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UK Work Visa from Nigeria

Thousands of people move to the UK each year to join the British workforce. The UK has many exciting career opportunities to offer Nigerians.

Moving abroad can be complicated, and it can be hard to make sense of which visa is the right one for you. IAS can help. Contact us online or by calling our UK office on +44 (0) 3316300929 or our Lagos office on +23413438882.

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    Let us support you with this life-changing step.

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    What Work Visas are Available for Nigerians in the UK?

    The type of work visa you require depends on your individual circumstances and what type of employer has sponsored you. Each visa is different and has different eligibility requirements.

    If you are submitting a UK visa application as a Nigerian national, most visas require you to have a certificate of sponsorship from an employer. Exceptions to this rule are the High Potential Individual visa, for example.

    If you have Nigerian dual citizenship in Ireland, a visa application is not required, as Irish citizens are exempt from needing to apply for UK visas.

    Below is a list of the most common work visas:

    Long-Term Visas

    • Skilled Worker visas
    • Global Business Mobility visas
    • Minister of Religion visa
    • International Sportsperson visas
    • High Potential Individual visa
    • Scale-Up Visa
    • Innovative Founder visa
    • Global Talent visa

    Short-Term Visas (Temporary Workers)

    Other Types of Visas

    • Offshore Worker
    • Sheep Shearer
    • Overseas Domestic Worker in private household
    • Employee of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation
    • Representative of overseas business
    • UK Ancestry

    UK Work Visa Eligibility Criteria

    In general, to be eligible for a work visa, you need to:

    • Be over 18 years old
    • Have a clear criminal record
    • Work for a Home Office-approved UK employer
    • Have a certificate of sponsorship from your employer outlining your job duties
    • Be sponsored for a listed eligible occupation under the relevant category – you can look this up with your 4 digit occupation code printed on your certificate of sponsorship
    • Have a minimum amount of savings available, usually £1270 per applicant
    • Be working on a minimum paid salary, in line with the salary requirements for the occupation you are sponsored for
    • Apply within 3 months of receiving your certificate of sponsorship.

    Please note that salary requirements are not required for some temporary visas, such as the Charity Worker visa. Sponsorship may also not apply for certain visas or circumstances.

    Long-Term Work Visas


    Long-term visas are available to applicants who wish to work in the UK for at least one year, or plan to live and work in the UK on a permanent basis.

    In general, long-term visas can be issued for up to five years, and are valid if applying for citizenship Some visas may need renewing annually.

    In general, with a long-term visa you can:

    • Work for your employer in the job outlined in your certificate of sponsorship
    • Study courses
    • Sponsor your family and partner to join you
    • Volunteer
    • Travel in and out of the UK
    • Apply to settle in the UK (this is not possible with a Global Business Mobility visa).

    In general, you cannot:

    • Access UK public funds, or a state pension
    • Change your job without updating your visa.

    English Requirements

    If you are applying for a long-term work visa, you must prove that you can read, write, speak and understand English at least at a level B1 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) scale.

    Ways that you can prove your English knowledge are outlined below:

    • Pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider
    • Have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification level 4 or 5, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English, gained during time you spent in a UK school
    • Have a degree-level academic qualification that was taught in English – you must apply for a certificate from Ecctis (formerly UK NARIC) if you studied in Nigeria or another country abroad.

    Seize Opportunities for Nigerians. Apply for the UK Long-Term Work Visas today. Contact us for assistance. Contact Us

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      Skilled Worker Visas


      Skilled Worker visas are offered to skilled applicants in certain lines of work. There are four subcategories for the Skilled Worker visa. This visa also allows you to work in UK nautical territory.

      You can take on second jobs if they are within the same industry and at the same skill level.

      You also have the option to extend your visa or switch to a different visa, so long as you are eligible and follow the correct process.

      Health and Care Worker Visa

      The Health and Care Worker Visa is available for foreign nationals who wish to work in the NHS, with an NHS Supplier, or in adult care.

      Examples of available jobs are:

      • Medical Practitioners, such as Anaesthetists, Psychiatrists, or Surgeons
      • Pharmacists
      • Opticians
      • Nurses
      • Midwives.

      Shortage Occupation Roles

      Some jobs are listed as shortage occupation roles, due to a lack of British residents in those positions. Each UK region has a different shortage occupation list.

      Most work visas have a minimum salary amount that you can be paid for a position, and if you are offered less, then you would not be considered for a work visa.

      However, the UK government is willing to take on applicants who have been offered jobs that offer no less than 80% of the standard rate for that role, based on a 37.5 hour work week. You can still apply if you have been sponsored for part time hours, so long as your hourly rate is no less than 80% of the pro-rata rate.

      Examples of available jobs are:

      • Welding trades
      • Graphic Designers
      • Healthcare and Care roles
      • Architects
      • Veterinarians
      • Engineering professionals.

      Global Business Mobility Visas

      Global Business Mobility visas are available to employees or contractors of international businesses that are expanding into or already have UK branches.


      Global Business Mobility visas tend to be more restrictive than other long-term visas, as you are still working for an overseas company and not a UK company.

      You are not entitled to:

      • Access UK public funds, or a state pension
      • Change your job
      • Take on a second job
      • Permanent Settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain).


      In general, you must:

      • Be an employee of a Home Office-approved company, and have worked for the company outside of the UK for 12 months, though some visas require less according to the type of visa or salary thresholds
      • Have a certificate of sponsorship detailing the work you will be doing
      • Be sponsored for an eligible occupation
      • Receive the minimum salary or the going rate for the job, whichever is highest.

      Senior or Specialist Worker, Expansion Worker, and Secondment Worker Visas

      The Senior or Specialist Worker visa allows you to move to the UK to work at the the employer’s UK-based branch.

      The Expansion Worker visa allows Senior Managers or Specialist employees to move to the UK to set up a branch of an overseas company that is starting trade in the UK.

      The Secondment Worker visa is for employees of overseas companies who are being transferred to a different UK-based organisation. Your employer must have a high-value contract with the UK company worth at least £50 million.

      If your salary is less than £73,900 per year you must have been employed outside the UK for at least 12 months. If your salary is more than £73,900 per year, there is no minimum time requirement.

      Examples of eligible jobs are:

      • Chief Executives and Senior Officials
      • Production Managers and Directors of Manufacturing, Construction, Mining or Energy
      • Department Managers or Directors
      • Professionals in Health or Social Services
      • Engineers
      • Education Professionals
      • Legal and Law Enforcement Professionals.

      Graduate Trainee Visa

      The Graduate Trainee visa is for employees of global companies who wish to work in a UK branch of the organisation. The role must be eligible for the graduate training programme for a managerial or specialist position.

      You must have worked for the company abroad for at least 3 months, and receive a minimum salary of £24,220 per year.

      Service Supplier Visa

      To be eligible, you must be:

      • An employee of a Home Office-approved company and:
        • Have worked for the company outside of the UK for at least 12 months, or
        • Be a self-employed overseas service provider with at least 12 months of professional experience
      • Contracted to a UK business covered by a valid international trade agreement
      • Sponsored for an eligible occupation, or prove your relevant qualifications and experience.

      If you have the relevant qualifications and experience, you can be eligible without fitting this criteria. You’ll usually need:

      • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent level technical qualification
      • 3 years of experience as an employee, or 6 years of experience if you are self-employed.

      The types of work that are usually eligible for this visa are as follows:

      • Chef de cuisine
      • Advertising
      • Translation
      • Entertainment, Fashion and Modelling Services
      • Management Consulting services.

      To learn more about the Skilled Worker visas, you can contact us online today or call us in the UK on +44 (0) 3316300929 or in Nigeria on +23413438882.

      Elevate your career with us. Apply for UK Skilled Worker or Global Business Mobility Visas today. Contact Us

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        Temporary UK Work Visas from Nigeria

        Temporary visas allow you to work in the UK for a specified period. The terms and requirements of each visa will vary.

        Generally, with a temporary visa you can:

        • Work for your approved licensed sponsor, abiding by the job description outlined in your certificate of sponsorship
        • Study for certain courses – for some you might need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificate
        • Take on a second job in the same sector and same skill level for up to 20 hours per week
        • Bring your partner and/or children with you, if they are eligible.

        You cannot access public funds.

        Length of Stay

        In general, and unless otherwise arranged by your sponsor, you can stay in the UK for up to 12 months with a temporary worker visa. You are entitled to an additional 14 days on your visa so that you can travel to and settle in the UK before you begin working.

        What Documents Do I Need to Apply for a UK Work Visa?


        In general, you need to submit the following documents:

        • A valid passport or travel document, clearly stating your identity and nationality
        • Proof of English
        • Certificate of sponsorship
        • Employer details and job title
        • The reference number and licence number supplied with your certificate of sponsorship
        • The annual salary you have been offered
        • The job’s occupation code
        • Proof you can financially support yourself in the UK with personal savings (bank statements are valid for this)
        • If you are travelling from Nigeria or another listed country, you will be required to take a tuberculosis test and submit the results
        • A blank page available in your passport to stick your work visa into.

        Some applicants need to provide the following:

        • Proof of your relationship with your children or your partner, if applicable (this can be proven with a marriage certificate or birth certificate)
        • A UK PhD certificate or Ecctis reference number (formerly UK NARIC number) if applicable
        • The relevant documents translated into English or Welsh, if applicable.

        Criminal Record Certificate

        If you’re applying from abroad, you must provide a criminal record certificate unless you have been hired as one of the following:

        • A Biological Scientist (occupation code 2112)
        • A Biochemist (occupation code 2112)
        • A Physical Scientist (occupation code 2113).

        If you have lived in multiple countries, you will be required to provide a criminal record certificate from each country you have resided in:

        • If you are under 28 years old, you should provide a certificate from any nation you have lived in for more than 1 year since you were 18 years old
        • If you are 28 or above, you should provide a certificate from any country you’ve lived in for any period over the past 10 years.

        Begin crafting your career today. Reach out to our experts to explore UK Work Visas from Nigeria. Contact Us

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          How to Apply for a Work Visa UK


          All UK work visas can be applied for online. If you have mitigating circumstances that mean you need to apply in person, then you can do so at your local immigration office, or if you are in Nigeria, you can apply with our team by visiting our offices in Lagos.

          If you are applying for one of the subcategories of Skilled Worker visas, you will need to make sure you check the relevant box on the application form. There will be options for shortage occupations and/or Health and Care Worker.


          To get a UK Work visa, you are required to provide proof of identity. This is required of all foreign nationals who wish to live long-term in the UK.

          Depending on if your passport is recent, or whether you are using a non-Nigerian passport to apply, you must provide proof of identity by either:

          • Providing fingerprints and having your passport photo taken at a visa application centre for your biometric residence permit, or
          • Downloading the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app and scanning your identity document. You will be required to create a UK Visas and Immigration account, if you don’t have one already.

          The next steps for your application process will be explained to you once you submit your identity information.

          If you are asked to book an appointment, you need to:

          • Visit the nearest visa application centre in your area – there are Home Office approved centres in Abuja and Lagos
          • Leave your passport and documents with the visa application centre whilst they process your application. Make sure you don’t book any travel during the application processing period.

          Applying for visas can be complicated, especially when you are applying from abroad. We are here to help. Contact IAS today online or call us in the UK on +44 (0) 3316300929 or in Nigeria on +23413438882.

          Waiting for Your Decision

          Once you have submitted your application, you should receive a decision within:

          3 weeks if you applied from abroad

          8 weeks if you applied from within the UK

          You may be required to attend an interview, submit further documents, or provide clarification, in which case the decision process could take longer. Sometimes, you can pay to fast track your application so that you can receive a quicker decision.

          Work Visa Application Fees

          Below is a list of application fees for Work Visas. This list is not exhaustive and does not include additional costs.  Please note prices are subject to change.

          You will also be required to pay a healthcare surcharge, which usually costs £624 per year.

          If you are bringing a partner or children with you, you need to prove financial support for them too.

          Skilled Worker Visas Application Fee GBP 3 years and under Application fee GBP over 3 years
          Skilled Worker £625 £1235
          Shortage Occupation £479 £943
          Health and Care Visa £247 £479
          Shortage Occupation Health and Care Visa £247 £479
          Global Business Mobility Visas Application Fee GBP
          Senior or Specialist Worker 3 years or less £625
          Senior or Specialist Worker over 3 years £1423
          UK Expansion Worker £259
          Service Supplier £259
          Graduate Trainee £259
          Secondment Worker £259
          Other Visas Application Fee GBP
          International Sportsperson 12 months or less £259
          International Sportsperson over 12 months £625
          Minister of Religion £625
          High Potential Individual £715
          Scale-Up £715
          Short Term Visas £259

          Shape your future today. Get in touch with our experts to learn about UK Work Visas from Nigeria. Contact Us

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            How Can IAS Help?

            Moving to the UK is an exciting prospect for Nigerians looking to begin or advance their career abroad. A UK visa offers you the opportunity to bring your loved ones from Nigeria with you and explore the UK. A work visa can also allow you to apply for citizenship.

            We know it is vital that your UK visa application is fully accurate so that you can be sure that you have the best chance possible of being approved for a UK work visa. If you have family members that you wish to bring along with you or have a complex situation that involves previous criminal charges, then your application process may be more difficult to complete alone.

            That’s why IAS exists. We have a team of expert immigration lawyers that can guide and support you throughout the application process and help you with your big move to the United Kingdom. Contact us today online or call us at +44 (0) 3316300929 in the UK or on +23413438882 in Nigeria. You can also visit our offices in Lagos.

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                      Frequently Asked Questions

                      Yes, if you are travelling from Nigeria to the UK, you must prove that you don’t have tuberculosis by taking a test.

                      You must take a TB test if you have been in Nigeria or another listed country in the past 6 months at a Home Office-approved clinic. There are several clinics in Abuja and Lagos that you can visit to get the test.

                      In most cases, you must obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship from a licensed employer or organisation in order to enter the UK on a temporary or long term work visa. Some visas, such as the High Potential Individual visa, will not require you to have prior sponsorship or employment before entering the country.

                      Most visas will take 3-8 weeks to receive your decision. This is usually based on whether you have applied in the UK or from abroad.

                      You might be required to attend an interview or provide further documentation before your application is approved, so please make sure you leave plenty of time between your application submission and your travel dates to the UK.