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Immigration visas


Immigration into the UK increases on a yearly basis as Britain is one of the most popular immigration destinations. Whilst some foreign nationals immigrate to the UK on a temporary basis, such as for study or temporary work, others wish to become naturalised as a British citizen. Regardless of whether the stay is permanent or semi-permanent, those wishing to remain in the UK must obtain immigration visas.

Immigration visas come in a variety of forms; however, the most common forms are those relating to work or study. Other immigration visas available are spouse immigration visas where the foreign national is married to a UK citizen or a person granted indefinite leave to remain.

For working and student visas, the immigration rules have recently changed to incorporate a new ‘points-based system’ which determines which immigration visa category a foreign national falls into.

The points-based system has designated five tiers for those immigrating to work or study in the UK which are outlined below:

Tier 1 is for migrants who are highly skilled, which includes entrepreneurs, investors and graduates. This replaces the previous ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Programme’ and ‘International Graduates Scheme’.

Tier 2 is for skilled workers who have already been offered a job prior to immigration and incorporates the UK Work Permit Rules.

Tier 3 is rare and only applies when there are shortages in UK workforces that skilled foreign nationals can fill.

Tier 4 is for students only.

Tier 5 is for temporary workers who come under the Working Holiday scheme.

Only Tiers 1 and 2 allow a foreign national to stay in the UK on a permanent basis and apply for naturalisation, whereas immigration visas granted under tiers 3 – 5 will specify the date at which the foreign national must leave the UK. Staying in the UK beyond this date is a breach of UK immigration law and has very serious ramifications including fines and/or imprisonment.

If you would like to obtain legal advice or information on obtaining immigration visas then Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist immigration solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local immigration solicitors please call us on 0800 433 4846 or complete the web-form above.


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