Monday, January 20, 2014

UK Visa Guide

Tier 1
Exceptional Talent
Available to exceptionally skilled and talented individuals, each application under this category of visa for the UK is judged on its individual merits.

For highly skilled workers, this category UK Visa is no longer available to new applicants. Existing visa holders are still eligible for a renewal or extension.

Granting a visa to the UK to those who have the experience and funding to start a business in Britain. Applicants need to prove their business experience, as well as their ability to set up and run a business in the UK.

Similar to the Entrepreneur visa, this grants a UK visa to those who make large investments in the UK economy.

Tier 2
Work Permit
This tier works as a temporary UK Visa if you have a job offer from a UK company and meet the minimum points requirement based on education and earnings. Whether you can remain in the UK or extend your visa depends on individual circumstances.

Change of Employment
This allows for Work Permit holders to switch between jobs. Applicants must have a job offer from a UK company and meet the minimum points requirement based on education and earnings.

Intra-company Transfer (ICT)
This UK Visa allows overseas employees of a multi-national company to come to the UK to work for their existing employer. We work with both employers and individuals to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible and follows all UK regulation.

Tier 4
UK Student Visa
This visa is for students who would like to come and study in the UK for more than 6 months. There are child and adult versions, and which you take out depends on your age. Applicants must have a visa letter from an approved UK education provider and provide evidence of maintenance fees and living expenses.

Tier 5
Creative and Sport Workers
If you are an expert in your field within creative industries or sports, you can come and work in the UK on a Tier 5 visa. You will need to prove your experience and expertise as part of the application process.

Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)
Young people from selected countries can come to the UK to work for up to 2 years on the Youth Mobility Scheme. This allows people between the ages of 18 and 30 to experience the UK lifestyle, gain valuable work experience, and even study for a limited period of time. You may also take short trips to Europe and explore further afield.

UK Family Visas
Marriage visa
This is for people who would like to join their British spouse in the UK. You will need to be over the age threshold, and show that your partner can support both of you when you first move. There is an additional income requirement if you are bringing dependent children to the UK.

Fiancé visa
If you are not yet married but intend to wed within 6 months of arriving in the UK, this visa will let you join your British partner. You must be over 21 years old, prove your intention to marry, and fulfil the income requirements too.

Dependency Visa
In order to come to the UK on a Dependency Visa, your family member must be your Mother, Grandmother, Father or Grandfather and meet certain criteria. In some cases parents or Grandparents under 65 qualify. Additionally, son, daughter, sister, brother, under 18 sometimes qualify depending on individual circumstances. There are a number of Dependency Visas which cover a variety of relationships and situations.

Unmarried Partner Visa
If you are neither married, nor intend to, you can still join your British partner in the UK under an Unmarried Partner Visa. You will need to prove your relationship, your intentions, and show that you can support yourselves in the UK.

Ancestry Visa
People who are Commonwealth citizens whose grandparent was born in the UK (or Republic of Ireland before March 1922) can come to the UK on an Ancestry Visa.

Tourist Visa
This visa covers business trips and medical trips under 6 months as well as a simple holiday.

Indefinite Leave to Remain
Commonly known as UK residency, you normally need to have a minimum of 4 or 5 years continuous residence in the UK on the same visa (the amount of years depends on which visa you are on) in order to be eligible for ILR.

UK Citizenship
Citizenship is the final stage of permanent immigration, and you will need to be over the age of 18 to be eligible. There are also residency requirements, such as living in the UK for at least 5 years and not spending more than 450 days of the time abroad. You also have to show that you have not broken any immigration rules during that period to be eligible.

Prospective Entrepreneur
This visa allows applicants to live in the UK while attempting to start a business in the country. It simplifies the pathway to Tier 1 visas, but has its own requirements which must be met as part of the application process.

UK Visa Extensions
Depending on what type of visa you have, you may be able to extend your visa to remain in the UK for longer. For some visas, this is not an option and you must leave the UK once it has expires. Several visas allow a natural progression onto another visa, or offer the option of switching visas if your circumstances have changed.

UK Visitor Visa

What Kind of Visitor Visa Do I Need?
In general a visitor visa for the UK lasts six months, however, there are exceptions to this rule and some applicants can stay up to a year. Some nationalities, such as those from European Union countries, do not need a UK tourist visa. If you are not from a visa waiver country, however, you will need to apply for your visiting visa to the UK before your visit and confirm on your UK Visitor Visa application form that you do not intend to undertake any paid work while in the country and present proof that you have the funds to support yourself during your stay.

There are a number of different visa types, and while they allow you to do different things while in the UK, they only last for the same sort of period and are required for the same countries.

The different types of UK Visitor Visa include:
  • Tourist and visiting friends: this Visitor Visa lets you stay with friends or in hired accommodation (ie. hotels or apartments) in the UK. There are restrictions on what you can and can’t do while here – for example, you can’t get married while in the UK on a Tourist Visa.

  • Visiting family: You can come and stay with family who live in the UK under this visa. There are adult and child versions of the Visiting Family Visa which allow you to stay for up to 6 months. If you want to see your family for longer, you will need to speak to our consultants about the options available to you as the Visitor Visa will not allow a longer stay.

  • Visiting for business: This visa allows business people – including doctors, academics, and researchers – to come to the UK for short assignments. There are a number of visas that may be a better fit depending on your job and circumstances, such as the Permitted Paid Engagement Visitor Visa, which allows you to do short-term, paid work. If you would like to come to the UK as an entrepreneur but need to begin discussions and conduct research, you can come to the UK as a Prospective Entrepreneur.

  • Visiting to study: You can study for up to 6 months on any course, or up to 11 months on an English Language course on a Student Visitor Visa. If you have a child under 12 who’s studying temporarily in the UK, you can also come and accompany them as a Parent of a Child at School.
Visitor Visas are also available to people who are coming to the UK as sportsmen, entertainers, and to receive private medical care. Our consultants will provide full information on the rules and restrictions on these visas to ensure you have the best visa to fit your requirements.

Can I Extend My Visitor Visa?
Whether or not you can extend your stay on a Visitor Visa depends on why you are visiting the UK, and how long you have already stayed.

A general Visitor Visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. If your initial visa was only for 3 months and you could like to extend to the full 6, you may be able to apply for an extension and prolong your stay.

If, however, you have stayed for the maximum allowable time, you can’t extend your visit further or switch to another immigration category. It’s essential that you leave the country before your visa expires, or you may not be allowed to travel to the UK again for any reason.

PBS - UK Sponsorship Duties

General PBS Sponsorship Duties
Sponsors must only issue Certificates of Sponsorship to candidates who are eligible and qualified to perform the employment or course of study in the UK, both in their own estimation and according to UK Work Permit or Study Visa requirements.

Keeping Records
Sponsors are required to keep a broad range of documentation relating to each candidate that they are responsible for. This documentation must be made available to the UKBA upon request.

Among the documentation, the company must keep full contact details for each individual as well as a copy of their passport or UK Visa status, demonstrating authorization to work or study in the UK. Where migrants have biometric Immigration Documents, commonly known as identity cards, a copy must be retained.

Reporting Duties
As well as maintaining records, sponsors are obliged to take a proactive approach to reporting a sponsored migrant if their conduct is unsatisfactory.

Where a sponsored migrant does not arrive for their first day of work or study, this must be reported within 10 working days. The absence must still be reported in cases where a reason has been given.

Where candidates fail to attend work or study for a period of more than 10 working days, without the permission of the sponsor, this must also be reported, once again within 10 working days.

Termination of contracts or studies, whether through the candidates' own choice or due to dismissal must also be reported within the same period. In such cases, any information held by the sponsor pertaining to the candidate's new place of employment or study must also be provided.

If, for any other reason, sponsor and candidate part company, this must also be reported. Sponsors must also make the UKBA aware of any significant changes in the circumstances of either party.

Category Specific Sponsor Duties Tier 2 Visa - Skilled workers
As with the former UK Work Permit system, Certificates of Sponsorship may only be awarded where a candidate is qualified to perform a specific role at NVQ3 or higher.

The position must have been subjected to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) ensuring that the position includes an appropriate salary and that it has been advertised sufficiently to show that no EEA national can fill the position.

The RLMT does not apply to positions which are included in the UK skills shortage list or those offering a salary of £40,000 per annum or more.

RLMT also does not apply in the following circumstances:
- Intra-Company Transfer - A candidate arriving through an ICT must have been working for the same company overseas for 6 months or more.
- Religious Worker - Sponsors of religious workers must demonstrate that candidates have Faith Body Endorsements of their suitability, from the relevant faith body.
- Sportsperson - Where a sportsperson aims to establish a presence in the UK, their sponsor must show that the migrant has a Governing Body Endorsement for their sport. They must also show that the migrant is internationally established and will make a significant contribution to the UK.