How to Apply For UK Work Visa from Pakistan?

How to Apply For UK Work Visa from Pakistan

Overview of Applying For UK Work Visa from Pakistan

Introduction and Eligibility Criteria for UK Work Visa from Pakistan

Applying for a UK work visa from Pakistan involves navigating a series of eligibility requirements and understanding the types of visas available. As of 2024, the UK offers various work visas, each tailored to specific roles, skills, and qualifications, with the Skilled Worker visa being the most prevalent for Pakistani nationals.

Types of UK Work Visas

  1. Skilled Worker Visa: This is for individuals who have been offered a job in the UK by an employer who holds a valid Sponsorship License. It requires the applicant to have a job offer, a certificate of sponsorship from the employer, and to meet the English language requirement.

  2. Health and Care Worker Visa: Targeted at medical professionals entering the UK to work in health or adult social care sectors, this visa category offers cheaper application rates and exemptions from the healthcare surcharge.

  3. Temporary Work Visas: These visas are for short-term contracts in specific sectors like charity, religious, creative, and sporting work.

  4. Overseas Domestic Worker Visa: For domestic workers who have been with their employer for at least one year. This visa allows them to accompany their employer to the UK for up to six months.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Job Offer: Applicants must have a genuine job offer from a UK-based employer that fits their skills and qualifications.
  • Sponsorship: The employer must be recognized and licensed by the Home Office to sponsor foreign workers.
  • English Language Proficiency: Most work visas require proof of English language skills, typically demonstrated through approved tests like IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Financial Requirements: Applicants must show they can support themselves without access to public funds. This may include providing bank statements or having a salary that meets the minimum threshold.
  • Health and Character: Applicants from certain countries need to undergo a tuberculosis test. Additionally, those applying for sensitive roles might need to provide a criminal record certificate.

Applying for a Skilled Worker Visa

The process begins with securing a certificate of sponsorship from an approved UK employer. The job offer should include a role on the list of eligible occupations and meet the minimum salary requirement, which varies depending on the job type and the date the certificate of sponsorship was assigned.

Application Process

  1. Document Preparation: Essential documents include a valid passport, proof of English proficiency, job details (such as title, salary, and occupation code), and the certificate of sponsorship. If documents are not in English, certified translations are required.

  2. Identity Verification: Applicants applying from outside the UK need to verify their identity, either by attending a visa application center to provide biometric information or using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document.

  3. Application Submission: The application must be completed online, and applicants need to pay the application fee and the healthcare surcharge.

  4. Decision Timeline: Decisions typically take about 3 weeks for applications made outside the UK. Expedited processing options may be available for an additional fee.

The Requirements for a UK Work Visa

Applying for a UK work visa requires meeting several criteria set by the UK government, designed to ensure that only eligible individuals can work legally in the UK. These requirements vary depending on the type of visa but generally include job offers, sponsorship, language proficiency, financial requirements, and more. Below, each requirement is explained in detail:

1. Job Offer from a Licensed Sponsor

To apply for most UK work visas, you must first receive a valid job offer from a UK employer who is registered with the Home Office as a licensed sponsor. The role offered must also meet the skill level and salary requirements specified by the visa type.

2. Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Once you have a job offer, your employer must provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship. This is a unique reference number that includes information about the job and your personal details, which you must enter on your visa application form. This document confirms that the employer intends to hire you and that the role is suitable for a visa applicant.

3. Meeting the Skill Level

The job offered must meet a certain skill level. For Skilled Worker visas, the role should typically be Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) level 3 or above (equivalent to A level). Each job has a corresponding Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code that outlines the required skill level and responsibilities.

4. Salary Threshold

Your salary must meet or exceed the general salary threshold or the “going rate” for your occupation, whichever is higher. As of 2024, the general salary requirement for a Skilled Worker visa is at least £26,500 per year, though this can be higher depending on the specific job.

5. English Language Proficiency

Applicants must prove their English language skills by passing a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider. The required level is typically B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale, which tests reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

6. Financial Requirement

Applicants must demonstrate that they can support themselves (and any dependents) without relying on public funds. This may involve showing bank statements or salary details to prove they can meet the maintenance requirements specified by the visa category.

7. Tuberculosis (TB) Test Results

If you are coming from a country where TB is prevalent, you will need to provide a certificate confirming you are free from tuberculosis. This test must be conducted at a clinic approved by the Home Office.

8. Criminal Record Certificate

For certain roles, especially those involving working with vulnerable groups, you may need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country you have lived in for 12 months or more over the last ten years.

9. Biometric Information

During the application process, you will need to provide biometric information, which includes fingerprints and a photograph. This is typically done at a Visa Application Centre.

10. Maintenance Funds

Unless your sponsor can cover your first month’s accommodation and living expenses in the UK, you will generally need to show that you have enough personal savings to support yourself when you first arrive. The exact amount required can vary but is typically around £1,270.

11. Additional Sector-Specific Requirements

Some visas may have additional requirements specific to the job sector. For example, healthcare workers might need to meet certain health certifications, or IT professionals might need specific qualifications or endorsements for a Global Talent visa.

12. Age Requirement

Most work visas require applicants to be at least 18 years old at the time of application.

These requirements ensure that the UK work visa system admits individuals who can contribute to the economy and integrate into society effectively. Each visa type might have slightly different criteria based on the role, the applicant’s circumstances, and ongoing changes in immigration policy. It’s essential to check the latest requirements on the official UK government website or consult with an immigration expert before applying.

What is “COS” for a UK Work Visa and How to Secure a “COS”

The “Certificate of Sponsorship” (CoS) is a fundamental requirement for most work visas in the United Kingdom, serving as proof that an individual has been offered a genuine job by a UK employer who holds a valid sponsorship license. Understanding what a CoS entails and how to secure one is crucial for anyone looking to work in the UK under categories like the Skilled Worker visa.

Understanding the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

Definition and Purpose: The Certificate of Sponsorship is not a physical document but a unique reference number that holds information about the job and the individual’s personal details. It’s used by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to assess whether applicants meet the criteria for the visa for which they are applying.

Types of CoS:

  • Restricted CoS: Used for individuals currently outside the UK, it is subject to a monthly cap and requires the job to pass the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT), proving no suitable UK or EEA worker is available for the role.
  • Unrestricted CoS: For individuals already in the UK or for roles listed on the Shortage Occupation List, where the RLMT does not apply.

How to Secure a Certificate of Sponsorship

Securing a CoS involves several steps and cooperation between the applicant and the sponsoring employer. Here’s how the process typically unfolds:

  1. Find a Sponsor: The first step is securing a job offer from a UK employer who is registered with the Home Office as a licensed sponsor. Employers without a sponsorship license cannot sponsor foreign workers.

  2. License Acquisition by Employer: If an employer is not already a licensed sponsor, they must apply to the Home Office to become one. This process involves proving their eligibility, the genuineness of the role, and their ability to comply with sponsorship duties.

  3. Assigning the CoS: Once an employer decides to hire a foreign worker and if they hold a sponsorship license, they can assign a CoS to the prospective employee. The employer needs to include details such as the worker’s personal information, job title, salary, and the SOC (Standard Occupational Classification) code that aligns with the role.

  4. CoS Details: The CoS will contain all necessary information about the job offer and the applicant’s details. It must also confirm that the salary and conditions of employment meet or exceed UK regulations and appropriate market rates.

  5. Applicant’s Role: After receiving the CoS, the applicant must submit their visa application within three months. The CoS number included in the application helps link the job offer to the visa application.

  6. Compliance and Changes: Any changes in employment conditions or the applicant’s circumstances must be updated by the employer on the CoS. Failure to maintain current information can affect the validity of the CoS and subsequently, the visa status.

Challenges and Considerations

  • Timing and Cap: Restricted CoS are limited in number and allocated monthly, making timing crucial. High demand can lead to availability issues, requiring careful planning.
  • Accuracy of Information: The details on the CoS must accurately reflect the job offer and the applicant’s circumstances. Discrepancies can lead to visa refusals.
  • Costs Involved: There are fees associated with applying for a sponsorship license and assigning a CoS, borne usually by the employer. These costs can be significant, especially for small businesses.

The Certificate of Sponsorship is a pivotal element in the UK work visa application process. Both employers and applicants must handle the CoS with thoroughness and accuracy to ensure compliance with UK immigration laws. By understanding the requirements and process of securing a CoS, applicants and their prospective employers can navigate this complex area more effectively, paving the way for a successful employment journey in the UK.

Detailed Application Process and Required Documentation for a UK Work Visa

Building on the foundational knowledge of eligibility and visa types, this section will explore the detailed steps of the application process for a UK work visa from Pakistan, focusing on required documentation, biometric information, and interview preparation.

Step-by-Step Application Guide

  1. Online Application: Begin by filling out the visa application form online. This will involve entering detailed personal information, your work details, and information about your stay in the UK.

  2. Payment of Fees: The application process requires payment of the visa fee and the health care surcharge, which covers your medical expenses during your stay in the UK. The visa fee varies depending on the type of visa and the length of stay.

  3. Scheduling an Appointment: After completing the online application, schedule an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). This is necessary for biometric data collection and document submission.

  4. Biometric Information: At the VAC, you will provide your fingerprints and photograph. This biometric information is a crucial part of the security checks for entering the UK.

  5. Document Submission: Submit all required documentation during your VAC appointment. Essential documents include your passport, proof of English proficiency, the certificate of sponsorship, financial evidence, and any other supporting documents like marriage certificates or academic qualifications, depending on the specific visa category.

Required Documentation

  • Certificate of Sponsorship: This document from your UK employer contains important details about your role and serves as proof of job offer.
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency: Typically an IELTS or TOEFL test result, unless you are exempt.
  • Financial Evidence: Bank statements or proof of earnings to demonstrate you can support yourself financially in the UK without access to public funds.
  • Additional Documents: Depending on the job, you may need to provide additional proof, such as a criminal record certificate, especially for jobs involving working with vulnerable groups.

Visa Interview Preparation

While not all visa applications require an interview, it is best to be prepared if one is scheduled:

  • Review Application: Familiarize yourself with the details of your application to ensure consistency in your responses during the interview.
  • Documentation: Bring all original documents and additional supporting information that may strengthen your application.
  • Purpose and Plan: Be clear about your work role and your future plans in the UK. The interviewer may ask about your intentions post-visa expiry, so having a coherent plan is beneficial.

Biometrics and Security Checks

The biometric information collected during your application process plays a critical role in the UK’s immigration security protocols. Ensuring that all personal data is accurately and promptly submitted will aid in a smoother processing of your application.

Arrival and Settling in the UK on a Work Visa

Once your UK work visa is approved, the final part of your journey involves preparing for your arrival and adapting to life in the UK. This section will guide you through the initial steps to take upon arrival, understanding your visa conditions, and ensuring compliance to maintain your legal status.

Arriving in the UK

Upon arrival in the UK, you will go through border control where you must present your passport and visa to the UK Border Force officers. You may be asked to provide evidence of your return journey and financial means, even if these were submitted during your visa application process. It’s important to carry all pertinent documentation in your hand luggage to avoid any issues at this stage.

Initial Steps After Arrival:
  1. Collect Your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Typically, you must collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK from a designated Post Office. Your BRP is crucial as it is proof of your right to work, study, and access public services in the UK.

  2. Register with the Police: Some nationals are required to register with the police within seven days of arrival in the UK, depending on the conditions of their visa.

  3. Open a Bank Account: Setting up a bank account is vital for managing finances, receiving salary, and paying bills. You will need your BRP, proof of address, and a job offer letter or employment contract.

  4. Accessing Healthcare: Register with a General Practitioner (GP) to access health services. Your healthcare surcharge payment entitles you to NHS services, which include visits to the GP, hospital treatments, and ambulance services.

Understanding and Complying with Visa Conditions

Your UK work visa comes with specific conditions that you must adhere to throughout your stay:

  • No Access to Public Funds: You cannot claim most benefits, such as jobseeker’s allowance or public housing.
  • Work Restrictions: You are only permitted to work for your sponsor in the job described in your visa application. If you wish to change jobs or employers, you must apply to update your visa.
  • Study Restrictions: Some visas allow for part-time study, but you should check the conditions attached to your specific visa.

Living in the UK

Adjusting to life in the UK involves understanding the cultural, legal, and social norms. Here are some tips for a smoother transition:

  • Understanding UK Culture: The UK is known for its diverse culture and polite social customs. Familiarize yourself with local traditions, holidays, and the legal system.
  • Building a Support Network: Connect with communities, whether they are expat groups, colleagues, or local community centers, which can provide support and friendship.
  • Continued Compliance and Extensions: Keep track of your visa expiry date and apply for extensions or permanent residency as needed. Always stay informed about changes in immigration laws that may affect your status.

Successfully applying for and moving to the UK on a work visa from Pakistan requires careful planning and adherence to UK immigration laws. From gathering the necessary documentation for your application to understanding your responsibilities once in the UK, each step is crucial for ensuring a positive experience. Living and working in the UK offers valuable opportunities and experiences, and with the right preparation, you can make the most of your new life in the UK. Always ensure you remain compliant with visa conditions and stay informed about legal changes to safeguard your status and future in the UK.

How Can a Visa Consultant Increase Your Chances for Getting a UK Work Visa from Pakistan

Securing a UK work visa from Pakistan involves navigating complex immigration laws and meeting stringent requirements. Given the potential challenges and the high stakes involved, many applicants turn to visa consultants for expert assistance. Here’s how a visa consultant can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a UK work visa:

Expert Knowledge of Immigration Laws and Procedures

Visa consultants are well-versed in the latest immigration laws and policy changes. They keep abreast of all updates and amendments, which is crucial given the frequent changes in immigration rules. For instance, consultants understand the nuances of different visa categories, such as the Skilled Worker visa, Health and Care Worker visa, and the Global Talent visa, and can advise on the best route based on an applicant’s specific circumstances and career goals.

Accurate and Complete Application Submission

One of the primary reasons for visa rejections is errors or omissions in the application. Visa consultants ensure that all forms are accurately filled out and that all required documents are complete and properly organized. They pay meticulous attention to detail, significantly reducing the chances of mistakes that could lead to delays or denials.

Preparation of a Strong Case

Visa consultants can help construct a compelling case by highlighting the applicant’s qualifications, experience, and the genuineness of the job offer. They know how to present an application in a way that aligns with the immigration officers’ expectations, emphasizing the strengths and addressing any potential concerns that may arise during the application review.

Guidance on Meeting Financial and Documentation Requirements

Navigating the financial and documentary requirements can be challenging, especially for those unfamiliar with the process. Visa consultants provide guidance on how to meet the maintenance funds requirement, assist in obtaining the necessary financial documents, and advise on the correct formats and certifications needed for documents sourced from Pakistan, such as police clearance certificates and medical reports.

Handling Complex Situations

Applicants with complex immigration histories or those who have been previously refused a visa may find it particularly beneficial to work with a consultant. Visa consultants can advise on the best strategies to overcome past refusals, manage complications arising from documentation or legal issues, and ensure that all compliance requirements are met.

Coaching for Interviews

If an interview is required as part of the visa application process, having a visa consultant prepare you can make a significant difference. They provide insights into the types of questions asked during visa interviews and offer tips on how to answer effectively. Consultants also conduct mock interviews to boost the applicant’s confidence and improve their performance during the actual interview.

Time-Saving and Stress Reduction

The visa application process can be time-consuming and stressful. Visa consultants handle the bulk of the workload, including form submission, document checking, and follow-up with visa offices, which can save significant time and reduce the stress associated with the application process. This allows applicants to focus more on their relocation and career planning rather than the intricacies of visa procedures.

Post-Decision Support

After a visa decision is made, whether positive or negative, visa consultants can provide further assistance. In the case of a refusal, they can help understand the reasons behind the decision and advise on the feasibility of an appeal or a fresh application. If the visa is granted, they can offer advice on next steps, such as moving arrangements, travel preparations, and adapting to life in the UK.

Building a Long-Term Relationship

Many visa consultants provide services beyond just the initial visa application. They can assist with visa renewals, permanent residency applications, and citizenship processes down the line. Establishing a relationship with a consultant can provide long-term benefits and continuous support throughout an individual’s journey in the UK.

Using a visa consultant can dramatically increase your chances of successfully obtaining a UK work visa from Pakistan. Their expertise, attention to detail, and comprehensive support streamline the application process, enhancing the likelihood of approval. For anyone serious about securing a UK work visa, hiring a competent and experienced visa consultant is a worthwhile investment.



Q1: How long before my job starts should I apply for a UK work visa?
A: You should apply for your UK work visa up to 3 months before the date you are due to start work in the UK.

Q2: Can I bring my family members with me on a UK work visa?
A: Yes, your partner and children can apply to join you or stay in the UK as your ‘dependants’ if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Q3: Is healthcare coverage required for a UK work visa application?
A: While specific health insurance isn’t required, you must pay the health care surcharge as part of your application, which entitles you to use the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.

Q4: What is the minimum salary requirement for a UK Skilled Worker visa?
A: The minimum salary requirement depends on the specific job and its corresponding code but generally must meet the general salary threshold of £26,500 or the going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher.

Q5: Do I need a sponsor to apply for all types of UK work visas?
A: Most UK work visas require sponsorship from a UK employer, except for visas like the Global Talent Visa, which do not require a sponsor.

Q6: What if my job offer is in a shortage occupation?
A: If your job offer is in a shortage occupation, the salary requirement may be lower than the usual rate for other jobs, and your application might be processed faster.

Q7: Can I switch employers once I am in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa?
A: Yes, but you must first apply to update your visa with information about your new employer and job, and receive approval before you start the new employment.

Q8: How do I prove my knowledge of English when applying for a UK work visa?
A: You need to pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider to prove your English proficiency unless you qualify for an exemption.

Q9: What happens if my UK work visa application is rejected?
A: If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reason for refusal. You can apply for an administrative review or reapply, addressing the reasons for the initial rejection.

Q10: Are there any specific preparation tips for the UK work visa interview?
A: Be prepared to discuss your job role, employer, and how you intend to support yourself in the UK. Review all the information provided in your application and be honest and clear in your answers.

Q11: How long can I stay in the UK on a Skilled Worker visa?
A: You can stay in the UK for up to 5 years on a Skilled Worker visa before you need to extend it. You may apply for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) after 5 years of continuous residence.

Q12: What is the process for extending a UK work visa?
A: To extend your work visa, you must apply online, show that you are still with the same employer or have a new sponsor, and continue to meet the salary and job requirements.

Q13: What types of activities are prohibited on a UK work visa?
A: Generally, you cannot access public funds, start or run a business, or work in a different job than the one described in your visa application.

Q14: How much savings should I have to apply for a UK work visa?
A: You need to show that you have at least £1,270 in savings unless your sponsor certifies maintenance for the first month in the UK.

Q15: Can I study while on a UK work visa?
A: Yes, you can undertake study while on a UK work visa, but your main activity must remain the job for which your visa was granted.

Q16: What should I do if my passport expires while I’m on a UK work visa?
A: You should renew your passport through your country’s embassy or consulate in the UK. You may also need to update your visa details accordingly.

Q17: Are there special arrangements for healthcare workers applying for UK work visas?
A: Yes, healthcare workers may apply under the Health and Care Worker visa, which offers reduced visa fees and exemptions from the healthcare surcharge.

Q18: What documents do I need to extend my UK work visa?
A: You will need your current passport, proof of ongoing employment, recent pay slips, updated certificate of sponsorship, and evidence of meeting the salary requirements.

Q19: How long does it take to get a decision on a UK work visa application?
A: DecisionA: Decision times can vary depending on the visa type and where you apply from. Generally, it takes about 3 weeks to receive a decision for applications made outside the UK.

Q20: Can I appeal against a UK work visa refusal?
A: Yes, if your visa application is refused, you have the right to request an administrative review. Depending on the grounds of refusal, you may also have the right to appeal to the immigration tribunal.

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