Work Permit FAQ

How long does the application process take?

Applications for UK Work permits can be dealt with in a matter of days. However, the processing time can vary depending on the candidate, the employer and the employment details.

Processing a UK work permit application depends on the promptness of the required documentation being forwarded to us.

A specialist UK immigration consultant from Global Visas can offer UK immigration lawyer expertise and advice from processing times to on arrival services.

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How do British working permits differ from UK working holiday visas?

UK immigration via a work permit visa allows professionals, executives or highly skilled persons to take up an agreed offer of employment, or in the case of an Intra-Company Transfer to transfer from an overseas branch of a company to a position in a branch within the United Kingdom.

It is an employer specific document, which has no age restrictions placed upon it.

A UK Working Holiday Visa allows Commonwealth citizens aged between 17-30 years to live and work in the UK for a maximum of two years. Holders of Working Holiday Visa holders must intend to take employment for no more than 12 months as part of their two year working holiday.


Who needs a work permit?

All non-EEA nationals will need permits to work in the UK. Work cannot be undertaken on other types of UK visa, such as a UK Business visit visa or UK visit visa. 

Highly skilled candidates may find an alternative approach through the points-based Tier 1.

Do I need a job before I can apply?

Yes, work visas for Britain require a job offer before you can apply.

Please note that the UK Company offering you the position must apply, you cannot apply yourself.

How long are they granted for?

They can be granted for any period between one day and five years.

What are the different categories of UK working permits?

* Business and Commercial:

This category enables British employers to recruit people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to fill a vacancy that may otherwise be filled by a 'resident worker'.

* Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES)

Applications for UK visas in this class allow people from outside the EEA to undertake a period of work experience, or work-based training for a professional or specialist qualification.

* Sports and Entertainment

This enables British employers to employ established sportspeople, entertainers, cultural artists and some technical/support people from outside the EEA.

* The Student Internship

Under the Student Internship, students from outside the EEA studying first or higher degree courses overseas can undertake an internship with an employer in the United Kingdom.

Can I switch from my current UK visa service while I am in the country?

Only overseas nationals in the following categories can switch from within Great Britain:

* Students who have successfully graduated on a degree course.
* Postgraduate doctors, dentists or trainee general practitioners.
* Student nurses.
* Working Holiday Visa holders who are switching to shortage occupations.

What happens if I cannot switch from my current UK immigration service while staying in the country?

You must be outside Britain on the day your application is lodged. We will lodge the request on behalf of the employer once you have left and as soon as the application is ready.

Once we submit the application it usually takes between 5 and 10 days for the UK work permit visa application to be approved, after which we will send you the document.

You must then return to your home country and apply for entry clearance at the British Embassy in your home country. Once this is granted you can return to the country and resume or start working.

Do I have to request Entry Clearance in my home country?

Yes, entry clearance must be applied for in your country of birth or in a country where you have legal residence.

What happens when a permit for work expires?

If you would like further leave to remain in Britain (FLR) after your current permit expires, you can request an extension. Requests for extensions must be submitted within the last three months before your current permit expires.

Can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK (ILR)?

If you have been working in the United Kingdom in possession of your permit to work in the UK for 5 years or have remained in the country under the Tier 1 programme for the same length of time, you may qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain, often known as permanent residency.

Once this is granted, a permanent resident may be eligible to undergo British Naturalisation as a UK citizen.

Can you help find me a job?

No. We are not an employment agency, but a specialist immigration consultancy that can assist you in your application once you have a job offer.

Once you receive an offer of employment from an employer who is willing to apply on your behalf, we will compile the application and the necessary information.

What happens if my current employment terminates?

If your current employment terminates you:

  • Can find another employer willing to sponsor your permit for working in the United Kingdom. The new role must be similar to your current position.
  • Must apply for a change of employment permit within 28 days of leaving your current employer.
  • Can Investigate Further Leave to Remain (FLR) options by speaking with one of our UK immigration consultants.

Can I change my employer?

Yes, you can change employer, however this is only allowed once your new employer has arranged a new permit for work in the UK (this will usually take about five to 10 days from the day we submit the application).

If I am already in the British Isles, will I need to leave the country if I want to change employer?

No, you can remain while the new submission is considered.

What happens if a company does not employ me for the full period?

This type of UK visa application is not a contract of employment. It gives the employer permission to employ you; however, they are under no obligation to do so. If you are made redundant you are only entitled to notice/ compensation insofar as that which may be detailed in your contract of employment.

Can an overseas national do supplementary work?

UK visas for immigration of this type allow additional work to that which is outlined in the permit for working to be undertaken. These are subject to the following conditions:

  • The work is outside of their normal working hours;
  • The work entails no more than 20 hours per week;
  • The work is in the same profession and at the same professional level;
  • The work is not for a recruitment agency, employment agency or similar business, which provides personnel to a client;
  • The work does not constitute self-employment, establishing a business or joining another business as a director or partner.

Can I work while the application is processed?

Whether a candidate can work during processing depends largely on their current immigration status. Please contact one of our consultants to discuss the specifics of your application.

Can I travel abroad?

Yes, you are free to travel abroad whilst your permit to work in the UK is valid, for normal annual leave and company related travel.

Can my spouse work in Britain?

The spouse, unmarried partner and children of a permit holder may be admitted on a dependency visa.

The spouse/unmarried partner will be given conditions of stay, which do not place any restrictions, other than those that normally apply to a resident worker, on their taking employment or engaging in business.

Spouse and fiance immigration have similar requirements to a marriage visa or a de facto visa as applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are married or have been cohabitating, or that the relationship has existed for at least two years prior to application.

Please visit our work permit section for more information.