Work Visas (Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 5)

UK VISAS AND IMMIGRATION


Tier 1 Entrepreneur

You must have access to at least £50,000 investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

You must have access to funds at least £50,000 or £200,000 to invest the in the UK

You must meet English language and maintenance requirements.

Overview

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas are ideal for entrepreneurs with some money to invest in the UK. If you have at least £50,000 to invest, you may be able to apply for this visa. In practice most people who apply will need to have £200,000 of available funds held in a regulated financial institution.

Specific Criteria

In order to qualify for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, you must score 95 points on the Tier 1 points-based test. You will score points as laid out below.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa points-based assessment criteria

You have access to £200,000 or more orYou have access to £50,000 or more from

  • At least one venture capital company recognised by the Financial Services Authority
  • One or more UK seed funding competitions endorsed on the UK Trade and Investment website or
  • A grant from one or more government or devolved government departments in the UK (Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)

Or

You have access to at least £50,000 and

  • Are applying for leave to remain in the UK
  • Have been granted leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Post study work) migrant
  • Have been registered as self-employed or as a company director with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs within the last three months and
  • Are engaged in business activity in a role that is listed on the National Qualifications Framework level 4 or higher
25 points
Funds are held in a regulated financial institution 25 points
Funds are disposable in the United Kingdom 25 points

English Language Ability

Applicants will score 10 points if they show that they are proficient in English. They can do so by proving one of the following:

  • They have passed a test in English equivalent to level C1 of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning (equivalent to a grade C or better at GCSE)
  • Come from a country where English is the majority language spoken
  • Have taken a degree taught in English (this is verified by using the National Academic Recognition Information Centre data)

Maintenance

Applicants from outside the country will score 10 points by proving they can support themselves.

In order to qualify for entry clearance, or leave to remain under Tier 1 an applicant must show that he/she has enough money to support himself/herself. The maintenance requirements are detailed below:

  • Applicants outside the United Kingdom seeking entry clearance must have at least £2,800 of personal savings which must have been held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of application.
  • Applicants in the United Kingdom seeking further leave to remain must have at least £900 of personal savings which must have been held for a consecutive 90 day period before the date of application.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applicants may not use any money included in their £200,000 investment as evidence of maintenance funds.


Tier 1 Investor

You must have at least £2,000,000 investment funds to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa.

Overview

Under the United Kingdom’s five-tier, points based immigration system, wealthy people can immigrate to the UK through investment under the Tier 1 (Investor) subcategory of tier 1 if they have at least £1,000,000 to invest in the UK. See below for detail on how visas are granted for those wishing to come to the UK under the Tier 1 visa.

Specific Criteria

A pass mark of 75 points is needed to satisfy the requirements for the specific criteria under the Investor sub-category.

Applicants have at least £1,000,000 of their own money in a regulated financial institution in the UK, or 75 points
A) Own personal assets which exceed £2,000,000 in value, provided they are not subject to any liabilities; and
B) Have money under their control held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the UK of at least £1,000,000, which may include money loaned to them provided it was loaned by a financial institution regulated by the Financial Services Authority
75 point

English Language Ability

Because potential migrants applying under the Investor sub-category are not expected to need to work, the English language requirement is waived.

Maintenance

By definition, potential migrants applying under the Investor category are extremely wealthy and do not need to prove an ability to support themselves and their dependants. Therefore, this requirement has been waived for the Investor sub-category.

Switching into Tier 1 (Investor)

Switching is allowed for applicants currently here with permission to stay as:

  • a highly skilled migrant;
  • a Tier 1 (General) migrant;
  • a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrant;
  • a Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) migrant;
  • a business person;
  • an innovator;
  • a student;
  • a student nurse;
  • a student re-sitting an examination;
  • a student writing up a thesis;
  • a work permit holder;
  • a writer, composer or artist;
  • a Tier 2 Migrant; or
  • a Tier 4 Migrant

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa if you:


Overview

The Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visa came into being in March 2012. Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visas may be granted to graduates who have engaged in innovative entrepreneurial activity during their studies. This visa enables them to stay in the UK following their graduation to develop their business ideas. A graduate entrepreneur lasts for an initial period of one year. Those who are granted a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa can apply to have that visa extended by one year.

You should be aware that it is difficult to meet the requirements for this visa category and only a very small number of immigrants will qualify.

Who can apply

Applicants for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa must be in the UK and have been awarded a degree from a participating UK academic institution at a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD level.

You can switch into the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category if you are currently in the UK under one of the following categories:

  • Tier 4 Migrant;
  • Student;
  • Student nurse;
  • Student re-sitting an examination;
  • Student writing up a thesis;
  • Postgraduate doctor or dentist; or
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) migrant.

You will need to request a letter of endorsement from your UK higher education institution before you make your application under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category. This letter will need to include confirmation from your institution that they have assessed your business idea and found it to be a genuine, credible and innovative business idea.

Scoring points

You will need to score 95 points under the Tier 1 points-based system to make a successful application under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category.

Criteria

Points

(a) You have been endorsed by a UK higher education institution
(b) The UK higher education institution has awarded a UK
recognised bachelor’s or postgraduate degree to you; or
(c) You already have a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa and you have an endorsement for an extension application from the same institution.
The endorsement confirms the UK higher education Institution has assessed you and your business idea.
25

25

25

English Language 10
Maintenance

If you are successful, you will be allowed entry on a 12 month visa after which you will be able to apply for a second 12 month visa if the business is making progress. Although you will be expected to spend most of your time running the business, you will be able to work up to 20 hours per week outside the business in order to support yourself financially.

Cap on numbers

The UK government has placed a cap on the number of applications that can be made under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category of 1,000 in any financial year. The financial year runs from 6th April to 5th April.

The UK government has ruled that the 1,000 available visas will be divided equally between participating institutions. No participating institution will receive more than 10 slots. In order to qualify, institutions must confirm that they have established processes and competence for identifying, nurturing and developing entrepreneurs among their undergraduate and postgraduate student bodies.

The cap applies to new applications only. The cap does not apply to Graduate Entrepreneur applicants who apply to extend their leave to remain in the UK under this category. If you have been in the UK under a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa for 1 year, you can apply to extend your stay in this category for a further year.

Please note, you cannot apply for settlement in the UK under the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category and the time spent in the UK under this category will not count towards the qualifying period for any future applications for settlement in the UK.


Tier 1 Exceptional Talent

You can apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa if you’ve been endorsed in your field in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, digital technology or the arts as:

  • a recognised leader (exceptional talent)
  • an emerging leader (exceptional promise)

Overview

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa allows you entry to the UK 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. It is extremely difficult to qualify for such a visa. There is an annual cap of 1,000 on the number of Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas that can be issued. In order to qualify, Exceptionally Talented individuals must be sponsored by a “Designated Competent Body”, which will be a UK national society for the arts or sciences. It will be tough but, if you are recognised internationally for your work and can speak English well, the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa may be the right visa for you.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa replaced the Tier 1 (General) Highly Skilled Migrant Visa on 6 April 2011. It is much harder to come under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. If you are a highly skilled individual who would probably have qualified under the old Tier 1 (General) visa but do not qualify under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa scheme, your best option is most likely to apply for a Tier 2 visa for Skilled Workers. You can only do this with a job offer.

Points Requirement for initial applications

As part of the UK’s points based system a score of 75 must be attained under the Tier 1 (Exceptional) Talent Visa scheme. Unlike other schemes, the 75 points are scored under only one requirement: You need official endorsement by a Designated Competent Body.

Requirement Points scored
Endorsed by a Designated Competent Body 75

Points Requirement for Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa Extensions

If you already hold an Exceptional Talent Visa and wish to extend your stay in the UK, you must also score 75 points but under different criteria:

Requirement Points scored
You are economically active in the same field for which you were originally endorsed by the Designated Competent Body. This can either be in employment, self-employment, or both. The Designated Competent Body must not have revoked its endorsement. 75

To prove that you have been economically active, you must supply certain documentation. This includes:

  • payslips if you are a salaried employee; or
  • if self-employed, you must show a letter from your accountant to show that your company is actively trading in the UK

English Language Requirements for Extension Applicants

Unlike initial applicants, Exceptional Talent extension applicants must score 10 points for English Language ability:

Requirement Points scored
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country
  • you have passed a recognised English Language test to at least CEFR level B1
  • you hold a degree that was taught in English and is equivalent to at least a UK bachelor’s degree
10

Endorsement by a Designated Competent Body

To be eligible for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa, you must be internationally recognised in your field and considered a world leading talent. To prove your standing in your field, you must be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body. You must apply for endorsement from the relevant body prior to making your application.

List of Designated Competent Bodies with endorsement quotas

Designated Competent Body

From 1 October 2012 to 5 April 2013

Royal Society 150
Arts Council England 150
British Academy 100
Royal Academy of Engineering 100

The Royal Society and Arts Council England can endorse 300 people per year. The British Academy and The Royal Academy of Engineering can endorse 20 people a year.

Assistance

Advanced Legel Consultants can help you with the difficult process of applying for immigration to the United Kingdom. If we believe that you can be successful in applying for a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, we will provide a no-win, no-fee guarantee! Just fill out our free assessment form and one of our professional advisers will get in touch with you.


Tier 2 Visas

Tier 2 Skilled workers

  • Tier 2 (General) For workers who have an offer of skilled work and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence. The job on offer must be one that cannot be filled by a worker already resident in the UK. Since 2011, there has been a cap of 20,700 visas that can be issue in this category every year
  • Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) For employees of multinationals who are being transferred to the UK branch, Applicants must have a valid certificate of sponsorship from their employer. There are four sub-categories
    • Long-term staff
    • Short-term staff
    • Graduate trainee
    • Skills transfer
  • Tier 2 (sportsman) For sportspeople of international calibre intending to stay in the UK for a lengthy period
  • Tier 2 (minister of religion) For missionaries, monks, ministers of religion and the like

Tier 5 Visas

Tier 5 Temporary workers

  • Youth mobility scheme. If you are from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Monaco or Taiwan, you can come to the UK on a ‘working holiday’ visa and experience life in the UK while working to pay your way.
  • Creative and sporting. Artists, performers and sportspeople of international calibre can come to work in the UK
  • Charity and religious workers. For missionaries and unpaid charity workers
  • Government authorised exchange. For people coming under government-approved schemes aimed at the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practice.
  • International agreement. For people coming to the UK under contract to do work covered by international agreements, employments of international governments and private servants in diplomatic households

The UK immigration system is subject to frequent changes which makes navigating it a difficult and time-consuming process. You may have to wait months for your UK visa application to be processed by the UK Border Agency, or spend the whole day at a UK Border Agency office only to find that you do not have all the relevant documentation. We are OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.

  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Charity Worker) Visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting) Visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange) Visa
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Religious Worker) Visa
  • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Tier 2 Visas
    • Tier 2 General
    • Tier 2 Minister of Religion
    • Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer

Eligibility Requirements

  • Tier 5 Visas
    • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Charity Worker) Visa
    • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting) Visa
    • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange) Visa
    • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker - Religious Worker) Visa
    • Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme)