UK Immigration System and Proposed Changes

If you are a non-British national, getting a job in the UK might seem like a tricky challenge, because you would need to obtain a work permit or a work visa.

There are different types of visas, but General work visa (Tier 2) is the most common immigration route if you wish to work in the UK. The main challenge associated with the Tier 2 visa is that not every job type or employer qualifies for sponsoring international employees. On top of that, there are numerous immigration rules and legal nuances that people have to learn about in order to get a job and move to Britain. Unfortunately, only a few employers explicitly mention that they are open to hiring overseas job applicants. Therefore, while research shows that around 35 million people wish to live in the UK, only around 24 thousands of job seekers successfully received their Tier 2 visa in 2018.

Until recently, this question has been bothering everyone who is not from the European Union. However, after 1 January 2021, the UK government is introducing work visas for the EU citizens in line with their Brexit plans. Although it might seem that the system will get even more exclusive and as a job seeker you should look for opportunities in other countries, British employers do need an international workforce.

Why British Employers Need Global Talents

There are certain sectors of the UK economy that experience hiring difficulties due to the lack of skills in the local labour force. The Edge Foundation reported that two-thirds (68%) of UK employers have struggled to find workers with the skills they need in the past year at a total cost of £4.4 billion. This problem is expected to get worse as the EU workers would be required to have visas to work in the UK after Brexit.

The UK government regularly updates the list of jobs that are in the shortage of occupation. The recently published document lists a range of jobs in healthcare, engineering, education and IT sectors. International job seekers who have the right skills are encouraged to apply and would receive extra points in their visa application.

Also, from 1 January 2021, employers can hire people from abroad without conducting the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and proving that there were no qualified local candidates. This means that overall, it would be easier for skilled job seekers to move to the UK.

Why You Shouldn’t Search for Jobs on Big Job Sites

As a job seeker, you might be tempted to search for jobs on familiar websites and use services of big companies like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed and others. However, you might be getting yourself into a trap of applying for jobs, successfully passing several steps of the selection process and then discovering that the job doesn’t qualify for visa sponsorship or your employer doesn’t have a licence to sponsor foreign nationals.

UK job boards post many job vacancies daily, but only a few of them qualify for visa sponsorship. Unfortunately, the mentioned companies don’t have filters for visa-requiring users. Therefore, as a foreign job seeker, you must check for all visa-related rules manually, go through the government website and spend hours on finding the right job fit. Due to the lack of time and resources, many give up on the idea of moving to the UK.

However, nowadays there are modern solutions to this problem.

UKHired Proposes Solution

In March 2020, a UCL graduate and a Russian migrant, Anastasia Agafonova launched her start-up UKHired. The start-up aims to bridge two problems: the shortage of skills in the UK and the lack of job search tools tailored to the needs of international job seekers. She created a niche job board that aims to connect British employers with global job seekers. The platform has a clean design and a great UX made specifically for the needs of international students and overseas job seekers.

The technical algorithm crawls jobs from different websites, checks if they pass Tier 2 visa eligibility criteria and uploads them all in one place. So, users can search for jobs in the UK using their favourite filters, including location, job category, salary and keywords. You no longer need to read lengthy immigration policies and spend hours on an ineffective job search. Furthermore, UKHired frequently shares important immigration updates and tips for getting a work visa, as well as tools that can help job seekers. For instance, they recently made a post that explains how the hiring system works in the UK.

Anastasia believes that by equipping foreign job seekers with the right information and tools, she can help more people to move to the UK and obtain the work permit.

So, if you are not from the UK, but always wanted to move there, now might be the best time!