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Your current job could be your ticket to the UK

by Philip Gamble | Mar 06, 2018
  • With a big dip in net migration over the last year, the UK is experiencing severe skills shortages across all sectors. Skilled migrants have always been an important part of the UK workforce, and are needed now more than ever. If you’re a skilled individual, there’s never been a better time for you to move to the UK.

    As the pools of skilled workers decrease, wages increase

    The UK saw a dramatic fall in net-migration between 2015 and 2016, driven equally by the increased number of EU citizens leaving the country after the Brexit referendum, and the decreased number of international immigrants moving to the UK. Many of the departing EU skilled workers left key positions wide open, many of which are yet to be filled.

    At the same time unemployment in the UK is down to a 42-year low of 43%, making it difficult to find workers in most regions in the UK. Businesses across Britain are now short of employees across many sectors, ranging from minimum wage workers to those in leadership positions. To try lure new hires, employers are having to increase wages.

    Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, stated “I have been doing this job for 10 years and I have never seen data like this. You would have to say the skill and talent shortages are pervasive across the economy at the moment.” Green expects that employers will continue to raise their salary offers for the foreseeable future to attract more workers.

    Not only are there a wide range of positions open in the UK, but wages and salaries are on the up and it looks as if this is going to continue for the foreseeable future. If you’re a skilled individual interested in moving to the UK this should be music to your ears.

    See also: Skilled jobs up for grabs as net migration to the UK plummets

    To work in the UK, you need a Tier 2 (General) visa

    The most popular visa that allows you to work and live in the UK is the Tier 2 (General) visa, often referred to as a UK work permit. This visa allows you to live and work in the UK for a maximum of five years and 14 days. To get one you’ll first need a job offer for a skilled position in the UK.

    It’s easier if your skills are in high demand

    The UK Shortage Occupation List details the jobs for which there is a shortage of workers in the UK. If your occupation is on the list, it will be far easier for you to find a job in the UK and to get a UK work permit. You can find the full Shortage Occupation list here, but below are some of the more popular occupations on the list:

    • Engineers
    • IT and communications professionals
    • Programmers and software development professionals
    • Health professionals
    • Nurses
    • Actuaries
    • Economists
    • Statisticians
    • High school teachers
    • Social workers
    • Paramedics
    • Welders
    • Animators
    • Dancers and choreographers
    • Graphic designers
    • Chefs

    Do note that, although these are roles that the UK desperately needs filled, there are other employment opportunities in the UK other than those on this list. It is possible to get a UK work permit even if your occupation isn’t on the list; the process is just a bit more complicated. The best course of action would be for you to speak to a registered immigration advisor who can advise on your options based on your qualifications.

    Want to apply for your UK work permit?

    Get a job offer, get your visa!

    The first step is to apply for a job in the UK. The company you are applying to will need to be a registered organisation, which means they are licensed to sponsor migrants for Tier 2 (General) visas. If you’re unsure of where to begin looking for a position, a quick search of relevant UK career sites will bring up a number of vacancies.

    Once you have gone through the job application process and have received a formal job offer, you can start the visa application process. Your employer will issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) once you have been offered the position. You will use your unique COS number when applying for your Tier 2 (General) visa.

    If the employer is not presently a registered organisation, we can help obtain the sponsorship license.

    Points-based visa system

    The Tier 2 (General) visa works on a points-based system, and you will need to obtain 70 points to be eligible. This is a breakdown of the required points:

    • 30 points for having a valid job offer from a registered Tier 2 sponsor (Certificate of Sponsorship)
    • 20 points for an offer of a minimum salary of £30,000 (depending on your occupation)
    • 10 points for having at least £945 available to you
    • 10 points for meeting the English language requirement

    If you have 70 points, you meet all the requirements and your application is done in the correct way, you should receive your visa within eight weeks of your application. However, this is one of the more complex visa applications and you need to include all of the correct documentary evidence. The best way to ensure your application has the greatest chance of success is to use an experienced immigration advisor who can assist you throughout the process.

    Our registered immigration advisers are on hand to assist you through every step of your visa application process. Get in touch with us on +44 (0) 20 7759 7584 or pop us an email on

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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