UK Visa Options for European (EU/EEA/Swiss) Nationals

Free movement for the EU/EEA/Swiss nationals in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) came to an end on the 31st December 2020.

For an EU/EEA/Swiss national it is no longer sufficient to arrive in the UK and prove your right to live and work in the UK on your European passport alone.

If you arrived in the UK before the 31st December 2020, then you had the legal obligation to register yourself for European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

The compulsory registration has now ended on the 30th June 2021. If you arrived in the UK and were living in the UK before the 31st December 2020, then if you failed to register yourself and your family members, you are now living in the UK illegally. An enforcement action to remove you from the UK can be taken.

What are your options if you newly arrive in the UK on the 1st January 2021 or after?

Fewer UK visa options remain available to the new arrivals from the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

These are Tier 1 Innovator and Skilled Worker visa. These options apply only if you are seeking to establish long term residence rights that lead you to obtaining Indefinite leave to remain and possibly, British citizenship once the requirements are met.

Skilled Worker visa

All EU/EEA/Swiss nationals arriving to the UK from the 1st January 2021 are expected to have secured their Tier 2 worker visa before they arrive in the UK.

It is the legal requirement for the employer employing EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who have not secured the pre-settled or settled status before the 30th June 2021, to have a sponsor licence.

Perhaps, the most acute question for the EU/EEA/Swiss nationals is whether the Tier 2 worker visa rules are fair to them.

Previously, it was sufficient to demonstrate EU/EEA/Swiss passport or the identity card in order to work in the UK. The EU/EEA/Swiss nationals were treated on equal footing with the British nationals in the UK. The employers were not required to hold specific sponsor licences in order to employ them.

However, the government will definitely claim that the new regime which also applies to EU/EEA/Swiss nationals is fair. Mainly, because the current rules apply to all foreign nationals arriving in the UK.

More importantly, the UK government will argue that the current rules are much fairer because the market test is now removed, which makes it easier for the UK based-businesses to recruit the best available workforce available globally dependent on their skill.

Tier 1 Innovator visa

This UK immigration category replaced the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Increasingly over the years the requirements were being applied more restrictively and made it difficult for the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa applicants to succeed.

An investment made into the UK business was irrelevant if it was not possible to demonstrate that the applicant was a serial entrepreneur and created a number of successful businesses throughout their lifetime. The rejection rate was 75%.

Tier 1 Innovator visa states that a business investment alone is not sufficient. The business idea and the business itself needs to be new, innovative and scalable. Your new, innovative and scalable business idea needs to be endorsed by the body authorised by the Home Office.

Other UK Visa Options for Europeans

Unfortunately, Tier 1 Investor visa is now abolished and it is no longer possible to apply.

Representative of Overseas Business visa is now replaced with Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Business Worker visa.

Unlike its predecessor, Global Business Mobility – UK Expansion Business Worker visa does not allow the employee to settle permanently in the UK. This is a temporary arrangement only and does not facilitate long-term immigration to the UK.

More suitable UK immigration solutions may be available to you here.

Book a call with me to discuss your Global Wealth Strategy as you invest operate or relocate to the UK or Switzerland. You may submit your enquiry here.

Book a call with me to discuss your UK immigration application. Submit your UK immigration enquiry here if you need assistance with any UK immigration application.

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Saule Voluckyte, M.A.E.S, LL.B, FAIA

I have been working exclusively with UHNWI in Mayfair, London since January 2008. I built specialist knowledge and expertise required to serve ultra high net worth individuals investing, operating and relocating to the UK or Switzerland.

Within the industry, I am the single adviser who is able to traverse the different areas of expertise and bring a comprehensive approach across: global structuring, UK immigration, international taxation and FOREX to develop their global wealth strategy, while they build, grow and expand their wealth worldwide.

Previous experience as one of the senior advisors for the government, made me a go-to person when delicate and uncomfortable scenarios involving heads of state need to be handled with care and preserve privacy.

Contact a family office specialist to discuss your needs.

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