Travel Smart With Attorney Chika Okoroafor: How to Get an Immigrant Visa to Developed Countries through Employment

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Anne’s note: The Travel Smart Series is written by Chika Okoroafor, an Immigration Lawyer based in Nigeria. I have partnered with her to create awareness of  legitimate ways to migrate to western countries. We hope that the series dissuade youths from third world countries from crossing to developed countries illegally. Many young Africans have lost their lives at sea in search of often elusive greener pastures. Most recently, six days ago, Washington Post reported that 26 female Nigerians, aged 14-18 years, were found dead in the Mediterranean sea. They died trying to cross from Libya to Europe.

So we have opened discussions on migrate visas and how it is important that intending migrants get in the right visa platform for migrating purposes. If you missed it, don’t worry, just click on this link. We kicked off with student visas as a migrant’s visa option. Because student visa is broad with plethora of options ranging from, choice of country, school, tuition fee etc., we said it is generally the more accessible migrate route.  Today, I will be discussing Migration via work visa.

Work visas are restricted obviously; no country will allow foreigners to take up employment where local workforce is available to do same. However, circumstances such as those listed below may warrant a state to open visa route to foreigners for work purposes.

  • Dwindling population: A dwindling population may be due to diseases, war, excessive birth control practice (country where you have more of senior citizens and minors have a dwindling labour population) or other catastrophes. If the country has to remain operational, it has to source its labour force elsewhere, hence the country will relax its work visa regulations and may add some incentives to attract migrants.
  • Set skill shortage: Where population is not an issue, a country may still be forced to open its border to economic migrants to fill in sectors where there are no or insufficient local workers with particular required skills sets.
  • Experts (or using the United Kingdom diplomatic mission term “exceptional talent”). There are work visas available, though highly restrictive, to individuals that are experts or individuals with exceptional talent in particular fields. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian novelist and feminism advocate, got her immigrant visa to U.S. through this category.

The above are a few reasons why work visas may be made available to foreigners.

METHODOLOGY OF WORK VISAS

Open poll: For example, via visa lottery. A country may throw an open poll for certain age group and/or set skills albeit temporarily.

Contract of employment: Since work visas are for work purposes, employers, where there are no local workers to fill up vacancies, are allowed by the state, via its regulations, to source for their work force from foreign countries. A country will ordinarily put in place regulations that will mandate an employer to fill up any vacancy with local worker. But where the regulation is relaxed for either of the reasons listed above or any reason whatsoever, a potential employer can advertise vacancies to the world directly or by proxy. Applications are taken from all over the world. If a foreigner is offered a job, necessary documents will be made available to him in his country of residence from the diplomatic mission of the employer’s country to process his entry permit into the foreign country.

ACCESSING A WORK VISA

From previous discussions, we have already established that entry permits are not a one size fits all.  Visa regulations vary from diplomatic mission to diplomatic mission, some may share one or two similarities in content and/or procedure. But to each diplomatic mission, compliance has to be absolute as assessment is strict.

For better understanding, I will discuss the intricacies of a work visa using the United Kingdom (UK) migrate work visa as case study. (Before I continue, if you are registered nurse, teachers specifically mathematics, chemistry, physics teacher or you know anyone who is and desirous of migrating for work purposes, you and/or yours may be closer to you dream than you think. All you need do is read on).

The UK has five main migrate route categorised in a point based system available to migrants from outside European Economic Area (EEA) who want to migrate to the UK to study, work, invest or train. The five routes are

  • Tier 1

This route is for applicants termed high – value applicants. They include investors, entrepreneurs and exceptional talents.

  • Tier 2

This route is for skilled workers with job offers in the UK.  (Our discussions will be on this category)

  • Tier 3

Route designed for low-skilled workers

  • Tier 4

Migrant route for prospective students over the age of 16

  • Tier 5

This route has 6 sub-tier made up of temporal work offers. This visa is awarded to youths from countries where UK has a reciprocal arrangement with. As such, UK youths also benefit from similar schemes from those countries.

Of the above routes, Tier 2 is the main UK migration route for skilled workers (including religious workers) migrating to the UK to take up employment; it’s a lot similar in content (not procedure/processing) with the Canada express skilled workers scheme.

Tier 2 is categorised into two:

The Tier 2 (general) Visa, for fresh employees, and

Tier 2 (inter-company transfer) for employees of multinational company who are being transferred to their UK business branch.

The Tier 2 (general) Visa

Key parties in this application are the UK-based employer, the foreign employee and the UK High Commission. Procedure is initiated with a contract of employment after the usual employer and employee protocols are observed. But for legitimacy, a UK based employer must have a valid sponsorship licence and it is also required that such jobs must be advertised to members of EEA before they can be offered to non-EEA immigrants, except the job type is listed in the Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

HOW TIER 2 WORKS

The UK government releases set of skills available to foreign employee in a Tier 2 occupation list and Tier 2 shortage occupation list.

An applicant who intends to reside and work in the UK via tier 2 visa must comply with the following pre-application requirements. Thus a tier 2 visa applicant must:

  • Have a job offer from a UK based employer (remember employment must be from an employer with a valid Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship licence);
  • Have a job offer that meets estimated minimum wage not less than £20,800 (there are few exceptions though);
  • Have a tier 2 certificate of sponsorship;
  • Confirm Job being offered is listed in the Tier 2 occupation list/shortage occupation list;
  • Meet English requirement test; a qualification equivalent to a Bachelors degree or higher, taught in English or English language test result; (eg TOEFL, IELTS, PEARSON etc)
  • Meet maintenance fund requirement (£945 held for 90 days in applicant’s account) and;
  • Must have a clear TB test result letter.

Whenever you learn that any application is point based (as Tier 2 is), it simply means that assessment is mathematical. An applicant earns points for each of the requirement listed above that he meets. For Tier 2, an applicant must meet up to 70 point on their Tier 2 point result. A point base application is strict, a half point short of the minimum required and an application is thrown out. It is also a somewhat predictable application for professionals who know their onions. An applicant or his handler must be pedantic while packaging a Tier 2 visa application. Also, because it is a point based application, an erroneously refused visa where applicant meets minimum point is reviewable. That is to say, an applicant can apply for administrative review of his denied tier 2 visa application, if the applicant is convinced that his visa ought to have been granted. If indeed the applicant met minimum point, on review, visa will be granted. A holder of a Tier 2 visa is allowed to migrate to the UK with his dependants (i.e spouse and children (minor) only) if applicant is able to comply with financial requirements.

On this note, I recommend any prospective or intending work migrant to visit this site https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-k-shortage-occupation-list(Nurses and Secondary school Mathematic, Chemistry and Physics teachers, I already got you covered. Your skill set is on the list. So for nurses and mathematics, chemistry and physics teachers that is one step check off the requirements).

Dear Nigerian BSC. Nurses, my firm, in collaboration with other firms in the UK, is working out how to get job placements for Nigerian nurses. While we sort that out, we advise qualified nurses interested in migrating to the UK for work purpose, to visit and register on this website https://ireg.nmc-uk.org and forward your credentials to us. You will need to take some tests with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (UK).  Need any guidance during the process? Don’t worry. Just send us us an email at attorneychika@yahoo.com. Also 16,000 Nurses are needed in Australia. We will provide you with details in subsequent posts.

That is all we have for this session of Travel Smart Series. Thank you  for sparing us you precious time and data, to read, comment and share. Thank you for your emails. The comment session is open to you for questions, further or better clarification and inquiries. Till next time, keep smart and remember, sharing is caring.

 

Chika Okoroafor

 

 

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