Overview of Work Visa Routes to the UK

Overview of Work Visa Routes to the UK

If you’re planning to hire international talent for your UK company, a certain type of work visa is required.

The category of visa is determined by your sponsored worker’s circumstances: 

  • They should either have a job offer or a potential employer. If this is the case, then they can only work for the sponsoring company and keep to the conditions of their leave to remain; the available routes are skilled worker visa and global business mobility routes (senior or specialist worker, graduate trainee, UK expansion worker, service supplier, and secondment worker)
  • Being in the category that allows them to work for any organisation in the UK. This includes the graduate route, high potential individual, or global talent visa
  • If they will be running and developing their own business. Start-up and innovator visas will allow them to stay in the UK by developing their own business

Conditions that apply if they work for a sponsoring organisation in the UK

  • They cannot work at any other role except the one you hired them for, otherwise, a new application for a visa is required
  • They can only change employment if they find another sponsor in the UK or are eligible to switch to other immigration categories
  • Their activities are monitored and reported to the Home Office where necessary
  • In most cases they can switch to other immigration routes within the UK

Graduate route, high potential individual or global talent visa allows them to:

  • Work for any employer in the UK
  • Change employment if they get a better offer from any other employer
  • Start and develop their own business with the possibility to switch immigration routes, if necessary
  • Switch to other immigration routes within the UK

Start-up and innovator visas require approval from the endorsement bodies and allow them to:

  • Run a business of their own
  • Start-up visa also gives the right to have additional employment
  • Switch to other immigration routes within the UK

Overview of the work visas to the UK:

Visa route Leads to indefinite leave to remain Employer in the UK is required Additional employment permitted
Skilled worker
(no more than 20 hours per week if the job is in the same occupation or in the shortage occupation list)
Global business mobility X X
Global talent visa X
Graduate route X X
High potential individual X X
Start-up visa X X
Innovator visa X X

Note: Switching to other immigration categories inside the UK is available from any of the listed routes.

Contact us today to check which immigration route is the most suitable option when you hire international talent.