Immigration Corner | Obtaining a paid-engagement visa
Dear Mr Bassie,
I had been invited to address a professional group in the United Kingdom (UK), and if I accept, I will get paid for the engagement. I would like to know whether I can obtain a visa to travel there for this purpose.
Persons may be able to visit the UK for a paid engagement if they have been invited as an expert in their profession.
Persons can apply for a Permitted Paid Engagement visa if they are invited by a UK-based organisation or client. Also, if they want to go to the UK to do specific paid work without having to be sponsored under the points-based visa system and if they meet the other eligibility requirements. Persons may not have to apply for a visa. Persons should check if they need to apply for a visa as this largely depends on their nationality.
With respect to what persons can and cannot do, persons can be invited by a UK-based organisation or client to:
• Be a student examiner or assessor
• Take part in selection panels as a highly qualified academic if they are invited by an education, arts, or research organisation
• Give lectures at a higher education institution as long as it is not a part-time or full-time role
• Examine UK-based pilots so that they meet the standards of the country they come from if they are invited by an approved UK training organisation regulated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority
• Provide advocacy in a particular area of law
• Take part in arts, entertainment, or sporting activities including broadcasting
• Take part in fashion-modelling assignments
Persons can also do minor activities related to their work or business overseas such as attend meetings.
However, persons cannot:
• Do paid work unrelated to their main job or area of expertise at home other than what is allowed by the visa
• Extend this visa or switch to another visa
• Live in the UK for extended periods
• Get public funds (benefits)
• Marry or register a civil partnership or give notice of marriage or civil partnership
• Bring family members ( ‘dependents’) with them on their application – they must apply separately
Successful persons can stay in the UK for up to one month. To obtain a visa, persons must apply online before they go to the UK. As part of their application, they will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre to prove their identity and provide their documents.
Persons should allow time to attend their appointment as the visa application centre could be in another country.
The visa application centre may keep the passport and documents while processing the application. Please note that the earliest time that an application may be submitted is three months before they travel.
Once persons have applied online, proved their identity and documents, they will usually get a decision on their visa application within three weeks. Please note that a permitted Paid Engagement visa costs £95.
With respect to eligibility, persons must meet the following criteria, they must show that
• They are 18 years of age or over
• They are visiting the UK for no more than one month
• They have been formally invited and paid by a UK-based organisation to attend an event or other permitted engagement
• They will leave the UK at the end of their visit
• They will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits or make the UK their main home
• They are able to support themselves during the trip (or have funding from someone else to support them)
• They are able to pay for their return or onward journey (or have funding from someone else to pay for the journey)
• They have proof of any business or other activities they want to do in the UK as allowed by the Visitor Rules
DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO APPLY
When applying, persons must provide a current passport or other valid travel document – the passport must have a blank page for the visa. Persons must also obtain a formal invitation from the UK-based organisation or client that they will be paid by.
Also, they will need proof that the paid engagement relates to their expertise, qualifications, and main job in their home country, for example, a letter from their current employer. There is a full list of documents online that can be provided to prove eligibility.
Applicants will also need to provide a certified translation of any documents that are not in English or Welsh.
Persons must provide extra documents if they are an established art, entertainment, or sporting professional. Those persons can provide any of the following:
• Publicity material
• Proof of awards
• Media coverage and reviews
• Proof of recent performances
Please note that they may need to provide additional documents depending on their circumstances. Persons who need this visa, must apply online before they travel to the UK, and they should check what documents they will need to apply.
As part of the online application, persons need to book an appointment at a visa application centre. They will have their fingerprints and photograph (known as ‘biometric information’) taken at their appointment. Persons should allow time to attend their appointment as the visa application centre could be in another country. The visa application centre may keep your passport and documents while processing your application.
Please be aware that once persons have started their application, they can save the form online and complete it at a later time.
All the best.
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, global vice president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: email@example.com