Analyses & Studies

Hiring from overseas: what you need to know about the three visas


Your next perfect employee might be living overseas – but in light of the changes to immigration law since Brexit, you might be wondering how to go about hiring them. Barar & Associates helps you navigate the different types of visas

As of 31st December 2020, free movement between the UK and the European Union has ended. EU citizens now need to obtain a visa if they want to travel to the UK and stay for more than six months.

In much the same way as for non-EU citizens, EU nationals must now be granted a visa in order to work in the UK.

There are three different visas that will allow you to recruit from overseas.

First steps

If you are looking to employ a worker from overseas, your company initially needs to be granted a sponsor licence, which will enable your business to recruit migrant workers for a specific job, in an eligible skilled occupation.

Once your company is granted a licence, you will be able to assign a “Certificate of Sponsorship” to the worker that you are looking to recruit.

The worker will then be eligible to submit their application for a Skilled Worker Visa (in the case of new employment), or an Intra-Company Transfer Visa (if the worker is being transferred to the UK branch of the company from an overseas branch).

If you would like to recruit a new worker from overseas for long-term employment, you will need to recruit through the Skilled Worker Visa route.

The key criteria for these three visas are listed below.

Skilled Worker Visa


  • The job offer must be for a position that is on the list of eligible occupations and the salary must meet the minimum salary threshold
  • You will need to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the migrant worker
  • Finally, the employee must satisfy the English language and maintenance requirements

With this visa the employee can:

  • Stay in the UK for up to five years
  • Apply to settle in the UK after five years (indefinite leave to remain)
  • Bring their partner and children
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK
  • Study
  • Take on additional work in certain circumstances
  • Do voluntary work

With this visa the employee cannot:

  • Apply for public funds
  • Change jobs or employer unless an application to update the visa is submitted. 

The Home Office will come back with a decision for this visa within three weeks for an application made from outside the UK and eight weeks for an application made from inside the UK. Priority visa services may additionally be available depending on where you make your application from.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa

Alternatively, you could consider employing a worker who is already working within the company but is based in a branch overseas. In order to come and work at your UK branch, the employee will need to be granted an Intra-Company Transfer Visa.

To be eligible for the Intra-Company Transfer Visa the migrant will need to:

*How long the employee needs to have worked for your company depends on their salary. If they earn less than £73,900 a year, they need to have been employed for at least 12 months overseas. If they earn £73,900 or more a year, there is no minimum time required.

With this visa the employee can stay in the UK for whichever is shorter of:

  • The time given on your certificate of sponsorship plus 14 days
  • Five years
  • The length of time that takes you to the maximum total stay allowed

The maximum total stay allowed for an Intra-Company Transfer visa is:

  • Five years in any six-year period if you are paid less than £73,900 a year
  • Nine years in any 10-year period if you are paid £73,900 a year or more

With this visa the employee can:

  • Work for your sponsor in the job described in your certificate of sponsorship
  • Study
  • Bring their partner and children
  • Do a second job for up to 20 hours a week either in the same profession and at the same level as your main job or on the Skilled Worker shortage occupation list
  • Do voluntary work
  • Travel abroad and return to the UK

With this visa the employee cannot:

  • Apply for most benefits (public funds) or the State Pension
  • Change jobs (unless the visa is updated)
  • Apply to settle permanently in the UK (also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’)

You will usually receive a decision for this visa within three weeks for an application made from outside the UK and eight weeks if you’re inside the UK.

Representative of an Overseas Business Visa

Finally, you could recruit a migrant to set up a UK branch for your overseas business. In such a case, the migrant will need to be granted a Representative of an Overseas Business visa.

To be eligible for this visa the employee must:

  • Be recruited and employed outside the UK by your overseas business that wants to set up either a UK branch or wholly-owned subsidiary in the UK
  • Hold a senior position within the business or have the authority to make decisions on its behalf
  • Have the skills, experience, and knowledge for the position you hold

With this visa the employee can:

  • Work for their employer full-time in the UK
  • Bring their partner and children
  • Stay for up to three years; afterwards the employee will be able to extend their visa for two more years
  • After five years of continuous residence in the UK the employee may be able to apply to settle permanently

With this visa the employee cannot:

  • Apply for public funds
  • Own or control the majority of the overseas business
  • Stay in the UK if the sole representative arrangement is ended by your employer
  • Work for any other business
  • Switch to this visa from any other visa category

Barar & Associates is an immigration law firm specialising in all matters concerning UK immigration and nationality law. The firm is also highly experienced in administrative reviews, appeals, and judicial reviews.
If you want to find out more about visas and the application process, Barar offers free consultations. You can contact the team at yusuf.coban(@)

Share this page Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Linkedin