Migrate To The United Kingdom (UK), As a highly skilled professional, you may have ambitions to move abroad for career opportunities and life experiences not available in your home country. The United Kingdom has a proud history of attracting top talent from around the world and providing fertile ground for career and business success. If you have your sights set on migrating to the UK, there are several visa options available depending on your skills, experience, and aspirations. With the right preparation and guidance.
You can navigate the process to obtain legal permission to work and live long-term in the UK. This guide will walk you through how to migrate to the United Kingdom as a skilled professional, from evaluating your visa eligibility to submitting a persuasive visa application and preparing for your move abroad. The UK awaits—are you ready to take your career and life to the next level?
1. Migrate to the United Kingdom (UK) – Decision to move
Deciding to migrate to another country is a big life decision that requires careful consideration of your motivations and goals. Ask yourself why you want to move to the UK and what you hope to gain from the experience. Common reasons for migrating include:
- Career opportunities. The UK has a strong job market in many sectors. If you have skills and experience in high-demand fields like healthcare, engineering, or tech, you may find appealing job prospects.
- Education. The UK is home to some of the top universities in the world. If you want to pursue higher education, especially graduate degrees, the UK could be an ideal place.
- Lifestyle. Some people are drawn to the culture and lifestyle in the UK, especially the vibrant cities of London, Manchester, and Edinburgh. If you want to experience life in the UK firsthand, migration may be the way to do so.
- Family. If you have close family members who are UK citizens or residents, you may want to migrate to be nearer to them. UK migration law allows for family-based visas and settlement.
- Safety and stability. For some, the UK represents an opportunity to settle in a politically and economically stable country with a high standard of living. If your home country lacks stability or economic opportunity, the UK could seem appealing.
Whatever your reasons for considering migration to the UK, be sure to weigh them carefully and determine if moving to the UK will help you achieve your most important life goals before proceeding with the lengthy application process. With adequate planning and perseverance, migrating to the UK could be very rewarding
2. Visa Options for Migrating
To legally migrate to the UK, you will need to apply for and obtain the proper visa. The type of visa depends on your reason for migrating.
If you have a job offer from a UK employer, you can apply for a work visa. The most common types are:
- Skilled Worker Visa – For those with a job offer in an occupation on the shortage occupation list. You must have a minimum skill level and English language ability.
- Intra-Company Transfer Visa – For multinational company employees temporarily transferred to a UK branch. You must have worked for your company for at least 12 months.
- Health and Care Visa – For those with job offers in the medical, nursing, and social care fields. You do not need a skill level or shortage occupation.
If you have close family members who are UK residents, you can apply to join them:
- Spouse/Partner Visa – For spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners of UK residents. You must prove a genuine relationship and ability to financially support yourself.
- Child Visa – For dependent children under 18 or over 18 if still dependent. The parent or guardian must be a UK resident.
- Parent Visa – For dependent parents over 65 if their UK resident child can support and accommodate them.
The application process for all visas requires meeting eligibility criteria, providing documentation, and paying required fees. Processing times can vary, so apply well in advance of your intended travel date. With the proper visa, you will be on your way to building a new life in the United Kingdom.
3. Finding a Job and Accommodations
To migrate to the UK, finding employment and housing accommodations in advance is key.
Securing a Job
It is advisable to secure a job offer from a UK employer before migrating. This will qualify you for the Skilled Worker or Global Talent visa. You can search for job openings on websites like Indeed, Monster or LinkedIn. Make sure your CV is tailored for UK employers and emphasizes skills and experience that will translate across borders. If possible, try to network with people currently working in your field in the UK. They may know of unadvertised jobs or be able to give you valuable insights into the job market and application process.
Once you receive a job offer, the employer can sponsor you for the appropriate work visa. The type of visa will depend on the position and your qualifications. The visa application process typically takes from two to three months. Your new employer may require you to provide employment references and evidence of the necessary skills, training and experience for the role.
Securing housing before migrating is also recommended, as it can take time to find suitable long-term rentals. Start by checking listings on popular websites like Rightmove, Zoopla or OpenRent. You can view photos, floor plans and reviews to get a sense of locations and prices. When you find some options you like, arrange virtual viewings via video calls to make a final selection. Have your documents ready to put down a deposit, then sign a lease or tenancy agreement with the landlord or letting agency.
Temporary housing like an Airbnb or hotel can work when you first arrive. But aim to move into your long-term place within a month or so. Once settled, you’ll be ready to start your new life and job in the United Kingdom. With some advance planning, the transition can go smoothly. The key is being proactive, organized and open to this exciting new chapter.
4. Bringing Your Family and Pets When Migrating
When migrating to the United Kingdom, bringing your close family members or pets along requires careful planning and following proper procedures.
Spouse and Children
To bring a spouse or children under 18 with you to the UK, you will need to include them on your visa application. They will need to meet the eligibility criteria for dependents, which typically means proving your relationship to them and that you can financially support them. Their visa conditions will match yours, allowing them to live, work or study in the UK for the same duration.
For adult dependent children over 18, the requirements are more stringent. They must prove they are largely financially dependent on you and will need to apply for their own UK visa. You will need to show you have been supporting them financially for at least the past 12 months. Their visa may differ from yours in allowable activities like work or study.
Other Family Members
Bringing extended family members like parents, siblings or grandparents is more difficult. They will need to qualify for their own appropriate UK visa, and you typically cannot sponsor them as dependents. The requirements vary based on factors like their age, health, finances, and relationship to you. They have limited visa options, often with restrictions on public funds and healthcare access.
To bring pets like dogs, cats or ferrets to the UK, they will need an approved microchip, a rabies vaccination and an animal health certificate. The requirements differ slightly depending on the country your pet is coming from. You must obtain the proper documents within a certain period before travel to avoid your pet being quarantined upon arrival in the UK. There are also rules around bringing pets into the UK for short trips versus permanently. Check with the UK government for the specific details to ensure a smooth process in bringing your furry family members along.
Following the proper procedures carefully for bringing family and pets when migrating to the UK will help make the transition as smooth as possible. Do thorough research on the eligibility criteria for each person or animal, and be prepared for the required documentation and expenses involved. With organization and patience, you can navigate the system successfully.
5. How to Apply for Your UK Visa
Once you have determined which UK visa you need and gathered the required documents, you are ready to apply. There are a few options for applying for your UK visa:
The quickest and most convenient way to apply for a UK visa is through the UK Visas and Immigration website. You will need to create an account, fill out the online application, upload your documents, and pay the visa application fee. Make sure to double check that all information entered is correct before submitting your application.
Apply by Mail
If applying online is not possible, you can submit a paper application by mail. Download the appropriate application form from the UKVI website, print and fill it out, and mail it along with your supporting documents and visa fee to the processing hub specified on the form for your location. Be advised that processing paper applications typically takes longer.
Use a Visa Application Center
As an alternative, you can have a visa application center submit your application on your behalf. Visa application centers offer additional services to help guide you through the application process. They will review your application and documents for any errors before submitting to UKVI, but additional fees may apply for their services.
Biometric Residence Permits
Most applicants, including those outside the UK, will need to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) as part of the application process. After submitting your visa application, you will receive a biometric residence permit enrollment letter with details on how to provide your biometrics at a local visa application center. Your application will not be fully complete until your biometrics have been enrolled.
The next steps after applying for your UK visa are: wait for a decision on your application; prepare for your trip if approved; or request an administrative review if refused. The time it takes to get a decision on your application will depend on the specific type of UK visa you have.