Immigration to UK | The comprehensive Guide
Do you aspire to immigrate to Britain? Are you wondering about the procedures for applying for a travel visa and how to find work there?
You have come to the right place, because in today’s article we are going to give you the comprehensive guide to living and working in the UK. From obtaining a visa to finding a suitable job opportunity and obtaining a permanent residence permit.
All you have to do is keep reading to the end!
Quick facts about the UK
Here are some quick facts to know when considering traveling to the UK:
- The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and has a total population of about 66 million.
- The English are a people who love sports, as football, rugby and polo have all appeared in Britain.
- The English people are among the countries that drink the most tea (165 million cups of tea are drunk daily in the UK).
- Britain ranks sixth among the world’s best economies in terms of GDP.
- London is the first city in the world where the Underground system was built.
- The United Kingdom witnessed the birth of many world greats such as: Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and Stephen Hawking.
- To illustrate a simple misunderstanding, England, Wales and Scotland are called “Great Britain”. When Northern Ireland is added, the entirety of these areas is called the “United Kingdom”.
It is also important to know some useful practical information about the UK before making the decision to immigrate to it. Here is some of that information:
- Currency: the pound sterling.
- Languages used: English is the official language, in addition to regional languages including: Irish, Gaelic, Scottish and Cornish.
- Races and ethnicities: Whites (87%), Asians (7%), blacks (3%), mixed races (2%), and Irish travelers (0.1%).
- Major cities: London, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.
Pros and cons of immigration to Britain
When thinking about emigrating abroad, it is necessary first to compare the pros and cons of making this decision. As much as it seems to you that immigrating to live and work in the UK is a very positive thing, there are undoubtedly some negatives as well.
Here is a simple comparison between the pros and cons of immigrating to Britain.
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Pros of immigration to Britain
- The UK has an excellent education system with very strong schools (private and public), and it is the birthplace of many world-renowned universities such as Cambridge and Oxford.
- The cost of living is relatively low in most UK cities except for London (which is one of the most expensive cities in the world).
- Despite the recent European economic slowdown, the British pound has remained relatively strong with plenty of job opportunities for young people (the UK is the number one foreign destination for recent graduates from Australia and New Zealand).
- All legal residents of the UK have free health care.
- The United Kingdom has a long history and many distinctive archaeological sites, and most of these sites are open to visitors free of charge without any fees.
- Britain is the most suitable place to start exploring Europe, as London is an important crossroads for different modes of transport, so you can get plane tickets to anywhere in Europe at low prices due to the intense competition between airlines.
- The United Kingdom is known to be an immigrant friendly country. The city of London represents a very diverse cultural fabric, with 270 different nationalities and more than 300 languages spoken.
- The country has an excellent public transport system, as all towns and villages are linked to a modern railway system.
- In the UK you can find a landscape to suit everyone’s taste, including swampy lands, ancient woodlands, countryside, charming beaches and parks. Whatever your preference, you will find it in the UK.
- If you are a music lover, Britain is a very suitable place to migrate to, as the UK hosts many music festivals and carnivals every year.
Disadvantages of immigrating to Britain
Here are some of the downsides to living in Britain, according to the opinions of immigrants who live there:
- Britain is known for its fickle weather, with rain and cloudy skies the usual weather in the country even during the summer. Not only that, weather is one of the most popular topics for small chats and chats.
- While there are many foreign restaurants across Britain, English cuisine in general is tasteless and food is often overcooked.
- Fuel and gasoline prices are very high.
- Taxes on cigarettes and women’s personal care products are very high, making Britain one of the most expensive countries in Europe.
- Rent prices are so high in the big cities that it’s no surprise that you’d pay £1,000 a month for a single room in a shared house.
- Undergraduate costs are also high, with an average undergraduate study at a UK university costing around £10,000 per month.
- While the United Kingdom is known for its tolerance and acceptance of difference, some religions are not welcome, and recently many anti-Islam movements have emerged in a number of cities around the country.
- Teachers, doctors, and nurses generally receive lower wages than other developed countries.
Obtaining a visa to travel to Britain and find work
There are a number of different visas that can be obtained when visiting the UK, including: tourist visa, student visa, work visa and permanent residence visas.
The following is an explanation of these types and their details:
1- Visitor’s Visa
It is a visa that allows its holder to stay in the United Kingdom for a maximum period of six months.
2- Tourist Visa
It is a visa granted to people coming from outside the European Economic Area. The conditions for obtaining it are as follows:
- The age of the applicant should not be less than 18 years.
- The period of stay should not exceed 6 months.
- The applicant intends to leave the UK after the end of his visit.
- Have enough money to cover the expenses of the visit.
- Own a return ticket to his country.
Tourist visa holders are not allowed to work, study, marry or enter into any civil partnership relationship while they are in the UK, nor can they undergo any treatment in private health institutions.
3- Tier 4 Student Visa
It is awarded to adult students wishing to come to the UK with the aim of completing their post-secondary education. Where this visa is granted based on a points system, the applicant must meet certain conditions and criteria.
As for the most important conditions, they are as follows:
- Holders of this visa are not allowed to work more than 16 hours per week.
- The applicant for a student visa must attach a letter of acceptance from a university or academic institution in Britain and have sufficient funding to cover his full expenses for the duration of his stay in the country.
- The applicant must attach medical and health records (depending on their current country of residence).
4- Student Visitor visa
It is a visa for adults who wish to study in the UK for a short period of time (6 months or less). It is mostly popular with students who want to take a short English language course.
- Holders of this visa cannot extend their stay at all.
- They are also not allowed to do any paid work.
- The applicant must have already obtained an acceptance to study at one of the accredited academic institutions or institutions.
The eligibility criteria and conditions for obtaining a work visa are determined based on a points system. Below are the types of work visas available for travel to Britain:
1- High Value Migrants
They are immigrants who are able to fill vacancies that are in high demand, as there are several types of visas granted to these people:
- Tier 1 Visa for Exceptional Talent
or Tier 1 – Exceptional Talent for those who have been recognized as global leaders or potential future leaders in the arts and sciences.
- Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa
or Tier 1 – Entrepreneur for non-European immigrants wishing to invest in the UK by setting up or buying a business.
- General Tier 1 visa
or Tier 1 – General, which allows highly skilled people to find work or self-employment opportunities in the UK.
The holders of this visa can search for a job without the need for an agent (company, or a sponsoring employer), and they can also work for themselves. However, it should be noted that it is only granted to current residents of Britain.
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2- Skilled Workers Visa
It is a visa available to applicants who are proficient in a high-demand trade, and is only granted to immigrants currently residing in the UK, or EU citizens.
Applicants for this visa need to provide the authorities with their biometric information (hand and face fingerprints) in order to obtain a biometric residence permit. As for the conditions for obtaining this visa, they are as follows:
- The age of the applicant should not be less than 18 years.
- Proof of current place and address of residence in the UK.
- Provide references from the previous employer and possess an academic qualification relevant to the job.
- Pass the language proficiency test A2 and prove the ability to communicate during the personal interview, if necessary.
3- Temporary Workers visa
The duration of this visa is 2 years (depending on the applicant’s home country). It allows individuals to work in the UK for a specified period of time in return for a salary or monthly income. It is usually awarded to athletes, artists, members of religious groups and charities, government employees, and youth program workers.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
- It is necessary to have an effective passport and an official letter of invitation to Britain.
- The necessity of having the appropriate competencies and skills for the job.
- All applicants for residency for more than 6 months must provide evidence that they are free of diseases and in good health.
Obtaining permanent residence and possession of British citizenship
To obtain British citizenship, the applicant must have resided in the UK for at least 5 consecutive years, and must not spend more than 450 days outside the country during this period. He must also have obtained a permanent residence permit or an unlimited leave permit for a period of one year.
All applicants for British citizenship must have a clean criminal record in the UK free of any misdemeanour (including any unpaid fines or driving offenses).
The other conditions for obtaining British citizenship are as follows:
- The age of the applicant should not be less than 18 years.
- To be in good health, both physically and mentally.
- He intends to continue living in the UK.
- Ability to communicate in English.
- Successfully pass the Life in the UK or the ESL exam.
What about investing in the UK?
Perhaps you want to immigrate to Britain to start your own business, which is feasible and straightforward and the application steps to start an investment in the UK are the same for English and non-Englishmen.
You can apply as a sole trader, LLC owner or build a partnership. Below is an explanation of each of these options:
This is the easiest way to start investing in Britain.
First you have to get a visa and establish a self-employment business, and then you can choose to work on your own or to hire other people.
You also need the following:
- National Insurance Number.
- Register with the HMRC Individual Assessment Tax.
- Give a name to your project.
Thus, you will be fully responsible for everything related to your project, including debts, invoices, records, etc.
Entrepreneurs can set up their own limited company in the UK if they can meet certain criteria and conditions. In this case, they must appoint persons to manage and register the company and also register the company in the Companies House.
A businessman who establishes a limited company in Britain will have two primary roles, as he is an employee and owner of a company at the same time, where tax is deducted from his own income and from the income of the company separately.
In order to be able to set up your limited company in the UK, you must:
- Own a company name and mailing address.
- The company is registered in the Companies Register.
- You have one or more directors.
- You have one or more partners.
- You get permission from the Corporation Tax Service.
Under this type of investment, all partners have equal responsibility towards the investment, as they must:
- Obtain a self-assessment from the HMRC Tax Assessment.
- Naming their investment business and applying for a trademark.
- Managing the business individually.
- Share profits equally with all partners.
Registering a branch of your company in the UK
The United Kingdom (and the City of London in particular) is a global economic center, with many companies around the world choosing to establish subsidiaries on English soil.
Those wishing to do so must have their company’s postal address in the UK and apply to the UK Companies House.
Anyone wishing to start an investment project in the UK must obtain a legal license, as there are several types of licenses depending on the type of project or investment.
It is also worth noting that everyone who wants to open a business in the UK has a UK bank account in the name of the company, and it is not possible to use an existing account.
Thus, we have provided you with the comprehensive guide on immigration to Britain and the types of visas and residence permits there. You can view the various opportunities available in the UK through our website. Or you can read more about immigration options to a number of other countries around the world.
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