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Work Permit applications are dealt with by the Home Office Border and Immigration Agency. They can in many cases deal with work permits in one or two weeks. It will take longer to obtain a work permit if you need to advertise the vacancy and have not yet met the advertising requirements for the work permit application. If the job is in a shortage occupation, for example in the healthcare sector or in teaching, then you can apply for the work permit without advertising the vacancy.
If your company is not yet established in the UK, you may be unable to apply for work permits for your employees and should consider the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. However, if you have started to trade in the UK, you can probably obtain a work permit if:
The position is suitably senior.
You have been unable to find anyone locally, or have no realistic prospect of finding someone.
The candidate is suitably experienced.
You are deemed to be the 'Ultimate Employer.'
The question of who is the 'Ultimate Employer' becomes relevant only for service companies, such as Software Houses, who are carrying out work on client projects. If you fall into this category, please contact us for a detailed discussion of your situation.
If the candidate has not been working for one of your related overseas entities, you will usually have to advertise the position in the EEA before making an application to fill it with an Overseas national. For particularly senior positions, and those with shortage skills , the advertising requirement may be waived. The advice below is therefore broken into two sections:
Advertising is not necessary where:
The position is at board level 'or equivalent', and will be reporting directly to the Board of Directors, or
The position is a high level executive one linked to inward investment of over £250,000 in the UK, or
The position requires an intra-company transfer, which is for employees being transferred within a corporate group, for example from an overseas parent company to a UK subsidiary. In order to utilise this category, the employee must have spent at least six months in the organisation elsewhere in the world and reasons must be given for needing their skills and experience in the UK organisation.
The position requires someone with skills on an official 'Shortage List' . This list includes the following:
Some Engineering Type Jobs
Health Care Jobs
A limited number of other occupations.
Please note that IT occupations have not been on the shortage list since 2 September 2002.
For applications that can be made without advertising, the main thing is to show that the candidate is suitably qualified / experienced in order to obtain a work permit. To prove this, you must show that your candidate has:
a UK degree equivalent qualification, or
3 years senior level experience in a relevant, specialized area, or
an HND level occupation which entitles him to do a specific job, or
a general HND level qualification and 1 year relevant experience, or
3 years relevant experience at NVQ level 3 or above
Applications that usually require advertising
Advertising is generally necessary in all cases other than those mentioned in the above section. For such applications you will need to prove two things
1. That the candidate is suitably experienced to hold a full work permit.
In order to do this you will need to show that the candidate has: a UK degree equivalent qualification; or 3 years senior level experience in a relevant, specialized area; or an HND level occupation which entitles him to do a specific job; or a general HND level qualification and 1 year relevant experience; or, finally, an NVQ at level 3 or above.
2. That the vacancy cannot be filled by an EEA worker.
In order to do this you will need to show that you have gone to all reasonable lengths to recruit an EEA resident. This usually includes advertising the post.
If you do need to advertise, it should usually be done in the national press, or in a trade journal. Advertisements on the internet will be acceptable where it can be shown that, for the job in question, the internet is the best way to reach your target audience. In particular, the internet is acknowledged as the most appropriate medium for advertising IT positions.
Once the advertising has been placed, the employer should allow four weeks to gauge the response of the domestic labour market. Advertisements over six months old are considered to be out of date, and will not be considered.
It is occasionally possible to persuade the Home Office Border and Immigration Agency to exceptionally grant a permit for a position which has not been advertised. However, it is generally unwise to rely on the favorable consideration of such applications.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the UK. We work with OISC registered advisers who can submit your UK visa application to the Home Office to be dealt with on the same day.