If you are planning to apply for a visa which would allow you to work in the UK and eventually settling in the UK as a permanent resident, there is a small number of options for you to consider.
The most straightforward way of getting permission to work, is finding an employer who is willing to sponsor you. You may then relocated to the UK under the Tier 2 General route.
This is an option for professional people doing highly skilled jobs (normally NQF level 6). Low skilled jobs are not supported by this route. Highly skilled jobs cover a range of professions (from IT specialists, to pharmacists, engineers, marketing directors, and so on) and the Home Office publishes a list of jobs supported by this route.
It is worth noting that there is no requirements to receive formal qualifications in the given field, but only to demonstrate an ability to perform the relevant duties.
The employer needs to have a sponsorship licence before they can employ migrants. This licence can be applied for and it should not be unreasonably withheld. However, the employer has to demonstrate that they have a genuine vacancy. Advertising the vacancy normally serves as sufficient proof, however the Home Office may also ask questions.
Before offering a job to a migrant worker, the employer also has to carry out a resident labour market test to make sure that priority job offers are given to local residents. Where the occupation is on a shortage occupation list published by the Home Office, resident labour market test is considered met.
The job has to be adequately remunerated, and there is a prescribed minimum salary for each type of job. The higher the salary, the more chances the employer has to receive an authorisation to hire a candidate from abroad (or “restricted certificate of sponsorship”).
We are happy to help with the licence applications, resident labour market test and all associated procedures under the sponsor management system. However, we are not in a position to help you find employment. You may need to contact recruitment agencies or approach potential employers directly.
Holders of Tier 2 General visa may apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after five years of residence. They have to demonstrate that they have been employed in authorised employment throughout the five year period and have note been out of the country for more than 180 days in any consecutive 12 month period before applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Tier 2 visa holders may apply for naturalisation as British citizens one year after becoming settled.
Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer route does not lead to settlement.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur route
Another popular option for settlement is Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. This visa does not allow migrants to take up employment, but allows them to set up their own business and provide services as a free lance or sole trader, or through a limited company.
One of the core requirements for Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants is to have investment funds of not less than £200,000. This figure is reduced to £50,000 if the proposed business idea is sponsored by the government or an etnrepreneurial seed funding firm. Where the business is sponsored by private capital, the requirement is still £200,000. Another crucial requirement is a viable and practicable business plan. The entrepreneurs should have knowledge of English to B1 level.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants may settled in the UK after three years if their business is particularly successful and meets enhanced requirements as to job creation and turnover; otherwise Tier 1 Entrepreneur migrants are entitled to settlement after five years of residence in this category.
In addition to meeting the requirements related to performance of their business, Entrepreneurs will have to demonstrate that they were not out of the country for more than 180 days in any 12 months preceding their application for settlement. All other settlement requirements, such as knowledge of Life in the UK and good character requirements are standard in all categories.
Tier 1 Investor visa holders are allowed to settle in the UK subject to standard good character requirements, knowledge of English and continuous residence in the UK during the requisite period of time. Investors are required to invest at least 2 million pounds in the British economy in accordance with the prescribed guidelines. Depending on the level of investment (£2 million, 5 million, or £10 million) Tier 1 investors may settle after two, three or five years of residence, respectively. Investors are allowed to take up employment in the UK without any restrictions.
Settlement routes outside the points based system
In addition to the above routes open to migrants of all nationalities, Ancestry visa route allows Commonwealth citizens with a British born grandparent to come to the UK for work. After five years of residence ancestry visa holders are allowed to apply for indefinite leave to remain. This is subject to not exceeding permitted absences of up to 180 day in any consecutive 12 month period in the five years preceding the application.
Another route leading to settlement is that for a Sole Representative of an overseas businesses. Sole Representatives are representatives of an overseas business seconded to the UK to establish a branch or subsidiary of this business in the UK. Sole Representative route is not part of the points based system. There are no specific requirements for earnings, but holders of this type of visa are not allowed to work in the UK other than for the overseas company which seconded them. Their settlement after continuous period of five years is also subject to good character requirement, knowledge of English and Life in the UK. Permitted absences in this category as 180 days in any 12 months preceding the application for ILR.