Do I need a Work Permit?
Before going to the effort of obtaining a work permit, you should ask:
The following categories of people can take up any lawful employment in the UK and do not need a Work Permit:
- Nationals of EEA (European Economic Area) countries (the EEA comprises the 25 EU member states – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic*, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia*, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary*, Ireland, Italy, Latvia*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland*, Portugal, Slovakia*, Slovenia*, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom – and also Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland)
- Those with Indefinite Leave To Remain in the UK (Permanent Residence)
- Those in the UK as the spouse of an EEA national
- Those in the UK as the spouse of a Work Permit holder, Training Permit Holder, Sole Representative, Investor, Student, Ancestry visa holder
- Commonwealth citizens with Ancestry visas (sometimes called patriality) – these visas are available to Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the UK. They should be applied for by the candidate at the British High Commission in their home country. They are usually issued for a period of four years; after four years in the UK the candidate is generally eligible for permanent residence.
- Those with pending claims for Asylum in the UK (NB workpermit.com does NOT handle asylum applications)
- Those in the UK on a visa as the ‘partner’ of an EEA national, Work Permit holder, Training Permit Holder Sole Representative, Investor, Student, Ancestry visa holder. These visas are issued in cases where the partners are not legally allowed to marry (for example because they are of the same sex, or because one or both of them are married to someone else) and have been co-habiting for at least two years prior to the visa application
NB Nationals of those countries with a (*) above must apply for a registration certificate under the Worker Registration Scheme
In addition to these categories of people, nationals of European Community Association Agreement countries (Bulgaria and Romania) may come to the UK to set up in business and are exempt from the usual investment requirements. Thus may it viable for them to come to set up an IT consulting / contracting company and to work for your client in a freelance capacity. However, applications to enter the UK in this capacity will often take several months to process, and are only viable for those who combine technical skills with business experience.
Can the work be performed by someone on a different class of UK Visa?
If the candidate is not entitled to work in the UK without a work permit, you may have a number of other options:
- A Business visit visa – For trips to the UK of up to 6 months, a visit visa can be used where the work to be performed is limited; the official guidelines state that the following may come to the UK as business visitors
- Advisers, consultants, trainers, troubleshooters etc, provided they are employed abroad, either directly or under contract, by the same company (or group of companies) to which the client firm in the United Kingdom belongs. Their involvement must not extend to actual project management or to providing advice or consultancy services direct to clients of the United Kingdom company. Training should be for a specific, “one-off” purpose (for example, training in the use of products manufactured overseas or training specific to the operation of a group of companies of which the United Kingdom firm is a member). The training should not go beyond classroom instruction and should not otherwise be readily available in the UK;
- Representatives of computer software companies coming to install, debug or enhance their products.
- Representatives of computer software companies coming to be briefed as to the requirements of a United Kingdom customer. HOWEVER if they are to provide a service involving the use of their expertise to make a detailed assessment of a potential customer’s requirements this should be regarded as consultancy work for which a work permit is required;
- The effect of these regulations is that (1) allows considerable flexibility for an in-house training/roll-out team, and (2) gives considerable freedom to employees of such companies as Oracle, SAP, etc. who are rolling out their own products at client sites. As the majority of IT roll-outs are conducted by consultancies who are using products manufactured by a third party, such activities will require a work permit.
- A Sole Representative visa – if you do not yet have a UK branch/subsidiary, please click here for details of sending someone to set up a UK office.
- A Student visa – students are entitled to work for up to 20 hours per week in term time, and up to 40 hours per week during Vacations.
- A Training/Work Experience permit