Most Foreign nationals from EEA Countries are free to work in the UK without a visa. All other nationals, however, require permission from the UK Border Agency. In 2008 the UK Border Agency introduced the Points Based System. This is a 5 tier system which encompasses the previous 80 or so routes to working in the UK.
Tier 1 – for highly skilled migrants, entrepreneurs, investors, and graduate students
Tier 2 – Skilled workers
Tier 3 – Low skilled workers (indefinitely suspended)
Tier 4 – Students
Tier 5 – Temporary works and youth mobility scheme
Tier 1 is broken up into a number of sub-categories.
• Entrepreneurs – £200,000 investment required
Individuals who plan to invest in the UK by setting up and being actively involved in running the business can come to the UK under the Entrepreneur sub-category of Tier 1.
• Investors – At least £1 Million available
Individuals who plan to make a substantial financial investment in the UK can come under the Investor sub-category of Tier 1.
• Post Study Worker
This allows foreign students to remain in the UK after their studies to gain work experience. However this subcategory is going to close in April 2012.
• Exceptional Talent
This allows entry if you are internationally recognised as a world leader in the arts and sciences or possess potential world-leading talent in the arts or sciences.
This is a route that is available for those who are skilled and have a sponsor and is split into 4 different sub categories.
This allows people coming to the United Kingdom with a job offer to fill a gap that cannot be filled by a settled worker.
If a UK organisation would like to employ a foreign national then they must first obtain a sponsorship licence from the UK Border Agency. Once a licence has been obtained, it gives the organisation authority to issue certificates of sponsorship to foreign nationals provided that they meet the conditions set by the UK Border Agency. These include:
– The Job is at the prescribed skill level (S/NVQ3 Level or above)
– The organisation is unable to find a suitably qualified resident worker after complying with a resident labour market test or the job is on the shortage occupation list
– The individual will be paid a salary at or above the appropriate rate for the job.
Once an organisation has issued a certificate the individual can apply for leave to enter or remain in the UK. The individual is restricted to working for the organisation that has sponsored them.
• Intra Company Transfers
This allows employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a UK-based branch of the organisation.
The organisation must have a sponsorship licence and issue a certificate of sponsorship.
• Sports People
This allows elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level.
• Ministers of Religion
This allows those people coming to fill a vacancy as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order.
This tier was envisaged to capture the unskilled workers. However this has been suspended indefinitely.
Students wishing to study in the UK are required to study at an institution that is registered to sponsor international students. If a student is sponsored by the institution, they will be issued with a Confirmation of acceptance certificate. Students are also required to show that they have the required course fee and sufficient funds for maintenance.
This allows those migrants that want to come and work in the UK on a temporary basis. This tier is split into a number of sub categories.
This is for creative artists, sportspeople or entertainers provided that a sponsor has been organised.
• Charity/Voluntary Workers
To qualify under this category the volunteers will need to provide evidence of sponsorship from the charity.
• Religious workers
This category is for those who engage in a preaching and pastoral capacity. Religious workers may visit the UK if they are sponsored by the faith community and have provided evidence of this.
• Youth Mobility Schemes
This category allows those from participating countries who are aged between 18 and 30 to come to the UK. If successful the applicant would be granted a 24 month visa. Unfortunately there are very few participating countries.
Employing illegal workers
UK employers should carefully check all prospective employees’ entitlement to work in the UK or could face being fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker. If the employer is found to have knowingly or deliberately employed an illegal migrant worker then there are also potential criminal sanctions the employer could face.
By Sejal Karavadra,
Head of the Immigration Department at DBS Law.
Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.
You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry. For legal advice regarding your case, please contact DBS Law for a Consultation with a Solicitor by telephone on 0844 or by email on [email protected]