You may be wondering, is it possible to come to the uk before you actually have a job offer? Well, this of course, still requires a visa.
In most cases, you will need a job offer to be able to get a uk visa. Not only do you usually need a job offer but normally you will need an employer who has already sorted out their sponsor licence for a skilled worker visa. You will not be able to apply for your visa without your future employee having a Certificate of Sponsorship.
This all just means that you must have legal permission to be able to come to the UK and stay and work. Under this category falls citizens of the UK, members of the EU or EEA or have a current work visa.
You may find it difficult to get a visa to come and work in the UK if you do not have a job offer already but it is certainly not impossible. There are always exceptions to rules.
Who can get a UK work visa without a job offer?
The majority of the visas that you can get to come and work in the UK require that you have a job offer and sponsorship first. This is not the case for all visas. There are different types of visas for the UK where you do not need sponsorship before you come, there are, however, other requirements you will need to meet in order to be eligible for them.
The High Potential Individual Visa
The high potential individual visa (HPI visa) is a visa that does not require a job offer but it does have other requirements such as:
- You must be 18 years old or older.
- You must have a support fund of at least £1,270.
- You must hold a degree from outside the UK, from a recognised university within the last five years.
This visa is to attract people from top universities all around the world. It is normally a short-term visa and people who have this visa can stay for about two or three years. It will last two years unless your degree is a PhD or other doctoral qualification in which case it would be three years.
An HPI visa can even be used to study where some courses are not eligible for student visas. Be sure to double-check this though as it is only allowed for those courses.
As with most visas, there are certain things you will be able to do and certain things you will not.
With an HPI visa, you will be able to:
- work in most jobs
- look for work
- be self-employed
- live in the UK with your partner and children, provided that they are eligible
- do voluntary work
- travel abroad and return to the UK
With an HPI visa, you will not be able to:
- apply for most benefits (public funds), or the State Pension
- work as a professional sportsperson
- extend this visa
- apply to settle permanently in the UK
Sometimes a person who holds a high potential individual visa may be able to switch to a visa that allows them to stay longer as long as they meet those requirements.
Once you have applied for an HPI visa it will usually take around 3 weeks if you are outside the UK to receive a decision, and around 8 weeks if you are inside the UK.
The Global Talent Visa
The global talent visa is about attracting current and potential leaders from various fields. The eligibility criteria are as follows:
- You must be a leader or potential leader in academia or research, arts and culture or digital technology.
- You must be at least 18 years old or older.
The idea behind not needing a job offer for this type of visa is that it gives the individual flexibility to work in their field without being attached to a specific sponsor.
This visa lasts for 5 years and between years 3 and 5 you will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain if that is what you wish to do. Depending on your specific field amongst other things this will give you the right to live, study and work in the UK as long as you want to. You may also be eligible to apply for benefits should you need to.
Once you have applied for a global talent visa it will usually take around 3 weeks if you are outside the UK to receive a decision, and around 8 weeks if you are inside the UK.
The UK graduate visa
The graduate visa is designed for individuals from overseas who have a degree that they completed in the UK.
To be eligible for a graduate visa you must:
- be in the UK
- have a current visa is a Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa
- have studied a UK bachelor’s degree, postgraduate degree or other eligible courses for a minimum period of time with your Student visa or Tier 4 (General) student visa your education provider (such as your university or college) has told the Home Office you’ve successfully completed your course
With this visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for two years. If you have a PhD or other doctoral qualification though you will be able to stay for three years.
You cannot extend this visa, however, you will be able to apply for another type of visa if you wish to extend your stay.
There are some fees you will need to pay for this visa:
- pay the £715 application fee
- pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 for each year you’ll be in the UK
Once you have applied for your graduate visa you will usually have to wait around 8 weeks for a decision in which time you are allowed to remain in the UK.
British National (Overseas) visa
To be eligible for this visa you must:
- At least 18 years old or older
- a British national (overseas)
- the child of a British national (overseas) born on or after 1 July 1997
Your permanent home must be in either:
- Hong Kong, if you’re applying from outside the UK
- the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Hong Kong if you’re applying in the UK
On a BNO visa, you can apply to stay either 2 years and 6 months or 5 years. Once you are in the UK you may also apply to extend your visa and apply for indefinite leave to remain.
You can work or study on this visa. The only exception to this is that you may not work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
You may even qualify for benefits if you:
- do not have a place to live and cannot afford one
- have a place to live but cannot afford essential living costs like food or heating
- are at risk of losing your place to live or being unable to afford essential living costs
- have a very low income, and not having access to benefits would harm your child’s wellbeing
Unlike the skilled worker visas because there is no job offer needed although you have to meet certain requirements there is more flexibility.
About Synergy Immigration Solutions
We are a London-based UK immigration agency, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). We are proud members of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
We hope this article has answered the question ‘Can I get a UK work visa without a job offer?’.