Although many South Africans have access to an international passport, others do not have family ties to the United Kingdom – making it difficult to move to the UK, without considering alternative options.
There are many different visas available, but not many are popular with emigrating South Africans.
Speaking to BusinessTech, JP Breytenbach, the director of Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants, explained the most popular business and work-related visas that are available to those with South African passports.
Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa
This visa needs the sponsorship of a UK-based employer to be successful, and the application of this visa can also not be processed without the direct involvement of the employer.
A Tier 2 Skilled visa applicant must also fulfill certain requirements. This option was previously limited to only skilled workers, however, The UK Government is now looking to include semi-skilled workers as well. This will happen after the UK leaves the European Union.
Sole Representative visa
The Sole Representative visa allows for a South African business to move itself to the UK, and makes provision for one key member of a company to travel to the UK to establish a branch of this business.
One of the advantages of this visa is that there is no need for the involvement of a UK employer or a specific amount of start-up capital to qualify for this visa.
“To qualify as the Sole Representative of the company, the employee must be a senior employee and intend to be employed full time, with full authority to take operational decisions on behalf of the firm,” Breytenbach said. “Many South African companies are using this route to expand their businesses into the UK and provide an immigration route to their sole representative.”
Tier 1 Investor visa
This type of visa is available to individuals with a high net worth who plan to make a substantial investment into the UK. The applicant must have his or her own funds, which must be held in a regulated financial institution and be disposable in the UK.
This income must amount to no less than £2-million. The applicant must also have opened an account with a UK-regulated bank to invest no less than £2 million in the UK.
“Due to the high investment required, it is however not a viable option for all South Africans,” Breytenbach said.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa
This visa allows for the sensible opportunity to invest money into the UK via a business set up, or buying a business that is a going concern.
Applicants who wish to be successful need to invest by setting up, or taking over a business, and being actively involved in its operation in the UK.
“One of the main attractions of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur immigration route is that it offers the opportunity for persons to form an entrepreneurial team. This will thus make it easier to qualify, than applying on your own. The £200,000 investment funds for the application are thus shared, subject, of course, to strict criteria,” Breytenbach said. “Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants can introduce entrepreneurs to other possible candidates, to form an entrepreneurial team.”