If you are looking for information on getting a UK visa for your next IT Contract then you should read on.
In almost all cases, if you are neither a UK Citizen nor a member of the European Union, you will require a visa to lawfully work in the UK.
However, the type of UK visa you require will depend on a large number of factors. For example, your nationality, your financial situation, your qualifications and level of English, whether you have a sponsor and what IT work you are doing.
UK Visa for Contractors – UK, EU or EEA Citizens
If you are a UK Citizen or the Citizen of an EU member state then you can travel and work freely in the UK without requiring any form of UK Visa, though you will need identification (ID) documents to register for health, social and education services and to open a bank account.
In addition, If you are a national of a country within EEA country or Switzerland, you will not need to apply for a UK visa.
UK Visa for Contracts – Non-UK, EU & EEA Citizens
For other nationalities, the UK Border Agency website has an online interactive questionnaire that helps a contractor determine whether a UK visa is required. Like I said, in almost all cases, it will be.
The UK visa application process uses a Points Based System (PBS) where you must accumulate enough points to be eligible to file an application. Contractors who want to work in the UK must apply for a visa under the correct ‘Tier’ of the new PBS. The Tiers are listed below although as an SAP or Oracle Contractor, only Tier 1 & 2 will apply:
- Tier 1 – (General) Migrant. Sub-tiers- General, High value (Investor & Entrepreneur) and Exceptional talent.
- Tier 2 – Skilled workers
- Tier 5 – Temporary workers and Youth mobility scheme
- Other categories
- UK ancestry for Commonwealth citizens.
The bad news is that Tier 1 visas are currently suspended for new applicants outside of the UK. If you are already in the UK on other types of visas, then you may be able to apply for Tier 1 depending on your specific circumstances. But for almost all contractors looking to relocate to the UK, you should apply for a Tier 2 UK visa.
As a contractor, if you are a Commonwealth citizen, it is possible to apply for a UK visa to live and work under the UK ancestry route. But as suggested in the name, you must have a relative (not further than your grandparent) that was born in the UK.
Sponsoring Your UK Visa
What is fundamental to accumulating enough points on the PBS is that you gain sponsorship from your employer. In the case of Whitehall Resources, if our client is unwilling to sponsor your visa, then we cannot put you forward for the role. If you apply directly, again, unless they agree to sponsor you through your visa application, you will not accumulate enough points.
It is possible for an Umbrella Company to sponsor you. Note – this is not possible for SAP & Oracle Permanent roles. If you were looking at a Permanent Role, then you would be on the employer’s payroll and it would be down to the employer to sponsor you. However, for contracts, it would be worth your time speaking to a number of Umbrella Companies to see how much it will cost you and whether it is feasible to get sponsored considering your specific circumstances.
The Reality of Getting a UK Visa
Unfortunately, the reality is that until the UK’s immigration policy loosens up you will find it difficult to obtain a UK visa. If you are already living in the UK or have a close relative who was born in the UK then it becomes less problematic as it is possible to apply for a tier 1 visa or under the UK ancestry route. If you are eligible, the next stage is for you to apply online following the specific instructions. It is important that you stick to the rules set out in the visa application process or you will risk having your application rejected.
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