UK Work Visas: which one is best for me in the long term?

In order to make an informed decision on which UK work visa applies to you, you should initially have a clear idea of your career path for the long term.

man with laptop sitting and thinking baloon in background flickr @ nic519

Aside checking if you are eligible to a UK work visa as we wrote last week, you also need to think of what you want for your future: stay in the country in the long-term or just get a UK work experience on your CV? A UK visa might be constraining not to leave the country for more than 90 days a year or to go back to your country for a year before being able to apply to a new work visa again.

Therefore, it is important to ask yourself few questions. With our experience in helping our users in finding the right visa for them for free, we thought we would map these important questions below for you:

  • What kind of work do I want to do there? 

If you want to walk up the corporate ladder in a UK company or industry, you might want to consider more long-term and flexible visas like the Tier 2 general or the tier 1 Exceptional talent. More flexible visas will allow you to switch employers and stay on the same visa; or switch employers without the need for you to go back home for 12 months.

  • How long do I want to stay?

If you want to stay for a while, you definitely want to consider the Tier 1 category and Tier 2 general that are the ones providing at least 3 years for you to stay in the country. Generally speaking, the renewal of a tier 1 is more difficult than a Tier 2 as some proof of achievements (job creation for e.g.) will have to be met at the end of the three years for the first category, but not always. For the tier 2 general, you will need your company to renew their licence or find another employer to sponsor you.

  •  What kind of business or industry will I work in? 

Some industries are easier to get in without the need for the company to pass the Resident Labour Market Test, and some small businesses might struggle with their duties as sponsors. The bigger the company and the more the niche the industry or job are, the easier it will be for you to obtain a work visa that is flexible and long term.

If you are looking to work for a startup, it is possible and here are a few points from the Migreat team about which visa is best in that case, and how to get the startup to sponsor you. If you are looking to start a business, you should definitely consider the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa (Click here for testimonials of entrepreneurs that successfully got the UK Entrepreneur visa). It will mainly mean for you that you have to focus on getting the funding requirements, right 🙂 

There is now a new option for recently graduated student wanting to start their business in the UK. For this visa, there is no funding requirements but the need for an official endorsement. More about the difference and advantages of both entrepreneur and graduate entrepreneur visa can be found on Migreat blog.

  • What’s my life plan there?

Again, if you are planning to stay for long term, you might want to consider applying for British citizenship after fiver years. Some visas will allow you to apply for indefinite stay. Some short term visas like the Tier 4 UK Student visa or Tier 5 temporary worker visa will not be counted as time you spend in the UK in order to apply for citizenship. That means that any years spent on this visa does not qualify you for citizenship. These visas will likely not help you bring a dependent or family as well. As such, think carefully about whether you see yourself for a long time in the UK.

woman writing in diary (job hunt-studies).jpg

After you have made up your mind on why you want to immigrate to the UK and your longer time plans, make sure you are eligible to the visa you need and want 🙂 Simply check via our free visa finder tool and you will be sent a list of things you have to do to get the visa. Good luck!

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