Those who wish to work in the United Kingdom (UK) as a skilled worker need a UK Tier 2 visa. There are three subcategories of the Tier 2 visa, which are:
- Sportsperson – This subcategory is for athletes or coaches wanting to live and work in the UK. International recognition, by a major sports organization, is a requirement in order to qualify for this visa.
- Minister of Religion – This is for persons of different faiths who wish to work for a religious organization in the UK.
- General Work Visa – The general work visa is for skilled workers sponsored by a qualified UK company. There are special provisions for those job candidates who meet the requirements for UK jobs on the shortage occupation list.
Number of Issuances of First Residence Permits
Of all the countries in the European Union (EU), the UK, in 2014, issued more first residence permits than any other country. Eurostat statistics reported that in 2014 the UK issued 567,806 first residence permits for non-EU citizens. This is an enormous number. It represents about 25% of the total first residence permits, which was 2.3 million in 2014, issued by all the countries in the EU.
Country of Origin for Those Requesting Residence Permits in the UK
Here are the top five countries of origin for those requesting residence permits in the UK:
- U.S. 136,202 24.0%
- China 73,878 13.0%
- India 72,691 12.8%
- Australia 19,479 3.4%
- Pakistan 17,008 3.0%
- Others 248,548 43.8%
- TOTALS 567,806 100.0%
Number of Issuances of a UK Tier 2 Visa
Of those first residence permits, 20.6% or 116,707 were a UK Tier 2 visa. These visas were for foreigners taking on UK jobs. Clearly, the UK is doing everything possible to help non-EU citizens find UK jobs, especially if the workers have the skills and experience for jobs on the shortage occupation list.
Portion of Immigrants Requesting a Tier 2 Visa for Employment
The percentage of people who immigrate for employment is different depending on the country of origin.
Here are the top ten countries of origin for those seeking a Tier 2 visa for the UK:
- Ukraine 68%
- India 41%
- U.S. 20%
- Morocco 16%
- Brazil 14%
- China 13%
- Russia 12%
- Turkey 9%
- Belarus 7%
- Syria 2%
Origin Countries of Immigrants
Immigrants to the UK come from all over the world. The top origin countries for UK immigrants are the United States, China, India, Brazil, Russia, and Turkey.
Country Residence Permits Tier 2 Visa
United States 136,202 26,521
China 73,878 4,261
India 72,691 28,294
Australia 15,960 13,579
Brazil 10,472 1,466
Russia 9,676 1,161
Turkey 5,544 499
Others 243,383 41,219
TOTALS 567,806 117,000
Job Prospects Are Good for Foreigners Immigrating to the UK
The UK is an excellent country for skilled workers seeking a work visa as long as they can find a company sponsor. Tier 2 work visas are easiest to get when a company sponsors a person who has the job skills and experience for employment in a position that appears on the job shortage list.
Workers who are engineers, animators, nurses, doctors, paramedics, social workers, and secondary education teachers are highly desirable. They can easily immigrate to work in the UK, as long as they do not have any criminal record.
The Telegraph reported in January 2016 that unemployment in the UK at 5.1% hit a ten-year low and that the UK is a job creation machine now with a robust economy. In the three months prior to January 2016, 267,000 unemployed people found a job in the UK, bringing the total number of those employed in the UK to 31.39 million. Except for a downturn in the export-manufacturing sector, all other portions of the economy are doing better than before.
The strong economy is one of the reasons why the UK is encouraging immigration of skilled foreign workers. American citizens account for a large portion of the immigrants to the UK, because the common English language makes it easy for Americans to integrate into British society.
UK Population and Demographics
Here are the percentages of the UK immigrant population by country of origin:
Australia 126,316 1.6%
Bangladesh 214,091 2.7%
China 284,069 3.6%
France 137,862 1.8%
Germany 299,746 3.8%
India 722,433 9.2%
Ireland 468,142 5.9%
Italy 141,205 1.8%
Jamaica 160,775 2.0%
Kenya 140,536 1.8%
Lithuania 108,711 1.4%
Nigeria 201,184 2.6%
Pakistan 502,796 6.4%
Philippines 129,836 1.6%
Poland 654,010 8.3%
Somalia 103,049 1.3%
South Africa 203,477 2.6%
Sri Lanka 129,076 1.6%
United States 197,355 2.5%
Zimbabwe 123,671 1.6%
Others 2,824,660 35.9%
TOTALS 7,873,000 100.0%
There is ethnic diversity in the UK population with many immigrants from different parts of the world. About eight million people live in the London metropolitan area. Some groups like to congregate in certain areas. This gives those areas a distinctive international culture and flair.
The UK government strongly supports integration of immigrants into UK society. The belief is that integration requires societal change not governmental enforcement with laws. For the most part, the English people are polite. They are accepting and tolerant of others from different cultures.
Applying for the Tier 2 Work Visa
The process starts by getting a job offer from a qualified UK company that issues a certificate of sponsorship. The next step is preparing the documentation required, paying the application fees (including the health surcharge), and then submitting the application for approval.
The Tier 2 Work visa allows for a stay in the UK for up to five years and 14 days or for the length of the sponsorship if that period is less. The stay is extendable for up to a total of six years. A person with a Tier 2 Work visa may have a second job in the same field or in any field that is on the job shortage list. The Tier 2 Work visa permits attending school while working. A person with this visa can bring family members with them. It is permissible to leave the UK for travel and return.
Thousands of skilled workers each year find gainful employment in the UK. To make the process of obtaining a Tier 2 Work visa go smoothly, it is important to assemble the correct documents, double-check them to make sure everything is in order, and provide certified translations if the documents are not in the English language. The application process starts online and then an appointment is necessary at the nearest Visa Application Centre.