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How To Get A Work Visa In The UK

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Looking to hire a worker for a project in the UK? If they're not a British or Irish citizen, then you’ll need to apply for a work permit on their behalf.

There’s quite a lot to the process. Find out what’s involved, including the paperwork, types of visa, and why the UK remains a prosperous location for both projects and candidates…

Why choose the UK?

The UK has numerous advantages as a work environment:

  • Minimum wage (or National Living Wage) is £11.44 for those aged 21+

  • The 13th month payment isn’t applicable

  • 35 to 40-hour working week

  • 5.6 weeks’ holiday

  • 8 permanent annual Bank Holidays 

  • Statutory Sick Pay

    • Paid at £116.75 each week for up to 28 weeks from day 4 of sickness

Likewise, the taxation system is attractive:
Income tax system: Income tax is graduated, with higher bands of income triggering higher rates. 

  • Inheritance tax (IHT): This is payable following a taxpayer’s death on the value of assets (not covered by any reliefs or exemptions). It only pertains to those above the available nil rate band (NRB).

  • Property tax: There’s no specific annual property tax, but there are others that are yearly and one-off. Two key examples of the latter are Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or Capital Gains Tax (CGT), payable on the purchase or sale of a property.

Which visa should you choose? 

The UK has many different types of work permits. Key ones include:

Skilled Worker visa

This is for those coming to the UK to carry out an eligible role with an employer approved by the Home Office. Eligibility will require a minimum ‘standard’ salary. It’s valid for up to 5 years and can be extended as much as required. 

Service Supplier visa (Global Business Mobility)

This is accessible for those who have a contract to supply services for a UK company. It must be covered by a valid trade agreement and the worker must either be performing a relevant job or possess relevant qualifications and experience. Validity is a maximum of 6 or 12 months dependent on the type of trade agreement.

Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility)

This visa is for those coming to the UK to fulfil an eligible job at their employer’s UK branch. It requires pay of at least £48,500 per annum. The visa is valid for up to 5 years, though it can be extended up to the maximum total stay. This is 5 years in a 6 year period if salaried less than £73,900 per year. If it’s above this, then this becomes 9 years in a 10-year period.

What documents are required?

To apply for the UK work permit on an employee’s behalf, significant paperwork will be involved, including:

  • Valid passport or other document that proves identity and nationality

  • Proof of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English to level B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale:

    • Passing a Secure English Language Test from an approved provider

    • A GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English

    • A degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English

  • Certificate of sponsorship showing sponsorship reference number, name of employer, and sponsor licence number

Use WRS for the UK work visa process

While there are numerous intricacies to the UK work visa process, WRS is equipped to deal with them. We’ve supported many employers in the past, navigating challenges successfully along the way. 

In addition, we’re fully registered to provide tax services and managed payroll in the UK – with our dedicated payroll and online timesheet portal ensuring all workers are paid on time, and in the required currency.

Want to make global mobilisation easier? Get in touch with the WRS team.

Disclaimer: Worldwide Recruitment Solutions does not provide visa, immigration or taxation advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended and should not be relied upon for visa, immigration or taxation advice. You should consult with a qualified immigration professional or the official government website of the country you're applying to for the most up-to-date and accurate information.