Visas and citizenship

Eurostar trains next to each other at St. Pancras International. Credit: Eurostar
Find out about employing staff, how to become a visa sponsor and applying for citizenship.

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Skilled workers from outside the UK have opportunities to live and work in London now and will continue to be welcome in the future. Visa schemes are in place to help you hire the talented people your business requires.

Non-UK nationals can come to the UK for both short and long-term jobs. Your company also has options when recruiting recent international graduates and transferring international staff to the UK.

I came to London and felt immediately at home no matter what my accent was.
Nitzan Yudan
CEO & Founder, Benivo

Employing people from the EU

Following Brexit, the UK has now left the EU and new rules and regulations are in place.

The government introduced the EU Settlement Scheme for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to work and live in the UK. Visit the official government website to check eligibility and requirements.

The government’s EU Settlement Scheme Employer Toolkit can help you understand what the changes mean for your company and your employees. 

Employing people from outside the EU

The most common route for employing international people in the UK is the Skilled Worker visa (previously known as Tier 2 visa). Learn more about how potential employees can apply and guidance for employers.

Skilled employees transferring to the UK within a company

Current employees of overseas companies may be able to apply for a Senior or Specialist Worker visa (Global Business Mobility) if their licensed employer has offered them a job in a UK branch of the same organisation.

Global Talent visa

People with an exceptional skill or talent in certain fields may be eligible for a Global Talent visa. This visa is available for people with outstanding talent or promise in science, humanities, engineering, medicine, the arts, architecture and fashion.

You can also bring international talent to the UK temporarily, for example for a fellowship or a research project. That's where Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visas (previously known as Tier 5 visa) come in. They're for skilled workers you'd like to employ short term. There are full details on the government’s work visa website.

Another option available is the Graduate route, which offers international students, who already have a degree, the option to live and work in the UK for up to three years. 

Those wanting to briefly visit the UK for a business related activity, for example for a conference, meeting or training may be able to do so with a Standard Visitor visa.

Other options

The government's page on visas and immigration has a full list of all work visas

The UK's new immigration system

The UK has now introduced a points-based immigration system. Check out the government’s visas and immigration page for the latest updates.

How to become a visa sponsor

You might need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the UK and EU. Find details on how to register for visa sponsorship.

How to apply for British citizenship

Once your employees are here, they may wish to seek British citizenship – and there is a pathway for that too. They can find guidance on the government's web page on citizenship and living in the UK.

Get help from our expert immigration partners

Visa applications can be complex and time-consuming but help is available. We are happy to introduce you to any of our immigration partners, who can ease the process:

Although we try our best to make sure this information is accurate, we can’t guarantee this is always the case, including that of the third parties we link to. Please take professional advice before making any decisions.

Get in touch

The London & Partners Key Accounts team can help your business navigate Brexit and beyond. Benefit from our complimentary services.