For some people, being accepted onto your job is just the first step…
According to the most recent research published by NESTA, 5 per cent of UK creative jobs are occupied individuals from outside the European Economic Area. In an industry worth a collective £81.4 billion (most recent figures from 2015), skilled workers from non-EEA countries are extremely valuable to the UK.
But finding the right digital role in London is just the first step if you’re from outside Europe and require a UK work visa to live and work in the UK. Here’s how to get your visa application underway.
1. Who can apply for a visa?
If you have been offered a skilled role in the UK and you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you are eligible to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa. All digital roles would be considered “skilled” – from Client Director to Front-end Developer and Video Editor roles – the definition of skilled jobs is broad and should accommodate all looking for roles in the digital sector.
2. Do I need to be sponsored?
You will need to pertain a certificate of sponsorship reference number to apply for your visa. This is an electronic record – not an actual, physical document. Your prospective employer is required to obtain a certificate sponsorship reference number for each international employee they take on. You should receive a decision on your application within 3 weeks, and you must use it within 3 months from the issue date.
3. What other criteria do I need to fulfil?
There are a range of additional factors that need to be considered:
- You must have an ‘appropriate’ salary, where ‘appropriate’ means over £30,000 or the salary of the job you have been offered – whichever is highest. There are exceptions for people who earn less than this that are also worth your consideration.
- You must have an adequate English language proficiency by obtaining a CEFR Level B1 in reading, writing, speaking and listening, or by holding an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.
- You must have proof of £945 in savings (unless exempt).
- You must provide a criminal record certificate from any country you’ve lived in for 12 months or more in the last 20 years.
4. What documents will I need to supply?
When you apply for your visa you will need to following:
- A current passport or other valid travel ID with blank pages on both sides for your visa.
- A bank statement demonstrating £945 in savings over the last 90 days or a sponsor’s certification that they can support or accommodate you for your first month of employment.
- Proof of meeting the English requirement.
- Proof of your tuberculosis test – which you will need if you’re coming to the UK for more than 6 months and are from any of these countries.
- Finally, you are required to bring a certified translation of any non-English (or Welsh) documentation.
5. Can I bring family members?
Yes. As long as they (your ‘dependents’) have a visa (if they are from outside the EEA or Switzerland). You must be able to prove that you have the means to support your dependents whilst they are in the UK – this means having a minimum of £630 available to them, in addition to the £945 you have to support yourself.
Before you apply…
Make sure that before you apply for your visa, you read the full government guidance for Tier 2 workers. The full PDF is available here.
With our finger firmly on the pulse of the UK digital sector, get in touch when you are ready to bring your career to the UK.