How to get a work visa for the United Kingdom

If you wish to work in the UK, you should know how to get a work visa for the United Kingdom. If the latest data is anything to go by, foreigners represent nearly 20% of the workforce, and the figure keeps growing as employers and governments seek ways to fill emerging vacancies.

Are you looking for opportunities in the UK, or do you already have a secured job? You need a work visa to work legally, and we will show you how to secure a visa as soon as possible.


Why You Need A Work Visa?

Securing a job in the UK is only one half of the equation; you also need to secure a visa, as foreigners are only allowed to work in the country with one. Furthermore, visas cannot be secured in the UK but outside the country. This means that you cannot enter the country with a tourism visa, for instance, and then switch to a work visa; you must apply for the work visa and get it before you can legally enter the country for work.

Types Of UK Work Visas?

Different work visas are available for foreigners, and we review some of the most common ones below.

Short-Term Work Visas

A short-term work visa, also called a temporary work visa, falls under the Tier 5 points-based system. Under the short-term work visa package are the following visas.

Creative & Sporting Visa: This visa is for those looking to work as creatives or active athletes in the United Kingdom. It cuts across different types of sports.

Government Authorized Exchange Visa: This one is for those looking to gain work experience in the UK or to train. Persons participating in the Overseas Government Language Program, Research, and Fellowship Program class qualify.

International Agreement Visa: The International Agreement Program is for foreigners contracted to work in the country for a foreign government or as a private aide of a diplomatic household.

Religious Worker Visa: It is for persons who engage in religious work like preaching, social engagements, etc., in the UK.

Seasonal Worker: It is for persons who work on farms and spend up to 6 months before they depart for their home countries.

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa: This visa was designed to attract people from certain countries that have British nationality, such as Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Monaco, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong. Only persons between 18-30 years qualify for it.

Long-Term Work Visas

The long-term work visa category falls under the second Time points-based system. The visas under this category are as follows.

General Work Visa: This one is for those outside the European Economic Area, including Switzerland. To qualify, you must have received a job offer from a company based in the UK or a licensed sponsor.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa: It was specially created for overseas employees who have been offered roles to work in a branch in the UK.

Minister of Religion Visa: This visa is for non-EEA and Swiss nationals. It’s for work in the faith community.

Sportsperson Visa: For elite sports professionals who are qualified coaches and internationally recognized by the governing bodies as performing at the highest level.

Tier 2 Health Care Worker Visa: For medical professionals coming to work for the NHS or an NHS service supplier in an adult setting.

Some other work visas include the innovator visa, startup visa, global talent visa, Graduate Entrepreneur visa, investor visa, ancestry visa, domestic visa, representative or an oversea company visa, Turkish person business visa, and worker visa.

All these visas have conditions and special requirements for the applicant to qualify.

How To Get A Work Visa For The United Kingdom?

If you want to apply for a work visa, here are the steps.

Job Offer/Sponsorship Endorsement

One way to approach the application is to apply and get a job in the UK. However, this doesn’t have to be the case if you apply for an innovator, startup, or graduate visa. For other visas, you will need to get a job offer before the government will accredit your application.

The other option is to get a sponsorship or endorsement from a resident or company in the UK. Once the endorsement has been verified, the visa will be issued to you.

Salary Verification

The UK embassy will also expect you to prove with valid documents that you are earning a specific salary monthly, and the figure varies depending on the type of visa you apply for.

Educational Verification

Persons applying for Graduate Student Visa to continue their education in the UK will also have to verify their course and their previous degrees. They must also show that they are applying for the visa before their student visa expires.

Other documents to submit include proof of assets, identification, etc.

Note: The documents demanded will depend on the visa


Applying For A Work Permit

After arriving in the UK, you must get a work permit by applying to the UK Home Office.

Now that you know how to get a work visa for the United Kingdom remember that you must pay for the visa, which ranges between £624 - £1,277 per annum.

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    This article was published by VisaHQ, a world leader in visa processing. Since 2003, VisaHQ has 20 offices in 6 countries and has helped countless tourist, business travellers, diplomats, workers, and students obtain their visa. With a 4.41 star rating on, VisaHQ is committed to innovation, service, security, and simplicity in the visa application process.