Applying to work in the UK from outside the EEA

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When applying to work in the UK from outside the European Economic Area, there are a number of rules that you have to remember in terms of getting a work permit. The UK immigration and work system is based around collecting points, and is divided into different specialist levels. While you can visit the UK to look for work under a temporary visa, you’ll need a work permit and working visa if you are going to be able to hold down a job. There are several different levels of work, which include high value investors and entrepreneurs, as well as skilled workers and temporary workers.

UK from outside the EEA
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For high value, or Tier 1 workers, you’ll need to already have a considerable level of income and money to invest in the UK; this only applies to a relatively small number of people, and typically involves those looking to set up businesses and work within the UK as part of an extension of an already successful career. There is currently a limit of 1,000 new people able to enter the UK under this scheme from April 2013 to April 2014.

A much larger number of people come under Tier 2, or skilled worker categories, which involve applying and then being offered a job by an employer that can sponsor your work permit. Skilled workers can be specialists in their field, ministers of religion, sportspeople, and individuals moving from another branch of a company. There’s currently a limit of 20,700 people per year who can qualify under Tier 2 as workers that earn less than £152,100 a year.

Skilled workers need to prove their worth for the UK if they’re going to be accepted for long term positions - this means scoring 70 points as part of the UK Border Agency’s points based system. Most of these points come from your potential employer providing a certificate of sponsorship that enables you to qualify for a work permit; you can also gain points through your English language skills and maintenance funds.

If you’re applying to work in the UK with a view to eventually settling, you’ll have to be resident in the UK for five years in a row. In most cases, your initial work permit will last for 3 years and 1 month, and can be renewed up to 6 years. Getting residency status means proving that you are still a valuable asset for your employer.

Temporary Work

When applying to work in the UK on a temporary basis, which might include being part of a creative or sporting project, or part of a youth mobility scheme, you can usually expect to receive a visa of 12 months, or one that’s fixed to a certain contract. Youth mobility schemes typically involve young people from outside the EEA working as au pairs on a part time basis.

Other Issues

Applying for and then receiving work in the UK is dependent on being able to meet the terms of a work permit and visa, even if you’ve been offered a job. It’s your employer’s responsibility to ensure that your sponsorship certificate is ready on time, and yours to have full paperwork identifying yourself. If you’re applying to work and then bring your family with you, they’ll need to be classed as dependents, and tied to your work permit. Any children over the age of 18 will have to apply for their own work permit and visa, however.

Author Bio

Sarah is a freelance writer who’s recently been covering employment and immigration. If you’re looking for advice on finding work in the UK, she recommends consulting the Hales Group.

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