When it comes to immigration, things tend to get a little complicated. There are a hundred and one different rules designed to fit millions of different people – is it any surprise that the UK system is so mind-boggling and complex? When compared to the immigration policies of places like America and Australia, Britain’s rules are fairly straightforward. It just takes a bit of time to figure them out.
The British system is built on tiers and the notion that each tier represents a certain level of value. Obviously, the UK government is only keen to grant residency to those who are going to benefit the country – this is why the personal and financial worth of migrants is so closely scrutinised.
Individuals in this first tier are rarely refused UK residency, because they have highly desirable skills or qualifications, say the experts at WorkPermit.com. They include doctors, surgeons, lecturers, lawyers, engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs. These individuals can skip many of the steps that are required for lower tier migrants. They are permitted to live and work in the UK, seek and undertake employment, or set up a business and become self employed if they wish. Within this tier, there are several subcategories and these include the general visa, the investor visa, the entrepreneur visa and the post study visa. They all involved slightly different processes – the investor visa is specially designed for individuals who plan to put a lot of money into the UK economy.
Tier two migrants are individuals who have both qualifications and a guaranteed offer of work once they arrive in the UK. This category applies to those with high and medium level skills, as long as they can provide proof of the fact that they have a job waiting. In order to gain entry to the UK, a tier two migrant must have a valid sponsorship certificate. This sponsorship certificate is a straightforward affair – it merely involves the authentication of your guaranteed position via the employer who is responsible for it.
This category is much more of an employer led process – any input from the migrating individual is bound to be minimal. Tier three includes those who are coming to the UK in order to perform temporary low skilled work. Essentially, sponsoring companies within the UK input applications for migrant workers whenever their own workforce is dwindling or needs to be temporarily enlarged, says Professor Scott Blinder. These companies tend to be seasonal and only need migrant workers at certain points throughout the year.
This category is one of the very busiest – it’s the route necessary for anybody wishing to complete a university degree in the UK. The British government is very keen to stress that this route doesn’t lead to naturalisation and won’t be followed by an offer of permanent residence, say experts at the Home Office. A tier four migrant is granted permission to stay in this country until they have completed a degree course and attended their graduation ceremony. A student does not need to reapply for a visa if they decide to change their course, but they do need to apply for an extension if they wish to gain additional qualifications. A tier four migrant must have a sponsor certificate that contains information about their planned course.
Tier five is another very specific category – it involves anybody who wishes to enter the country in order to complete a youth motility scheme or a unique employment programme. This would include au pairs, youth workers and counsellors, temporary language tutors and unpaid athletes. A tier five migrant must be between the ages of 18-30 and can only stay in the UK for a maximum period of two years – after which they must apply for a different visa if they wish to extend their stay. Individuals in this category do need to provide a sponsorship certificate containing details of their plans.
Author Bio: Darcy Williams has been a passport control officer for seven years. She recommends R Legal for help and advice with applying for a Tier 2 Sponsorship Visa. Darcy can usually be found dealing with check-in groups at the airport or defusing situations at border control.