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Need a UK work visa? 5 things to keep in mind

2 min, 29 sec read
9:30 AM | 25 October 2014
by Justice James
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The creative industries love to hire foreigners. It gives access to new experiences, new ways of thinking and new ideals that ultimately fuel creativity. But unfortunately, there's the tricky process of work visas to get through first.

As a Canadian looking to find work in the UK, I have too often been given unclear, conflicting information and advice about the immigration process. So here’s a list of the top five things to remember in case you're on a similar path. This information is only for UK visas – it may still prove useful elsewhere but it’s best to research visa information for your country of choice.

1. You can’t take any job

Work visa applicants can only take skilled work as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). This is because unskilled work can be filled by anyone, and the expense of filling that position with a foreign worker is unjustifiable.

2. Your employer needs to be a registered sponsor

Being a “registered sponsor” essentially means the government gives the employer a reference number which gives details about the job in question. If an employer isn’t already registered, they would need to fork out at least a couple of hundred quid before the employee’s visa application can be started. It may be worth viewing the complete list of registered sponsors (and be sure to mention this step to potential employers).

3. You need to earn a certain salary

Another requirement for a work visa is that employers must offer a minimum salary to prospective employees. At the time of writing, the salary expectation was £20,500 per annum. This number increases every year, so it’s best to look for the most up-to-date information.

4. You need to have a certain amount of money in the bank

For Tier 2 work visas, applicants must have a minimum of £945 in the bank for AT LEAST 90 days before making your visa application (this amount also changes every year). Keep in mind that things like credit cards or generous relatives don’t count. If your employer is listed as “A-rated”, however, they can sign a form that states you won’t claim benefits and they’ll support you if necessary.

5. If you want to switch jobs, you have to apply for a new visa

You may be thinking you can take a job you don’t like just to get a work visa, switching when a better job comes along. However, each job you take under a work visa requires its own visa application. This can prove especially problematic in the creative industries, which are notorious for going through employees like it’s going out of style! My advice is to be picky about the jobs you apply to. By choosing employers that interest you, you’ll be more inclined to excel at your work and, ultimately, you’ll be less likely to need to seek new employment.

Hopefully the above information has relieved some of the stress. Good luck in your applications!

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