Tag Archives: Work visa

5 major UK Immigration news for 2016

In 2016, the UK will is rolling out important major change in the immigration system that will affect workers, businesses, family life and study for migrants.

Here we have compiled a useful guide of our 5 major picks from the new law that will be put in place as well as what to look out for in immigration news being discussed by government in 2016

1. The Immigration Bill

The Immigration Bill has reached the committee stage in the House of Lords and will likely become law this year. It includes a range of policy changes, particularly targeting illegal workers and businesses.

Those found working illegally in England and Wales could face up to six months in jail with wages being seized as ‘proceeds of crime’ and employers could face a maximum criminal penalty which has changed from 2 to 5 years. Additionally, with new laws allowing banks, police, DVLA and landlords to be given new powers to check immigration status, families could easily find various aspects of their daily life surveilled.

Employers under Tier 2 or Tier 5 sponsors employing recent graduates and Non-EEA migrants will have to follow a new immigration skills charge (visa levy) to businesses who preferentially employ skilled migrants from abroad which is currently being assessed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The visa levy on businesses was created to further enforce the Labour Resident Market Test and the extent of the charge is not currently known.

Find out more about what the Immigration Bill is and how it will affect you with our guides.

2. Residence in the UK

Migrants with UK work visas will have to earn at least £35,000 or more to be able to apply to stay in the UK as permanent resident (apply for indefinite leave to remain) after April 6, 2016.

Read more about the changes to permanent residency for Tier 2 general holders.

3. Right to Rent

From the 1st of February 2016, the ‘right to rent’ scheme is being rolled out UK wide. Private landlords will be compelled by law to check the immigration status of all their tenants.

Landlords will need to take copies of all adult passports or residence permits. Failure to do so could result in them being fined up to £3000 per tenant, for each tenant who has no right to rent in the UK, including undocumented migrants.

Research by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has found that the scheme can be discriminatory towards ethnic minorities, including Asians.

Read how the Right to Rent law may affect you.

4. An Online Visa Application System

The government will invest more than £250 million to overhaul the passport and immigration system. This investment was made to enable migrants to apply and pay for their passport and visa applications entirely online.

This online visa system is aimed to improve information, convenience and flexibility. Though it is not currently known when it will be implemented, it may be news worth looking out for.

You can read more about what was discussed in immigration in the spending review on the Gov.UK website.

5. Increased Fees

The UK government are introducing and looking into a few new fee changes this coming year:

The government recently announced that fees for settlement, residence and nationality will increase by 25% in 2016–17 and visit, study and work visa fees will increase by around 2%. There will also be targeted increases to premium services, such as the priority visa service. The specific fee changes for 2016–17 will apply after further legislation is laid in Parliament by April this year.

You can read more on the new fees on the Gov.UK website.

The government have also indicated that they are looking to extend charges for Non-EU overseas visitors and migrants to access various departments of the NHS. They are looking to extend beyond the health surcharge to Accidents and Emergency (A&E), ambulance care as well as some general practitioner (GP) services such as blood tests, lung function tests, prescriptions, dental treatment and physiotherapy.

They seek relevant views on these proposals to further extend these charges. It closes on Sunday 6 March 2016 and can be accessed on the Gov.UK website.

UK Work Visa Rule change: migrant worker must earn £35,000 or more by next April 2016

Migrants with UK work visas will have to earn at least £35,000 or more to be able to apply to stay in the UK as permanent resident after April 6, 2016.

UK Visa Application

Immigrants with Tier 2 work visas will only be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (also called permanent residence) if they meet the threshold of the £35,000 annual salary.


The new rules targets migrants under the Tier 2 (General) visa category and Tier 2 (Sportsperson) visa categories having stayed five years in the UK, and applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). The £35,000 earning requirement will not apply to anyone in an occupation that is on the shortage occupation list or to scientists and researchers in PhD level occupations.


Migrants who do not meet the new minimum income threshold now have less than 12 months until the new immigration rules come into force to find a solution if they want to continue to work in the UK. Tier 2 migrants paid below £35,000 applying for ILR after April 2016 will need to either find another visa with which to stay in the UK.

Workers who are not earning enough to apply for settlement will be allowed to stay in the UK for six years in total. They will then be required to leave the UK. They won’t be able to apply for another Tier 2 visa until they have competed a 12 month ‘cooling off’ period outside the UK.  Source: UK Parliament Research Briefings.

Sectors that will suffer most from the new rule are education and healthcare. It is expected that the number of non-European Union/EEA nationals and their dependants granted permanent residence each year will be reduced from 60,000 to 20,000 with this new measure ; and that around 16% of Tier 2 migrants would no longer qualify for permanent settlement due to the salary threshold.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK may have to leave the UK due to the salary requirement.

This measure will not apply to

  • People who have/had a Tier 2 (General) visa to do a job on the shortage occupation list, or to do specified PhD level jobs in science or research.
  • People who have a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) or (Intra-Company Transfer) visa.

If you are on a Tier 2 visa and would like assistance applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR), Migreat can connect you with a solicitor/lawyer who is an expert on immigration by visiting this migreat.com page dedicated to ILR applications.

UK Immigration Rule Changes – Hackney Migrant Centre Public Meeting

The Hackney Migrant Centre hosted a public meeting this week on the impact of the Immigration Act and other immigration policy changes such as cuts to legal aid and access to services. Speakers included Roopa Tanna, Immigration Solicitor at Islington Law Centre, Anita Hurrell, Policy Advisor at Coram Children’s Legal Centre and Chrisann Jarrett and Emmanuel Opoku from the Let Us Learn Campaign and Just for Kids Law.

Here are the top 3 immigration effects discussed in the public meeting that may have an impact on you:

  • Your immigration status is key to unlocking access to services

Temporary visa status affects your rights and entitlements to benefits in the UK.  Your limited status can be challenge. This is particularly resonant with changes in healthcare. You could be denied leave to remain if in debt with the NHS. Under the new health surcharge, you could pay over £6000 if on a 10 year route to settlement with dependents.

Immigration status will now impact certain aspects of your day to day life: with your passport being checked more often.  For example, civil penalties could be given to employers if they do not carry out relevant checks. In addition landlords have begun checks of legal status in a pilot scheme being launched in the Midlands and the DVLA can check your immigration status and can turn you in if overstayed and revoke your license.

  • Your route to settlement may now be even longer

If you are already in the UK and applying for Leave to Remain, you may find you have a longer route to settlement since the July 2012 overhaul . For example if you are a student and get married to British citizen it used to be 2 year route to settlement but now it is 5 years. If you are an overstayer married to a British citizen it used to be 6 year route to settlement but now it is 10 years.

In addition, a proposal to fix a minimum annual salary for migrants having stayed 6 years in the UK could make it difficult for you to stay. The proposal of a new immigration policy for 2016 states that migrants from outside the EU will have to earn £35,000 to settle in the UK after residing more than six years in the country. Under the rule, if you do not comply, you will be asked to leave the country.

  • New immigration law may seem like it may be targeting ‘others’ but ends up targeting our communities

Changes in the immigration process (no funding of legal aid anymore, the number of changes to Home Office policy and in statutory services) in the last two years has meant a demand has risen for immigration services and support. The government do explain that migrants can enforce their right to stay but in many cases, especially amongst families, fees for citizenship is something that not all can afford.

With regards to healthcare, whilst any migrant can access primary care and access to a GP, there are secondary health care charges (when needing hospital care) for any migrant with Limited Leave to Remain in the UK, or no immigration permission. Unless you fall under a certain exemption you will be charged but often can’t prove your position to be in the UK and there is a fear that debt to the NHS amongst many migrants in the community could affect their status.

In Higher Education too, if you have Limited Leave to Remain or are a dependent under Right to Family Life, as Chrisann Jarrett and Emmanuel Opoku are, you will get classed as an international student and have to pay international fees, losing access to being classed as a home student and gaining access to a student loan. Chrisann came to UK when she was 8. As she said “as an 8 year old, you don’t ask your parents ‘am I British?!’”. Many of those who want to join her Let us Learn Campaign to raise awareness and campaign for access to education are scared to speak out because they fear it will affect their status.

Nurse putting a headband

Hackney Migrant Centre are hoping to launch a new campaign about the immigration changes affecting migrants. If you are interested in getting involved or learning more, contact them at info@hackneymigrantcentre.org.uk

What you can and cannot do with a Tier 2 UK Work Visa

Here is a quick summary of what you can and can’t do under a Tier 2 visa to make sure you are not breaching any of the laws applying to you as a Tier 2 visa holder.

The Tier 2 UK work visa will allow you:

  • to work for a UK company in the job described on the certificate of sponsorship issued by your employer;
  • to work in another job either in the same sector and at same level; or in the job in shortage list for a maximum of 20 hours a week along your main current job;
  • to work as a volunteer;
  • to study as long as it does not interfere with your job;
  • to bring family members in the UK on your visa as partners or dependents.

However, there are strict restrictions under this UK work visa that you need to consider before applying. You will not be able to

  • own more than 10% shares of the company that is sponsoring you (unless you earn more than £155,300 a year); if you own more than 10% and earn less than £155,300 a year, you might consider the tier 1 category visas (investor, entrepreneur, graduate entrepreneur)
  • access public funds or benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support usually. This means you will have to be able to sustain yourself in the country without any government scheme or help. For example, the following popular benefits will not be available to you:
    • income-based jobseeker’s allowance;
    • housing benefit
    • council tax benefit

Know that years spend in the UK under the tier 2 general visa category are counted as years making you eligible to apply to ILR Indefinite Leave to Remain unlike visas under the tier 4 and 5 category.

However, a new regulation coming next April 2016 will make it compulsory to be paid an annual salary of £35K to apply to ILR under the tier 2 category.

If you have any general UK work visa questions, Migreat experts are online ready to help the best way possible.

Applying to a sponsorship Licence in the UK: Migreat Guidelines

A simple step-by-step guide to help you handle the sponsorship application for employers applying to the Tier 2 sponsorship licence.

What does it take?

To apply to the sponsorship licence, it will take you a bit of time to read and understand the rules (1), a bit of hassle to gather the right documents and having them certified (2), a bit of internet connection to fill out the online form by UKBA (3), and a lot of patience (count two months) to wait for the sponsorship to be approved (4)


1 – Read the guidance
It is not just an advice; it is necessary: read the whole sponsorship guidance and know it by heart. It will save you a lot of time paradoxically.

What’s in the Guidance? You will find information on

  • why the sponsorship licence is a tedious process. UKVI is outsourcing to your employer the authority and responsibility to play the Border Control Officer. Hence why forms are so specific, checks systematics and why officers are likely to come to your office to check them.
  • what you will need to apply: you will need documents that are specific to your organisation legal status (startup or ltd or charity) + information on fees + and will learn about responsibilities of your HR.
  • What kind of sponsorship you can have and want. There are two different kind of sponsorship that defines the type of migrant worker the company is allowed to hire. Tier 2 is for full-time work and generally for managers or senior workers. Tier 5 is for temporary workers, young people and has stricter rules on the time the worker can legally stay in the UK. You will also have to signal if you want unrestricted or restricted COS (if you are looking to hire foreigners already in the UK or living outside the UK)
  • what is a valid job position: not all jobs on the job market are accessible to foreigners. The job must correspond to a job description, SOC code and a minimum salary listed in the appendix.

Once you have read the guidelines, I would advise you to put down all the questions you have left to be answered by a solicitor or on www.migreat.com to clarify any doubts you have. You really don’t want to end up two months later after having applied and paid with a refusal later for a schoolboy error. Like asking for an unrestricted CoS or having a 3 pages document signed certified but without the number of pages indicated as certified. Documents
2 – Gather the documents
In the guidelines, it is written that only 4 documents needs to be sent (all A rated docs compulsory and B rated documents that are relevant and C rated to complete). From immigration solicitors experience, Migreat advises to have more documents ready and sent for a simple fact: if the case-worker find a document they don’t recognise as valid they can swap it for another one that is valid.

How do you like it? Original or copycat?

Take extra care in having them certified the right way, by the right person, and in the way described in the guidelines. If your certifier is certifying a document of 10 pages, make sure he/she includes the exact number of pages that are certified and that the document is bundle properly.

Pick the Right Office Guy

Assign who is going to play chief border control at the office (authorising Officer and Key contact) – if you have an HR that is usually the person that it will end up being in charge.

The Home Office might pop at your office for an interview of the Authorising officer. If you are that person you want to make sure you are ready to answer their question, have the guidelines in mind and documents at hand.
3 – Fill the online application
You can start the online application as soon as you want and save it to complete later. Migreat advises to start the application as soon as you are finished reading the guidelines for two reason:

– At the end of the form, you will be provided with a list of documents you will need to include in your application. That is again a nice and useful reminder.

– The online application also questions the specifics of your application. It will help you double-check your understanding of the guidelines.

Pretty much like an exam, it is a good exercise to realise how much you rock at knowing the rules by heart.

4 – And when ready: Pay & Wait
If there is one thing that has been made fairly easy and straighfoward, it is probably that.money


The decision on your sponsorship licence will come in 6 to 8 weeks after applying. If helped by a solicitor, you can get it much faster returned.

Being pro-active about your application is one main criteria of success: emailing, phoning and having other documents ready to be sent will significantly increase your chances to get your application processed faster and be successful.

Nevertheless, there is nothing simple and automatic with application to the UKVI, each case is considered individually.

If you have technical questions, Migreat can help refer you to immigration  experts or you can visit Migreat visa and immigration forum. People have various experiences with the UKVI, and you can never think that your situation is exactly like the one of your friend.

(This blog post follows a previous blog post on what jobs and companies qualify for the sponsorship licence for foreign workers in the UK)

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No More UK Work Visa Available this June

All UK general work visas available for June have been allocated for the first time.

Credits. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian
Credits. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/Guardian

This week, the Home Office announced it reached the limit of Tier 2 work visas available monthly. This means that there will be no more application accepted and so no other Tier 2 work visa granted for the month of June to non-EU nationals – this only applies to visa applications made under “restricted CoS”. Non-EU nationals already employed via the tier 2 general visa route and renewing it are not affected by this cap.

From BBC sources and immigration experts contacted by Migreat, applications have been refused even though they were meeting the requirements because of the cap. The applications that were refused include applications from non-EU skilled nurses and doctors as well as skilled workers paid below 48k. However, it seems no applications from skilled migrants working in jobs in shortages (for which the UK is lacking a local pool of talent) were refused. Applications from skilled workers paid more than 150,000 pds annually are exempted from the cap.

Davina Fernandes solicitor at Magrath LLP contacted on the topic suggested that refused applications should consider applying again next month. This is because “they [the Home Office] is likely to receive the same volume and those whose salaries are in the lower threshold are likely to have the same problems next month. It goes shortage occupation, PhD codes, salaries. The lower down you are salary wise, the more likely it will be refused if they are oversubscribed next month too.”

The home office has yet to communicate officially on this – on how it selects which applications are refused. It is the first time the cap is reached, four years after being implemented. Will the UK immigration system start following a similar pattern as of the US immigration system for which the ones sending their application early and lucky enough to be treated first improve their chances to be granted a work visa? From Recruiter sources, the Home Office has confirmed rejecting specific applications.

At Migreat, we strive to help migrants with clear and simple information on visa opportunities and immigration rules via our . If you are currently considering applying for a work visa to stay and work in the UK, our Migreat webplatform is available for you to use:

– Use of Migreat visa tool to check if you may be eligible to a work visa or other UK visas.

– Ask your general visa questions directly to registered immigration experts; or simply

– Ask Migreat to find you the best and most relevant immigration expert that will help your visa application process.

Migrant Entrepreneurs need mobile office and co-working spaces

Migrant Entrepreneurship and work mobility supported by the multiplication of open co-working spaces & networks in Europe.

The thriving London Tech City - London East London is becoming the hub for global entrepreneurs and businesses to meet, work and live
The thriving London Tech City – London East London is becoming the hub for global entrepreneurs and businesses to meet, work and live

London tech city counts 36 incubators for small businesses and 70 co-working space. A spark contrast to five years ago when this number was closer to below the two figures number.

Paris created a wiki out of all the spaces it offers for mobile and small businesses. Berlin has a map. London start-up community even created a spreadsheet of venues for events.

It all seems to signal a new generation of workers, businesses and entrepreneurs are embracing mobility and flexible office spaces.

These co-working space have benefited to one class of workers: the migrant entrepreneurs. When one was before stuck having to rely on family and ethnic migrant networks to find a space, open a bank account and wait for internet to be provided to its new office space, it is now possible for an entrepreneur from India to land overnight in a nice, crowded and high speed internet connected space in Central London given a small few.

Growth led by demand and need

Hector, founder of included.co, a company focused on creating even more value in shared & co-working spaces, explains this growth by “the frustration of a generation with the money and time usually wasted in finding the right providers” and their “need to focus on growth and product – while the rest is taken care of, without breaking the bank”.

Included.co was started last year in Cyprus and quickly expanded in Greece, France, UK, Germany and even Hong-Kong. The promise: help talented people find affordable and comfortable spaces around the world that they can grow from, where the basics are included and the value is ever-growing.

Spaces available for mobile workers

Their network now features and connects 37 independently owned spaces and their communities, with targets to further expand in Europe and a US launch shortly. As well as their geographic growth, they’re also working hard on promoting more entrepreneur-friendly packages – from communications to travel to fixed-price legal services.

One could argue that real estate prices and a global market for investment in real estate as a secure investment also contributes to the surge of these hybrid co-working offices – and that this growth is less the fact of a change in the way people do business, and more of a consequence of non-affordable office spaces.

The potential to grow a generation of migrant and mobile entrepreneurs

Whatever this growth of collaborative spaces may be -the consequences of a crisis of affordable office space or reflective of a change in the way business is done – included.co’s offer of inter-connected co-working spaces is promising for a generation of global entrepreneurs moving to the capitals of Europe.


It makes it more accessible to do business from one or several capitals of Europe – enabling migrant entrepreneurs to move different location everyday to do daily business without extra rental costs, connect with potential new business partners by their desk and enjoy free coffee.

Will this revolution create a new pan-European business scene and help migrant entrepreneurs think of Europe as one single market? It is difficult to say yet – but for sure, non-EU nationals will still need to show valid visas at the borders.

Visa Options for Employers to hire Foreign Workers

Employing a non-EU migrant in the UK can seem difficult because of patchwork of applications and forms, numerous waiting periods and additional paperwork.

Sponsoring migrant workers requires a sponsorship licence- Migreat.com

Our mission at Migreat is to make it easy to navigate the immigration system. In the past, we made a list of visas for foreign workers wanting to come work in the UK for a small company, as well as how to choose the right visa. This time, we offer a simple list of all UK visas options a UK employer can choose from to hire a non-EU worker. From the least complicated and costly , to the most demanding in terms of paperwork but probably most rewarding for the employer as well as the employee.

1. Tier 5 Internship called GAE

This visa is offered to graduates that would like to come or stay in the UK to do a full-time internship for maximum 12 months. Any graduate can apply. It is not restricted to UK recent graduates. It does not require the employer to apply for a sponsorship license.The most important requirement is for the placement offered to the worker to be supernumerary*

* i.e should be outside of the regular staffing requirements of the employer and must not fit into a Tier 2 (General) occupation category; thereby not affecting the UK Resident Labour Market.

The process of applying to the visa can be as quick as a week. If you would like to explore this route, read what makes a graduate eligible to the UK Internship visa from our experts.

2. Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

The Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa is eligible only for nationals of Australia, Canada, Hong-Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, South Korea and Taiwan. Again, employers do not need to apply for a sponsorship licence. Workers employed under this scheme are sponsored by the Government and are allowed to stay for two years maximum.

3. Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer (ICT)

The Tier 2  (ICT) visa is relevant to multinational companies with a UK based branch, that would like to bring foreign workers that already worked for one of their branch overseas. For this visa, the employer will have to sponsor the worker, so apply for a sponsorship licence. Depending on the reason why you are transferring an employee to your UK branch (skill transfer, Graduate Trainee, Short term staff or long term staff) the employee will have to prove that it has worked with you in the past from none to 12 months already, and will be allowed from 6 months to 5 years and 14 days.

Work visa for Foreigners by Migreat.com

4. Tier 2 General 

The Tier 2 General visa is relevant to any company, whatever the size (startup, SME or multinationals), that want to hire a non-EU national. For this visa, the employer has to sponsor the worker. The process to get this sponsorship licence is bureaucratic but doable: here is a Migreat Blog guide on how to get the sponsorship with tips for SMEs and startups.

The position offered to the employee will have to be at minimum of managerial level and pay at least £22K a year, with a need for the employer to run a labour market test probably (but check if the position you are recruiting for is not on the list of job in shortage prior). This visa allows teh employee to stay with you at maximum 5 years in the UK, and those years spent on this visa qualify for citizenship application.

If you are interested in becoming a tier 2 general sponsor, read more on the pro and cons of being a sponsor.

5. Tier 1 Exceptional Talent, Graduate Entrepreneur Visa or Entrepreneur Visa

These visas are out of the hand of the employer as they require the foreign worker to apply for it, and to prove that they qualify for it. If an Exceptional Talent, the individual will have to prove to the relevant UK institution that it does bring an exceptional skill that has been awarded and recognised worldwide. If a graduate entrepreneur or entrepreneur, the individual will have to prove their entrepreneurial venture plans and credits, with a minimum threshold of investment obtained and kept in the UK.

The tier 1 category is restricted to highly-skilled workers and the entrepreneur category allows employment on the side, but does not make employment the sole primary reason of coming and staying in the UK. As such, one should be careful looking at these options to be employed, and genuinely apply if exceptional, or starting a business.


I did not include in the list the Student Visa on which a student is allowed to work at 20 hours a week maximum, the Business Visitor Visa which does not allow employment and permits only the holder to attend business meetings, represent a business, do translations or carry a delivery (for the full list of activities allowed under this visa click this link) as well as any family visas that allows employment but which purpose is not directly employment.

If you are considering any of the option above to employ a migrant and have questions, we have experts ready to answer them for free and more guidance to read regarding obtaining sponsorship  on migreat.com.

Which UK visa will allow me to stay work after graduation?

There are few visa options for recent international graduates that would like to stay work in the UK and London. Here below is a list of UK work visa options for international student graduating this year. If you are a recent graduate we also recommend you try Migreat free visa tool to check your eligibility to a UK work visa,

Young Woman with smartphone walking on street

1. The toughest to get: the Tier 2 general work visa.

This visa is the most known from international graduates who want to secure a full-time job in the UK after graduation. It is tough to get and also one that grants you the most freedom and time in the UK compared to others: from three to five years in the UK, without freeze time or requirement to create jobs. To get the Tier 2 general worker visa, your employer will have to sponsor you and your job position must fit the Tier 2 requirements. The process is bureaucratic but doable: here is a guide we wrote on how to get the sponsorship.

To qualify:

You must have an offer from a sponsored employer and the job must at least be to the level of a ‘manager” (NQF6 in the legal jargon of the UK immigration border agency). You must be paid an appropriate salary for your job – at least £22K a year. For the documents to include in your application, we have created a simple detailed list in a previous blog post.

What if my employer is not a sponsor yet? You will have to convince your employer to become a sponsor. Here are tips to help your employer understand the costs and benefits of the sponsorship licence for his company. Else, you can consider another visas out of this list here that do not require your company to sponsor you.

Tips and advice:

If you don’t have enough money on your bank account to sustain yourself – you can ask your employer to guarantee it by ticking the box on the visa application.

The sponsorship is obtained in two to three months after the application is sent by your employer. If you hire a lawyer to do the sponsorship, from experience, it takes much less time and removes the hassle.

If you have questions on the topic, we wrote a Q&A out of the most popular questions on the sponsorship licence.

job interview, senior manager and young apprentice isolated on w

2. For recent graduates – the tier 5 internship visa option

That is one new visa that promises a great opportunities in the next years. It is a visa for graduates that would like to come or stay in the UK to do an internship. Any graduate can apply. It is not restricted to UK graduates. It does not require the employer to apply for a sponsorship license.

To qualify:

The most important thing for you to qualify is that you get offered the internship; and that this internship fits your skills or graduate diploma – which only a trusted overarching body can testify. Click to the link to find the list of overarching bodies.

The process of applying to the visa depends on how long it takes your employee to gather docs and which overarching body you choose to work with (this is compulsory), but it can be as quick as a week with Migreat partners.

Tips & advice: 

The scheme does not allow you to stay more than a year officially. However you can extend to a one year more if you go back to your country of origin and apply from there, or you can switch on to a Tier 2 general with your employer. The visa is a good test for your employer to know if he/she should invest in becoming a sponsor to switch you on a tier 2 visa. To know more about the advantage of the scheme, you can read more from our expert Zenia online.

International students in a park with a laptop

3. For Commonwealth country nationals

If you are from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Hong-Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco, South Korea and Taiwan, the Tier 5 category offers for you special temporary work visas that allows you to stay at least for two years in the UK.

To qualify:

It is all government managed. Basically, you just have to prove you are a national of that country, and that you have the money to sustain yourself while in the UK.

Good to know:

Be aware that the years you spend in the UK under this scheme does not qualify for citizenship and you will have to return to your home country after it. A renewal or switch of visa is almost impossible from within the UK.

4. & 5. For talented Guinea pigs of visa – the Tier 1 Category visas 

The tier 1 category of visas in the UK is dedicated to a small elite of highly skilled people. In this category, you will find a visa for investors, entrepreneurs, graduate entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people.

People at the airport waiting for flight

To qualify: For each of these visas, there are particular requirements that make them hard to get, less applied to but worth considering given that it provides freedom from needing an employer to sponsor and time granted is three to five years, with a fast tracked process to citizenship if you meet and excel the requirements. Given the few people that apply to it (only 220 people were granted a graduate entrepreneur visa in between 2012-2013 out of the 1920 available), you have your chances but you will need good legal help to get it with no stress (see below).

For investors, the qualification will be around the amount of investment you are bringing to the UK. For entrepreneurs and graduate entrepreneur, it will rely heavily on the source of the investment capital and endorsement you get from institutions on your business idea. For exceptional talents, you will have to prove endorsement from the institutions that recognize your specific talent here in the UK (for example Tech city if you want to work in Tech).

Tips and advice:

The drawback of these visas is the costs at which it comes and their sometimes hazardous process. As such, we want here to redirect you to the right information and person that can help you go forward with your application.

For more information on the Exceptional talent visa, read our expert Leslie Sarma who is the most knowledgeable person on the matter in the whole UK as she advised the government on it!

For more information on the Entrepreneur visa, our partners at Gherson are always happy to answer questions online on Migreat, and have produced some guidelines to meet the funding requirements as it often is the trickiest part of the application process.

Finally if you are interested in the Graduate Entrepreneur visa, watch this space as Migreat is partnering with Startup Britain and other entrepreneurial organization to bring up informational guides, tips and support for any applicants to the visa. Meanwhile you can also check our blog post about the advantages of the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa over the Entrepreneur Visa.


Other options, like spouse or dependent visas are options available for you and will allow you to work and stay in the UK – but these visas are not made specifically for that use, so they are here excluded

We hope this visa list can help you make your mind of you options to stay here with us in the UK. You should know and bear in mind that each of these visa options have specific requirements that make them more or less easy to get; and a good or bad fit for your work situation. It is always good to ask the expert opinion of a solicitor. Feel free to check out which visa is best suited for you by using our free visa solution tool online, or just ask one of our immigration partner on the Questions & Answers forum. We are free and will always be.

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Are you eligible for the new Tier 1 Exceptional Talent UK visa?

In a previous post, we announced the availability of 200 visas for talented individuals in the tech sector to come to the UK, in a category known as Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) for tech. These visas are granted by the Home Office to applicants who have been endorsed by Tech City UK as world leaders in their field and will allow holders to initially enter or remain in the UK for a period of three years to pursue their work. Holders of this visa can be self-employed, work for a company or even start their own business – it’s a great fit for the fast paced tech sector.

In this post, we will look at the criteria for endorsement for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa by Tech City UK. Can you meet these criteria? If so, this could be your route to a career here in the UK.

Qualification One – Do you have a proven track record of innovation in the digital technology sector?

In order to meet this threshold, you will have to demonstrate your success in your chosen field of technology. This success can come as a director or founder of a tech sector company; or as an employee of a tech sector company. If you’re demonstrating your track record as an employee, you’ll need to show that you have a distinguished reputation in your field and/or that you’re an executive level employee holding shares in the business.

Take note that there is no requirement that the company you started or worked for be a certain size or profitability level – startups are not excluded! If you can show that you’ve got high level experience and a strong reputation in your area, then you may meet this requirement.

Business man using tablet PC

Qualification Two – Can you provide a letter of recommendation from a recognised UK expert who is familiar with your work and contributions to your field?

Every application for endorsement must be accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a UK based expert who is qualified to support your claim to be a world leader in your field. This expert should be a senior member of an established organisation with a national or international reputation for expertise in your field.

There is no specific list of acceptable organisations or individuals from which to get your recommendation letter – use your networks to find the right organisations and get advice.

Qualification Three – Do you meet at least two of the qualifying endorsement criteria?

Finally, all applicants for endorsement must demonstrate that they meet at least two of the following four criteria:

  • having led in the development of new or leading-edge technology;
  • having had significant commercial success in the digital technology sector;
  • having received or been nominated for a prestigious internationally recognised prize in the digital technology sector; and
  • having been recognised as a world-leading talent in the digital technology sector.

There is no set list of evidence to be provided to prove that you meet these criteria, but examples could include:

  • evidence of awards, speaking engagements or authorships;
  • proof of technical contributions such as maintenance of an open source project, demonstration of product or application development or evidence of contribution to patents; and/or
  • evidence of any active (or recently dissolved) digital technology businesses you have established outside of the UK.
Photo Credit: Bloomberg

There is no hard and fast list of evidence to be provided and it will ultimately be up to Tech City UK to determine whether the evidence you have provided meets the criteria. More examples and guidance can be found in Tech City UK’s Eligibility and Assessment Criteria, which can be found here:


And keep in mind that once you are endorsed by Tech City UK, you will need to make a further application to the Home Office for your visa to come to the UK in line with this endorsement. Obtaining the endorsement does not guarantee this application will be successful, particularly if you have an adverse immigration or criminal history.



Could Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) be right for you?

Since its inception in April 2014, there have been very few applications for endorsement in this category – visas are available! To know the full advantage of applying to the visa, we have listed them in a blog post titled UK Exceptional Talent visa: what do you have to gain from applying to it?The Tech London Advocates community is terrifically excited about this opportunity and encourages the best and brightest from around the world to consider this avenue to come to the UK. The tech sector is rife with opportunity in the UK – come join us!

If you want more information on how to apply for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, you can ask our experts online on migreat.com.

leslie-sarmaThis guest blog post is provided to you by Leslie Sarma, Associate at Penningtons Manches LLP and co-chair of Tech London Advocates Talent and Immigration Working Group.