Finding out about the basic system of work permits in England is important if you’re considering working in the country. The UK immigration system works under a tiered system, but new regulations set in place from April 2011 essentially removes two of the original categories. Most full time employees and contractors coming to the UK will have to use a Tier 2 work permit. You don’t need a permit if you’re from within the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
What is a Tier 2 UK Work Permit?
The Tier 2 work permit is the most common type, and it is often referred to as a “sponsored” work permit. In order to get one you need to have a job offer, a good grasp of the language, over £900 in savings and ideally prospective earnings of over £20,000 per annum. The Tier 2 work permit lasts for five years, and is dependent on sponsorship from your employer. If you change jobs, your sponsor has to change and therefore your permit also needs to, which costs extra money and eats into your valuable working time.
Are There Other Options for a UK Work Permit?
Unfortunately, most other options for a UK work permit are not suitable to the vast majority of workers. The Tier 1 permit is only for workers of exceptional talent that has been internationally recognised, and the Tier 4 and 5 work permits are for short-term or part-time workers. The Tier 4 visa is for students and only allows part time work; the Tier 5 is for working holidaymakers and only lasts two years. Tier 3 is currently suspended, leaving very few options available.
Which UK Work Permit is Better for Contractors?
It isn’t ideal, but the Tier 2 UK work permit is the best option for contracting in the UK. The only problem is that you have to change it every time you take a new contract, but there is a way around this. Contractor management companies can serve as your permanent employer but still protect your freedom to take contracts as you please. They handle your payroll and taxes, and can sponsor you during your entire stay.
How We Can Help with Contracting in the UK
We can offer contractors in oil and gas, business analysis, IT project management, software development, testing and telecommunications help with getting into the country on a UK work permit through our links with UK contractor management companies. We have a thorough knowledge of the different services the companies offer, and will get up-to-date answers from them for any questions you have about working in the UK. Our advice is completely free, and you are under no obligation whatsoever.