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Moving to UK from Singapore

There are a wealth of potential visas and immigration routes available for Singaporeans looking to move to, and settle in, the UK.

For more information about moving to the UK from Singapore, including what you have to do to be eligible and how you can receive bespoke, one-to-one expert advice from an immigration lawyer, reach out to us today. Call us on (+44) 333 4149244, or contact us online.

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    Overview of Moving to the UK from Singapore

    Despite the relatively small size of the country itself, Singapore boasts a fairly significant expatriate community in the UK.

    This is for two reasons: firstly because Singapore is notably a former British colony and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, and secondly because the Singaporean community is closely linked with the British Chinese community.

    Many Singaporeans are Chinese in descent, and so it follows that the sizable and well-established Chinese community in the UK are a large draw for Singaporeans who wish to settle internationally.

    Well over 40,000 Singaporeans are resident in the UK, with many of them living in or around London. A further 8,000 international students from Singapore were also enrolled in UK universities in the 2017/2018 academic year, underlining the UK’s popularity as both a travel and emigration destination.

    There are a number of possible immigration routes available for Singaporeans looking to settle in the UK, including general and specialist work visas, visas for global talent, and those with UK ancestry.

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    UK Skilled Worker Visa for Singaporeans

    The most common UK work visa available is the Skilled Worker visa, which is aimed at a wide range of skilled workers and professionals across a variety of industries.

    This visa requires you to meet certain eligibility criteria, such as having a job offer from a Home Office-approved sponsor that also meets minimum salary requirements. You must also prove that you can speak, read, write and understand English to a good standard.

    The Skilled Worker visa operates on a points-based system, which means that you will need to accrue a certain number of points across a number of different categories in order to be eligible to apply.

    For example, you may be able to attain additional points towards your eligibility if you have a high-level academic qualification, or if your job is in a shortage occupation.

    The Skilled Worker visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years. After 5 years has passed, you can choose to either extend it or apply for permanent residence through indefinite leave to remain.

    Other UK Work Visas for Singaporeans

    If the Skilled Worker visa isn’t right for you, there are also other long-term UK work visas that may better suit your needs.

    For example, the Health and Care Worker visa is a visa that allows professionals working in the health or social care sectors to come and work in the UK if they have a relevant job offer from an approved sponsor.

    Like the Skilled Worker visa, you must meet minimum language and salary requirements in order to be eligible.

    However, there are some situations where you may be able to be paid less than the minimum salary threshold, such as if your job is in a shortage occupation, you’re under 26 years old, or if you have certain high-level academic qualifications.

    Other UK work visas include the International Sportsperson visa, for applicants looking to work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach; the Scale-Up Worker visa, for those who wish to work with a fast-growing business; and the Minister of Religion visa, for those looking to work in a religious faith community.

    Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Singapore. Contact Us

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      UK Global Talent Visa for Singaporeans

      The Global Talent visa is a special type of visa aimed specifically at leaders in fields such as academia, arts and culture, or digital technology.

      To be eligible for this visa, you must either apply for endorsement to prove that you’re a leader or potential leader, or have won a recognised prize or award.

      The Global Talent visa will allow you to come and live and work in the UK with very few restrictions on what you can and can’t do. For example, you will be able to take any kind of employment you wish without any minimum salary requirements, or you may choose not to work at all.

      The two main caveats to the visa is that you will not be able to claim public funds or work as a sportsperson while in the UK.

      This visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, after which you may extend your visa or apply for indefinite leave to remain. You may also be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 3 years with this visa, in some cases.

      High Potential Individual Visa for Singaporeans

      The High Potential Individual visa is a special UK visa specifically aimed at high-achieving individuals.

      Only those who have qualifications from certain eligible universities may apply for the High Potential Individual visa. The list of eligible universities changes every year based on the most recent global university rankings.

      Both the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore have appeared in the list of eligible universities in the past, which means that certain Singaporeans who attended these universities may be eligible.

      However, you must ensure that you received a qualification from these universities in the year that they appear in the eligible list, otherwise you may not be eligible to apply for the visa.

      After applying for a High Potential Individual visa, you will be able to stay in the UK for a period of 2 years. You may be able to switch to another type of visa after this point to allow you to stay longer in the UK, such as a Skilled Worker visa.

      UK Ancestry Visa for Singaporeans

      The Ancestry visa is a unique visa that Singaporeans have the opportunity to take advantage of when looking to move to the UK.

      This visa is specifically for Commonwealth and British Overseas countries, of which Singapore is one. It allows anyone with one or more British grandparents to move to, and settle in, the UK on the basis of having British ancestry.

      In order to qualify for this visa, you must be a Singaporean citizen and prove that one of your grandparents was born in one of the following circumstances:

      • In the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man
      • Before 31 March 1922 in what is now Ireland
      • On a ship or aircraft that was either registered in the UK or belonged to the UK government

      You need to also prove that you are capable of working in the UK, you are intending to work in the UK, and that you meet the minimum financial requirements in order to be able to support yourself.

      Note that you will be able to claim ancestry if you or your parents were adopted, or if your parents or grandparents were not married.

      However, you will not be able to claim UK ancestry through step-parents.

      The Ancestry visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 5 years, after which you can either extend it or apply for indefinite leave to remain.

      UK Family Visa for Singaporeans

      If you’re a Singaporean with a family member who is a British or Irish citizen, or someone with settled status in the UK, you may be eligible for a Family visa.

      The Family visa will allow you to come and live with your family member in the UK long-term. In order for you to be eligible for this visa, your family member must:

      • Be a British or Irish citizen
      • Be settled in the UK, such as through indefinite leave to remain, pre-settled status, settled status or proof of permanent residence
      • Have a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
      • Have refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK

      Eligible family members you can join in the UK include the following:

      • Spouse or partner
      • Fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner
      • Child
      • Parent
      • Relative who’ll provide long-term care for you

      When you’ll be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK will depend on the type of family member you’ll be joining in the UK. In some cases, it’ll be 5 years, while in other cases it may take longer or shorter than this.

      How Can IAS Help?

      The process of moving to a foreign country can be a daunting one, especially one that is located as far apart from Singapore as the UK.

      If you’re a Singaporean in the process of moving to the UK, or planning to move to the UK, IAS can help.

      We are expert and professional legal immigration advisers who are experienced in the field of international and UK immigration. We can assist you with any immigration issue that occurs and support you throughout the moving process to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

      Whether you need assistance with applying for the right visa category, obtaining the right supporting documents for your application, or bespoke concierge services to help with the logistics of moving, we can help.

      For more information about the services we offer, and what we could do for you, get in touch with us on (+44) 333 4149244, or contact us online today.

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      With our Advice Package, you can book a one-to-one session with one of our legal team and receive bespoke advice tailored for your situation. We will review your case and give you expert advice on how best to proceed with your immigration matter. Reach out to a member of our team and book your session today.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                In most cases, you will have to apply for a UK visa through the website.

                Additionally, you will have to be approved for a visa before you travel to the UK. You may not be allowed to enter the UK without a valid visa.

                Note that you may also have to attend a local visa application centre to give your biometrics information as part of the application process.

                There is one UK visa application centre located in Singapore.

                In most cases, you may not need an International Driving Permit in order to drive in the UK.

                If you’re a visitor to Great Britain, you will be able to drive any type of small vehicle listed on your full and valid Singaporean licence for 12 months from when you last entered Great Britain.

                If you’re a resident of Great Britain, you will be able to drive on your full, valid Singaporean driving licence for 12 months from when you became resident.

                However, after 12 months, you’ll need to apply for a provisional licence and pass the theory and practical driving tests in order to drive in Great Britain.

                Note that Great Britain refers to England, Scotland and Wales, and does not include Northern Ireland.

                You will only be able to access the UK’s NHS if you’re on a visa that allows you to stay for more than 6 months in the UK.

                However, you will first have to pay an annual immigration health surcharge to do so, which is a yearly fee of £624, paid for every year you’ll be in the UK.

                You’ll be able to access the NHS for free without having to pay the surcharge once you gain indefinite leave to remain.

                Note that you will not necessarily need private health insurance to access medical services in the UK.

                UK visas will all require you to pay application fees of varying prices, in addition to other fees. As a general guide, below are the application fees for the visas already mentioned on this page:

                UK Visa or Settlement PermissionCost 
                Indefinite leave to remain£2,404
                Skilled Worker visaBetween £625 and £1,423
                Health and Care Worker visaBetween £247 and £479
                International Sportsperson visaBetween £625 and £719
                Scale-Up Worker visa£715
                Minister of Religion visa£625
                Global Talent Visa£623
                High Potential Individual visa£715
                Ancestry visa£531
                Family visaBetween £1,538 and £3,250

                IAS offer bespoke concierge relocation services to help with the logistics of moving to another international country.

                These cover a wide range of services, including transporting your personal belongings by air freight, cargo flights and container load shipments.

                Our door-to-door services ensure that all of your prized possessions are packaged, shipped and delivered safely to your new home, with no need to worry about the hassle of clearing UK customs for items brought from outside the European Union.

                We can also assist in helping you to settle into your new home after arrival, such as helping you set up a local bank account, national insurance payments, and searching for the best local independent schools for your children.

                For more information about how you could benefit from the services of a professional moving company to help with your move to the UK, reach out to one of our advisers on (+44) 333 4149244, or contact us online today.