Coming to the UK to live and work can be an amazing experience, and many who do this end up remaining in the country long-term. The UK is one of the world's best places to live and it is no wonder that so many people travel to the UK every year in order to live and work. If you are looking to come to the UK to fulfill a contract, then you will need to apply for a visa if you are not from within the EEA. In this article, we will look at the visa routes available to those who wish to come to the UK to work and also offer some practical advice on visas in the UK.
Your options for coming to the UK to work on a contract will depend largely on the type of business that you are in and your country of origin. If your contract is for a company that allows you to move countries (but remain with them) then you may be able to apply for the Tier 2 ICT Visa. The Tier 2 ICT Visa allows those who are eligible to move countries whilst remaining with the same employer, this is an excellent option for those who wish to remain with an employer but would like to move to a different country. The Tier 2 ICT Visa carries very stringent eligibility criteria and does not give the holder the ability to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK after 5 years like most other routes do.
If this is not the case for you then you will need to look at one of the alternative visa routes in the UK which we will go into a little more detail in this article. Suffice to say, the Tier 2 ICT Visa is a very good option for those who are eligible for it, but you will need to bear in mind that you will not be able to stay in the UK for an extended period of time after the visa runs out and you will need to remain with your company in order to keep extending the visa.
There are several different options for those who are looking to move to the UK to work, these will largely depend on the amount of money you have available to you and whether you intend to work for yourself or whether you intend to work for an employer. If you intend to work for yourself, then you will be looking at the Tier 1 routes. The Tier 1 Visa routes are principally, the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and the Tier 1 Investor visa. Both of these visa routes require a large amount of capital upfront in order to be able to either start a business, or to invest in a going concern. The routes are an excellent option for those who can afford them and can also help to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain faster than the usual 5 years (for Tier 1 Investor Visa).
If you are looking to work for somebody else then you will be ideally looking at the Tier 2 General Visa. This visa requires the holder to gain a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from an eligible employer (known as a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder) and it will also require that the applicant meets stringent eligibility criteria: including how much they will learn, their level of savings and their level of English language skill. The Tier 2 General Visa is the most common route for those coming to the UK to work and is an excellent option for those who do not have a large amount of capital to invest for starting a business.
As long as the business has a very reasonable chance of being successful, then the Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa may well be the best option. You will need to ensure that you have the minimum £200,000 investment that will be required in order to start a business, you'll be able to use your contract as a means of proving that you have a viable business, but you will still need to produce a business plan. The existence of a solid contract will certainly help your case as to whether the business is viable or not.
As long as you have the £200,000 seed investment, the existence of a contract will certainly help your case and if you need help putting an application together for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa then please get in touch. We can help to produce everything that is required in order to apply successfully for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and we have a long history of helping entrepreneurs move successfully to the UK.
Yes, in almost all of these routes there is an option to switch from the visa to what is known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) means you are no longer subject to immigration controls and can leave and re-enter the country at your will. You can, after one year of having Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), can apply for British citizenship which within entitle you to apply for a British passport.