Law Blog


Getting A UK Work Visa

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If you have made the decision that you want to work within the UK, then you may need to consider getting a work visa in order to do so. The procedure may at first seem a little daunting or off-putting. However, you should never let a little bit of hard work get in the way of achieving your goals. So, if you really are intent on coming to the UK to work, here is a guide as to how to go about it.

The EU

In 2016, Britain voted to leave the EU, the so called ‘Brexit’ vote. However, as thing stand, the UK currently remains a full member of the EU. Of course it is likely that this will change in the future, however for now, we can only go off facts as they stand, rather than trying to second guess what might happen in the coming months and years.

Therefore, as a member state, the rules governing other EU citizens coming to work in the UK, namely Article 50, mean that they can work in the UK without a visa. It is true that their employers may need to see evidence of nationality, i.e. a national passport, and that due to transitional arrangements; Croatian nationals may also have to apply for a registration certificate. Otherwise, EU citizens are free to come and work in the UK and vice versa.


If you come from outside of the EU, then in order to work in the UK you will need a Visa. Depending on which country you are applying from, the procedures vary. However, before you even consider whether or not to apply, you should check your eligibility.

The eligibility test looks at first glance to be quite complicated. But this isn’t necessarily true. The type of work that you are looking to do affects your chances of passing the test. The different categories of work are made up into a “tier” system. Prior to April 2016, you had to pass a points test to qualify, that has since been replaced by UK NARIC.

The Tiers

  • One – Highly Skilled – you will fit into this bracket if your employment is covered by these categories – Investors, entrepreneurs, and recent UK Universities graduates.

No job offer is needed, just a certain score based on the points based system or NARIC.

  • Two – Skilled – unlike the highly skilled workers, you WILL need a job offer. You must also satisfy the certain points/NARIC score. Jobs classes as “skilled” include religious ministers, sportsmen or intra-company transfers.
  • Three – Temporary Low Skilled (Currently Suspended) – your country of origin will need a returns arrangement with Britain. In addition, and you will need a work sponsor. Under Tier Three you will not be able to apply for permanent residency.
  • Four and five – Covers students and temporary workers.


When the points based system was suspended after 6th April 2016, it was replaced with the NARIC service. There is a link below, and it should be noted that there is a Fee for the Application. It should also be remembered that NARIC is non-advisory; they will not help you with the application, they will only process it.

So You May Be Eligible, What Next? The Form

Having ensured that you are eligible to apply, the application can be made here on the Visa4Uk system. To begin with, set up an account. The site is only available in English, and moreover, must be completed in English. Some countries will require you to print the form complete it by hand, again in English – however, strangely enough, any documentation filed in support, can be done so in your native language.

It is vital that you yourself complete the form. You can of course ask for help, but your signature means you are responsible. Incorrect or wrong information can have serious penalties, so make sure you understand what you are putting down and that it is true.

Visa Centre

Because you have to provide biometrics, i.e. fingerprints and facial recognition photographs taken, you yourself will have to attend the Visa Centre. In some countries, you may also need to provide evidence that you have been screen for and are free from TB.

Time Limits

Usually decisions are made within 15 days, but never immediately. Additional interviews may have to take place in order to clarify any points.


 If you give false information, your application will be refused, and you may be banned from applying again for 10 years. Hence, get it right! A refusal on grounds other than falsehood can be reviewed/appealed if required.

Follow Procedures and Formalities

Of course there are formalities, you are looking to live and work in a foreign country. You must understand, respect and comply with these or run the risk of the application being rejected. It is YOUR application, your future, so ensure that the proper care and diligence is applied to all stages of the process.

Remember to always provide evidence in support of the Application, to avoid the risk of a rejection. Any appeal or review may take longer than the initial Application itself, so getting it right first time is crucial.

Finally, just remind yourself as to why you want to work in the UK, and this should refocus your attention on the Application process. You may be looking for a fresh start or to better support your family etc. Whatever the reason, do not take the process likely, or you may fall foul of it. Make sure you do it right and start the next chapter of your life in a positive way.