Category Archives: UK Contracting

Immigration Compliance – For UK Agencies

It is very important to ensure that all of your Non EEA Contractors are 100% compliant with UK Immigration rules and practices otherwise you or your Client could face action from the UK Border Agency (UKBA)!

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with OISC Registered Immigration Advisors who can help to ensure that all Contractors are fully compliant with current UK Immigration requirements.

If you are concerned about Immigration Compliance and you would like to discuss you situation with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Immigration Compliance Audits

Immigration Compliance Audits conducted by OISC Registered Immigration Advisors are a very good idea if you engage a number of Non EEA nationals on contract assignments.

At Commonwealth Contractors our experienced partners specialise in undertaking Immigration Compliance Audits and are happy to advise on suitable solutions where issues arise.

Immigration Compliance Audits include;hecks

  • Visa / Immigration Employment Document Compliance Checks
  • Biometric Residence Permit Compliance Checks
  • Immigration Compliance Reports Highlighting Compliance & Non Compliance
  • Suggestions and Guidance for rectifying visa Issues

Immigration Compliance Audits not only highlight current issues that need to be resolved but they also bring to attention areas in which issues may be faced down the line. For example a highly skilled Australian’s visa is going to expire a few months down the line and the client is keen to retain him or her. In such as situation our partner may be able to advise on suitable solutions to retain the consultant long term.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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European Solutions for UK Work Visa Holders

Do you have a Client in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France or the Republic of Ireland with a high end contract requirement? Are you looking to assign migrants, who need a visa to work in Europe, who are UK Work Visa Holders? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help to secure the Contractor a Vander Elst Visa!

UK Work Visas does not allow the holder to work freely in another European Country (e.g. Germany). To do that an individual would either need to;

  • Secure a country specific work visa (e.g. German Work Permit), OR
  • Gain a Vander Elst Visa.

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with established Consultancies who can help to secure Vander Elst Visas in respect of highly skilled IT, Engineering and Financial Services Professionals.

If you have a European contract requirement and you would like to assign a Non EEA National on a temporary UK Work Visa contact Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details to find out more!

Visa Requirements

Please note that Vander Elst Visa requirements and processes vary from country to country.

In order to qualify for a Vander Elst Visa a Contractor must have at least 3 months remaining on their UK Work Visa. If the Contractor does not have at least 3 months remaining it is highly unlikely that they will be able to secure a Vander Elst Visa.

To qualify the Contractor will need to provide the following documents:

  • Fully completed and signed application form
  • Original Passport
  • Evidence of the Contractors right to reside in the UK (i.e. Tier 1 or Tier 2 Visa)
  • Employer Declaration of Employment
  • Contact Details for the Client
  • Medical Insurance (normally Travel Insurance Policy)

Although processes vary from country to country approval times are normally fairly quick (ranging from 2 to 14 days).

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Turn Overseas CVs into Cash! (Tier 2 Work Permits)

Are you finding it difficult to secure high end IT, Engineering, Healthcare or Financial Services skills in the UK? Do you know a Non EEA National who possesses the skills and would be ideal but lacks a UK Work Visa? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help!

At Commonwealth Contractors we specialise in working with Clients and Agencies over skill and experience combinations which are very difficult to find in the UK. Our consultancy partners are Tier 2 Licensed and may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a highly skilled professional on a Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit) for a project based assignment.

To discuss your situation and skill requirements with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Skills / Roles in Demand in the UK

Although only a handful of roles are officially considered to be in shortage in the UK many more are (in practice) very difficult to recruit for due to a lack of highly skilled residents.

If you are finding it difficult to secure certain skills in the UK our partner may be able to sponsor a consultant under Tier 2 General and assign him or her to your client.

Many of the roles detailed below are often hard to find in the UK;

Sector

Skills & Roles in Demand

Information Technology

Senior Business Analysts, Systems Consultants, Project Leaders, Senior Systems Analysts, Development Team Leaders, Senior Systems Developers, Systems Architects, Senior Software Engineers etc – Only these roles + significant experience and niche skills are hard to find in the UK.

Engineering

Civil Engineers (including Petroleum Engineers, Subsea Engineers, Drilling Engineers, Mining Engineers), Mechanical Engineers in the Aerospace Sector, Electric Engineers, Chemical Engineers, Design & Development Engineers, Production & Process Engineers, Planning & Quality Control Engineers etc

Healthcare

Consultant Level Doctors & Non Consultant Level Doctors specialising in certain specialities

Financial Services

Actuaries in Life Assurance, General Insurance and Health & Care, Project Based Accountants

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Extend Expat Contractor Visas

Do you know a Contractor whose UK Work Visa is expiring? Are they a highly skilled IT, Engineering, Actuary or Financial Services Professional? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help you extend their stay in the UK so that can continue to work on Contracts!

At Commonwealth Contractors we understand how valuable the right Consultant is! And we also understand how frustrating it can be to lose the right Consultant simply because a work visa is expiring.

If you know of a valuable Consultant whose work visa is expiring call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details to find out how we may be able to help you retain the Consultant past the expiry of his or her current visa!

Extend a Contractors stay – from Tier 1 Post Study Work

Tier 1 Post Study Work visas are valid for a period of 2 years from approval and non-extendable. The visa class is intended to be a bridge from Tier 4 Student to Tier 2 General (formerly the old UK Work Permit Scheme).

If you know of a high level consultant who is currently on Tier 1 Post Study Work and is capable of working on assignments for at least £250+ per day we may be able to help.

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with consultancy partners who may be prepared to take on a managed project and sponsor a consultant on a 3 year Tier 2 General Visa where required.

To find out more call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Extend a Contractors stay – from Tier 5 Youth Mobility

Each year hundreds of Australians and New Zealanders come to the UK on Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visas (formerly the old Working Holidaymaker Visa) to work as highly skilled IT Contractors, Accountants, Engineers etc. Historically many would transfer to Tier 1 General however this option is no longer available as the visa class has closed.

If one of your Consultants Tier 5 visas is due to expire in the next 3-6 months we may be able to help you transfer the Consultant from Tier 5 Youth Mobility to a 3 year Tier 2 General Visa. The process can be fairly straightforward (depending upon skills) however the Consultant will need to return to Australia / New Zealand for a 2 weeks to gain the new visa.

Extend a Contractors stay – from Tier 1 General

Occasionally a highly skilled professional on a Tier 1 General Visa (formerly HSMP) is unable to extend his or her visa for a further 2 years. This may be down to a lack of previous earnings, insufficient funds to validate the maintenance requirement or even an inadequate payment vehicle (e.g. Offshore Payments).

This can be a very frustrating situation as the Consultant (who is no doubt on a daily billing rate of £350+ per day) can no longer apply for a fresh visa due to the expiry of the Tier 1 General Visa class.

If you are working with a Consultant whose Tier 1 General visa is going to expire Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help you transfer him from a Tier 1 General Visa to a Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit) where required. The process is fairly straightforward if skill and experience combinations are niche and very difficult to find in the UK

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Information for UK Agencies

Are you finding it difficult to secure high end skills in the UK? Would you like to arrange to extend one of your Contractors visas? Or maybe you need to ensure that all of your Non EEA Contractors are 100% Visa Compliant? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help!

At Commonwealth Contractors we specialise in working with high level IT, Engineering, Medical and Financial Services Consultants from countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). Over the years we have helped countless agencies, clients and consultants solve issues and make the most of contracting in the UK.

Our Solutions include;

To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors and to discuss your situation with a professional Consultant either call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

OISC Registered Partners

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with OISC registered Immigration Partners that specialise in dealing with highly skilled visa applications & extensions.

Commonwealth Contractors is the only organisation in the UK to offer comprehensive contracting & application / extension solutions to UK based agencies, clients and consultants.

Immigration Compliance

There have been more changes to the UK Immigration system since the introduction of the Points Based Immigration System in 2008 than the whole of the 20th Century put together!

Our OISC Immigration Partners can help to ensure that;

  • You stay compliant with all of the latest rules & regulations
  • Your business adapts to the ever changing Immigration landscape
  • Unique solutions are put in place to allow you to gain an advantage over the competition

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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IT Consulting – On UK Ancestry

If you’re an IT Consultant from Australia or New Zealand and you hold a UK Ancestry Visa you’re in a very fortunate position! There’s no need to worry about transferring to Tier 2 General (UK Work Permit), all you need to worry about is maximising your UK Contract income!

At Commonwealth Contractors we specialise in working with highly skilled IT Consultants from Australia and New Zealand. Our solutions are specifically designed to help you make the most out of contracting in the UK and maximise your UK contract income during your stay!

To find out more about contracting with Commonwealth Contractors speak to an experienced Consultant now by calling 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Benefits for working with Commonwealth Contractors

There are many benefits to working with Commonwealth Contractors including;

  • Market Leading Retention Rates – Our expertise in working with highly skilled Australians & New Zealanders allows us to maximise retention and offer market leading remuneration packages
  • Extensive Expense Policy – It may be possible to claim extensive expenses including;
    • Accommodation & Utilities
    • Flights to and from the UK
    • Travel and Subsistence Costs
    • Computer Supplies
    • Business Telecoms
    • Professional Training Costs
    • Manuals and Textbooks
    • Postage and Stationary costs
  • Employment Letters – for organisation which require work references e.g. Banks
  • Full Stamped & Signed Payslips
  • Professional Assistance with future Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Applications
  • Up to date Immigration advice and guidance to help you prepare for changes
  • Dedicated Account Managers
  • Help and support with UK Bank Accounts and National Insurance Numbers
  • The ability to take on European Assignments (see below)

European Assignments and UK Ancestry Visas

A UK Ancestry Visa will only afford you work rights for the United Kingdom, not the rest of the European Union. It is not until you have secured UK Citizenship and a British Passport that you can work freely throughout the European Economic Area.

However, if you have a potential IT Contract in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France or the Republic of Ireland Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help. As part of an established consultancy it may be possible for you to go about delivering IT Consultancy services in another area of the EEA without having to secure a country specific work permit.

At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms & Tier 2 Licensed IT Consultancies that regularly undertake international IT assignments. Where assignments are undertaken in other EEA countries our consultancy partners are happy, where required, to work with employees to gain satisfactory work authorisation.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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IT Consulting – On Tier 5 Youth Mobility

In the old days IT Consultants on Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visas used to move to Tier 1 General Visas to stay in the UK long term. However, now that Tier 1 General has been cancelled the only option is to find a Tier 2 Licensed Sponsor and move to a UK Work Permit (Tier 2 General Visa). Many IT Consultants from Australia and New Zealand find that working in the UK / Europe for 2 to 5 years really helps to expand their professional experience. Back home it may be more difficult to build experience quickly due to a smaller jobs market however historically the UK has offered many opportunities for development. If you’re a highly skilled IT Consultant who is currently consulting in the UK on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa and you would like to continue building your professional experience in the UK contact Commonwealth Contractors now to find out how we can help you move to Tier 2 General. At Commonwealth Contractors we work with Tier 2 Licensed Clients, Employers & Consultancies who may, where required, sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 General Visa. To find out more call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Benefits of IT Consulting on Tier 2 General

There are many benefits to working as a highly skilled IT Consultant on a Tier 2 General Visa, including;

  • Long Term Work Rights – Tier 2 visas are initially approved for 3 years but may be extended for a further 2 years where required
  • Quick Visa Processing Times – The actual application back in Australia or New Zealand is normally very quick at only 5 to 10 working days. However preparation for the transfer can take a while so make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute!
  • Varied Assignments – Work on as many or as few assignments as you wish
  • Market Leading Remuneration – Consultants working on Tier 2 normally work on higher value projects over the course of 3-5 years. A Consultant may start off working on £300 per day assignments in year 1 but with experience they may be working on £500 per day assignments after 5 years
  • Claimable Business Expenses – It may be possible to claim expenses including; accommodation, visa costs, flights home, travel and subsistence, training costs, computer supplies, postage and stationary etc

Permanent Residence Applications

Unfortunately time spent on Tier 5 Youth Mobility does not count toward Permanent Residence in the UK, however time spent on Tier 2 General does. In order to qualify for Permanent Residence you must spend at least 5 unbroken years in the UK. Unbroken periods are considered to be any more than 90 days in any one year. If a Permanent Residence run is broken the qualification period is reset.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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IT Consulting – On Tier 1 Post Study Work

Tier 1 Post Study Work visas are ideal for building your professional experience and with it your hourly or daily rate! However, if you hold the visa you need to think about a future transition to Tier 2 General as soon as possible otherwise you may end up missing out on a transfer.

Now that Tier 1 General (formerly the HSMP) has been cancelled the only option for remaining in the UK past the expiry of a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa is to secure Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship with a UKBA licensed employer.

If you’re a highly skilled IT Consultant who is currently consulting in the UK on a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa contact Commonwealth Contractors now to find out how we can help you ‘switch’ to Tier 2 General.

At Commonwealth Contractors we work with Tier 2 Licensed Clients, Employers & Consultancies who may, where required, sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 General Visa.

To find out more call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Why is it important to find a Sponsor early?

It is really important to find a prospective sponsor as soon as possible as the longer you leave it the harder it becomes.

Normally under Tier 2 General a sponsor will have to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) if the role is not listed on the Shortage Occupation list. However, there is a special exemption from the RLMT where a sponsor employs a migrant on a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa for a minimum 6 months in a qualifying role.

This exemption is important because many recent graduates lack the niche technical skills and extensive professional experience to allow the sponsor to pass the Resident Labour Market Test successfully.

Please note that in order to prove that you have worked for the sponsor you need to provide with the application either;

  • Payslips covering the full specified period from your employer (payslips should be stamped and signed), OR
  • Personal Bank Statements / Building Society Pass Book showing payments made to you covering the full specified period from the sponsor

Therefore because the proof of employment is based on payments & earnings (rather than an employment reference) you actually need to work for the sponsor for at least a minimum 7 to 8 months depending upon the employer’s payroll system.

Many employers pay ‘1 month in arrears’ therefore you need to start working for the sponsor at least 8 months before the expiry of your Tier 1 PSW visa.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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IT Consulting – On Tier 2 General

Are you a highly skilled IT Consultant? Do you need a Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit)? Would you like to work on IT Projects in the UK? If so Commonwealth Contractors may be able to help! At Commonwealth Contractors we work with Clients, Employers & Consultancies who are actively looking for high level IT Consultants with skill sets in demand in the UK. Many of our partners are Tier 2 Licensed and are prepared, where required, to offer Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship to secure the right individual. To find out more about securing Tier 2 Work Permit Sponsorship with a Tier 2 Licensed Sponsor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Benefits of IT Consulting on a Tier 2 General Visa

There are many benefits to IT Consulting on a Tier 2 General Visa, including;

VARIED ASSIGNMENTS

Tier 2 General is a relatively restrictive employer sponsored visa. Therefore if you secure sponsorship for an ‘in house’ role you may find that you are stuck in the same position for 5 years before securing ILR. For many progressive IT consultants this stagnation can be very depressing.Alternatively working for a Consultancy offers the chance to work on many varied client facing assignments where opportunities for development are plentiful. After 5 years you could have delivered 10 – 20 projects and command a salary far in advance of ‘in house’ rivals.

MARKET LEADING REMUNERATION

Project rates normally increase from assignment to assignment. A Consultant who starts off on a project rate of £300 per day may go on to deliver other assignments at £350, £450, £500+ per day etc.Personal remuneration normally increases in line with project billing value.

EXTENSIVE EXPENSE POLICY

Our Consultancy Partners have extensive expense policies which generally include;

  • Accommodation & Utilities
  • Flights Home
  • Travel Expenses
  • Subsistence Expenses
  • Visa Costs
  • Computer Supplies
  • Training Manuals & Textbooks
  • Postage & Stationary etc

LONG TERM TIER 2 WORK RIGHTS

Tier 2 General Visas are normally approved for an initial term of 3 years however they may be extended for a further 2 years where further projects are in the pipeline

The United Kingdom is fairly well stocked for highly skilled IT professionals however unofficial skill shortages do exist in certain technical skill and experience combinations. Where such high end shortages are present companies frequently turn to those from outside of the European Union to solve the problem, in which case a Tier 2 General Visa may be offered. Many of our Clients are in need of highly skilled & experienced;

  • Senior Business Analysts
  • Systems Consultants
  • Project Leaders
  • Senior Systems Analysts
  • Development Team Leaders
  • Senior Systems Developers
  • Systems Architects
  • Senior Software Engineers

Click here to read about Big Data opportunities.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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IT Consulting – On Tier 1 General (HSMP)

Are you a highly skilled IT Consultant? Do you hold a Tier 1 General Visa? If so Commonwealth Contractors can maximise your contract earnings AND help you to qualify for a Tier 1 visa extension or ILR!

If you possess a Tier 1 General visa you’re in a very fortunate situation as now that the visa class has been cancelled the only other real option is a restrictive employer sponsored Tier 2 General Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Tier 1 General gives the holder a large degree of freedom however if you possess the visa and you would like to work as an IT Contractor you need to be careful to pick your steps carefully. If you go for the ‘quick wins’ and use a contracting vehicle that is to tax efficient you could find that you fail in your all important visa extension.

At Commonwealth Contractors we have developed a Contracting Solution specifically for highly skilled IT Consultants on Tier 1 General visas.

To discuss your situation with an experienced professional call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Qualifying for a Tier 1 Extension

Traditional contracting solutions (i.e. Umbrella Companies, Contractor Limited Companies, Offshore Payment Vehicles etc) can cause major problems when it comes to extending a Tier 1 General Visa.

At Commonwealth Contractors our specifically designed Tier 1 General Solution includes;

  • A professionally represented Tier 1 General Extension application (terms apply)
  • Market leading retention rates (maximise your net contract retention today!)
  • Tier 1 application planning to ensure you meet all requirements
  • European Contracting Solutions – take on assignments in;
    • Germany
    • Belgium
    • The Netherlands
    • Republic of Ireland etc
  • Claimable Business Expenses, including;
  • Accommodation & Utilities
  • Travel & Subsistence
  • Flights to a from the UK
  • Visa Costs (reclaim government and professional fees)
  • Computer Supplies
  • Manuals & Textbooks
  • Postage & Stationary

To find out more call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Qualifying for Indefinite Leave

At the moment you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as Permanent Residence) if you spend at least 5 unbroken years in the UK on a Tier 1 General Visa (please note that a break is considered to be any more than 90 days in any one year).

At Commonwealth Contractors our IT Consultants benefit from;

  • Professionally represented Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications
  • Employment Letters & References to validate employment income
  • Up to date news regarding changes to the ILR system
  • Guidance on contracting solutions post ILR

Switching to Tier 2 General

If you’re unable to qualify for a Tier 1 extension don’t despair, as you may be able to ‘switch’ in country from Tier 1 General to Tier 2 General.

Each year many highly skilled IT Consultants find that they are unable to qualify for a Tier 1 extension, with reasons including;

Insufficient earnings during the qualification period
Insufficient funds to validate the maintenance requirement
Inability to prove earnings due to the payment structure used e.g. Contractor Limited Company or Offshore Payment Vehicle

At Commonwealth Contractors our Tier 2 licensed consultancy partners may be able to assign an unrestricted Certificate of Sponsorship and transfer you from Tier 1 General to Tier 2 General (formerly the old UK Work Permit scheme) where a project based assignment exists for a minimum £250 per day for a minimum 3 month period.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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