UK work permits for Europeans – latest Brexit update

Following the most recent UK elections held last December, there have been a few changes in regards to the routes that European citizens can take to be able to live and work in the UK legally after Brexit. Don’t panic, it is all positive, so please keep reading.

Firstly, when is Brexit?

Brexit day is on 31st January 2020, this is when trade talks with the EU will begin to try to reach new agreements. The deadline to reach an agreement is at the end of this year, on the 31st December 2020 – unless an extension is requested by the 30th June 2020.  The UK will then start the transition on the 1st January 2021, regardless of whether an agreement with the EU has been reached (soft Brexit) or no agreement has been made (hard Brexit).

Applying to the European Settlement Scheme

If you are already living in the UK, the quickest and least expensive option (it’s free) is to apply to the European Settlement Scheme. Once you apply to this scheme, you’ll be granted either a pre-settled or a settled status. You’ll get pre-settled status if you’ve lived in the UK less than five years and settled status if you’ve lived in the UK for five years or more. People with pre-settled status can apply for a settled status once they have completed five years living in the UK.

Who can apply to the European Settlement Scheme?

  • European citizens from the EU, EEA and Switzerland currently living in the UK
  • European citizens from the EU, EEA and Switzerland moving to the UK before Brexit exit dates
  • European citizens with a UK permanent residence status
  • European citizens with indefinite leave to remain
  • EU, EEA and Swiss Frontier workers wanting to live in the UK
  • Non-EU citizens living in the UK who are family of EU frontier workers
  • European citizens who start work or self-employment in another EU country but return home every week
  • Citizens who fall into other categories

European citizens living in the UK

All European citizens from the EEA (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland currently living in the UK are required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Citizens holding a British passport, Irish passport or indefinite leave to remain are exempt from applying. Citizens with indefinite leave to remain can choose to apply if they would like to take advantage of an extension in the length of time they can live outside of the UK without losing their status.

The deadline to apply depends on whether the UK leaves with or without a deal as follows:

Deal: Apply for EU Settlement Scheme by 30th June 2021

No deal: Apply for EU Settlement Scheme by 31st December 2020 (deadline has been extended)

UK permanent residents

All EEA or Swiss citizens with UK permanent residence must apply either to the European Settlement Scheme or for British citizenship (if they are eligible) before the UK leaves the EU as follows:

Deal: Apply for EU Settlement Scheme or British Citizenship by 30th June 2021

No deal: Apply for EU Settlement Scheme or British Citizenship by 31st December 2020

Find out more about applying for British Citizenship

If you start work or self-employment in another EU country

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen you can get settled status if you start work or self-employment in another EU country as long as you have lived and worked or been self-employed in the UK continuously for three years beforehand, and usually return to your UK home once a week. Your family may also be eligible for settled status if they were a family member at the time you started work or self-employment in another EU country.

Frontier workers

If you are a frontier worker who is not living in the UK, you will be able to continue crossing borders and do not need to apply for the European Settlement Scheme to be able to enter the UK to work. However, if you’d like to live in the UK, you’ll be required to apply for the European Settlement Scheme.

Non-EEA citizen family members of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen frontier workers can also apply for this scheme if the EU, EEA or Swiss citizen frontier worker does not live in the UK, as long as the family member does. Find out more about rules for frontier workers and their families.

Europeans intending to move to the UK

If you are intending to move to the UK to live permanently, there is one deadline to enter the country and another deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.  It is imperative that you are already in the country when applying. The dates depend on whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or without a deal as follows:

Deal

  • Enter the country by 31stDecember 2020
  • Apply for EU Settlement Scheme by 30thJune 2021

No deal

  • Enter the country by the date the UK leaves the EU, currently set at 31stDecember 2020 (deadline has been extended)
  • Apply for EU Settlement Scheme by 31stDecember 2020

Applying for British citizenship

If you are eligible, you can apply for British citizenship to gain full British citizen rights. This process involves taking the Living in the UK Test and an English language test, as well as completing some paperwork and an application fee, amongst other requirements.

You can apply for British citizenship if you hold any of the following status:

To apply for British citizenship, you should have lived in the UK for at least 12 months after gaining any of the above status, unless you are married to a British citizen in which case, you’ll be able to apply straight away.

Please note: all information above is correct to the best of our knowledge at time of writing. Please be sure to do your own research and seek professional advice if you are unsure or visit the UK government website for further details and applying.

You can see our SAP, Oracle and IT job opportunities in the UK here:

SAP Jobs in the UK Oracle Jobs in the UK IT Jobs in the UK

Visa requirements for permanent roles in the UK

We have found the UK permanent market to be extremely strong at present with both existing and new clients coming to us to resource for SAP, Oracle and IT roles at all levels. As a result, we are receiving a very large amount of interest from professionals situated all over the world, many of whom are unsure about getting a UK visa and often need clarification, so here we explain the requirements.

European citizens – EU Settlement Scheme

If you are an EU citizen or a national of Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Switzerland working in the UK or looking to move to the UK, you will now require a residence and work permit. The EU Settlement Scheme is simple and easy to apply to, and will enable you to keep your EU rights in the UK and stay in the country after Brexit. Find out more in our blog UK work permits for Europeans – Latest Brexit updates.

Non-European citizens – Tier 2 UK visa

Up until 2014, SAP, Oracle and IT consultants looking to get a UK visa would apply for a Tier 1 Visa, but this is currently suspended to anyone outside of the UK. Therefore, in almost all circumstances, to acquire a UK visa for an SAP, Oracle or IT permanent role you will need to apply under Tier 2 of the UK visa Points Based System (PBS), which is a visa for migrants wishing to work in the UK who are from outside of European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland.

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.

The earliest you can apply for a visa is three months before you’re due to start work. When issued a Tier 2 visa, you can stay in the UK for up to five years, depending on the period stated on your certificate. You can also extend your visa, as long as the total time does not exceed 6 years.

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 a UK employer.
  • Whether you have an agreed salary for the permanent role in the UK over £20,000 per year
  • 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 and IT jobs in the UK is getting an employer to sponsor you through the application. This can be challenging as it requires some administrative work and the employer is required to wait for some time for the visa to be processed, as well as to pay an annual fee to the government. 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. From our experience, most clients are looking for candidates who already have a visa and less than 1% of all jobs advertised will specifically look to sponsor. It is always best to ask your recruiter if your potential employer is willing to sponsor you, as otherwise, you may be wasting a lot of time and effort. Find out more about the Tier 2 Visa.

The reality of getting a UK visa

Each year, the UK government decides on the number of foreign workers that can enter the UK under the Tier 2 General category. Currently, it is not easy to get a Tier 2 visa, however, there are some UK regulations that are changing and we believe might impact the market in a couple of years.

As immigration laws change for EU citizens due to Brexit, we believe there will be more opportunities for consultants from other countries. There have also been recent changes to the IR35 regulations which we believe might have an impact on how companies operate and we’ll see a shift in the workforce as consultants and clients decide whether they operate inside or outside of IR35.

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, this could be for example, in the Middle East or in another European country. The more experience you have, the more valuable you become to an employer and hence, the more likely they will be to sponsor you 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? You can also try working with a consultancy through an umbrella company or doing contract work, as the opportunities to get working permits for this type of work are usually higher.

You can see our permanent role opportunities in the UK here:

Permanent SAP Jobs in the UK  Permanent Oracle Jobs in the UK Permanent IT Jobs in the UK  

Or take a look at our permanent and contract jobs Worldwide:

SAP Jobs Worldwide Oracle Jobs Worldwide IT Jobs Worldwide

UK Visa: Working Permanent Roles in the UK

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.

SAP Jobs Oracle Jobs

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

SAP Jobs Oracle Jobs

UK Visa: Working Contracts in the UK

If you are looking for information on getting a UK visa for your next IT Contract then you should read on. For visa information for other areas of the world click on one of the following:

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.

Have a look at our current jobs in the UK and worldwide

SAP Jobs Oracle Jobs  IT Jobs

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.

Have a look at our current jobs in the UK and worldwide

SAP Jobs Oracle Jobs  IT Jobs

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.

Ready for your next job?

Have a look at our current jobs in the UK and worldwide.If you want to discuss your specific requirements, please contact us.

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