Do You Qualify for a UK Work Visa?
UK Visa

Despite the recession, the UK is still a popular place for foreign nationals to study and work. However, recent changes to the country’s visa and immigration system, coupled with the recession, can make a move to the UK seem daunting for some.

In early 2009, the UK adopted a points-based visa and immigration system which requires applicants to score a certain number of points in order to qualify for a UK visa. While the system intends to simplify visa application and approval in the long run, the changes can be confusing for applicants unfamiliar with the requirements.

This brief guide aims to lessen the intimidation factor by providing an overview of UK work visas and their qualification requirements.

Highly skilled worker visas

There are four types of highly skilled worker visas, which fall under the ‘Tier 1’ visa category and are meant to allow qualified, skilled workers into the UK. The visa types function as follows.
  1. Tier 1 General
    Tier 1 General visas require workers to be sponsored by a UK employer. Applicants must score 75 points for attributes such as academic and professional qualifications, previous earnings, and experience in the UK. Younger workers score more points. Applicants must score 10 points for English language ability and 10 for available funds to support themselves with while settling into the UK. The amount of maintenance funds required varies depending on whether the application is made from within the UK or another country, a caveat that applies for all visas covered here.
  2. Post-study work
    The two-year post-study work visa is for graduates of UK higher education programs. The category is intended to retain the best and brightest graduates to work in the UK. There are few requirements for graduates of accredited UK institutions, but applicants must have maintenance funds available. They are free to work without a sponsored job offer for the length of their visa, and must switch into another visa category if they wish to stay beyond two years.
  3. Investor
    The investor visa is meant to allow individuals with a high net worth to make a substantial financial investment in the UK economy. Potential investors must score 75 points for having ₤1,000,000 available in a financial institution, or having ₤2,000,000 in personal assets and ₤1,000,000 in the form of a loan. The investor visa applies across a variety of industries.
  4. Entrepreneur
    The entrepreneur visa gives individuals the right to set up or take over one or more business in the UK. In order to qualify, applicants must score 75 points for various attributes which depend on individual circumstances, such as the type of business to be run, and whether the entrepreneur is making a fresh application or switching from another UK visa category. Applicants must also score 10 points for English language and 10 points for maintenance funds.

Intra-company transfer visas

A final UK visa popular with professionals is the intra-company transfer visa. This visa falls into the ‘Tier 2 – Skilled workers’ category. The visa allows employees of a multinational organisation to transfer to a UK office location of the same company. Intra-company transfer applicants are subject to similar points-based requirements as Tier 1 visa holders, with points assessed based on earnings, qualifications, company sponsorship, maintenance funds and English language skills.

Please note that the above guidelines are not comprehensive and the UK government may change immigration and visa requirements at any time. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the requirements for any visa you wish to apply for through research on a reputable immigration website or by speaking to an immigration consultant.

Source: Global Visas

About Global Visas
Global Visas provides immigration & visa solutions for popular destinations worldwide. Visit to start your visa application today.

Mark Johnstone
Web Content Manager
Global Visas
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7190 6583

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