UK Immigration & Nationality Lawyers

Work related route to settlement

If you are planning to apply for a visa which would allow you to work in the UK and eventually settle in the UK as a permanent resident, there is a limited number of options.

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 as a sponsored worker under the Tier 2 General route.

Tier 2 (General) visa

This is an option for professional people doing highly skilled jobs (normally NQF level 6). At present, low skilled jobs are not supported by this route but changes will be introduced in January 2021.

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. If they don’t have a licence they can apply for one. When applying for a licence, the employer has to demonstrate that they have a genuine vacancy.

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 paid for, 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.

We are happy to help with the licence applications, resident labour market test and all associated procedures under the sponsor management system.

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.

Sole representative of an overseas business

Another popular option leading to settlement is for a Sole Representative of an overseas business.

Sole Representative can be seconded by an overseas business to set up a branch or a subsidiary of this business in the UK. one of the main requirements is that the headquarters of the business should remain overseas and the UK branch should be engaged in similar activities or provide the same services as the main business.

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. Settlement is available after continuous residence of five years and subject to good character requirement, knowledge of English and Life in the UK. Permitted absences in this category are 180 days in any 12 months preceding the application for ILR.

Start up or innovator

This route replaced Tier 1 Entrepreneur route which is closed for new entrants since April 2019.

A start-up visa requires an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is to be assessed and supported by an approved endorsing body.

Ancestry route

Ancestry visa 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.

Tier 1 Investor

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.

Global talent visa

This is a new route replacing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent option.

Global talent is for talented and promising individuals in the fields of

  • science
  • engineering
  • medicine
  • humanities
  • digital technology
  • arts and culture (including film and television, fashion design and architecture)

Applicants have to be endorsed as leaders in their respective field or as having the potential to become leaders in their field.


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