Coming to work in the UK under a business or student visa

In the year ending September 2015 290,000 migrants entered for work - 59% of which had a confirmed job to go to.

Of these migrants

Applications from: Total
EU Citizens 60%
Non-EU Citizens 24%
British Citizens* 15%

*Gov.UK - National Statistics

The UK has one of the most globally strong business infrastructures. A crucial part of this strength comes from business immigration. The UK is always keen to attract investors and entrepreneurs and to support those entering the UK for business purposes. To this end, there are a number of different visas and programmes to encourage the smooth flow of those hoping to migrate to the UK under UK immigration law. Specialist immigration lawyers will be able to help you with your specific query about UK business immigration regulations.

There are separate eligibility criteria for each category of visa, but some conditions are constant throughout. You must have a good grasp of and understanding of the English language and you will normally have to sit a test to confirm this. You must also be resident outside of the EEA and Switzerland.

*Gov.UK - National Statistics YE JUNE 2014 YE JUNE 2015 % CHANGE
Work-related visas granted 159,231 168,544 +6%
Tier 1 visas 10,308 7,922 -23%
Tier 2 visas 84,613 92,590 +9%
Tier 3 visas 42,378 44,660 +5%

These statistics show an overall rise in the numbers of migrants entering the UK to work and it is reflective of the popularity of the UK for business immigration.


Entrepreneur visa

This type of visa relates to business people looking to enter the UK with money to set up and run a new business. Paragraphs 245D and 245DF of the Immigration Rules apply and there are firm conditions in place for holding a tier 1 entrepreneur visa which include:

  • You must have the requisite amount of money; a minimum of £200,000
  • You must meet the English language requirements
  • You must be able to spend at least 50% of your time in the UK

Investor visa

This is an important visa as it directly allows the UK to support non-EEA investors considering opportunities within Britain. To apply for a tier 1 investor visa you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to invest a minimum of £2,000,000

Graduate entrepreneur visa

Crucially, you will only be eligible for this visa if you have secured endorsement as having a credible and genuine business idea. There are two options for this endorsement; it can either come from UK Trade and Investment as part of Sirius – a global, elite, graduate entrepreneur programme - or a UK Higher Education Institution, but this must be part of an authorised endorsing body.


General visa (sponsored)

This visa is for workers who have a firm job offer from a UK-based company. This company must hold a sponsorship licence and once this has been granted the company concerned can then award certificates of sponsorship which are necessary as part of an immigration application from a non-EEA national. There are a number of eligibility criteria to fulfil to apply for this visa.

Sportsperson visa

In order to apply for this type of tier 2 visa you must have established yourself as an elite sportsperson or coach at the very highest international level. There are various other conditions which apply and your chosen Oratto member immigration lawyer will be able to explain these to you.


Student visa

As the name suggests, this visa applies to those wishing to enter the UK to study. In order to qualify for this visa you must:

  • Be 16 or over
  • Be able to speak, write, read and understand English
  • Have a firm offer of a place on a course
  • Be able to fund both your living costs and your course


Temporary worker visa

This is a Government authorised exchange visa and applies if you wish to enter the UK for a short period of time in order to carry out one of the following:

  • Undergo training
  • Undertake work experience
  • Participate in an Overseas Government Language Programme
  • A fellowship or research through an approved government authorised exchange scheme

Click here to download this page

Each one of these requires that you must have certificate of sponsorship from a licensed sponsor before you are eligible to apply.

For all of these visas there are further eligibility criteria and your chosen Oratto member lawyer will be able to analyse your circumstances and discuss your options with you.

Contact Oratto today to begin the process of applying for your business immigration visa.

Scroll To Lawyers