Skilled/ Employment Visas

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Persons

The new Tier 1 Exceptional talent category of the points-based system replaces the Tier 1 General skilled visa category. This visa is designed for people who are recognised or have the potential to be recognised as leaders in the fields of science, arts and humanities.

To qualify under this category, an applicant must score 85 points for your attributes as follows:

  • 75 points for endorsement by Designated Competent Body’ – listed on the UK Border Agency website; and
  • 10 points for English language (funds).

This category may potentially cover three situations: 1) Migrants who hold a designated award — e.g. the Nobel Prize – who may apply without endorsement by a competent body; or 2) Migrants who are internationally recognised in their field as world leading talent and who are endorsed by a designated competent body; or 3) Young Migrants who show exceptional promise and who are likely to become world leaders in their field and who are endorsed by a designated competent body.

There will be an annual limit of 1000 visas issued each year.

Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Workers

This is the most common vehicle for foreign nationals (non-EU citizens) planning to work in the United Kingdom to make an application. There must be a proper employer/employee relationship and therefore this type of permission is not suitable for situations where the individual will effectively be self-employed. The most important thing to understand is that in the UK the employer sponsors this application, and thus must hold a sponsor license in order to do so. The application is granted for a particular employee performing a particular role for a particular employer. If you are an individual hoping to work in the UK, you cannot apply for a Tier 2. If you have been given permission under the Tier 2, you cannot change jobs without submitting a new application.

The first step is to ensure that the employer has a valid sponsor license. Secondly, the employee must hold a certificate of sponsorship to work for that particular employer. Then, finally, the applicant must apply under the Tier 2 scheme either from within the UK or outside the UK to gain entry clearance. During the course of recent changes, there will be an annual limit of 20,700 visas allocated under the Tier 2 category. This will apply to restricted Certificates of Sponsorship. It will not apply to Intra Company Transfer visas or extension applications.

Tere are four categories of skilled worker under the points-based system:

  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion)
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson)
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer)

We can advise on the appropriate steps to be taken for a successful application.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

Many UK immigration categories lead, after a period of time, to indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”), also known as “settlement”. In the case of most employment-based categories, the applicant needs to demonstrate five continuous years of time spent in that category. An applicant also has to pass the UK government’s Life in the UK test before making an application for indefinite leave to remain.

An accelerated route to settlement for Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants who meet the enhanced criteria of higher investments have also just been implemented.

For those married to UK citizens, or other persons already ‘settled’ in the UK, the period is two years.