Tag Archives: UK Visas

Tier 5 Visa

Tier 5 Visa is an International Agreement Visa and is for people who are coming to the UK to do work which is covered by International law.

Points Requirement for a Tier 5 Visa

To qualify for a Tier 5 International Agreement visa you must score 40 points for by passing the Certificate of Sponsorship and Maintenance Requirements.

Certificates of Sponsorship (Maximum 30 Points)

To apply for a Tier 5 Visa you must have been issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed organisation.





General Agreement on Trade in Services Certificate of Sponsorship The employer must guarantee that:

  • You work for an employer or organisation of a country that:
    • Is a member of the World Trade Organisation, OR
    • Has a bilateral agreement with the UK or EU, OR
    • Is a member of the EU
  • You will do work that meets the Ts&Cs of the relevant international agreement
  • You work for an employer that was given the contract or will provide services to the UK client
30 Points
Overseas Government and International Organisation Certificate of Sponsorship The employer must guarantee that:

  • You will be hold a contract of employment with the overseas government / organisation
  • You will only do the job detailed on the CoS
  • You will not change to another International Agreement category.
30 Points
Private servants in diplomatic household Certificate of Sponsorship The employer must guarantee that:

  • You are 18+ years, AND
  • You are employed as a  private servant in the household of:
    • A member of staff of a diplomatic mission who has diplomatic privileges and immunity, OR
    • An official employed by an international organisation with certain privileges and immunities under UK or international law;
  • Are planning to work full-time in domestic employment, AND
  • Will not do any other job for the sponsor other than as a private servant for a named household; AND

Are going to leave the UK when your permission to stay has ended.

30 Points

Maintenance Requirement (Maximum 10 Points)

There are two ways to satisfy the mandatory Maintenance requirement detailed below.

Maintenance Attribute


You have £800+ in personal savings which has been in your account for 90+ days 10
An ‘A-Rated’ Tier 2 Licensed Sponsor is confirming on the Certificate of Sponsorship that it will maintain and accommodate you until the end of you first month of employment where required 10

Please note that if you are applying on the basis of bank statements the balance cannot drop even £1 below the minimum threshold in the qualification period otherwise the application will be refused.

More Tier 5 Information:
Tier 5 Youth Mobility
IT Consulting on Tier 5
Tier 5 Extension to Your Working Holiday
Tier 5 Creative and Sporting Visa

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!


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Got non-EEA Dependents? Money & Not Love Will Conquer All

On 11 June 2012 the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route. The changes came into effect for new applicants from the 9th July 2012 and were a response to the pressure on the government to reduce the number of immigrants. The expectation of the Home Office was that the changes would significantly reduce the number of family visas. The full details of the changes are available on UKBA’s website.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Family Migration enquiry was launched on 20 November 2012 to explore the impact of the new rules and their report was released yesterday. The main focus of the enquiry was on the following point:

The new minimum income requirement of £18,600 for British nationals and permanent residents (‘UK sponsors’) seeking to sponsor a non-EEA spouse or partner, rising to £22,400 to sponsor a child in addition and a further £2,400 for each further child included in the application; and the new rules on sponsorship of non-EEA adult dependents applying to come to the UK.

Over 280 submissions were received by the inquiry committee, including over 175 submissions from families who had been adversly affected by the rules. Charities, lawyers, local authorities, businesses and MPs submitted written evidence.
The key official findings are:

  1. Some British citizens and permanent residents in the UK, including people in full-time employment, have been separated from a non-EEA partner and in some cases their children as a result of the income requirement.
  2. Some British citizens and permanent residents have been prevented from returning to
    the UK with their non-EEA partner and any children as a result of the income requirement.
  3. Some children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a non-EEA parent as a result of the income requirement.
  4. The current permitted sources in order to meet the income requirement may not fully
    reflect the resources available to some families.
  5. The adult dependent relative visa category appears in effect to have been closed.

In general it is the rigid enforcement of the rules that is the problem. The proposed migrant’s salary cannot be taken into account when calculating the £18,600 even if they have a high salary. In practical terms it means that people with a right to live here cannot bring their high earning partner to live with them if they themselves are not working. They may be looking after their children and have no plans to work or to become a drain on the public purse. If their children were born in a non-EEA country and require a visa the bar to entry is set even higher. The UK misses out on the skills of the ‘dependent’ migrant and the income tax revenue from their high salary. Some people have had to claim benefits when that was never their plan and their children are then growing up in a low income one parent family. In parts of the UK average income levels are well below £18,600 and so that level of income is then not achievable.

The APPG Migration Group had this to say

We urge Government to consider the emerging evidence about what must be the unintended consequences of these rules, and hope they will agree the need fully to review whether, one year on from their introduction, these rules have struck the right balance between different interests.

Increasingly young people are working abroad as part of their career development and when starting a personal relationship are probably not thinking about the complexities of immigrations systems. It would be odd if they were. In the first flush of romance they are more likely to believe that love conquers all.

Do you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering or Finance?

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!

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UK Tier 2 Visa

This guide is directed at individual skilled professionals who would like to work in the UK on a sponsored Tier 2 visa work permit .


If you are a skilled individual wanting to work in the UK, our OISC registered partners can help your employer sponsor a Tier 2 work permit for you. If you have a contract offer, but the client can’t or does not want to sponsor you,  Our Partners may be able to help if:

  • The daily rate is >£250.00 + vat
  • The client is prepared to give a deliverables-based (and not an agency worker based) contract
  • The role is not one that can be readily filled by an EU resident

The solutions work particularly well in the IT, Engineering, and Financial spheres.  If you are in another sector, don’t worry, we can discuss your individual situation.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details now and we will get right back to you

Listed below is the index to our detailed guide to UK Tier 2 visas (work permits)


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Tier 1 Visas for High Value Individuals

How to extend your visa and get Permanent Residence

If you have a Highly Skilled Tier 1 (General) visa – well done.  You got in before the programme was closed to new entrants.

If you want to establish a UK base for the long term, it is essential that you ensure that you qualify to extend your visa.  Most people will need to extend twice; once after 2-3 years to get a second Tier 1 visa, and then again after a total of 5 years in the UK to get UK Permanent Residence (technically called Indefinite Leave to Remain or ILR).

At both the Tier 1 extension, and later UK Permanent Residence application, you will need to show that in the year before applying you continued to meet the Tier 1 criteria – ie that you have earned enough to get the required points.

Gaining points for your earnings can be more complicated for contractors.  With PAYE salary & bonus earnings, it is clear cut, but UKBA have more than once changed their treatment  of other types of earnings such as dividends paid by a personal service company, and Allowances paid to employees.

The treatment of expenses can make the difference between success and failure, especially for those on expat packages which including significant accommodation, schooling, and car allowances.  Such allowances may be included in your earnings in some circumstances but by default most tax-optimised allowance structures will not.  

Pension contributions can be structured so that they are part of your qualifying earnings, but the default treatment eg where an employer makes pension contributions on your behalf to a company scheme, is that they will not be included.  

By working with experts who understand both visas and contracting, you can ensure that your tax planning decisions are taken in the light of your needs to prove earnings for any visa extension applications, and so ensure the smoothest possible path along the usual steps of Tier 1 extension, then permanent Residence (ILR) and finally, if you so desire,  eventual UK nationality and passport.

Particularly for contractors, it is best to contact us and put things in place long in advance of making an application, and ideally in advance of the 12 month qualifying period during which your earnings will be assessed.  The ideal time to talk to us is two or more years in advance of making the application.  This can allow for the restructuring of allowances / expenses in ways that do not result in permanent tax losses, and for insurance against gaps in your contracting.

If, we have not been able to put in place advance insurance, and for example due to a career disaster, you are going to fall short of the required earnings during your qualifying period, then all is not necessarily lost.  You may well be able to ensure UK continuity by getting an employer-sponsored Tier 2 visa.  This gives you far less freedom than Tier 1,  but can be preferable to leaving the UK, particularly of after your career blip things are now looking positive.

Our partners offer solutions that work particularly well if you are a contractor,  but even if you are not, contact us and we can look at the options.  Our OISC registered partners can help you with visa extension applications, and can help an employer obtain a Tier 2 sponsorship licence and then sponsor you directly of that is needed.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!


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UK Visas

This guide is directed at individuals.


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Extending your Stay After a Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa

Are you already in the UK, working on a Tier 1 post study work visa, and looking to establish a long term visa and career in the UK?

We may be able to help.

If you can work for your prospective sponsor for 6 months before your visa expires,  your extension/sponsorship does not need to rely on there being no suitable locals.  (normally, unless you are in a ‘shortage occupation’, or earning a very high salary, you can only be sponsored if an advertising recruitment campaign does not yield suitable locals).

Our solutions work particularly well if you are a contractor,  but even if you are not, contact us and we can look at the options.  Our OISC registered partners may be able to help your client sponsor you directly if the contracting / outsourcing route is not appropriate.

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To find out more about our solutions call now on 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Check out our immigration guides for details on how Tier 2 work permit sponsorship can lead on to Indefinite leave to Remain (permanent residence) and then British nationality / passport.


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EU Contracting | Visa to Europe from the UK

The UK can be a great base from which to work on projects for clients across the EU especially financial services, engineering and IT jobs in Europe. If you have a UK work visa, EU laws relating to provision of services can allow your employer to send you to work at client sites on the continent without requiring a fresh work permit issued by the destination country.

Before you read on please note that this European Visas for contractors guide is directed at individuals.If you are an Agency: CLICK HERE for our agent’s guide to deploying non-EU nationals to meet the needs of your clients in Europe


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Pay Part Onshore and the Rest Offshore

Split Payroll

Some organisations have been known to structure Income payments between ‘Onshore’ and ‘Offshore’ by running a spit payroll. (more…)

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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 0330 390 9021 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 0330 390 9021 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!


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EU Blue Cards

The EU Blue Card will allow highly skilled migrants (and their families) to live and work in the European Union for an initial period of two years. At the moment the scheme is only live in a handful of countries, including Bulgaria. (more…)

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