The Skilled Worker visa route has gained popularity among migrant workers in the UK following Brexit, as European citizens now fall under immigration control and require sponsorship unless they can apply through other avenues like the EU Settlement Scheme. However, the process of sponsoring migrant workers can be administratively burdensome for both employers and sponsored individuals. Therefore, it may be beneficial to explore alternative work visa routes if the worker meets the eligibility criteria outlined in the categories below.
Youth Mobility Scheme
The Youth Mobility Visa category designs for citizens from the following countries who are between the ages of 18 and 30 (with some exceptions that extend the age limit to 35 starting from June 2023):
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- Republic of Korea
- Hong Kong
The invitation to apply arrangements is available for citizens of Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and India. Additionally, individuals who hold British overseas citizenship, British overseas territories citizenship, or British national (overseas) status are also eligible to apply.
Upon the successful grant of the visa application, the applicant is allowed to reside in the UK for a maximum period of two years (which can be extended to three years for certain nationalities starting from June 2023). During this time, they have the flexibility to leave and re-enter the UK as desired. If the applicant reaches the age of 31 while their permission to stay is still valid, they can continue to stay in the UK until their visa expires.
During their permitted stay, the applicant is authorized to work and pursue studies in the UK without requiring sponsorship. Furthermore, they have the option to switch to other visa categories without the need to leave the UK.
Updated Immigration Rules
The Immigration Rules have undergone recent changes regarding the temporary visa route, which will take effect on June 29, 2023. It’s important to note that if an application is submitted before June 29, 2023, it will be assessed based on the Immigration Rules that were in effect until June 28, 2023.
From June 29, 2023, there will be new quotas implemented for each participating country in the Youth Mobility Scheme as part of the Immigration Rules changes. Notably, Canada’s quota will increase by an additional 2,000 places, bringing the total number of available spots to 8,000. Similarly, Australia’s quota will expand by an additional 5,000 places, raising its total to 35,000 spots. In our recent article, we highlighted that citizens of New Zealand applying under this scheme will benefit from more flexible conditions for their permission to stay. Eligibility will extend to applicants aged 18 to 35, and the overall period of stay will be extended from two years to three years. These adjustments aim to enhance opportunities and facilitate broader participation for individuals from these respective countries in the Youth Mobility Scheme.
Global Talent Visa Route
The Global Talent visa presents an opportunity for individuals who are recognized as leaders in their respective fields or possess the potential to become leaders. This visa category encompasses professionals working in various domains, including:
- Digital Technology
- Culture and Arts including both Television and Film
- Academia and Research across a wide range of disciplines, spanning from medicine to engineering
Based on a Freedom of Information request conducted by Latitude Law, UK Visas and Immigration granted a total of 2,970 Global Talent entry clearance applications between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022. However, the data also revealed that only 34% of the applicants were female. Unfortunately, the information does not provide an explanation for the lower number of applications submitted by women through this route. Nevertheless, we strongly encourage women who believe they possess the qualities to be considered as Global Talent endorsement candidates under the categories of exceptional talent or exceptional promise to apply. It is crucial to ensure equal representation and opportunity for all aspiring individuals in the Global Talent visa scheme.
The Global Talent visa route proves to be an appealing option for eligible applicants due to the following reasons:
- English Language Requirement: Applicants from the majority non-English speaking countries do not need to meet an English language requirement, unlike other visa categories such as the Skilled Worker route.
- Affordable Application Fees: The stage 1 endorsement application fee amounts to £456, while the stage 2 visa application fee is £168. These fees are considerably lower when compared to the visa fees and additional charges typically associated with most sponsored worker routes.
- Pathway to Settlement: Applicants endorsed as Exceptional Talent can apply for settlement in the UK after three years, which can be combined with previous time spent in other points-based work visa categories.
- Extended Permission to Stay: Even if applicants are not eligible for settlement after 3 years, they can still obtain permission to stay in the UK for up to five years without the need to extend their visa.
- No Savings Requirement: Applicants are not obligated to demonstrate a specific amount of savings at the time of application to support themselves upon arrival in the UK.
- Employment Flexibility: Applicants can work in both self-employed and most employed roles without requiring sponsorship. However, it is necessary to have earned income in the UK during their limited permission to stay, specifically in the field for which they were initially endorsed if they intend to apply for settlement or an extension of their permission to stay under this route.
Endorsements in the Digital Technology
Tech Nation is currently reviewing and endorsing applications for individuals seeking endorsement as digital technology candidates. However, an announcement made by Tech Nation in January 2023 stated that it would be discontinuing its operations in the existing form as of March 31, 2023, due to the withdrawal of core funding from the UK government. Nevertheless, Tech Nation has recently confirmed that it will continue to issue endorsements in the digital technology subcategory of the Global Talent route. This means that eligible individuals can still pursue endorsement through Tech Nation to apply for the Global Talent visa in the digital technology field.