Following the recent change in UK work visa regulations, getting into the country to work as a consultant is more difficult than ever. This article explains the benefits of sponsorship and how we can help you get your UK work visa.
Recent Changes to the UK Work Visa
Before April 2011, independent workers looking to enter the UK for work could enter the country on a Tier 1, highly skilled worker permit. The original intention was to attract young and skilled workers to the country, and they could then set up a business, work for another employer, freelance, consult or operate as a contractor. Since April 2011, this is limited to 1,000 workers per year who show extra special talent, and have had that exceptional talent recognized by an international organization. It is basically impossible to get.
The Tier 2 Visa
The Tier 2 UK work visa is otherwise called a sponsored UK work permit. Since 2011, this has been the best option for independent workers looking to enter the UK, taking the role of the now essentially abolished Tier 1 permits. Only 20,700 people per year can enter the country on a Tier 2 visa, and each requires sponsorship from a UK employer. This limit doesn’t apply to ICT workers or anybody earning over £150,000 per annum. The cap of 20,700 people has not come close to being filled in any of the years since 2011 and the approval rate for the thousands of Tier 2 Applications made in this time is very close to 100%.
What is Sponsorship?
A sponsor is essentially somebody who confirms that they intend to employ you if you are granted a Tier 2 UK work visa. This is suitable for many workers, but consultants in particular often have a difficult time finding a sponsor. This is because the sponsor is responsible for your stay in the UK for up to five years, and consultants aren’t likely to stay on a project for that long. Your skills need to be in demand for an employer to consider the sponsorship process for a shorter term commitment. Consulting companies with a license for sponsorship are usually more understanding.
The Benefits of Sponsorship
There are a number of additional factors that make sponsorship a great option for most consultants hoping to move to the UK. Instead of a lengthy and uncertain visa process, Tier 2 Sponsorship is relatively quick and very well established. It is relatively easy to switch sponsors if you change employers. The permit runs for an initial 3 years and is extendable. Your dependents (under 18) and spouse can join you. Additionally your spouse can work in any capacity they choose on their "spousal visa".
How We Help With Sponsorship
We have contact with some UK Consulting Companies who may consider you for Tier 2 sponsorship depending on your skillset and their current projects. We can also offer you advice and answer any questions you might have about sponsorship. If you’re interested, contact us, we can give you more information about the options available to you and answer any questions you might have.