Work visas to the United Kingdom

A work visa can be considered if you have found a job in the UK and have received an invitation from a potential employer.


Work visas to United Kingdom


Certificate of Sponsorship

A visa does not allow for a job search but already assumes a contract. At the same time, a contract is not a sufficient criterion. A sponsorship certificate (Certificate of Sponsorship, COS) is also required. Therefore, the first step will be to find a licensed employer to obtain a certificate from. The sponsorship certificate in the employee’s name is obtained by an employer licensed by the Immigration Service in the UK. The certificate is personal permission from the immigration service to employ a foreign employee. It is the basis for obtaining a work visa. The process of obtaining a certificate is quite difficult and time-consuming. According to the law, employers planning to hire highly qualified employees from other countries must first obtain a sponsorship license. The UK Home Office handles the sponsorship certificate. A list of companies can be found on the official website.

It is also important to understand what speciality you are planning to work in. This will make what type of company you need to look for clear. You can choose a company that already has a license. If you are a student, it is possible to assist the company in obtaining a license specifically for your specialisation. In this case, certain benefits may be provided.



The Shortage Occupation List

The Shortage Occupation List is a list of professions that are in demand at this particular moment in the UK (IT specialists, engineers, medical professionals, digital marketing specialists, architects, artists, etc.)

This list changes twice a year and may include occupations that aren’t obvious, for example, musicians playing in orchestras and ballerinas. For specialists from this list, a simplified scheme applies when getting a sponsorship certificate. If a speciality is not included on the Shortage Occupation List, it must be on the list of eligible occupations. For a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to take an English exam. If you studied at university in English, the option of confirming such a diploma is possible.

Read more about in-demand specialists in the UK

Wages in United Kingdom

The average UK salary in 2020 was £29,600 per year (£1,950 per month). Taxes and mandatory contributions will be deducted from this amount. Those who receive £12,570 or less do not have to pay taxes. The 20 per cent tax is set for salaries from £ 2,570 to £50,270. In London, the average salary is £40,000 per year (slightly lower than, for example, in New York City or Paris), while a good salary is considered to be £50,000 per year.



Visa requirements

To obtain a Skilled Worker visa, you need to score 70 points. The visa is issued for a period of up to five years with the possibility of extension. After five years, it becomes possible to apply for a residence permit. The visa allows you to study, volunteer, bring family and leave the UK for a while and return. A mandatory requirement is to work for the employer specified in the sponsorship certificate. Working for another employer is prohibited. If changing employers is necessary, you need to submit a new application for a work visa. Financial assistance from the state in the form of, for example, benefits, is not provided.

It is necessary to provide a police clearance certificate for specialists involved in active communication with people (social workers, teachers).

To apply for this visa category, the proposed salary must be at least £25,600 per year, and if the speciality is on the list of in-demand professions, £20,400 per year. The annual salary can be higher, but this is the minimum that the employer must pay to invite you on a work visa. At the same time, if the salary according to the speciality code is higher than the minimum established to obtain a work visa, the employer must set the salary no lower than that indicated by the the speciality’s code. The minimum wage level by the standards of the United Kingdom, and even more so for London, is very low.

The cost of the visa fee when applying outside the UK is from 610 to 1,408 pounds. The cost depends on the duration of the visa. 

The payment for medical care has increased to 624 pounds per year in 2021. Your bank account must show a minimum of £1,270 (unless the employer sponsors the costs).

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