Tag Archives: work

The Blue Card: an EU Visa for Software Developers?

The Blue Card is a European visa for highly-skilled people from non-EU countries.

On paper, the Blue Card has been adopted by all EU-member states (excluding the UK, Ireland and Denmark).

In reality, Germany has been its most active supporter, awarding over 85% of the total number of Blue Cards in Europe between 2012 and 2014.

Given the short supply of software developers in Europe, the Blue Card can sometimes be the only option for non-EU devs. Here an infographic by Emma Tracey from Honeypot.io, the Developer-Focused Job Platform


If you still need help on visa for Europe, ask www.migreat.com online visa assistant for guidance.

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.

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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Germany is looking to attract, train and recruit Indian workers

German companies are now eagerly looking to recruit Indian skilled workers.

Two indian professionals

Germany has made changes to immigration legal framework to allow people from developing countries join its workforce and has launched an online campaign to inform Indian workers about work opportunities in Germany.

Germany was already partnering with India to improve skills development and creating new skills development institutions.

This time, Germany has signed training agreements between German companies and its Indian counterparts to identify Indian trainees willing to move to Germany and make them skilled for the current large vacancies available; ranging from doctors, engineers, scientists, robotics, and IT experts to low skilled workers.

Sector Skill Councils, the German Rhine-Main Chamber of Crafts and Trades, Indian counterpart (ILF&S) and other institutes will focus on training Indian workers in skills needed by German companies.

A few German companies have already started training Indian workers in India to meet their demand for skilled labour. In Pune, Volkswagen has started an academy with their first batch of apprentices in Delhi factory.The Indian students are trained, learning by doing and getting paid at the same time.

It is the second good news for migrants interested in living in Germany: earlier this month Germany announced the end of university tuition fees for all International Students. University in Germany is now free!


Need help with German visa procedure? Click the link to be helped and supported throughout the application process. 

Which UK visa will allow me to work for a UK startup?

Applciations & passport

There are a few visa options for talents outside of the European Union that would like to come work for a startup in the UK and London. Your options  will mainly depend on the  job position, the length of stay and your UK visa history. Check out if you need a visa via Migreat free visa tool, or just go through our list of available UK work visas below to know your different options and avoid losing money on the wrong visa application!


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

In 2013, there were 17,212 granted visas out of the annual cap set at 20,700. This visa is the most commonly applied to by foreigners who have secured a full-time job in the UK. It will grant you three to five years in the UK which is why it is the one very much searched for. For the Tier 2 general worker visa, your startup will have to sponsor you and your job position must fit the Tier 2 requirements. The process is not the easiest for a startup but it is highly doable. The job position requirements are quite demanding, but again, not too challenging if you at least have a graduate degree.

To qualify: you must be a skilled worker, which means you have to at least have a recognised Bachelor Degre (NQF6 in the legal jargon of the UK immigration border agency) and you must be paid an appropriate salary for your job – at least £22K a year. For the documents to include in your application, you can find a simple detailed list on migreat.com. Basically you have to prove you speak English, you have the right qualifications for the job and that you have enough money to sustain yourself for the first month – unless your employer can guarantee it.

Your employer will need to show the startup is complying to some simple HR rules and submit official documents that prove your company is serious  (Find out how to get the sponsorship licence and which papers you will need in details in a previous post).

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

Costs: the Tier 2 visa costs £515  for you as an employee. The company sponsorship costs £515 for small companies; £1,515 for bigger companies as of June 2014

Entrepreneurs in a hurry

2. Working for an international startup: the business visitor visa

If you are working for an international startup company, you can consider the Business Visitor visa. It allows foreign employees from a UK startup, to come for meetings and business conferences for a six months period total.

The cool thing about the visa is that you can come for six months total each year for a maximum period of 10 years on and will allow you to do a fair amount of business activities listed here. It is an ideal visa for freelancers, or startups in tech that do not need its employees to be sitting in an office together to work. It can also be a temporary visa if you are not looking to engage yourself long-term for the startup – or it can buy you time before you make the decision to move on to a more serious UK work visa.

Thought, let it be said and clear: it won’t let you work and get paid in the UK only to conduct a few permitted business activities


3. For the 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. It does not require the startup to apply for a sponsorship license but for the startup to just comply to some elementary HR rules, checked by an overarching body;

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. You can find the list of overarching bodies and what they offer on Migreat. Any graduate can apply in theory. It is not restricted to UK graduates.

Timeline: the process of applying to the visa depends on how long it takes your employee to gather docs and which overarching body you use, but it can be as quick as a week.

Costs: On average, it will cost your employer £600 for the 12 months period sponsorship grant from the overarching body+ £750 approximation for issuance of each COS for each intern.

The only drawback is that it does not allow you more than a year officially. You should consider this UK internship visa if you are looking for a short time startup work experience at graduate level – and do not consider staying all your life in the UK. Read more about the benefits of this visa for Startups from our expert Zenia. Special tip: you can apply to stay for 12 more months with Migreat’s overarching body partners. Just go on migreat.com and ask on the Questions & Answers forum


4. For talented Guinea pigs of visa – the Tier 1 Exceptional talent visa

That’s a new one reserved for the Digital Elite. There is a very strict cap of 200 visas each year for the ones working in tech startups, and another 800 for other Arts & fashion people in startups. It is one tough to get as you will have to prove what is so exceptional about you – unless you have been internationally recognised for skills you have.

The cost is high and process for this visa is quite particular as you will have to make two applications. Guinea pigs are welcomed 🙂 For more information on the topic, read our expert Leslie Sarma on the topic in her blog posts on the Exceptional talent visa for techies. Leslie notably wrote about what are the advantages of applying to the Exceptional Talent visa compared to other available visas. 


Other options, like spouse or dependent visas are options available for you and will allow you to work in the UK – but these visas are not made specifically for that use, so I excluded them from this blog post.

We hope this visa list can help you make your mind. 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. Find out in a few clicks which visa is best suited for you using Migreat free visa solution tool, or just ask immigration experts for free on our Questions & Answers forum.

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