Other immigration routes

Intra-Company Transfers and Intra-Company Graduate Trainees

105. The purpose of arrangements for intra-company transfers and graduate trainees is to accommodate temporary moves by key business personnel, enabling multi-national companies to move their workers between subsidiary branches. These arrangements support inward trade and investment and give effect to commitments that the UK has taken in free trade agreements in respect of such workers.

106. The route will require applicants to be in roles skilled to RQF6, and subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. It will not be subject to English language requirements but will be subject to a requirement that the worker has been employed by the sending business for a minimum period prior to the transfer (12 months in the case of intra-company transfers or three months in the case of intra-company graduate trainees).

107. The route will not provide an avenue to settlement. Those admitted on the route will, however, be permitted to switch into the Skilled Worker route whilst still in the UK if they meet the qualifying requirements for that route.

108. We will also adjust the existing “cooling off” rules as they apply to intra-company transfers to ensure the future system makes more flexible provision for shorter-term assignments. We plan to replace the existing rules with a rule that more simply requires that an overseas intra-company transfer must not hold entry clearance or leave to enter or remain as an intra-company transferee for more than five years in any six-year period, except where they qualify to be granted up to nine years on the basis of their salary.

Who can apply?

109. Subject to sponsorship requirements being met, existing skilled employees of the sending business, where they are being transferred to the UK branch or subsidiary of that business.

Table 12: Intra-Company Transfers and Intra-Company Graduate Trainees conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge Yes Route to settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Additional requirements:

Applicant must:

  • have been employed by the sending business for at least 12 months prior to date of transfer (three months in the case of Graduate Trainees)
  • meet minimum salary requirement (currently £41,500)
  • meet “cooling off” requirement

Employment restricted to role specified on Certificate of Sponsorship

Entry for 12 months for graduate trainee and five years for company transfer (nine years for higher paid roles)

Youth Mobility Scheme

110. The UK Government is committed to facilitating cultural exchange and providing opportunities for young people. The Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is a temporary route which exists to provide young people, from participating countries, with an opportunity to experience life in the UK, enabling them to work and travel for up to two years. The YMS is a reciprocal scheme, with its terms negotiated and agreed between the two countries, which enables young British citizens to benefit from similar opportunities overseas.

111. The UK currently operates eight YMS arrangements with Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Republic of Korea and Taiwan. The UK remains open to concluding further YMS agreements with other countries and territories.

Who can apply?

112. Individuals who are aged between 18 and 30 at the time of application, who have £1,890 in savings and who are citizens of countries or republics listed in Appendix G of the Immigration Rules or are a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas).

Table 13: Youth Mobility Scheme conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped Yes
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants No
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Additional:

  • Applicants can work or study whilst in the UK.
  • Applicants are not permitted to be employed as a professional sportsperson or doctor or dentist in training.
  • Applicants are not permitted to bring family members in as dependants.
  • Applicants must not have held entry clearance in this category before.
  • Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Sporting routes

Temporary and long-term sporting routes

113. The current system for sports provides both temporary and long-term arrangements for professional sportspeople participating in sport in the UK.

114. Sports Governing Bodies (SGBs) will continue to issue and operate an endorsement process for applicants, ensuring playing opportunities for resident sportspeople and youth development are protected. Such endorsements will be based on objective sporting criteria which are published on each SGB’s website, ensuring full transparency.

115. In line with our current arrangements for sports, sportspeople seeking to come to the UK on a temporary basis – 12 months or less – will not be subject to an English language requirement. Those sportspeople seeking to either come for longer periods, or to settle in the UK, will be subject to an English language requirement, maintaining alignment to the Skilled Worker route. Accordingly, calculation of time periods on any route to settlement under this route will only begin once a migrant has demonstrated the requisite English language requirement.

Who can apply?

116. Internationally recognised sportspeople of all nationalities. They must have a confirmed job offer, an endorsement from the relevant SGB, and their employment must be sponsored by a UK employer who is licenced by the Home Office.

117. Sportspeople are permitted to move on loan to another club, but if they decide to move permanently, they will need to apply for a new Governing Body Endorsement with their new club.

Table 14: Sportsperson (temporary leave) conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – employers Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Settlement No
Biometrics Yes Dependants Yes
Maintenance Yes Access to public funds No
Supplementary work Yes

Table 15: Sportsperson (long-term leave) conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language* Yes Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement Yes
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

*A sportsperson remaining in the UK for more than a 24-month continuous period, must demonstrate a knowledge of English equivalent to level A1 or above of the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework for Language Learning; or have an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD.

Additional: Sportspeople can apply for indefinite leave to remain after completing five-years continuous residence in the UK and demonstrating the relevant knowledge of the English language.

Both temporary and long-term leave visa holders:

  • can undertake supplementary work at the same level as primary employment, undertake a job on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) or study up to 15 hours per week.
  • are permitted to work as a sportsperson for their national team while it is playing in a British University and College Sport (BUCS) competition; or work as a sports broadcaster.
  • must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Creative route

118. Artists, entertainers and musicians contribute to the UK’s rich cultural life. The UK is, and will continue to be, an attractive destination for top international talent in these fields. This route is for applicants in the creative industry who are entering the UK for short-term contracts/engagements for up to 12-months.

119. Applicants in the creative industries will also have the option to come to the UK as visitors. The existing rules for visitors allow artists, entertainers and musicians to perform in the UK, including being paid for their participation in certain events. We will continue to work with the creative sector to reform and simplify the offer for creatives coming to the UK on short-term trips.

Who can apply?

120. Individuals of all nationalities who have a confirmed job offer, and whose employment will be sponsored by a UK employer who is Home Office licensed, to work in an occupation in a creative industry.

Table 16: Creative route conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – employers Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Settlement No
Biometrics Yes Dependants Yes
Maintenance Yes Access to public funds No
Supplementary work Yes

*Before assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship, a sponsor must ensure they comply with their relevant Code of Practice (as per Appendix J of the Immigration Rules) for the occupation (where one exists). Where there is no Code of Practice, the sponsor/employer must be satisfied the migrant worker has the unique attributes and skills to fill the post and they are ‘internationally recognised/established’ in their field.

The applicant:

Applicants can undertake supplementary work at the same level as primary employment, undertake a job on the Shortage Occupation List, or study up to 15 hours per week

The current Creative and Sporting concession, allowing creative workers who are non-visa nationals with a valid certificate of sponsorship, to enter the UK to work for up to a maximum period of three months without prior entry clearance, will remain. Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Charity

121. A route for applicants who want to enter the UK to undertake unpaid voluntary work for a registered UK charity, advancing the charity’s primary purpose.

Who can apply?

122. Individuals of all nationalities who wish to work voluntarily for a registered UK charity for up to a maximum period of 12-months.

Table 17: Charity route conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Ministers of Religion and Religious Workers

123. There are two dedicated routes for religious institutions who wish to recruit from overseas. Ministers of Religion is a longer-term visa for those playing a leading role as faith leaders, leading congregations and preaching the essentials of the creed. Religious Worker is a temporary, short-term visa, providing for those undertaking nonpastoral roles, supporting the activities of religious institutions.

124. Existing provisions are balanced to meet the needs of those institutions and to ensure that those who come to the UK can integrate with the wider communities in which they live.

Who can apply?

125. Individuals of all nationalities who wish to play leading roles as either faith leaders (longer-term), or religious workers (temporary) filling short-term non-pastoral placements in a religious institution.

Table 18: Ministers of Religion conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language Yes Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement Yes
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Additional:

  • Applicants can undertake supplementary work at the same level as primary employment, undertake a job on the Shortage Occupation List, or study up to 15 hours per week.
  • A Minister of Religion applicant can do supplementary work, voluntary work, study (as long as it doesn’t interfere with the sponsored job) and travel abroad.
  • Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Table 19: Religious Workers (shorter-term) conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Additional:

  • Applicants can undertake supplementary work at the same level as primary employment, undertake a job on the Shortage Occupation List, or study up to 15 hours per week.
  • A worker for a religious institution must have an offer from the sponsor.
  • Any applicant as a Religious Worker must not have held entry clearance or leave to remain in the 12 months immediately prior to the application as a Religious Worker or Charity Worker.
  • Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Government Authorised Exchange

126. The UK Government is committed to facilitating international collaboration, cultural exchange and the sharing of best practice. Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) is a temporary work route that is aligned to UK growth and international development objectives. GAE schemes enable migrants to come to the UK to undertake training and work experience. The GAE route cannot be used to fill vacancies, all placements must be supernumerary.

127. Under the current non-EU system, there are 60 approved GAE schemes covering a wider range of sectors. There will be further consideration given to consolidating the current schemes.

Who can apply?

128. Any migrant, subject to immigration and criminality checks who is sponsored by an employer who is an approved scheme owner.

Table 20: Government Authorised Exchange conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) No*
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

*Exceptions do apply for those who:

  • are sponsored researchers who can switch to Global Talent;
  • have held a Tier 4 visa and have a UK Bachelor’s, Master’s degree, PGCE or PGDE during their last grant of leave;
  • are being sponsored to undertake postgraduate professional training or work experience which is required to obtain a professional qualification or registration in the same professional field as their qualification described above;
  • are being sponsored to undertake an internship for up to 12 months which is directly related to the qualification described above.

Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

International Agreement

129. This is a specialist route for those coming, under contract, to provide a service covered by international law. It includes:

  • private servants in diplomatic households;
  • employees of overseas governments and international organisations;
  • the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS);
  • similar agreements between the UK and another country or other countries.

130. The UK’s obligation to maintain visa arrangements required by international law, will continue after we leave the EU. However, the route will be reviewed in future to make improvements to its current form. The distinction between arrangements arising from international agreements and our obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations will be made clearer.

Who can apply?

131. Applicable to both EU and non-EU citizens.

Table 21: International Agreement conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country)* Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Settlement No
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work Yes

Additional:

  • Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).
  • This permission granted is of varying lengths, from six months to two years. Exact conditions and restrictions vary between sub-categories.

UK Ancestry

132. The UK Ancestry route allows Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born grandparent to come and live and work in the UK. The migrant will be able to come to the UK for five years and do any kind of work (including self-employment), at any skill level. Holders can apply to settle permanently in the UK after five years’ continuous residence.

Who can apply?

133. Applicants must be Commonwealth citizens and be able to prove that one of their grandparents was born in the UK or Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man).

134. In addition, applicants must meet the other eligibility requirements below.

Table 22: UK Ancestry conditions and requirements

Requirements Conditions and restrictions
English language No Capped No
Application fee Yes Switching – routes (in country) Yes
Immigration Skills Charge No Route to settlement Yes
Immigration Health Surcharge Yes Dependants Yes
Biometrics Yes Access to public funds No
Maintenance Yes Supplementary work N/A

Applicants must be receiving at least National Minimum Wage (exemptions apply to some schemes, e.g. Erasmus).

Additional information

135. Applicants do not need a job offer to come to the UK in this category, but must show they are able and intend to work. They can do any kind of work (including selfemployment) at any skill level. The work does not have to be with a licensed sponsor.

136. UK Ancestry visas are valid for five years, at the end of which holders can apply to settle permanently in the UK or extend their visa for a further five years.

137. English language is not required for an initial visa, but applicants must meet an English language requirement and pass the ‘Life in the UK’ test to qualify for settlement.

Further information

138. This document covers the draft requirements for the main work and study routes opening later this year. It will be followed by the final arrangements in the Immigration Rules and guidance for applicants. For all other routes, including the family route, from January 2021 EU citizens and their family members (who do not qualify under EUSS) will need to apply and qualify for entry or stay on the same basis as non-EU citizens.

139. The Points-Based System is being implemented in phases to ensure smooth delivery and allow sufficient time for everyone to adapt.

140. There are also other immigration routes beyond those outlined in this document, including:

  • Seasonal Workers pilot for agriculture: Further information has not been included on the Seasonal Workers pilot, as it will conclude at the end of 2020. The pilot will be fully reviewed, with a decision on whether it will continue under the Points-Based System being made later this year.
  • Overseas Domestic Workers: This route allows a domestic worker in a private household, that has worked for their employer for at least one-year (for example nannies or those providing personal care for the employer and their family), to visit the UK with their employer for up to six-months.

141. The UK Government is deeply concerned by China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong that restricts the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. We have a historic and moral obligation to British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong who elected to retain their ties to the UK, and we will honour our commitment to them. We will introduce a new immigration route for British Nationals (Overseas) and their immediate family dependents who are usually resident in Hong Kong, allowing them to live and work in the UK and providing a pathway to citizenship.

The border of the future

142. As part of the Points-Based System, we will implement a suite of changes allowing us to strengthen the security of our border. Our future border system will protect the public and enhance prosperity. Investment in border processes, biometrics and technology will result in a border that operates with a fully digital end-to-end customer journey, improving both security and the passage of legitimate travellers through the border.

143. As part of a phased programme to 2025, we will introduce a universal ‘permission to travel’ requirement which will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel to facilitate the passage of legitimate travellers whilst keeping threats away from the UK border. We will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling. Our ETA system will require applicants to undertake a light-touch application process, which will allow security checks to be conducted and more informed decisions taken on information obtained at an earlier stage, as to whether individuals should be allowed to travel to the UK. This will act as their permission to travel.

144. For British and Irish citizens, who do not require leave to enter the UK, their permission will be demonstrated by their passport. Irish citizens will not normally require permission and there will be no change to the arrangements for the Common Travel Area. For those coming to either work or study in the UK or as visa national visitors, their permission will be their visa, which we will develop into a digital status record. We aim to make the visa a digital document to replace the paper one.

145. At the border, a passport will be required to demonstrate identity. During 2021, EU citizens (other than those with protected rights under the Withdrawal Agreement) will have to use a passport rather than a national ID card to cross the border. We will announce further details on changes to border control procedures affecting EU citizens in due course, following the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship.

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