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UK work visa 2024
UK work visa 2024: The United Kingdom has always been a popular destination for immigrants looking for work opportunities and a better quality of life. The UK work visa system allows skilled professionals from outside the European Union and European Economic Area to live and work in the country legally. With Brexit now in effect, the work visa system is undergoing major changes to be more selective based on skills shortages rather than country quotas. If you are considering moving to the UK for work in 2024, this article will provide an overview of the different work visa categories and changes expected in 2024. We will also look at the application process and what life in the UK will be like after getting a work visa.
Overview of UK work visa 2024
Tier 2 General visa
The Tier 2 General visa is the main work visa route for skilled professionals from outside the EU/EEA. It requires having a job offer from a licensed UK employer for a skilled occupation with a minimum salary requirement of £30,000. The number of Tier 2 General visas issued each year is capped, so there is a limit on how many can be granted.
Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa
The Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa is for those coming to the UK for up to 2 years to do temporary work in specific sectors like hospitality, agriculture, creative arts, etc. You must be aged 18-30 to apply under the Youth Mobility Scheme. There are no minimum salary requirements.
Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa is for highly skilled individuals in science, engineering, technology, arts, and digital technology who are endorsed as leaders in their field. You do not need a job offer to apply.
Tier 1 Investor visa
The Tier 1 Investor visa is for high net worth individuals willing to invest £2 million or more in the UK. It offers a faster route to settlement. You do not need to have a job offer.
Changes to the UK work visa system in 2024
The UK government has announced some changes to the work visa system that will come into effect in 2024:
New post-study work visa
A new post-study work visa will allow international students completing undergraduate/master’s degrees to stay in the UK for 2 years after graduation to find work.
Expansion of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route will be expanded to allow more talented individuals in fields like artificial intelligence, fintech, and cybersecurity to obtain UK work visas without a job offer.
Tighter restrictions on Tier 2 General visa
The Tier 2 General visa will face tighter restrictions with higher minimum salary thresholds and more stringent educational requirements. The annual cap may also be reduced.
Application process for a UK work visa 2024
If you meet the eligibility criteria for one of the work visa categories, here is what the application process entails:
You will need to submit your passport, proof of funds, English test results (IELTS/TOEFL), educational qualifications, job offer letter (if applicable), and endorsement letters (for exceptional talent visas).
As part of the application, you must enroll your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) at a visa application center. This is used for identity verification.
The visa application fees for 2024 are not yet announced but are likely to be in the range of £610 to £1,408, depending on the visa type. There is also an immigration health surcharge of £624 per year.
Most work visas are processed within 3 weeks, but some routes, like Tier 1 Investor, can take up to 8 weeks for approval. Premium services are available for faster processing.
Life in the UK after getting a work visa
Once your UK work visa is approved, here is what you can expect as a work visa holder:
Working and taxes
You will have permission to live and work in the UK as per the conditions of your visa. You will need a National Insurance number and will have to pay income tax and national insurance contributions like UK residents.
You can rent or buy suitable accommodation based on your lifestyle and income. Most employers also provide relocation assistance.
Work visa holders can access NHS healthcare after paying the health surcharge as part of their visa application. Private medical insurance is recommended for faster treatment.
Eligible dependents like children, partners and spouses can be brought to the UK on dependent visas. Their visa conditions may restrict their right to work.
The UK will continue to offer a variety of work visa routes in 2024 for skilled professionals looking to relocate for job opportunities. With some changes coming up, it is important to plan your application carefully after going through the updated rules and requirements. Visa approval can provide exciting career growth and exposure to British culture.
How early can I apply for a UK work visa 2024?
You can apply up to 3 months before your intended travel date to the UK. The earliest you can apply for a 2024 work visa is October 2023.
What are the English language requirements for UK work visas in 2024?
Most work visas require proving English proficiency at B1, B2, or C1 level through a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as IELTS or TOEFL.
Can my family join me in the UK on a work visa?
Yes, eligible dependents like your spouse/partner and children under 18 can be included in your work visa application or apply later to join you.
Can I switch from a Tier 5 visa to a Tier 2 visa within the UK?
Yes, you can switch from Tier 5 to Tier 2 General if you find skilled employment meeting the Tier 2 eligibility criteria and minimum salary threshold.
How long can I stay in the UK after my work visa expires?
You are generally allowed to stay up to 60 days after your work visa expires to make arrangements for departure or apply for a visa extension/new visa.