here.

To apply for a Creative Worker (Temporary Work) visa click here.

To apply for Government Authorised Exchange (Temporary Work) visa click here.

To apply for International Agreement (Temporary Work) visa click here.

Global Talent

Global Talent visas allow individuals who are leaders, or potential leaders, in their field of work, namely academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology, to work in the UK. Before any applications for Global Talent visas can be made, the applicant must have successfully applied for an endorsement to prove that they are either a leader or potential leader in their field, unless they have won an eligible award. Global Talent visas can be granted for up to 5 years at a time. If an applicant would like to remain in the UK beyond the validity of their visa, they will need to extend the visa before it expires. Each extension can be between 1 to 5 years and the applicant can choose how long they would like the extension to be. Those on a Global Talent visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 3 or 5 years, depending on the field in which they work.

To apply for Global Talent in Academia or Research click here.

To apply for Global Talent in Arts and Culture click here.

To apply for Global Talent in Digital Technology click here.

Other work visa routes

Scale-Up Worker

A Scale-up Worker visa allows non-UK nationals to work for a fast-growing UK business provided the job role is on the list of eligible occupations. The UK business must have a sponsorship licence. The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have a job offer from a licenced scale-up business for at least 6 months, have a certificate of sponsorship from their employer and prove their knowledge of the English language. Applications must be made from outside the UK, unless switching from a different type of visa in the UK. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a Scale-up Worker visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain provided that they meet the other eligibility requirements.

To apply for a Scale-Up Worker visa click here.

UK Ancestry

The UK Ancestry visa route enables Commonwealth citizens, British overseas citizens, British overseas territories citizen, British (overseas) national and citizens of Zimbabwe to study, work and eventually settle in the UK. Applicants wishing to make an application under this route must be able to demonstrate that one of their grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependants without recourse to public funds and that they are able and planning to work in the UK. Applications must be made from outside of the UK. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a UK Ancestry visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To apply for a UK Ancestry visa click here.

Overseas Domestic Worker

Overseas Domestic Worker visas enable people who are working as domestic workers in a private household to visit the UK with their employer and continue working as a full-time domestic worker. Domestic workers include chauffeurs, cleaners, cooks and nannies. The employer of the domestic worker must either be a British citizen who lives outside of the UK and is not planning on staying in the UK for more than 6 months, or must be a non-UK national who is visiting the UK and is not planning to stay in the UK for more than 6 months. The domestic worker must be 19 years old or older, must have worked for the employer for at least 1 year, work in the same household as their employer and be paid at least the national minimum wage. Applicants will have to be able to demonstrate that they will be able to support themselves in the UK without recourse to public funds and must make the application from outside the UK.

To apply for an Overseas Domestic Worker visa click here.

Representative of an Overseas Business

Representative of an Overseas Business visas allows employees of overseas newspaper, news and broadcasting agencies and organisations to come to the UK on long-term assignments. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they will have enough funds to support themselves and any dependants for the duration of their stay in the UK, prove that they meet the English language requirements, provide details of the activities of the overseas business, including details of their assets and accounts and must provide confirmation that they will be representing the overseas business in the UK in a long term and full time role. Applications for this visa must be made outside of the UK, unless switching from a different type of visa in the UK. Those who have spent 5 continuous years in the UK on a Representative of an Overseas Business visa may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

To apply for a Representative of an Overseas Business visa click here.

Closed Schemes – Entrepreneur and Investor Visas (Tier 1)

Tier 1 (as it was formerly known) under the UK Points Based System applied to ‘high-value migrants’ from outside the EEA who are investors, entrepreneurs, or who are recognised as being of ‘exceptional talent’. The entrepreneur visa was abolished on 28 March 2019 and was replaced by the start-up and innovator visa on 29 March 2019. The innovator visa was replaced by the Innovator Founder visa on 13 April 2023 and the start-up visa route closed to new applications on 13 July 2023.

However, if you already have a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) Visa, you can still make an application for your partner and children to join you in the UK, to extend your visa or to settle in the UK.

The Investor visa (Tier 1) was introduced for non-UK nationals who make significant investments of at least £2 million in the UK. The Investor visa has been closed to new applications since 17th February 2022.

However, those who already have a Tier 1 (Investor) visa or who have had one in the last 12 months (and it was their most recent leave), can still make an application to extend their visa for 2 years or for their family members to join them in the UK. Those who have or were on Investor (Tier 1) visas may be able to apply for settlement after two, three, or five years’ continuous residence in the UK, depending on the level of investment.

To apply to extend an Investor visa (Tier 1) click here.

To apply for family members to join those on an Investor visa (Tier 1) click here.

How can we assist you?

Danielle Cohen is a top immigration lawyer in Camden, London, and can help you with your UK work permit visa application under the points-based system or your appeal.

The current government makes the UK less attractive to migrants in its measures to reduce net migration. At this time, it is important to obtain expert advice on the measures that impact those who wish to work, study and invest in the UK. Call us and we will be able to assist you in clarifying the complex and frequent changes which affect immigration law and policy.

Danielle invites you to take a look at her blog, where you will see the diverse range of clients that she has helped make an application for work visas in the UK.

If you have any questions about the process or would like to make an application please contact Danielle on 020 7267 4133. Danielle will only charge you for the first consultation if you decide to become her client and if she can assist you.

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