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Rules of UK Temporary Work Visas

The UK's points-based immigration system allows successful candidates to work in the country via several avenues.

The Skilled Worker path is most popular. Employers may ‘sponsor’ foreign workers for five years using this approach. UK settlement is normally possible for Skilled Workers after five years of stay. The Skilled Worker path is popular for long-term UK residents and workers, frequently migrating with their families. However, a three- or five-year Skilled Worker visa is expensive and has tight qualifying restrictions.

What choices are there for temporary workers in the UK? Many multinational companies send staff to the UK for short-term assignments or training, frequently for a few months. Some UK firms in crucial areas like farming only need to hire international workers at specific times of year and want to keep sponsorship payments low.

The points-based system allows successful candidates to work temporarily in the UK in many ways. The job you’ll do determines your visa. Explore the most prevalent alternatives below.

Short-term Work routes

The points-based immigration system provides many ‘Temporary jobs’ visas for short-term jobs. UK temporary work visa applicants still need UK employer sponsorship. These pathways have cheaper visa application and employer sponsorship expenses than Worker routes.

1. Seasonal worker visa
A Seasonal Worker visa lets you work in horticulture in the UK for up to six months, collecting fruit and vegetables or flowers.

2. International Agreement visa
If you’ll be working under international law or treaty in the UK, you may apply for a Temporary Work – International Agreement visa. Your International Agreement visa lets you remain in the UK for 2 years.

3. Government Authorised Exchange visa
For a short-term visit to the UK for work experience, training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research, or a scholarship, you may apply for a Temporary Work – Government Authorised Exchange visa. This visa allows you to remain in the UK for 12 or 24 months, depending on the program.

4. Religious Worker visa
Temporary Work – Religious Worker visas are available for non-pastoral religious work and religious orders. The UK allows religious workers to reside and work for 24 months.

5. Charity Worker visa
Temporary Work – Charity Worker visas allow unpaid volunteer work for charities for up to 12 months.

6. Creative Worker visa
You may apply for a Temporary employment – Creative Worker visa if you’ve been offered UK creative employment. Creative workers include actors, dancers, musicians, and film crew members. You may remain in the UK for 12 months with this visa.

Global Business Mobility Paths

UK government introduced Global Business Mobility (GBM) in April 2022. This ‘umbrella category’ of five visa categories is for foreign enterprises that need to temporarily transfer workers to the UK for a particular purpose that cannot be done by a settled worker.

1. Senior or Specialist Worker visa
Senior or Specialist Worker visas let you work at your employer’s UK branch in the UK. It superseded the Intra-company Transfer (ICT) visa. Only this route is a ‘Worker’ route for sponsor licencing among the five GBM routes. Compared to the other four GBM methods, applicants and sponsors must pay greater application and sponsorship costs to transfer workers to the UK.

2. Graduate Trainee visa
Your employer’s UK branch may hire you on a Graduate Trainee visa. Your position must be suitable for management or specialty graduate training. This superseded the Intra-company Graduate Trainee visa.

3. UK Expansion Worker visa
You may set up a UK branch of an international firm that has not yet begun trade using a UK Expansion Worker visa. You must be a senior management or expert at the international company.

4. Service Supplier visa
Service Supplier visas are available to anyone with a UK corporate contract to offer services:

  • Employee of an international corporation.
  • Self-employed professional abroad.

Visit the UK for temporary work?

QC Immigration may assist with UK work visa or UK Fiancé Visa application and company sponsorship of international workers via the Worker or Temporary Worker pathways. Contact them immediately to discuss your needs with a certified immigration adviser.

Rules of UK temporary work visas