Other Categories of UK Work Visas

Currently, there are over 31 different types of UK Work Visas that we can subdivide into 5 main categories:

  1. UK Work Visas without a Job Offer
  2. UK Work Visas with an Overseas Employer
  3. Temporary UK Work Visas
  4. UK Work Visas to Start a Business in the UK
  5. Other Categories of UK Work Visas

In this series of articles, you’ll get an overview of all these visa types that will help you understand the purpose of each visa route and decide if this route is for you.

This article covers four UK Work Visa routes that were not included in any of the previous four categories:

5.1 International Sportsperson

5.2 Minister of Religion

5.3 Scale-up Worker

5.4 Frontier Worker

You can find out more about the last

5.5 Exempt category

by reading this article.


5.1 International Sportsperson

Other Categories of UK Work Visas
Other Categories of UK Work Visas

The International Sportsperson route is for an elite sportsperson or qualified sports coach who is internationally established and can significantly contribute to developing their sport at its highest level in the UK.

You will need to have a Governing Body Endorsement.  Also, if you intend to enter the UK for more than   12 months, you will need to meet the English language requirement at the minimum Level A1.

You will be exempt from meeting the financial requirement if you are from a majority English-speaking country, over 65, under 18 or hold a Bachelor’s Degree or above that for the course that was taught or researched in English language.  You’ll also meet the English language requirement with a GCSE or A-level certificate.

Additionally, if you are applying in from the UK and lived here for less than 12 months or if you are applying from outside the UK, you’ll need to meet the financial requirement.  In other words, you’ll need to provide documentary evidence confirming that you held at least £1,270 in your bank account for at least 28 days before applying.

Alternatively, your employer (the Sponsor) can confirm in their Certificate of Sponsorship (in the ‘Additional Data’ section) that they’ll support you financially.

This immigration route allows bringing partners and dependent children.

Settlement is possible after 5 years if the applicant meets all the requirements.


5.2 Minister of Religion

This route is for a person with a key leading role within their faith-based organisation or religious order in the UK.

You can come to the UK with a dependent partner and dependent children under the route.  Also, if you meet the requirement, you can settle in the UK (apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain) after 5 years.

It is a points-based system application.  You will need to score 70 points to succeed in the application:

Points requirements (all mandatory) Points
Certificate of Sponsorship 50
Financial requirement 10
English language skills at level B2 (intermediate) 10


You need to note that the English language proficiency requirement is higher (B2) than for the settlement applications (B1) requirement.


The financial requirement needs to be met only if you were residing in the UK for less than 12 months or applying from outside the UK.  It is exactly the same as for the majority of other points-based system applications.  All applicants who need to meet this requirement will have to prove that they held at least £1,270 in their bank account for at least 28 days.  Alternatively, your employer (Sponsor) can help you meet the financial requirement by proving they’ll maintain you.  In this case, they’ll need to make an entry in the Certificate of Sponsorship in the ‘Additional Data’ section.

If the application is successful, permission will be granted for whichever is the shorter of:

(a) up to 14 days after the period of employment stated on their Certificate of Sponsorship; or

(b) 3 years and 1 month.


5.3 Scale-up Worker

Other Categories of UK Work Visas
Other Categories of UK Work Visas

The Scale-up route is for talented individuals recruited by a UK Scale-up Sponsor with the skills needed to enable the Scale-up business to continue growing.

You will need to have a high-skilled job offer from a qualifying Scale-up business at the required salary level to succeed in your scale-up worker visa application.

As with the Skilled Worker and some global mobility routes, your job will need to have an occupation code on this list.

With regards to the salary requirement, it has to be either higher than £34,600 per year or at the ‘going rate’ for the type of work you’ll be doing.  You’ll be able to find the going rates for the occupation codes here.

So, for example, if you intend to work 39 hours per week as a Chief Executive of a company with an annual salary of £65,000, your scale-up worker application will not be successful.  Although the salary is higher than £34,600 per year, it is lower than the going rate for this job type.  The occupation code for Chief Executives is 1115, and the going rate (the minimum acceptable salary for this position) is £67,300(£33.19 per hour).


5.4 Frontier Worker

A relatively small number of applicants apply under the Frontier Worker UK immigration route.

Article 26 of the Withdrawal Agreement (and equivalent provisions in the other citizen’s rights agreements) gives frontier workers a right to be issued with a document certifying their rights as frontier workers.  This document is also known as a frontier worker permit.  Frontier workers do not need leave to enter or remain in the UK.  For this reason, issuing a frontier worker permit does not confer leave to enter or remain.  It merely confirms it.

The permit is the workers’ proof of their rights to work and access benefits and services to which they are entitled in the UK.

Frontier workers can access healthcare, benefits and services according to the same rules as before the UK left the EU.  To qualify, they will need to continue to be frontier workers.  In practice, this means maintaining equal treatment to UK workers in matters of housing, healthcare and other benefits and services.

Frontier workers will not need to meet the right to reside test, but they will otherwise need to meet the relevant eligibility requirements at the time they make an application for benefits.

Applications for frontier worker permits are free of charge, and applicants have a right of appeal if the UKVI refuses your application.  Some refusal decisions made on eligibility grounds also carry a right of administrative review.


The Eligibility Requirements

You will be eligible to apply for a Frontier Worker permit if you’re from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and you live outside the UK and meet the requirements for working in the UK.

Working in the UK

You will need to prove that you have started working in the UK while living elsewhere by 31 December 2020, either as an employed or self-employed person.  Also, you’ll need to prove that you did eligible work.

Eligible work

This means that you usually have worked in the UK (as an employed or self-employed person) at least once every 12 months since you started working here.  Your work in the UK is ‘genuine and effective’.  It must be more than small, one-off tasks, such as an interview, participating in a one-off competition or audition, or signing a contract.

The Duration of Your Grant

Frontier worker permits are valid for the following:

Frontier workers can apply to renew their permit for as long as they continue to be frontier workers in the UK.

Sadly, family members are not covered by your Frontier Worker permit.  If you would like to come with you to the UK, they’ll need to apply under another immigration category.

Other Categories of UK Work Visas