Employment, Business and Investment Visas

Introduction

Everybody who is a British Citizen, has the right of abode, European Union Nationals have the right to work as employed or self-employed person. Important

Important

A general visitor is not allowed to carry out any activities as a worker, employed or self-employed person

Foreign students have a limited right to work (please refer to the chapter on Students).

Apart from British Citizens, people from the following categories are also free to work or carry out business and business-like activities. These people include:

  • A person who is admitted in the UK for a settlement (please refer to Family Reunion chapter 12)
  • Anyone who has a limited leave with a view to settlement. This may include spouses of a person settled in the UK, civil partner and certain other non-marital relationships (please refer to Family Reunion Chapter 12)
  • Refugees and people who have been granted with Humanitarian Protection (please refer to the heading Asylum-Seekers and Refugees)
  • People who are granted entry into the UK without any restrictions on work may also be able to pursue employment or set up businesses in the UK. This may include among others, spouses and civil partners of an immigrant who is on Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Categories for work, Business and Investment visas

Tier 1 Migrants

A person who is officially recognised as an exceptional talent within the fields of science, humanities, engineering, and art, an exceptional entrepreneur, a graduate with exceptional entrepreneurial skills and all investors are treated as Tier 1 Migrants.

  • They are part of the points-based system
  • Upon a successful application, they are granted limited leave to remain in the UK for three years
  • The leave can be extended to a further two years
  • Upon the completion of five years under Tier 1 Migrant Category, a person can apply for settlement,
  • However, the exceptional talent graduate will only be allowed two periods of limited leave to remain for 12 months. After the expiry of these two terms which is effectively 24 months, the graduate is expected to leave the UK or he/she has to switch to another category

Tier 2 Migrants

Tier 2 includes skilled (general) workers, ministers of religion or sports persons

  • They are also part of the points-based system
  • Each person must have a sponsor who must also be based in the UK and recognised by the Home Office as well
  • Upon a successful application, they are granted limited leave to remain in the UK for three years
  • The leave can be extended to a further two years
  • Upon the completion of five years under Tier 2 Migrant Category, a person can apply for settlement

Tier 4 Migrants

This category includes students please refer to the heading of Students to know more about rights and obligations as Tier 4 Student Migrant

Tier 5 Migrants

Tier 5 includes temporary workers in

  • The creative and sporting sector, charity and religious work
  • UK government’s exchange workers
  • Workers under international agreements
  • Workers under the Youth Mobility Scheme
  • Tier 5 Migrants are also part of the points-based system
  • The leave or visa is normally granted for one or two years
  • At the end of the visa or expiry of the visa, the person has to leave the United Kingdom
  • Tier 5 does not lead to any settlement

Representative of an Overseas Firm

The representative of an overseas firm who intends to establish a new or wholly-owned subsidiary or branch in the UK

  • This category is not part of the points-based system
  • Upon a successful application, they are granted limited leave to remain in the UK for three years
  • The leave can be extended to a further two years
  • Upon the completion of five years under this category, the representative can apply for settlement in the United Kingdom

Commonwealth Citizen

Under this category, the Commonwealth citizens whose grandparents were born in the UK are allowed to enter the United Kingdom

  • This category is not part of the points-based system
  • Upon a successful application, they are granted limited leave to remain in the UK for 5 years
  • Upon the completion of five years under this category, the person can apply for settlement in the United Kingdom

Tier 1 Migrant

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

Under this category, a person who is well known and recognised around the world for his work in science, humanities, engineering and arts, is allowed to work in the United Kingdom. The person has to obtain an official endorsement from the Home Office’s specified Designated Competent Body.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

  • This is also referred to as the business route to the UK
  • A person has to set up a business
  • Can also take over an existing business or join an existing business as well
  • Can be a team of two entrepreneurs
  • Minimum amount to invest is £200,000 where a person wants to invest in any type of business
  • However, the amount required to invest is £50,000 where the amount is invested in a Home Office approved source

Tier 1 Investor

This category is for a person who is willing to invest at least £2 million in the United Kingdom.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

  • The graduate must have passed or obtained his degree from a Home Office’s approved Higher Education Institute
  • The graduate has been recognised as having either developed a world class innovative idea or entrepreneurial skills in order to stay in the UK and set up a business
  • Such person is granted leave for 12 months which could be extended to another 12 months
  • At the expiry of the visa, a graduate has to either leave the UK or switch to another category

Required Points (Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur)

  • Graduate entrepreneur and entrepreneur are required to score 95-points from the following categories

 

Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur

Points required

Attributes

  Minimum 75 points

English Language

  10 Points

Maintenance Funds

  10 points

 

  • The person with exceptional talent and an investor are required to:
  • secure 75 points in total in Attributes.
  • This means that they do not have to secure the remaining 20 points in the form of English Language and Maintenance Funds requirements.
  • However, where an exceptional talent applies for extension after first three years, he/she has to fulfil the English Language criteria like the Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur

Attributes for Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur

Exceptional Talent: The person has to obtain an official endorsement from the Home Office’s specified Designated Competent Body (DCB). This will allow the exceptionally talented person to claim 75 points. In total a maximum of 1,000 people with exceptional talent are allowed into the UK every year.

Entrepreneur: The applicant must have £200,000 to invest in a regulated financial institution, or £50,000 where the amount is invested in a Home Office approved source, for example, the Home Office’s approved venture capital firms and institutes. This will allow the entrepreneur to claim 75 points.

Investor: Must have access to £2 million held in a regulated financial institution such as banks or building societies and ready to be disposed of in the UK. This will allow an investor to claim 75 points

Graduate Entrepreneur: The graduate must have passed or obtained his degree from a Home Office approved Higher Education Institute. This will allow a graduate entrepreneur to claim 75 points.

English Language (Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur only)

The applicant has to prove that they have a minimum level of proficiency in the English Language. This will provide him with the required 10 points. Applicants can either pass the Home Office’s prescribed English Language test or if he belongs to a majority English speaking country or has a Home Office recognised degree that was taught in English then this will also allow him to claim the 10 points without passing any English Language test

Maintenance Funds (Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur only)

  • Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur have to prove that they can support themselves in the UK
  • Entrepreneur must hold at least £3,310 in personal savings for 90 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of application
  • The Graduate Entrepreneur must hold at least £995 in personal savings for 90 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of application

Settlement (Exceptional Talent, Entrepreneur and Investor)

Once the person with exceptional talent, entrepreneur and investor have spent five years in the United Kingdom, such person is allowed to apply for settlement.

  • Entrepreneur can apply to settle more quickly and easily if the entrepreneur has created at least 10 jobs or produced a turnover of £5 million in a three-year time period
  • Where an investor invests £5 million or more, he is allowed to settle in the UK after 3 years. Such person does not have to wait for 5 years
  • Where an investor is investing or has invested £10 million he can settle after 2 years, instead of usual 5
  • A graduate entrepreneur cannot apply for settlement unless he switches his immigration category, which may lead to settlement

Family Members of Tier 1 Migrant

The family members of Tier 1 Migrants are allowed to accompany and stay with the Tier 1 Migrant. By family, it means, spouses, civil partners, unmarried or same sex partners and any children who are under the age of 18 years

They all have to obtain entry clearance and leave to enter and remain in the UK. The family members are allowed to apply for an extension of stay along with or at the same time as the Tier 1 migrant applies

Maintenance Funds for Family (Spouses)

The level of maintenance required for a spouse or civil partner depends upon where the Tier Migrant is and for how long he/she is there. It is important to note that such funding is additional funding

Status

Amount or funds required for spouse

Tier 1 migrant is outside the UK

£1,890 required 

Tier 1 migrant is inside the UK but for less than 12 months

£1,890 required

Tier 1 migrant is in the UK for more than 12 months

£630 required

Example

Ali intends to apply for an investor visa from India and he also would like his spouse to join him in the UK. Ali has to show maintenance funds of 1,890 for his spouse, on top of what is required from him as a Tier 1 Migrant.

Ali intends to apply for an investor visa from the UK he is already in the UK for last three years and he also would like his spouse to join him in the UK from India. Ali has to show maintenance funds of £630 for his spouse, on top of what is required for him as a Tier 1 Migrant.

Children

For a child to accompany the parents or parent who is a Tier 1 Immigrant the amount required is the same as it is for the spouse £1,890 where the application is made outside the UK and £630 when the application is made in the UK. This amount is on top of the maintenance funds required as proof by the applicant.

Settlement of Family Members

Family members of the Tier 1 applicant are allowed to apply for Settlement upon the fulfilment of required criteria and at the same time as the Tier 1 immigrant, In the case of spouses and partners, the couple must have lived together for at least 5 years.

Important Note

A graduate entrepreneur can be joined by his family members; however, they and graduate entrepreneur may not be allowed to acquire settlement status unless they switch their category and the same maintenance funds are required as proof as a Tier 1 Entrepreneur, which is either £1, 890 or £630 as stated above

Tier 2 (General) Migrant and Intra Company Transfer

  • Tier 2 General migrant must hold a job offer
  • From a UK employer
  • The employer must be licensed by the Home Office
  • Tier 2 general migrant must be a skilled migrant
  • Must be of a graduate level or above (except shortage occupations)

Tier 2 immigrant category was introduced to fulfil the gap in the labour force, which was not fulfilled by the resident workforce (ordinary UK residents)

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfers

This category is for the existing employees of multinational organisations. These employees are generally transferred from outside the European Union by their overseas employer to a

  • Training position, or
  • Skilled job in a related UK entity
  • The transfer has to be for training purpose, or
  • To fill a specific job or vacancy which cannot be fulfilled by British residents or EEA nationals and must be of graduate or higher level
  • The intra company employee must be paid at or above the appropriate rate for such job in line with the guidance of the Home Office

Minister of Religion and Elite Sports person

A minister of religion is a religious worker within the recognised religion and anyone who ministers either regularly or occasionally, and/or performs pastoral duties. Such person can also apply for a Tier 2 visa

In the case of an Elite Sports person or a coach who would like to base himself in the UK, such a person must be recognised and established internationally at the highest level. The employment of such sports person or coach must benefit and contribute to the development of such sport at a very highest level in the UK

Procedure for Tier 2

  • The tier 2 applicant must have a certificate of sponsorship issued by a UK based sponsor
  • Such sponsor must be approved by the Home Office
  • The tier 2 migrant has to score 70 points from three different areas as is the case of Tier 1

 

Tier 2 Migrant

Total Points required = 70

Attributes

  Minimum 50 points

English Language

  10 Points

Maintenance Funds

  10 points

 

  • However, a migrant who is subject to intra company transfer and who does not want to live in the UK after the expiry of three years will have to score only 60 points

 

Graduate Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur

Total Points required = 60

Attributes

  Minimum 50 points

English Language

  10 Points

Language Requirements

A person may hold a recognised qualification which is accepted by the Home Office for the purpose of English Language or a person may belong to a majority English speaking country, such person does not have to pass any language test. However, for anybody else, the criteria is given below

 

Entry Clearance Application

Required English Language Test

Tier 2 General

  B1

Tier 2 Minister of Religion

  B2

Tier 2 (Intra- Company Transfer)

  A1

Tier 2 (Sports person)

  A2

Maintenance fund requirement

  • Tier 2 migrant must hold at least £945 in personal savings for 90 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of application
  • In the case of a sponsored worker a sponsor letter from the employer

Family members (Tier 2)

  • A Tier 2 migrant must hold at least £630/ per family member including children, on top of his maintenance funds in personal savings for 90 consecutive days, ending no more than 31 days before the date of application
  • Or the sponsor may provide a letter or written undertaking for maintenance of family members of the Tier 2 Worker

Attributes for Intra- Company Transfer, the applicant must score 30 points from the following table A and 20 Points from Table B in order to obtain 50 points for Attributes and then remaining 20 points can be collected through English Language requirements and Maintenance Funds requirements. Where an Intra-Company transfer worker does not intend to live in the UK after three years. Such worker needs only 60 points.

Table A

Certificate of Sponsorship

Points granted

Shortage of Occupation

  30 Points

Job Offer holds Resident Labour Market Test

  30 Points

Job Offer with Annual Salary of £153,500 or more

  30 points

Table B

Salary

Points granted

Appropriate Annual Salary of £20,800 or more

20 Points

Temporary Migrants under Tier 5

Introduction

The temporary migrant under Tier 5 must score 40 points from the table given below in order to obtain a visa under this category

Criteria

Requirements

Points

Sponsorship

·         The migrant is seeking entry into the UK to work in a relevant sector

·         The applicant does not intend to set up a business

·         The applicant’s job does not affect the UK’s resident labour force

·         The applicant must obey the conditions attached with his/her visa and must leave at the expiry of his visa

30

Maintenance

·         The applicant has a certificate of sponsorship issued by A-Rated sponsor

·         Sponsor also certifies that the migrant will not have access to any public benefits

·         In the absence of sponsorship, the applicant under Tier 5 must have £945 for himself

·         £630 for any dependent or family member

·         Even where the applicant is sponsored for maintenance purposes, such sponsor does not cover the dependent or family member. The Tier 5 migrant must have £630 for each dependent

40

Youth and Mobility Scheme

The requirements for workers under the Youth and Mobility Scheme are given below

  • Criteria is based on the points-based system
  • The applicant has to score 50 points in total
  • From three categories, Sponsorship (30 Points), Maintenance (10 Points) and Age (10 Points).
  • The applicant who wishes to apply under this category must not have been in the UK in this category in the past or under the previously known “working holidaymaker scheme”
  • The applicant must not have any dependent children,
  • By dependent children, it means any child which is under the age of 18, financially dependent and who may also be living with the applicant

Points required under Youth and Mobility Scheme

Criteria

Requirements

Points

Sponsorship

·         The applicant must belong to participating country

·         The quota allocated to the country is not fully used

·         Practicing countries are Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, and New Zeeland (on a current list)

·         Or the applicant is a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas) Citizen

30

Age

·         Must be between 18 and 30 years of age. The applicant must be under the age of 31 at the time of the application

10

Maintenance

·         Must be able to support himself till the point he/she starts earning

·         Must have sufficient funds for two months, which must not be less than £1,890

·         These funds must be held in his/her personal bank account on the date of the application

 

10

 

Sole Representative of an Overseas Firm

A person can also obtain a work visa as a sole representative of an overseas firm, where such firm has no branch in the UK. Such firm may wish to send an experienced employee to setup the operations of such firm in the UK as a wholly owned subsidiary or branch.

Requirements

  • The employee must be the sole representative of the overseas firm
  • The applicant must be recruited and taken on an employee outside the UK and as a representative of the firm
  • The firm must have its’ offices including headquarters outside the UK
  • The firm must not hold any branch, subsidiary or another representative in the UK
  • The overseas firm must be a genuine commercial entity
  • It must be the same business for which the representative is sent to the UK
  • The applicant must seek an entry clearance as a senior employee of the firm
  • Must have full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the overseas firm
  • The applicant must not be a majority shareholder in the company

Time Restrictions

  • The applicant must intend to be employed full time as a representative of the overseas firm
  • Must spend a minimum of 9 months in any given year in the UK
  • Application can also be approved for less time in a year in the UK

Other employment, Family and English Language requirements

  • The applicant must not intend to take another employment
  • The applicant must demonstrate the necessary English Language skills
  • The applicant must also be capable of maintaining himself and his family adequately without any recourse to public funds

Initial leave and Settlement

  • Initial leave or visa is granted for 3 years
  • A further extension is allowed which is for 2 years
  • Where a sole representative is in the UK for 5 years in the same capacity, he may also be entitled to apply for settlement
  • Family members including any child under the age of 18 can also apply for settlement

Commonwealth Citizen with UK ancestry

Conditions

  • A commonwealth citizen who is at least 17 years of age or over
  • Who can prove that his/her grandparents were born in the UK
  • Intends to work in the UK
  • Who can support himself without taking any public benefits

Where a person can fulfil the above conditions, he will be entitled to compulsory but limited leave to remain (visa) for 5 years. This category is not points based

Proof of Ancestry

  • The applicant has to prove that his/her grandparents were born in the UK
  • Birth on a registered ship or aircraft also counts
  • That he holds a blood relationship with grandparents or the grand parents are blood grandparents, or
  • They are grandparents by the reason of an adoption which is recognised by UK law in relation to adoption
  • A birth certificate for grandparents, parents and the applicant’s own would be required
  • Such person is able to work in the UK
  • Can also apply for settlement after the expiry of the five years period
  • The family members have to apply for entry clearance as well and they may also be entitled to permanent stay (for further details please refer to Family Reunion)

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.