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Software developers are out to seek greener pastures in the best destinations in the world. One of these sought-after destinations is the UK. How to move developers from different countries to the UK? One primary reason why the UK is on the radar of software engineers is the presence of several tech giants in the country. In addition, the UK is one of the most developed countries in the world. It will naturally attract software developers from developing nations such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, India, Pakistan, etc.
With top-quality universities, a rich cultural diversity, and so much talent in different disciplines, the UK is regarded as one of the best places in the world to migrate to. Many software developers want to migrate to the UK, but they don’t know the process. This article will guide you on how to migrate to the UK.
There are some benefits to enjoy from migrating to the UK:
- Migrating with your family
- Settling and working anywhere in the UK
- Access to subsidized or free healthcare
- Your partner or spouse can easily apply for a migration visa.
- Free education
- Developers earn an average salary of £40k
Firstly, you need to acquire a UK visa to get to the UK. There are several factors and processes involved in getting a UK visa. However, you must know the different types of visas before we delve into that.
The UK immigration service offers different visas for developers who intend to migrate for work. There’s a specific type of visa for those from countries that are members of the European Union and those from countries that are not EU members. For developers from non-EU countries such as Pakistan and India, the following types of visas apply:
This type of visa is for developers who want to begin a tech business in the UK. To earn an endorsement for this type of visa, you must be approved by a recognized UK educational institution or business organization. This visa permits you to reside in the UK for a couple of years.
UK Skilled Worker Visa
This type of visa is specifically for developers with a job offer from a recognized company based in the UK. This visa was formerly called Tier 2 General Work Visa. Applicants for this visa must fulfill the minimum points, not earn below a given salary, and be fluent in the English language to qualify for this visa. This visa type is the most popular route for developers to the UK.
After getting a job, the company has to apply for a CoS (certificate of sponsorship) from the UK Home Office. This process can take up to 30 days. The company will then pass the certificate of sponsorship information and the sponsor license number. With this information, you can proceed with the work visa application, which will include certain payments (more on this later) on the UK’s government site.
This type of visa is meant for resourceful developers with unique business ideas who intend to establish a business in the UK. It was introduced in 2019 to replace Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa. To qualify for this visa, it’s a must that your business idea is entirely different from what’s been already established and operational. Also, you must present proof of this innovation or uniqueness.
This type of visa can earn you permission to reside with your family in the UK for up to 36 months. It also comes with a possible extension after three years. It’s open to both business idea founders and key members of the founding entrepreneurial team. Developers intending to apply for this type of visa can take this pre-assessment.
What Kind of Payments are Involved in UK Visa Application?
- The Immigration Health Surcharge Fee: This payment is called the IHS fee for short. It costs £470 per head, and the payment is valid for a year.
- Visa Fee: The fee you pay for your visa will depend on the period you intend to apply for. This is included in the certificate of sponsorship that you’ll get from your sponsor (employer). The visa fee is expensive, and it costs roughly £1,200 per head.
These payments can be made using your bank card. Alternatively, your sponsor company can take care of these payments in many cases. Ensure you discuss the relocation allowance with them.
Conditions for Migration to the UK
Below is a guide to getting a skilled work visa for moving to the UK. The United Kingdom has recently adopted an immigration system based on points. So we’ll recommend the Skilled Worker Program for software engineers from India, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Pakistan, etc., who want to migrate to the UK. There are certain parameters you’ll be awarded points for.
Points System for Skilled Workers Moving to the UK
- Your expected or estimated salary
- Fluency in English
- Your sponsorship status
- Financial ability (for paying your bills and self-reliance)
To qualify for this visa, you must earn at least 70 points.
Skilled Worker Visa Application
The process of applying for a skilled worker visa includes:
1. Job Application
This is the first step. Make sure you check for UK job listings on the UK SOL (Shortage Occupation List). Ensure you’re applying for a job relevant to your occupation. If your occupation isn’t mentioned on the list, don’t apply. After successfully applying and landing a job offer, the sponsor company will proceed to file the relevant documentation. If you haven’t been able to land a job offer after applying, you can contact career companies in the UK. They will help you by ensuring your CV gets into the right hands.
You can check here to see if your target company is among those organizations with a license to sponsor developers for a skilled work visa.
2. Proof of Proficiency in the English Language
English is the official language in the UK, so it’s a must for you to be fluent in English and provide proof. Unlike other countries such as Canada, IELTS isn’t compulsory, but you must be able to provide alternate documentation to prove you’re fluent in English. Better still, you can provide your IELTS if you have.
3. Preparation of Visa Application Package
Please note that you can only apply for a UK visa three months before the day you’re due to resume work in the UK. You’ll need to submit your application package online. All of the following documents should be contained in your application package:
- A valid international passport
- Sponsorship letter from your employer
- Travel history
- Evidence of finances to support your day-to-day expenses
- Biometric data
- Visa invitation
- Other relevant documents.
Because of the high traffic of applicants for UK work visas, we recommend that you ensure that your application package is error-free to have a higher chance of getting your UK visa application approved. Paying for the services of a professional visa or immigration company can ensure you have a complete application package.
When you’ve submitted your visa application package, you’ll earn an appointment with either VFS Global or the British Embassy in your country. You’re supposed to go with the relevant documents, and biometrics will also be required. Stay prepared because this appointment can come up anytime within 30 days of submitting your application. The whole process takes about 1 hour, and when your visa is approved, you’ll get it alongside your passport after a couple of weeks.
With your visa, you’re ready to travel. However, please note that you need to complete your UK residency documentation upon entry into the UK. You’ll have to register at the police station and get your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) for this. All relevant information concerning that will be communicated to you upon reception of your UK visa and passport. If you’re wondering what the essence of a Biometric Residence Permit card is, it’s similar to a visa, and you’ll need it if you have to travel out of the UK.
Conditions for Being Eligible for The UK Innovator Visa
- The visa applicant must be above the age of 18 (the British minimum age for being an adult).
- The applicant must provide proof that their business idea is entirely unique, feasible, and has growth potential.
- The business idea has to be approved by the relevant organization or institution.
- The visa applicant has to provide evidence of fluency in English.
Relevant proof of your fluency in English may include:
- GCSE – A level
- SELT from a recognized body
- Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher in English
- Scottish National Qualification (level 4/5)
- An academic qualification equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree
Requirements for establishing a business in the UK:
- The visa applicant must have at least £50k for investing in the business idea. If a team of entrepreneurs is applying, they each must have at least £50k totaling up to £200k
- You must have proof of your funding and be willing to share the source.
Funds are not required if:
- A previous visa has already endorsed the business ideas.
- The business has been established already.
- The business has already received approval from the relevant body.
Documents Needed for UK Innovator Visa Application
- A letter of endorsement from the relevant body
- Passport and other relevant identification documents
- Bank statement showing a minimum balance of £1,270 in savings
- Proof of fluency in the English language
- Proof of available funds for investment
Travel Arrangements Between India and the UK
Indians are one of the largest communities in the UK. After several decades, they have morphed into one of the essential components of British society. There are also Indian tech companies that developers can apply for outside the UK, preferably Indian or Pakistani developers, but developers from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine can still apply. Prominent Indian tech brands in the UK include Tech Mahindra Brilliant Basics, ITC Infotech, etc.
Recently, the Indian and UK governments sealed their alliance on the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement to boost the migration of skilled professionals to either destination. The objective of the partnership agreement is to reduce the rate of unemployment in both countries and gain exposure to their culture. In addition, this agreement will facilitate the quicker processing of work visas for vibrant and outstanding professionals. The work visa will be valid for 24 months.
Aside from India being the first country in the world to have this kind of agreement with the UK, the British government has always been friendly toward professionals and developers from India.
What Can’t you Apply for From Outside the UK?
While developers from foreign countries such as the abovementioned can apply for work visas or jobs in the UK from outside the country, they cannot process a direct application for a UK sponsorship or work permit. That has to be handled by your employer. As we mentioned earlier, there are trusted immigration firms that can guide you through the process of migrating to the UK. They will assess your eligibility and visa options. However, it doesn’t end there. They will also be with you through every step of the visa application process.
What Next After Arriving in the UK?
After getting your BRP card, the next step is to secure a place to stay. There are furnished and unfurnished housing options. The cost of rent varies on the type of apartment you’re getting and the location. In locations such as London, most apartments require an upfront payment on a security deposit, which can be up to 5 weeks’ rent; that’s the legal maximum. The only exception in which it may surpass five weeks’ rent is if your yearly rent is above £50k.
The security deposit will be refunded to you at the end of your tenancy if you leave the property in good condition. In other locations, this payment is referred to as damages. While you’re to make payment for the security deposit, you’re also expected to pay for the first month’s rent. Some landlords may ask for two months’ rent. After taking care of the initial payments, it will be monthly settlements of the agreed-upon rent amount.
These payments can be for a contracted period, usually ranging from 6 to 12 months. On the other hand, they can be on a continual basis. It all depends on the tenancy agreement you have with your landlord.
When you get accommodation, ensure you inform the local council authority of this development, and they’ll present you with a council tax bill. This document will be your proof of address.
Also, notify the British police of your change of address within a week of relocating to the UK. To do this, locate the police station closest to you and carry along your BRP card and the registration certificate first issued to you by the police on arrival.