At Whitehall Resources, we have found the SAP UK Permanent Market to be extremely strong at present with both existing and new clients coming to us to resource for SAP & Oracle roles at all levels. As a result, we are receiving a very large amount of interest from SAP and Oracle Professionals situated all over the world. Many are those are unsure about getting a UK visa and often need some clarification. So here it is. (For information on getting a UK visa for contract roles, click here.)
Up until recently, SAP & Oracle Consultants looking to get a UK Visa would apply under a Tier 1 Visa. Unfortunately, Tier 1 is currently suspended to anyone outside of the UK. Therefore, in almost all circumstances, to acquire a UK Visa for a SAP or Oracle Permanent role you will need to apply under Tier 2 of the UK Visa Points Based System (PBS.) Tier 2 is for migrants wishing to work in the UK who are from outside of European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland.
You can see our permanent role opportunities in the UK, Middle East, Continental Europe and North Africa.
The Tier 2 UK Visa
Tier 2 can be broken down into a number of categories. The category of Tier 2 that skilled workers such as you must apply under is called the ‘General’ category. 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.
Each year, the UK Border Agency decides on the number of foreign workers that can enter the UK under the Tier 2 General category. For this year (April 13 – April 2014,) it has been decided that a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers will be granted a UK Visa to do jobs with an annual salary below £152,100. There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK if the annual salary exceeds £152,100 before tax.
Eligibility to Apply For a UK Visa under Tier 2
To determine whether you are eligible for a UK Visa comes down to whether you can accumulate enough points on the Point Based System.
The PBS awards points based on:
- Whether you have a valid sponsorship certificate from the prospective UK employer.
- Whether you have an agreed salary for the permanent role in the UK over £20,00pa
- Your English Language skills – Points are awarded if you are a national from a majority English speaking country, you have a UK Bachelor degree-equivalent qualification (or above) that was taught in English or if you have passed an approved English language test. If you do not fulfil any of the criteria for English language skills, you will not be eligible to apply for a UK Visa.
The Prospects of Sponsorship
The biggest barrier for IT professionals applying to SAP & Oracle jobs in the UK is getting an employer to sponsor you through the application. Whilst Whitehall Resources are unable to sponsor your visa, our clients can – but often won’t. Typically, they won’t sponsor your visa because they are not prepared to go through the administration required and because they are not prepared to wait for the visa to be processed – this can take some time.
If you are not applying through a Specialist recruitment agency, again unless the employer agrees to sponsor you through your visa application, you will not accumulate enough points on the UK’s Point Based System to be eligible. It is always best ask straight away if the client/employer is willing to sponsor as otherwise, you may be wasting a lot of time and effort.
Some clients will agree to sponsor visa applications, but only if they can see the business sense in doing so. For example, if they can’t find a consultant with the necessary skills for the role within the economic area.
The Reality of Getting a UK Visa
In reality, until the UK’s immigration policy loosens up you will find it difficult to obtain a visa. Our advice – Build up your CV as much as possible in geographical locations where you are already lawfully able to work (or can easily get a permit.) The more experience you have, the more valuable you become to an employer and hence, the more likely they will be to sponsor through a visa. Always think of it from the employer’s perspective – does it make business sense for them to sponsor you through the process?
From our experience, only 1% of all jobs advertised will specifically look to sponsor – So it is incredibly difficult to be successful in your search for UK employment.
You can see our permanent role opportunities in the UK, Middle East, Continental Europe and North Africa