Personal Immigration
Business Immigration



The UK is a world-leading destination for scientific research and innovation.  Whether you are a researcher, academic, business founder or specialist technician, our immigration barristers are well versed in all the immigration routes available to those who lead, undertake and support research and innovation.

General visa information for researchers and innovators

The UK’s research base is responsible for 16% of the world’s most influential academic papers and more Nobel Prizes than any other country bar America. This research base underpins an industrial sector with global reach.  One eighth of the world’s most popular medicines were developed in the UK and the technology that drives 95% of the world’s smart phones, 80% of digital cameras, and 35% of all electronic devices was developed here.

The points-based system has special categories and rules for those engaged in research and innovation.  In some categories you will need to be sponsored by an employer, whilst other categories allow research and innovation without sponsorship. If you are going to be in the UK for a single event or activity such as attending a meeting, conference or training, a visitor visa may be more appropriate.

The main immigration routes available to researchers and innovators are:

  • Visit (Standard) – Business
  • Permitted Paid Engagement
  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)
  • Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
  • Tier 2 (General)
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)
  • Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)

Researchers and Innovators

If your company, university, charity or research institute wishes to employ a worker from outside the European Economic Area, the employee must obtain, or already have, permission to work. You will be required to check that all your employees have the required immigration permission to work for you in the UK.

The following categories of people have the right to work in the UK:

  • British Citizens (This is the only form of British nationality where the holder automatically has the right to work. British Nationals, British Nationals (Overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, British Subjects and British Protected Persons do not normally have the automatic right to work in the UK);
  • EEA citizens and citizens of Switzerland;
  • Those with the right of abode in the UK;
  • Those with no time limit on their stay in the UK; and
  • Those with a visa or permission to remain in the UK which permits work (This may be subject to conditions, such as a maximum number of hours to be worked in a week, which must be complied with).

Students may have permission to work, but if they do, this will be limited during term time. Some individuals with applications pending with the Home Office may also have permission to work in the UK. In this case you will need to obtain a Positive Verification Notice from UKVI’s Employer Checking Service.

How our immigration barristers can help

Our specialist immigration barristers assist companies, universities, charities and research institutes to ensure that their immigration requirements are met.  Providing a completely outsourced immigration service, our barristers design immigration solutions that ensure that researchers and innovators can pursue their activities in the UK, in full compliance with UK immigration law.

We can also assist with

  • Applications for Visit (Standard) - Business Visas

    The Visit (Standard) – Business visa is designed for non-EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK for the purpose of undertaking business activities.  A Visit (Standard) – Business visa will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. Within the period for which your visit visa is valid, you may enter and leave the UK multiple times, unless the visit visa is endorsed as a single or dual-entry visa.

  • Applications for Permitted Paid Engagement Visas

    The Permitted Paid Engagement visa is for non-EEA nationals over the age of 18 who wish to come to the UK for a short paid engagement.  You will be allowed to stay in the UK for up to 1 month.

  • Applications for Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas

    The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent category is for non-EEA nationals who are internationally recognised as world leaders in their field (exceptional talent) or recognised as having the potential to become world leaders in the future (exceptional promise).

  • Applications for Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visas

    The Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur category is for non-EEA nationals who want to set up a business in the UK and who have been endorsed by a UK Higher Education Institution or the Department for International Trade as having a credible business idea and entrepreneurial skills.

  • Applications for Tier 2 General Skilled Worker Visas

    The Tier 2 General category is for individuals who have an offer of a skilled job in the UK from a licensed Tier 2 Sponsor. This category includes applicants coming to the UK to fill shortage occupations. You will need to have an offer of employment before applying for a visa.

  • Applications for Tier 2 Intra-company Transfer Visas

    The Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer category is for existing employees of multinational employers who need to be transferred to their UK branch for training purposes or to fill a specific vacancy. You will need to have an offer of employment in the UK from a licensed Tier 2 Sponsor before applying for a visa and the overseas employer must be linked by common ownership or control to the UK branch.

  • Applications for Tier 5 Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange Visas

    The Tier 5 Temporary Worker category is for certain types of temporary worker whose entry to the UK will help to satisfy cultural, charitable, religious or international objectives. You will need to have an offer of a position before applying for a visa.

    The Tier 5 Temporary Worker Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) route is for individuals who wish to come to the UK for a short time for work experience or to complete training, an Overseas Government Language Programme, research or a fellowship through an approved Government Authorised Exchange scheme.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting with a member of our team, contact our immigration barristers on 020 3617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.



Expert advice & representation from immigration barristers that you can rely on.

Google+ - Five Stars

Read the 400+ five out of five star Google reviews of our immigration barristers.