Thursday, 21 March 2013

Work permits and visas for London and the UK

The United Kingdom (U.K.) Border Agency is the department of the U.K.’s Home Office, which deals with matters regarding visas, immigration, permission to stay, work permits, citizenship and asylum, for the entire United Kingdom. In 2008, the U.K. Border Agency introduced a point-based system (PBS), for citizens of countries who do not belong to the European Economic Area (EEA), but who are seeking to work , study or invest in the U.K. Member countries of the EEA comprise the following: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Note that countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are not members of the European Union (E.U.) but under the EEA agreement, nationals of these countries also have the right to enter, live and work in the UK, just as EU citizens. Nationals from the following new member states; Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, who find a job in the UK, are required to apply for registration with the Home Office, under the new 'Worker Registration Scheme', as soon as they find work.

If you are a citizen of a country outside the EEA and you intend to enter the UK on grounds of work, study or investment, your application for the relevant visa must fall within the following visa categories known as Tiers:

Tier 1: Investors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people can apply to enter or stay in the UK without needing a job offer; but they would need to pass a point-based evaluation.

Tier 2: If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, then your visa application falls in this category.
Tier 3: This tier is for a limited numbers of lower skilled workers, to fill temporary shortages in the labour market.

Tier 4: Students.

Tier 5: For youth mobility and temporary workers, such as those who come under Working Holiday agreements with other countries.

Some UK visas types which fall outside the Point-Based System include:

Ancestry Visa: This is for Commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent born in the UK.
Tourist Visa: Covers a visit to the UK for up to 6 months, including business trips and medical treatment.
EEA Visas: For nationals of the EEA or Switzerland who can support themselves in the UK.

Tourist and visitor visas to the UK
If you come to the UK as a visitor, you are normally allowed to stay here for a maximum of 6 months.
If you want to visit the UK as a tourist or to stay with friends in the UK, you should apply to come here as a general visitor (or as a child visitor if you are under 18).

If you are a Chinese national and you will be coming to the UK as part of a group for a maximum of 30 days, you can apply for a visa as an ADS visitor.

If you want to visit members of your family in the UK, you can apply to come here as a family visitor (or as a child visitor if you are under 18).
If you want to do business in the UK, you should apply to come here as a business visitor (or as a child visitor if you are under 18). This includes academic visitors, and doctors undertaking clinical attachments or the PLAB test.

If you want to come to the UK as a Tier 1 (entrepreneur), and you need to spend time here first in order to hold discussions and secure funding, you can apply for a visa as a prospective entrepreneur.

If you want to come to the UK as a visitor to do short-term, fee-paid activity, you can apply for a visa as a permitted paid engagement visitor.

If you want to study in the UK for up to 6 months (or up to 11 months if you will be studying an English Language course), and you will not work while you are here, you can come here as a student visitor (or as a child visitor if you are under 18).

For comprehensive information on visas, work permits and citizenships in the UK, please visit the website of the UK Border Agency at:

If you are involved in complex immigration issues in the UK, you might consider using the services of a competent immigration lawyer.

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