Immigrating To The UK From Switzerland For Work

How UK firms can sponsor Swiss Skilled Workers

Ever since the United Kingdom formally divorced the European Union and the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020, Swiss and European Economic Area (EEA) nationals can no longer enjoy freedom of movement to live and work in the UK visa-free.

If you are a citizen of an EEA member country or Switzerland and want to enter the United Kingdom to work as a Skilled Worker, you more than likely must first secure UK employment and have your employer sponsor your visa. A common route is to find a UK firm which has a Skilled Worker sponsor licence, or is otherwise prepared to apply for one.

How to secure a skilled worker visa

Swiss or EEA citizens planning to migrate to the United Kingdom for work who meet the requirements to enter the UK as a Skilled Worker would need an employer with a Skilled Worker sponsor licence - the main sponsored route to work in the UK. To qualify, you must have secured employment with an employer with a sponsor licence.

Read more about skilled worker visa

Employers with a valid sponsor licence can hire workers from outside the UK who meet the criteria.

If you have the right professional training and you manage to secure employment, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from your employer. Only licenced employers with Level 1 access to the UK Sponsor Management System are able to issue sponsorship licences to foreign skilled workers, including Swiss citizens. If an employer is a Level 2 user, the worker will get an undefined certificate of sponsorship. This means that the applicant will get a certificate number, which they can submit together with their application.

Get more info on sponsor licences for UK employers

Types of Sponsorship Certificates

There are two types of sponsorship certificates. These are:

- Defined Certificate of Sponsorship: This type of certificate is meant for skilled workers coming from outside the United Kingdom. This includes Swiss citizens.

- Undefined Certificate of Sponsorship: This is a certificate of sponsorship meant for skilled workers who are already residing in the UK and wish to apply for a skilled worker visa.

Please note that the certificate is not a physical document, but employers can print out the details on paper to enable visa applicants have easy access to the details of their certificates. Once you have been issued with a CoS, you will have a maximum of three months to secure a UK Skilled Worker visa.

It is important to note that you cannot apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa more than three months before the issuance of a CoS.

Other work visa routes for the UK

Skilled people do have other immigration routes to the UK too. Here are some other examples of visas that are open to those seeking to work in the UK if they meet the requirements:

- Expansion Workers for workers employed by an overseas business planning to establish itself in the UK

- Global Talent for highly accomplished people with recognition or awards in areas such as the arts, science, digital technology, humanities or architecture

- High Potential Individual visa for people who have graduated outside the UK from one of the top 50 universities in the world

- Graduate visas for graduates of a UK university

- Service Providers from Switzerland for employees of a Swiss company contracted before 31 December 2020

- Frontier Worker Permits people who continue to travel to the UK to work since before 31 December 2020

- Start Up and Innovator routes