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How can a Ukrainian apply for a work visa to the UK?

Many Ukrainians tend to work abroad now to earn more money for their families. Some of them even migrate abroad to work and live in better conditions. Recently people from Ukraine started to pay attention to the vacancies in the UK because it is an opportunity to be realized and climb the career ladder. Foreign employers need new experienced and competent employees and are ready to hire qualified specialists from Ukraine and other countries.

To apply for a work visa to the UK, you need to check first if your job position is on the in-demand list, otherwise, it will be pretty hard to get a work visa. Then you need to prove your language skills with a certificate. If everything is fine, then gather all necessary documents and apply for a visa at the official website or go to an official visa center in Kyiv TLS Contact.

Which type of visa should I apply for?

To understand which type of visa you need to apply for, you need to go to the official British Council and figure it out with the help of a simple and short questionnaire. You can also verify this information with your employer in the UK.

The unemployment rate in the country is declining annually – now it is 4.1%. And in terms of the number of residence permits issued among the EU countries, the UK is leading. The state issued 25.8% of the total number of residence permits in 2016. But keep in mind that the competition is very high.

If you are a specialist with the required qualifications and skills, then you can count on more than a job. British employers are very meticulous and take into account many points when choosing a candidate: education, experience, personal achievements, recommendations, level of language proficiency, etc.

It is would be great if your specialty falls into the list of professions that are in short supply. These are programmers, engineers, architects, scientists, doctors, ecologists, analysts, creative people, etc. If you are highly qualified, the most profitable way to get a job in the country is through the HSMP program (now a Tier 1 visa). Low-skilled employees in the field of agriculture, restaurant, and hotel business are also in demand.

Keep in mind that you have to determine if your education is comparable with UK standards and if your professional experience and specialty will be in demand in the country. Visit the website of the state agency NARIC to get all the information related to employment.

What level of English language should I have?

You’ll need to prove your proficiency in the English language when you apply unless you did this in a previous successful visa application. The level of English knowledge for a work visa is minimum B1 due to the CEFR scale.

You must prove you can read, write, speak, and understand English to at least level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

There are 2 types of tests. This is because different immigration routes require different levels of English language ability – UKVI and Life Skills. The test you will need to take depends on what you are applying for. Usually, the candidates who apply for a work visa (Tier 1 or Tier 2) are taking the UKVI tests.

You can only take a SELT in Ukraine with one of the following providers:

  • IELTS SELT Consortium
  • LanguageCert
  • Pearson

For your results to be accepted, your test must:

  • be on the list of approved English language tests
  • have been set at an approved test location
  • have been awarded in the two years before the date of your application

What documents do I need to apply for a visa?

When you apply you’ll need to provide:

  • your certificate of sponsorship reference number – your employer will give you this
  • proof of your knowledge of English
  • a valid passport or other documents that shows your identity and nationality
  • your job title and annual salary
  • your job’s occupation code
  • the name of your employer and their sponsor license number – this will be on your certificate of sponsorship

Ask your employer for a copy of your certificate of sponsorship if you do not have one.

If your certificate of sponsorship was issued before 1 December 2020, your certificate of sponsorship would need to be updated. That's because the Tier 2 (General) work visa was replaced by the Skilled Worker visa just recently and it's possible that the certification given to you is not updated.

How to apply?

You have to apply online — click here to get started with your application. Your partner or children will need to apply separately.

As part of your application, you’ll need to prove your identity. How you do this depends on where you’re from and what type of passport you have.

You’ll either:

  • have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application center – this is to get a biometric residence permit
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan your identity document – you’ll also create or sign in to your UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account

You’ll be told what you need to do when you apply.

If you do need an appointment:

  • the center may need to keep your passport and documents while they process your application
  • you may have to travel to get to your nearest visa application center

How long does it take to get a decision?

Once you’ve applied online, proved your identity, and provided your documents, you’ll usually get a decision within 3 weeks.

You’ll be contacted if your application will take longer, for example, because:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend an interview
  • of your personal circumstances, for example, if you have a criminal conviction

If you’ve applied through a visa application center, find out if you can pay to get a faster decision – this depends on where you’re applying from.

After you apply

You can ask to cancel your application. You’ll only get your fee refunded if UKVI has not started processing your application.

You’ll get an email containing the decision on your application. This will explain what you need to do next.

How much it costs?

To see the whole picture, we need to divide it into steps:

  • English language certificate (IELTS, LanguageCert, Pearson). To officially get a job, you need to speak English at least B1 level according to the common European system CERF. The test cost 5100 UAH.
  • Registration of a sponsorship certificate. The employer is also involved in this – the document guarantees your integrity for the duration of the contract with the company. To issue a certificate, the company must have a sponsorship license. This is paid by the employer.
  • Recognition of qualifications. Often, education received outside of England will have to be officially confirmed in the kingdom. Contact NARIC to determine if your documents comply with local regulations or clarify this with your employer. Here's the rundown of the costs: Visas and Nationality Service (English proficiency) – £140.00 + VAT*; Visas and Nationality Service (Ph.D. verification) – £210.00 + VAT*; Visas and Nationality Service (Ph.D. verification with English proficiency) – £210.00 + VAT*.
  • Visa application. It depends on which visa you are applying for, but in both cases, you'll need to pay the healthcare surcharge, the application fee, and you must have money to support yourself (in case your employer won't support you). We will describe the whole process below.

When you apply for a Tier 1 or Skilled Worker visa (Tier 2), you’ll need to have enough money to:

  • pay the application fee – the standard fee ranges from £610 to £1,220 per person depending on your circumstances
  • pay the healthcare surcharge – this is usually £624 per year
  • support yourself when you arrive in the UK – you’ll usually need to have at least £1,270 available (unless you’re exempt)

You’ll pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list. You’ll be told how much you need to pay when you apply.

If your job is on the shortage occupation list, 

You and your family will pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list.

The fee for each person applying is:

  • £464 if you’re staying for up to 3 years
  • £928 if you’re staying for more than 3 years

Money to support yourself

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK.

You will need to have had the money available for at least 28 days in a row. Day 28 must be within 31 days of applying for this visa.

You’ll usually need to show proof of this when you apply, unless either:

  • you’ve been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months
  • your employer can cover your costs during your first month in the UK, up to £1,270

Your partner and children will also need to prove they can support themselves while they’re in the UK:

  • £285 for your partner
  • £315 for one child
  • £200 for each additional child

Can I bring my family with me?

Yes, you can bring them with you, but they have to apply to join you or to stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they’re eligible. If their application is successful, their visa will end on the same date as yours.

A dependant partner or child is any of the following:

  • your husband, wife, civil partner, or unmarried partner
  • your child under 18 – including if they were born in the UK during your stay
  • your child over 18 if they’re currently in the UK as your dependant

You’ll need to provide evidence of your relationship when you apply.

Your partner

You must be able to prove that either:

  • you’re in a civil partnership or marriage that’s recognized in the UK
  • you’ve been living together in a relationship for at least 2 years when you apply

If your child is 16 or over

They must:

  • live with you (unless they’re in full-time education at boarding school, college, or university)
  • not be married, in a civil partnership, or have any children
  • be financially supported by you

If your child lives with you, you’ll need to provide evidence of their address such as:

  • a bank statement
  • credit card bills
  • driving license
  • NHS registration document
  • an official letter from their university or college

Apply from outside the UK

Your partner and children must either:

Each family member will need to complete a separate application and pay the visa fee.

They’ll also need your application number – you’ll get this when you apply. This number is called a Global Web Form (GWF) or a Unique Application Number (UAN). You’ll find it in emails and letters from the Home Office about your application.

Proving their identity

As part of their application, your partner and children will need to prove their identity.

They’ll either:

  • have their fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application center – this is to get a biometric residence permit
  • use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document – they’ll also create or sign in to their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account

They’ll be told what they need to do when they apply.

If they do need an appointment:

  • the visa application center may need to keep their passport and documents while they process their application
  • they may have to travel to get to their nearest center

What should I do if I change a job or employer?

You’ll need to apply to update your Tier 1 or Skilled Worker (Tier 2 (General)) work visa if:

  • you want to change your job and your new job is with a different employer
  • your job changes to a different occupation code and you’re not in a graduate training program
  • you leave a job that’s on the shortage occupation list for a job that is not on the list

You do not need to apply again if you stay in the same job, but your job is taken off the shortage occupation list.

If you’ll be doing a different job for your current employer, you only need to apply to update your visa if your new job is in a different occupation code.

Your partner or children will need to apply separately.

If you’re applying to add a second job to your current visa

You must apply to update your visa if you take on a second job that is either:

  • more than 20 paid hours a week in addition to the job you’re being sponsored for
  • in a different occupation code

Your second job must meet the eligibility requirements and you’ll need a new certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

You’ll also need to include a letter with your application explaining that you want to change your current permission to stay.

Your letter must state:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • the reference number of your current certificate of sponsorship
  • the date when your current permission to stay runs out

If your application is successful, you’ll get a new visa giving you permission to do both jobs.

There's no need to apply to update your visa if you’re taking on additional work in the same occupation code or you’ll be doing less than 20 paid hours a week.

What do I do if I get rejected?

If you get a visa refusal letter, you can:

  • Reapply after the refusal of an entry clearance application
  • opt for reconsideration, which has a limited scope and is only possible for certain types of leave to remain applications
  • lodge an appeal if there is a right of appeal. For instance, an applicant can file an immigration appeal against a spouse visa refusal on human rights grounds. However, the immigration appeal time limit is 10, 5, and 28 days for in-country, detention, and entry clearance appeals
  • file an Administrative Review (AR), which is mostly available after the refusal of point-based (PBS), leave to remain, and ILR application with no right of appeal. Therefore, it is not available to certain types of applicants such as visitors, spouses, family settlement, etc. Moreover, an applicant needs to file an Administrative Review within 28 or 14 days after the UK visa refusal letter
  • opts for Judicial Review (JR) if there is no right of appeal and there are errors in the decision. Moreover, if an applicant has a right to an AR then can only file a judicial review after AR. However, an applicant should file a judicial review promptly and in any event, within 3 months of the UK visa refusal letter

There is no straight-forward answer for when to appeal or reapply after UK visa refusal. For instance, after getting a visitor visa refusal, a proper reapplication may still be effective. However, in the case of a 10-year reentry or deception ban, there are no realistic chances of getting a visa after a reapplication. And a legal challenge is inevitable. Moreover, usually a reapplication after the refusal of leave to remain or ILR application may not be possible. Therefore, depending on the type of the application and nature of the refusal one can reapply, file a reconsideration request, appeal, administrative review (AR), or judicial review (JR).

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