UK Work Visa for Indians

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UK Work Visa for Indians

For many Indians, working in the UK represents an exciting prospect. It is a chance to broaden professional horizons, gain international experience, and immerse oneself in a vibrant, multicultural society.

But navigating the UK's work visa landscape can be a daunting task. Fear not! This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge and resources to chart your path to professional success in the UK.

First things first, understand that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting a UK visa for Indians. The appropriate work visa, too, depends on your qualifications, skills, and the type of work you seek.

So, let’s get into the details of a UK work visa for Indians below to make your path to a better career graph in the UK.

UK Work Visa Requirements for Indian Citizens

The UK welcomes skilled professionals through the Tier 2 visa program to stay ahead of the competition. This program allows people in certain occupations to work in the UK for a long time.

Popular jobs include IT, finance, teaching, healthcare, and engineering. So, if you are a skilled worker wanting to stay in the UK and work, you need a Skilled Worker visa (used to be called a Tier 2 visa).

You can apply for it if you have a job offer in the UK. The salary requirement is £25,600, or the specific salary for your job, known as the 'going rate.'

Moreover, no matter which specific work visa you are applying for in the UK, there are some basic rules that everyone has to follow. These rules are the foundation for anyone wanting to work in the United Kingdom.

Let's go through the main requirements of getting a UK work permit:

Valid Passport:

Everybody needs a valid passport to travel to the UK. Make sure your passport will be good (valid) for your entire time in the UK, and it should have at least one blank page for your visa.

Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS):

For most UK work visas, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship. This is a special paper given by a UK employer who is allowed to hire people from other countries. Your employer will give you a unique CoS reference number.

English Language Skills:

You need to be good at English for UK work visas. You might have to show this by passing an English language test or having a qualification taught in English.

Money to Support Yourself:

You have to prove you have enough money to care for yourself in the UK. The exact amount depends on the type of visa and your personal situation. You can show this with things like your bank statements.

Real Intentions:

You need to show that you genuinely want to work and help the UK economy. This could be proven by having a good reason for wanting to work in the UK, like having a job offer or seeing a chance to grow in your career.

Tuberculosis (TB) Test:

Depending on where you are coming from, you might need a tuberculosis test as part of your UK visa application. Check the specific rules for your country and make sure you follow them when you apply.

Additional Requirements:

Apart from the above-mentioned requirements, here are a few more things you need to consider while applying for a work visa in the UK.

Strong Ties to Home Country:

Establish connections in your home country that ensure your return after your visit.

Good Character:

Maintain a clean criminal record and exhibit good character; you may be required to provide a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC).

Good Health:

Meet the minimum health requirements specified by the authorities.

Documents Required for the UK Work Visa for Indian Citizens

To complete the application process for a UK work visa, Indian citizens are required to submit a comprehensive set of documents. The necessary documents include:

Certificate of Sponsorship/Job Offer Letter: A document issued by a licensed UK company offering a job to the applicant.

Current Employment Details: Information about the applicant's current employment status.

Current Salary Slip and Bank Statements: Evidence of the applicant's current salary through recent salary slips and bank statements covering the last year.

Commendations/Certificates for Outstanding Achievements: Any certificates or commendations received for exceptional achievements in the professional field.

Academic/Professional Certificates: Certificates verifying the applicant's educational and professional qualifications.

Proof of Funds: Documentation demonstrating the financial capability of the principal applicant and, if applicable, their dependents.

Valid Passport with Travel History/Immigration Visa Stamps: A passport with relevant travel history, including immigration visa stamps.

Birth and Marriage Certificates: Certificates confirming the applicant's birth and, if applicable, marriage.

No Objection Certificate (NOC) on Criminal Records: A document indicating the absence of criminal records following police verification.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores and Clearance Certificates: Results from an English Language Proficiency Test, along with clearance certificates from a recognised testing authority.

National Insurance Number: The applicant's National Insurance number.

Travel Insurance: Documents regarding valid travel and health insurance coverage when initially travelling to the country.

Other Supporting Documents: Any additional documents deemed necessary to support the visa application.

[Note: It's essential to note that these are general conditions; additional requirements and restrictions may apply based on the specific purpose of your stay. For instance, a student visa may entail different criteria than a work visa.]

Types of UK Work Visa from India

Here are the different types of work visas available for the UK from India:

Visa Type Validity Renewability
Tier – 1 General Visa Up to 5 years Yes, for an additional 2 years or indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
Tier – 1 Exceptional Talent Visa Up to 5 years Yes, for an additional 2 years or indefinite leave to remain (ILR)
Tier – 2 or Skilled Workers Visa Up to 5 years Yes, for an additional 2 years or ILR
Tier – 5 Visa Up to 2 years It cannot be renewed
Overseas Business Visa Depends on the specific agreement with the sending country, typically 1-3 years Generally, yes, within the terms of the agreement
Domestic Worker in a Private Household in the UK Visa Up to 6 months initially, extendable for up to 12 months in total Not directly, but can apply for a different visa type after leaving the UK for at least 24 months

Tier-1 General Visa: Applicants holding current visas with a UK permanent residence permit granting permission to stay are eligible to switch to the Tier 1 (General) visa variant. This option facilitates the transition of their existing visa to the Tier 1 (General) category.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa: This visa category requires applicants to be endorsed as globally recognised leaders or emerging leaders in fields such as science, humanities, engineering, digital technology, medicine, and arts.

Individuals outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland can apply for this visa.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa and Tier 1 Investor Visa also cater to those aspiring to start a business or invest in the UK.

Entrepreneurs, highly skilled workers, investors, and graduate students residing outside the EEA and European Union (EU) are not obligated to have a job offer for their Tier 1 visa application.

Tier 2 (General) or Skilled Worker Visa: Individuals securing a skilled job in the United Kingdom or those outside the EEA and Switzerland can apply for the Tier 2 (General) visa.

The application requires a sponsorship certificate from a licensed UK employer, and a connection must be established between the applicant's work and the sponsor organisation.

Professionals in sports, skilled workers, and clergy members outside the EEA can choose a Tier 2 visa to address labour force gaps.

Those wishing to switch fields must reapply under the appropriate occupation category or complete the necessary permit transfer paperwork as outlined by immigration authorities.

Tier 5 Visa: Individuals seeking short-term training or experience in the UK can apply for the Tier 5 visa, with an age requirement between 18 and 35.

This visa encompasses six sub-tiers for temporary workers engaged in sporting and creative roles, religious workers, charity workers, and young people working in the UK on holidays.

Representative of Overseas Business Visa: Sole representatives of overseas companies intending to establish a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary, along with employees of overseas newspapers, news agencies, or broadcasting organisations on a long-term assignment to the UK, are eligible for this visa.

Individuals meeting these conditions and hailing from outside the EEA and Switzerland can apply for this UK work visa variant.

Domestic Worker in a Private Household Visa: This visa is designed for individuals outside the EEA and Switzerland working as domestic workers in a private household.

Conditions include providing proof of at least one year of employment with the current employer, and the employer must have legal permission to stay in the UK throughout the applicant’s employment contract.

Eligibility to Work in the UK for Indian Citizens

After leaving the European Union in January 2020, the United Kingdom introduced a new way for people to come and work, treating citizens from both EU and non-EU countries equally.

Individuals (excluding Irish citizens) need to earn points based on certain criteria to be eligible for a UK work visa. The more points you get, your chances of getting the visa improve.

Here's how points are awarded:

Qualifications: You will score points based on your educational qualifications. The more, the better!

Sponsorship: Having a job offer from a licensed employer in the UK is crucial. This employer must be willing to sponsor your application.

English Language Skills: Your ability to speak English will earn you points. You may need to prove your skills through a language test.

Self-provided Funds: Points are given for having enough money to support yourself in the UK.

Future Expected Earnings: Your potential income in the future will also contribute to your points.

You will need a work permit that matches your job type to work in the UK. It's important to note that most UK work visas require sponsorship from a UK-based employer.

So, before applying, make sure you have a job offer with sponsorship from a licensed UK employer.

UK Work Permit Visa Process from India - Additional Visa-wise Requirements

Navigating the UK work visa landscape for Indians can be challenging, but understanding the visa-wise requirements is a crucial first step.

Here's a list of some key visa needs for a few visa types:

Skilled Worker Visa:

Ensure you score 70 points in specific areas such as skills, qualifications, salaries, and professions.

Possess at least a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent, along with two years of skilled work experience in occupations listed as eligible.

Secure a job offer from a sponsor licensed by the Home Office.

Ensure that the job offer is at the required skill level, which is RQF 3 or above (equivalent to A Level).

Fulfil the English language requirement at the B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Meet the general salary threshold of £25,600 or the specific salary requirement for the occupation, also known as the 'going rate.'

Overseas Business Visa:

Should be a real company, incorporated overseas, and in operation for at least one year.

Should not have any branch, subsidiary, or representative in the UK.

Sending the employee to the UK should be for the company's benefit.

The employee should hold a senior position in the company.

Must have full authority to make operational decisions on behalf of the company.

Should have been working with the company for a significant duration.

Should be well acquainted with the company's day-to-day operations.

Must demonstrate a positive employment history in a similar or closely related field.

Must meet the English language requirement.

Must fulfil the financial criteria for both themselves and any dependents.

The employee cannot be the owner and majority shareholder in the overseas company.

Tier–1 Exceptional Talent Visa:

You must demonstrate exceptional talent in fields like science, research, or the arts with significant achievements and recognition.

An endorsement from a recognised body in your field strengthens your application.

UK Job Seeker Visa from India - Application Process

Once you know that you are eligible enough to apply for a UK work visa from India, then you should take the next step and apply for one.

The application process is mentioned below in detail:

Choose the Right Visa Category:

Decide on the appropriate visa category based on your job circumstances, such as a Tier 2 (General) Visa, Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Visa, or Tier 5 (Temporary Worker) Visa.

Check Eligibility:

Review the specific eligibility criteria for your chosen visa category, considering qualifications, job offers, sponsorships, and English language proficiency.

Find a Sponsor (for Tier 2 Visa):

If applying for a Tier 2 (General) Visa, secure a job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsor licence, who will support your visa application.

Gather Required Documents:

Collect all necessary documents for your application, such as a valid passport, certificate of sponsorship (for Tier 2 Visa), proof of English language proficiency, educational qualifications, job offer letter, bank statements, and TB test results if required.

Pay Visa Fees:

Pay the applicable UK work visa fees for Indian citizens as specified by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), keeping the payment receipt for reference.

Biometric Appointment:

Schedule a biometric appointment at a designated visa application centre in India, where you'll provide fingerprints and have your photograph taken.

Submit Documents and Attend Interview (if required):

Submit required documents, including your passport, application form, and supporting evidence. In some cases, an interview may be necessary.

Wait for Processing:

The UK work visa processing time varies; check the current processing times on the UKVI website. Your application and documents will be assessed during this period.

Collect the Passport along with the Visa Stamp:

You will receive a notification upon a decision. If approved, collect your passport with the visa stamp from the application centre or via courier service, based on your chosen option during the application.

Travel to the UK:

With a valid UK work visa, make travel arrangements and prepare for your journey to the UK. Carry all necessary documents, including your visa, passport, and supporting evidence during travel.

UK Work Visa Cost for Indian Nationals

The visa costs for the different UK visas depend upon the visa types. Refer to the table below to understand the different pricing:

Visa Type Cost (in £)*
Tier 1 investor –main applicant £1,871.98
Skilled Worker Visa £1,873 - £3,095
Tier 1 exceptional talent applicant –dependents only £802.04
Tier 1 entrepreneur –main applicant £1,346.46
Tier 1 CESC entrepreneur – only for main applicants £1,273.93
Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneur £478.85

There are a number of Skilled Worker Visa types for the UK from India. Here is a detailed list of the costs related to the subcategories:

Visa Type Cost (in £)*
Tier 1 investor –main applicant £1,871.98
Skilled Worker Visa £1,873 - £3,095
Tier 1 exceptional talent applicant –dependents only £802.04
Tier 1 entrepreneur –main applicant £1,346.46
Tier 1 CESC entrepreneur – only for main applicants £1,273.93
Tier 1 Graduate entrepreneur £478.85

*Note: These fees are dynamic in nature. Make sure to check the latest costs before proceeding.

UK Work Visa Processing Time in India

The processing time for visa applications is typically three weeks for applicants outside the United Kingdom.

For skilled work visas, it is important to note that employees are required to apply three months before their intended start date with the employer. It is advisable to initiate the application well in advance.

UK Job Visa for Indian Status Check

To check the status of your UK visa online, follow these steps:

Visit the official UK government website for visa applications:

Click on the "Check your visa application status" button.

Provide the GWF (Global Web Form) reference number you received upon submitting your application.

Choose the location where you applied for your visa.

Enter the date of birth of the person who applied for the visa.

Click on the "Submit" button.

You will be directed to a page displaying the current status of your visa application.

Under What Circumstances Can a London Work Visa for Indian Citizens Get Cancelled?

Various factors can lead to the refusal of a UK work visa. It is, therefore, crucial to be aware of these reasons to enhance your chances of a successful application:

Incomplete Documentation:

Failing to submit all required documents can be a reason for visa rejection. Ensure that your application is accompanied by complete and accurate documentation.

Applying for the Wrong Visa Type:

Selecting an incorrect visa category can lead to refusal. It is essential to match your job circumstances with the appropriate visa type.

Financial Requirements Not Met:

Falling short of the financial criteria specified for the visa category can be grounds for rejection. Ensure you have the necessary funds to support yourself during your stay.

Violation of Visa Rules on Previous UK Visits:

If you have previously violated visa rules during your visits to the UK, it may negatively impact your current application. Adherence to past visa regulations is crucial.

Criminal Record:

A criminal record can lead to visa rejection. Ensure that you provide accurate information about your criminal history, if applicable.

Not Qualifying the Point-Based System:

Failure to meet the point-based system requirements for qualifications, sponsorships, English language proficiency, and other criteria can result in visa refusal.

Embassy/Consulate of UK in India

" "
Name British High Commission New Delhi
AddressShantipath, Chanakyapuri New Delhi 110021 India
Telephone +91 (11) 2419 2100 / +44 20 7008 5000
FAX  +91 (11) 2419 2492

Embassy of India in the UK

Name High Commission of India, London, UK
Address India House, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA
Telephone + 00 44 (0) 20-78369147

What to Expect When You Arrive in the UK for Work for the First Time

Upon arrival, you will go through immigration checks. Ensure you have all necessary documents, including your passport and visa, readily accessible.

Familiarise yourself with the local transportation system. If you are in a major city, there will likely be public transportation options, and it's advisable to understand routes and payment methods.

Have your temporary accommodation details well in advance. If provided by your employer, make sure you know the location and check-in procedures.

Expect an orientation at your workplace, which may include introductions, workplace policies, and an overview of your role. Don't hesitate to ask questions to understand your new work environment better.

Open a local bank account to facilitate salary transfers and manage your finances efficiently. Research the necessary documents and procedures for account setup.

Apply for a National Insurance Number, as it is crucial for taxation and social security purposes. You can typically apply for this shortly after your arrival.

Register with the National Health Service (NHS) to access healthcare services. Understand the local healthcare system and emergency procedures.

Familiarise yourself with the UK's weather patterns and prepare accordingly. The weather can vary significantly, so having appropriate clothing is essential.

Take time to explore your new surroundings. Visit local attractions, try local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the community to make the most of your stay.

Stay informed about your visa conditions and ensure you comply with all legal requirements. Keep your documentation up to date and be aware of any changes in immigration policies.

Good luck!

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Information last updated Jan 24. While this information is sourced reliably, visa requirements can change. For the most current visa details, visit the official Consulate/Embassy website.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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Do I need to take the IELTS exam for a UK Work visa?


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