UK Calling for Talented and Enterprising Workforce By

Mr Yash Dubal
Director & a Senior Immigration Associate
A Y & J Solicitors, London, United Kingdom

In the UK, the visa fees have risen considerably in recent times. There was a 66% increase in the immigration health surcharge earlier this year taking the annual amount to £1,035 for adults). In addition, significant increases in visa application fees came into effect on 4 October 2023, including work and visitor visas rising by 15%, family visas, settlement and e citizenship rising by 20%, and student visas rising by 35%.
However, for those with the right level of skills and training, all is not lost. There are still several visa routes available for those without a job offer.

An India Young Professionals Scheme visa, for example, allows Indian citizens between 18 and 30 years old to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. Applicants must be selected in the India Young Professionals Scheme ballot before they can apply for this visa. To be eligible for the visa, applicants must be an Indian citizen, be between 18 and 30 years old, have an eligible qualification and have £2,530 in savings. Full details of this and all the other options mentioned below except self-sponsorship are listed on the UK government website.
Another option is the Global Talent visa. This allows people to work in the UK who are leaders or potential leaders in academia or research, arts and culture and digital technology. It is designed to attract elite performers in the listed industries. Applicants must also be at least 18 years old and can only apply if they have successfully applied for an endorsement to prove that they are a leader or potential leader. There are a number officially sanctioned endorsing bodies listed in the UK government website. Applicants can also apply without an endorsement if they have won an eligible award.

A High Potential Individual (HPI) visa gives applicants permission to stay in the UK for at least two years. To apply, you must have been awarded a qualification by an eligible university in the last 5 years. The list of eligible universities has been criticised for focussing primarily on US and European institutions. No Indian universities are listed. However, for high performing Indian professionals who studied overseas in qualifying universities such as Yale in the US, Kyoto University in Japan, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, University of British Columbia in Canada, University of Melbourne in Australia, the visa is an option.
There are also visa options available for Indians working in businesses that have UK branches or subsidiaries via the Global Mobility route. This offers a range of options both for those who work for a company that has an existing UK branch and for those tasked with setting a UK branch for their current employer.

For example, a Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows certain employees to come to or stay in the UK to do an eligible job at their employer’s UK branch while a Graduate Trainee visa allows applicants to come to or stay in the UK to work for their employer’s UK branch as part of a graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist role. A UK Expansion Worker visa allows employees to come to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas business that has not started trading in the UK yet.
Finally, one of the most flexible, but overlooked routes for those serious about moving to the UK to set up a business is the self-sponsorship route. Self-employed workers from the USA and India previously blocked from access to the British market have already successfully gained legal UK work visas through the scheme. The process involves two stages. First, an individual establishes a UK limited company, which foreign nationals can legally do. Secondly that company then sponsors the individual to gain a Skilled Worker visa. The process complies fully with UK immigration and company rules. Those interested in this option are advised to consult with a recognised and experienced UK-based legally registered immigration law firm.
In conclusion, there is no denying that opportunities for gaining a work visa in the UK will become limited as the changes in UK law take effect. But there are still options available, particularly for highly talented individuals and for those with an entrepreneurial spirit and the genuine desire to set up their own business in Britain.

(The author is the Director & a Senior Immigration Associate at A Y & J Solicitors, London, United Kingdom and the views expressed are his own)

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