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The Roadmap Part 6A: Immigrating to the UK

By Joshua Moss & Hannah Barnett | 09 Dec, 2022

Whatever the reason may be, embarking on a life outside your home country is an extensive undertaking. Over the next three articles, we will discuss the key things to think about when deciding to relocate and settle in the UK.

In this month’s edition, Joshua Moss sits down with Hannah Barnett, Partner at Mishcon de Reya LLP to discuss the routes available into the UK.

01. The Current UK Landscape

Individuals are typically required to apply for a UK visa, which will likely be specific to the reason for coming to the UK.

British citizens can bring their spouses, unmarried partners (provided they have been cohabiting for at least two years), children under 18 to the UK, subject to them meeting the necessary requirements.

Some visa routes lead to permanent residence in the UK, and individuals may then go on to apply for British citizenship.

02. Type of Visas

– Skilled Worker

Individuals can be sponsored in the UK by a company if it holds a Skilled Worker sponsor licence. Individuals must meet several requirements to be eligible to apply. The role must be genuine, and the sponsor is required to meet a variety of compliance duties and obligations.

– Global Business Mobility (GBM) previously known as Intra-Company Transfer

The GBM route allows companies with offices outside of the UK to transfer workers to their UK-based offices. It is designed for workers undertaking temporary assignments in the UK.

– Global Talent and Global Promise

These routes are designed for those who are recognised leaders or future leaders shaping the fields of science, humanities, arts, and technology.

– Start-up

This is for early-stage but high-potential entrepreneurs who are seeking to start a business in the UK for the first time. Individuals must want to set up an innovative business in the UK that differs from anything else on the market and has the potential for growth and job creation. The current limit is two years, but applicants can potentially switch to the Innovator visa category to extend their stay.

– Innovator

This is for experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. The business must be viable and differ from anything else on the market.

– Investor (Tier 1)

This route was closed by the Home Office earlier this year for all new applicants. Those who already hold leave under the Tier 1 (Investor) route can extend their current immigration permission and/or apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK for a limited period and until certain deadlines.

03. Permanent Residence

– Indefinite leave to remain (ILR)

Typically, individuals who have spent five years of continuous residence in the UK with leave in a valid category are able to apply for ILR, provided they meet the requirements of such application. Some routes do not allow for ILR, such as the GBM and Start-up routes.

In addition, applicants must not spend more than 180 days outside of the UK in any 12-month period (on a rolling basis) throughout the relevant five-year period.

If the applicant is aged between 18 and 65, they will be required to sit the “Life in the UK” test and in some cases meet an English language requirement.

– Naturalisation and registration as a British citizen

Typically, individuals must have held ILR for at least 12 months before they are eligible to apply to naturalise as a British citizen. If an individual is married to a British citizen, they can apply immediately for British citizenship and do not have to wait 12 months to apply.

Individuals are subject to a residence requirement and must have spent no more than 450 days outside of the UK in the five-year period prior to the date of application, and no more than 90 days outside of the UK in the preceding 12-month period.

04. UK Immigration Law vs UK Tax Law

The UK immigration laws and HMRC tax rules do not always tie up with each other.

HMRC follows the statutory residence test, which was introduced in April 2013 and gives a very distinct set of rules to meet to become UK resident.

UK immigration law is very specific and relates to ways in which individuals can meet requirements to enable them to be in the UK, without looking at the tax consequences.

Tax advice should be sought prior to any relocation to the UK, and we will cover this in more depth during next month’s edition of the roadmap.

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