Working in the UK

There are various different categories of working visa for non-EEA nationals:

Start-Up visa

This visa is for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to set up a business in the UK. There is no requirement for initial investment and it is not confined to graduates. However, there is a requirement for the proposed business to be endorsed by a Home Office-approved endorsement body. Close family members may apply for leave along with the main applicant but the visa is only granted for two years and cannot be extended.

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Innovator visa

This visa is also for entrepreneurs and it has a more solid character than the Start-Up visa. It is granted for three years and settlement may be available in three years, if relevant requirements are met. In most cases it requires an initial investment of £50,000 and, like the Start-Up visa, it requires endorsement from an endorsement body. Close family may apply for leave along with the main applicant.

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Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa enables migrants who are recognised leaders or emerging leaders in their field (science, humanities, engineering etc) to come to the UK or remain in the UK and work in that field. Their close family members can apply for visas as their dependants, and the main applicant and dependants may eventually qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

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Tier 2 General visa enables skilled and highly-qualified migrants to come to the UK or remain in the UK and work in a skilled position for a specific employer. Their close family members can apply for visas as their dependants, and the main applicant and dependants may eventually qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

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Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa (often abbreviated to “ICT” visa) is for employees who work in a foreign branch of an international firm or organisation. It enables them to come to the UK and work in a skilled or a managerial job in a UK branch of the organisation. Their close family members can apply for visas as their dependants, but there is no route to indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

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Representative of an Overseas Business visa is a visa for an employee of a foreign-based company in the situation where the foreign-based company has no branch in the UK but wishes to establish such a branch. A senior employee of the foreign branch can apply for the visa on the basis that they will come to the UK to set up and run the new branch. Their close family members can apply for visas as their dependants, and the main applicant and dependants may eventually qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).

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Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme and Temporary Worker category cover a range of different types of visa and is for migrants who want to come to the UK and work for a limited period, in some cases for up to two years.

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