Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Immigration Corner: I've been invited to lecture in the UK

Published:Tuesday | March 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I am invited to give a lecture to a number of audiences in the United Kingdom. I understand it is possible for me to go to work over there without having to be sponsored under the points system. Please advise if this is possible.

- HJ

Dear HJ,

You have not specified what area these lectures are in. however, a person can apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa if he/she would like to go to the United Kingdom to do specific paid work, without having to be sponsored under the points-based visa system.

This applies to persons who are from a country that is not in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and who meet the other eligibility requirements.

However, please be aware that a person may not need to apply for a visa if he/she is from certain countries. A person should check if this visa is needed before applying.

Persons should be aware that they can apply for a visa up to three months before the date of travel to the United Kingdom, and a decision on the visa should be forthcoming within three weeks.

A person can check the guide to processing times to see how long, in general, it might take to get a visa in a particular country.

The cost for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa is £85, and a person can stay in the United Kingdom for up to one month.

If the applicant is successful there are certain things that he/she will and will not be able to do.

The person will be able to be a student examiner or assessor; take part in selection panels for the education, arts or research organisation that he/she is invited to as a highly qualified academic; and give lectures at a higher-education institution, as long as it is not a part-time or full-time role.

The person may also be permitted to examine United Kingdom-based pilots, by invitation of an approved United Kingdom training organisation regulated by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.

The person may also provide advocacy in a particular area of law; take part in arts, entertainment or sporting activities including broadcasting; take part in fashion-modeling assignments; and do minor activities related to his/her work or business overseas, for example hold and/or chair meetings.

A person cannot do specific paid work that is unrelated to his/her main job or area of expertise or sell merchandise, other than what is allowed by his/her visa. The successful applicant will not be able to extend this visa or switch to another visa; live in the United Kingdom for extended periods; and/or get public funds.

In addition, a person cannot study for more than 30 days, and studying cannot be the main reason for the visit; he/she cannot marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; and he/she cannot take family members (dependents) with him/her on the application as they must apply separately.

In order to be eligible for this visa persons must prove that they are 18 years old or older; they are visiting the United Kingdom for no longer than one month and will leave the United Kingdom at the end of the visit. Persons should have enough money without help from public funds to support and house themselves. Persons should also be able to pay for their return or onward journey and prove that they are not in transit to a country outside the United Kingdom, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

When applying, persons must provide a current passport or other valid travel identification; a passport-sized colour photograph; and provide proof that they can support themselves during their trip, e.g. bank statements or pay slips for the past six months. Persons will also need to provide details of where he/she intends to stay and any travel plans. It should be noted that persons should not pay for accommodation or travel until the visa is received.

The applicant should also include a formal invitation from the organisation or authority that the applicant will be paid by; and proof that the paid engagement relates to the applicant's expertise, qualifications and main job in his/her home country, e.g. a letter from the applicant's employer. An applicant will need to have a blank page in his/her passport on which to put the visa.

Just for completeness, a person may need to provide additional documents. For instance, an applicant must provide extra documents if he/she is an established arts, entertainment or sporting professional.

Please note that if an applicant is applying from outside the United Kingdom, he/she will need to apply online for a Permitted Engagement visa. The applicant will need to have his/her fingerprints and photograph, known as 'biometric information', taken at a visa application centre as part of the application.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (U.K.).