Working in the UK – Long Term

This category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker.

This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa.

A Skilled Worker visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with an approved employer.

Eligibility
To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, you must:

  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do

The specific eligibility depends on your job.

You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.

Knowledge of English
You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work in an eligible job
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • take on additional work in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs or employer unless you apply to update your visa

How long you can stay
Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

If you want to stay longer in the UK
You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.

A Health and Care Worker visa allows medical professionals to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.

Eligibility
To qualify for a Health and Care Worker visa, you must:

  • be a qualified doctor, nurse, health professional or adult social care professional
  • work in an eligible health or social care job
  • work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • be paid a minimum salary - how much depends on the type of work you do

You must have a confirmed job offer before you apply for your visa.

Knowledge of English
You must be able to speak, read, write and understand English. You’ll usually need to prove your knowledge of English when you apply.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work in an eligible job
  • take on additional work in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) if you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years and meet the other eligibility requirements

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs or employer unless you update your visa

How long you can stay
Your visa can last for up to 5 years before you need to extend it. You’ll need to apply to extend or update your visa when it expires or if you change jobs or employer.

If you want to stay longer in the UK
You can apply to extend your visa as many times as you like as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.

After 5 years, you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). This gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like, and apply for benefits if you’re eligible.

An Intra-company visa allows you to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at your employer’s UK branch.

There are 2 types of Intra-company visa.

Intra-company Transfer visa
Apply for this visa if you’re being transferred by your employer to a role in the UK.

You’ll need to have worked for your employer overseas for more than 12 months, unless they’re going to pay you £73,900 a year or more to work in the UK.

This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff visa.

Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
This visa is for transfers to the UK as part of a graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist role.

You’ll need to have worked for your employer overseas for at least 3 months immediately before the date you apply.

This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Graduate Trainee visa.

Eligibility
To qualify for an Intra-company visa, you must:

  • be an existing employee of an organisation that’s been approved by the Home Office as a sponsor
  • have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer with information about the role you’ve been offered in the UK
  • do a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
  • be paid at least £41,500 for an Intra-company Transfer visa or at least £23,000 for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa

The specific eligibility requirements depend on your job.

What you can and cannot do
With an Intra-company visa you can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • do a second job for up to 20 hours a week that’s either in the same profession and at the same level as your main job or on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs unless you update your visa
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

How long you can stay
How long you can stay in the UK with an Intra-company visa depends on which visa you’re applying for and how long your employer is sponsoring you for.

If you’re applying for an Intra-company Transfer visa
You can stay in the UK with an Intra-company Transfer visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
  • 5 years
  • the length of time that takes you to the maximum total stay allowed

The maximum total stay allowed for an Intra-company Transfer visa is:

  • 5 years in any 6 year period if you’re paid less than £73,900 a year
  • 9 years in any 10 year period if you’re paid £73,900 a year or more

You can extend your visa or apply for another one up to the maximum total stay. If you have already been in the UK with an Intra-company visa before your application, that time will be included in your total stay.

If you’re applying for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa
You can stay in the UK with an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa for whichever is shorter of:

  • the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
  • 12 months
  • the length of time that takes you to the maximum total stay allowed

You cannot extend your visa, but you can apply for another Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa from outside the UK. You have to have been working for your sponsor outside the UK for at least 3 months immediately before the date you apply.

The maximum total stay allowed for an Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa is 5 years in any 6 year period. If you have already been in the UK with an Intra-company visa before your application, that time will be included in your total stay.

What you can and cannot do

With an Intra-company visa you can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • study
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible
  • do a second job for up to 20 hours a week that’s either in the same profession and at the same level as your main job or on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list
  • do voluntary work
  • travel abroad and return to the UK

You cannot:

  • apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
  • change jobs unless you update your visa
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

You can apply for a Minister of Religion visa (T2) if:

  • you’ve been offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK
  • have a certificate of sponsorship for your job
  • prove your knowledge of English
  • have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
  • have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

Getting sponsored
You need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.

Your sponsor checks that you can do the job they’re hiring you for and if it qualifies you for a visa. They’ll give you a certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

They must also give you other information you need when you apply, for example how much you’ll be paid.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job - in certain circumstances
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible

You cannot:

  • own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares (unless you earn more than £159,600 a year)
  • get public funds

How long you can stay
You can come to the UK with a Minister of Religion visa (T2) for a maximum of up to 3 years and 1 month, or the time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days, whichever is shorter.

You can apply to extend your stay. You must apply before your visa expires.

You can apply for a Sportsperson visa (T2) if all of the following apply:

  • you’re an elite sportsperson or qualified coach, who’s recognised by your sport’s governing body as being at the highest level of your profession internationally
  • your sport’s governing body is endorsing your application
  • your employment will develop your sport in the UK at the highest level
  • have a valid certificate of sponsorship for your jobprove your knowledge of English
  • have personal savings so you can support yourself when you arrive in the UK
  • show you can travel and your travel history over the last 5 years
  • have tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

Getting sponsored
Your sponsor is the governing body endorsing your application. They’ll give you a certificate of sponsorship to prove they’re sponsoring you.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • do a second job in certain circumstances
  • play for your national team in the UK
  • work as a sports broadcaster
  • do voluntary work
  • study as long as it does not interfere with the job you’re sponsored for
  • travel abroad and return to the UK
  • bring your partner and children with you as your ‘dependants’, if they’re eligible

You cannot:

  • get public funds
  • start or run a business
  • apply for a second job until you’ve started working for your sponsor

How long you can stay
You can come to the UK with a Sportsperson visa (T2) for up to 3 years.

You can apply to extend this visa for up to another 3 years to a maximum stay of 6 years.

You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if all of the following are true:

  • you’re a Commonwealth citizen
  • you can prove one of your grandparents was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
  • you’re able and planning to work in the UK
  • you’re 17 or over
  • you have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants
  • you can and plan to work in the UK

How long you can stay
You can stay in the UK for 5 years on this visa.

Applying to stay longer in the UK
If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years on this visa, you may be able to either:

  • apply to extend your visa for a further 5 years
  • apply to settle permanently in the UK (apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work
  • study
  • bring your partner or child

You cannot:

  • change (‘switch’) into this visa if you came to the UK on a different visa
  • get public funds

You can apply as a representative of an overseas business if you’re either:

  • the sole representative of an overseas business planning to set up either a UK branch or wholly owned subsidiary
  • an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation posted on a long-term assignment to the UK

Eligibility
To be eligible for this visa you must:

  • have enough money to support yourself without help from public funds
  • meet the English requirement

Sole representatives
To apply as a sole representative you must:

  • be recruited and employed outside the UK by an active and trading business (whose headquarters and principal place of business are, and will remain, outside the UK)
  • have the skills, experience and knowledge to do the role
  • hold a senior position within the business (but do not own or control the majority of it) and have full authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • intend to establish the overseas business’s first commercial presence in the UK, either as a registered branch or a wholly owned subsidiary

You may also be eligible if the business has a legal entity in the UK that does not employ staff or do any business.

If your employer has been working to establish a UK branch or subsidiary, but it is not yet set up, you can replace a previous sole representative.

Newspaper, news agency or broadcast employees
As an employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation, you can come to the UK if you’re being posted here on a long-term assignment.

How long you can stay
The visa lets you stay in the UK for an initial period of 3 years.

You may be able to extend your visa for another 2 years.

After you’ve been in the UK for 5 years, you can apply for permission to settle permanently in the UK.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • work for your employer, full time
  • bring your family (‘dependants’) with you to the UK
  • apply to extend your visa
  • apply to settle in the UK after you’ve been here for 5 years

You cannot:

  • work for yourself or any other business
  • stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer
  • switch to this visa from any other visa category
  • get public funds

The Tier 2 (Minister of religion) category is for people who have been offered employment or posts or roles within their faith communities in the UK as:

  • Ministers of religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work.
  • Missionaries.
  • Members of religious orders.

This is a points based system in which applicants must score a total of 70 points. Points will be awarded for the following:

  • 50 points for a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • 10 points for meeting the English language requirement.
  • 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirement.

In order for a Certificate of Sponsorship to be valid the applicant must be coming to:

  • Preach or perform pastoral duties.
  • Work as a missionary.
  • Work in a religious order within a community which involves a permanent commitment like a monastery or convent.

The Tier 2 (Sportsperson) category is for elite sports people and coaches who are internationally established at the highest level, and will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport. Your application will need to be endorsed by your sport's governing body.

This is a points based system in which applicants must score a total of 70 points. Points will be awarded for the following:

  • 50 points for a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • 10 points for meeting the English language requirement.
  • 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirement.

In order for your sponsor to assign a certificate of sponsorship successfully you must be:

  • Qualified to do the job.
  • Plan to base yourself in the UK.
  • Will comply with the conditions of your permission to stay and leave the UK when that permission expires.

This category is for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred by their overseas employer to a UK branch of the organisation, either on a long-term basis or for frequent short visits. There are 4 sub-categories:

  • Long-term staff - for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for more than 12 months to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce.
  • Short-term staff - for established, skilled employees to be transferred to the UK branch of their organisation for 12 months or less to fill a post that cannot be filled by a new recruit from the resident workforce.
  • Graduate trainee - this route allows the transfer of recent graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation, as part of a structured graduate training program which clearly defines progression towards a managerial or specialist role.
  • Skills transfer - this route allows the transfer of new graduate employees to a UK branch of the same organisation to learn the skills and knowledge required to perform their job overseas, or to impart their specialist skills or knowledge to the UK workforce.

This is a points based system in which applicants must score a total of 60 points (70 points if you want to extend your stay to over 3 years in the UK). Points will be awarded for the following:

  • 30 points for a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • 20 points for the appropriate salary and allowance.
  • 10 points for meeting the English language.
  • 10 points for meeting the maintenance requirement.

Note that the English language requirement will only have to be met by those in certain categories who are applying to extend their stay in the UK to over 3 years.

You can score 20 points for appropriate salary and allowances if your salary and allowances are:

  • At least £40,000 and at least the appropriate rate, for applicants under the 'Long-term staff' sub-category.
  • At least £24,000 and at least the appropriate rate, for applicants under the 'Short-term staff', 'Graduate trainee' and 'Skills transfer' sub-categories.
  • At least the appropriate rate, for applicants who are currently in the UK in any Tier 2 (Intra company transfer) sub-category under the Immigration Rules that were in place before 6 April 2011, or as an intra-company transfer work permit holder, or as a representative of an overseas business (including a representative of an overseas media company).

This condition will not have to be met by those applying for an extension as a Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) as they will be awarded 50 points for a valid Certificate of Sponsorship.

For further information please contact us.

Disclaimer: The information provided above only provides general guidelines on Immigration Law and these rules change regularly (last update 16 August 2012). It is highly recommended that you call our office for more in depth advice and assistance.

Disclaimer: The information provided above only provides general guidelines on Immigration Law and these rules change regularly (last update March 2021). It is highly recommended that you call our office for more in-depth advice and assistance.

Get in Touch Today

Fill in the form and we will be in touch…







    I consent to my personal data being collected