The UK is one of the World's most popular immigration destinations if you wish to live and work in a new country. Since 1 December 2020 before the end of the Brexit transition period the UK visa points system was made easier for skilled workers. However, the UK Innovator visa and UK Start-Up visa schemes have made entry more difficult for many business owners.
In many cases you need to come under the UK points-based visa system which measures applicants against various criteria designed to assess their eligibility for a UK work or study visa. Most work-related visa applications such as the Skilled Worker visa (formerly Tier 2 visa) scheme, as well as study visa (formerly Tier 4 visa) applications are made through this system. Increasingly the current Boris Johnson government is discontinuing the use of the word "tier" in the points based visa system.
Please see the links below for detailed information on each visa type.
UK Points Based Visa System
The UK visa system consists of the following:
- Tier 1 Visa: This visa category is for 'high-value migrants' from outside the EEA and now only covers the £2 million Investor visa scheme. There is Global Talent visa (formerly Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa) and Exceptional Promise visa. On 29 March 2019 the UK Innovator visa scheme replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa scheme.
- Skilled Worker Visa: This category is for 'skilled workers' from outside the EEA with a job offer in the UK from a Skilled Worker Sponsor. It includes skilled workers who are transferred to the UK by an international company via the Intra-Company Transfer visa route, skilled workers who meet the points requirement, ministers of religion and sportspeople.
- Tier 3 Visa: This category was designed for low-skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages. The Government has so far never allocated any visas under this scheme. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot apply for the Tier 3 visa scheme.
- Student Visa: This category, formerly called the Tier 4 visa, is for students who wish to study in the UK. Applicants must have a place at a registered UK educational establishment before they can apply.
- Temporary Work Visa: This work visa category, formerly called the Tier 5 visa, contains six sub-tiers of temporary worker including creative and sporting, charity, religious workers, and the youth mobility scheme which enables about 55,000 young people every year to work in the UK on working holidays.
Other UK visas
The UK points based visa system covers most work, study, and investment visas. But visitor visas, family visas, and some UK business visas fall outside of the points based visa system.
- UK Business Visas: This section covers a number of long term business visas which fall outside of the UK visa tier system.
- UK Visitor Visas: This section has the information you need to enter the UK as a visitor, whether for business or pleasure
- UK Family Visas: Whether you want to bring your family to the UK, or join a family member already living there, this section covers the main UK visa options for families.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 30 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work in conjunction with OISC registered advisers who can help with UK visa applications.