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Can I immigrate to Scotland

Can I immigrate to Scotland?

Scotland is a dream destination for many tourists thanks to its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes. 

It’s not just an amazing place to visit, but also to live in. According to the Scottish Government, the country saw a total net migration of more than 32,000 in mid-2019. 

Data also showed that most immigrants come for work-related purposes, with 80.2% of the total overseas immigrant population being of working age or under 35.

Aside from work, there are a tonne of sights to see across its nearly 800 islands. So, whether you plan to live by the mountainside or the lively cities, we’re certain you’ll enjoy every minute here.

Can I immigrate to Scotland?

You can immigrate to Scotland by choosing the most appropriate visa pathway for your circumstances. The most popular visa pathways are for work, study, and rejoining family. 

It’s important to note that Scotland’s immigration process currently follows the UK’s point-based system when granting statuses.

Here are some quick links to get you to the kind of move you’re aiming for:

Immigrating to Scotland for Work

A hub for innovative entrepreneurs and eager job-seekers, Scotland is known for warmly accepting individuals who want to use their specialised skills to boost the economy.

There are many options to choose from. This will depend on the type of role and industry you’re entering, and the length of your stay.

We suggest having an employment lawyer’s number just in case anything goes awry throughout your stay.

Here are the most popular types of work visas you can apply for:

  1. Long-Term Work Visas
    • Skilled Worker Visa – For individuals with a confirmed job offer for an eligible occupation from an employer approved by the Home Office willing to provide sponsorship.
      • Note: Formerly Tier 2 General Work Visa
    • Health Care Worker Visa – For qualified medical health professionals seeking to work for the NHS, an NHS supplier, or in adult social care.
    • Senior or Specialist Worker Visa (Global Business Mobility) – For workers who will perform qualified jobs at their employer’s UK branch.
      • Note: Formerly Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) Long-term Staff Visa
    • Scale-Up Worker Visa – For individuals with a confirmed job offer for an eligible occupation from a qualified UK scale-up employer.
  2. Short-term Work Visas
    • Creative Worker Visa (Temporary Work) – For individuals with a confirmed job offer to do creative work (e.g., actor, musician, dancer) in the creative industry.
    • Government Authorised Exchange Visa (Temporary Work) – For individuals who are sponsored through an approved government authorised exchange scheme to do training, research fellowship, or an Overseas Government Language Programme.
      • Note: Formerly Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5)
    • International Agreement Visa (Temporary Work) – For individuals doing contractual work under international law or treaty. These include working for a remote government or international institution.
      • Note: Formerly Temporary Worker – International Agreement Worker visa (T5)
    • Seasonal Worker visa (Temporary Work)– For sponsored individuals coming to work in the horticulture industry for 6 months at most.
    • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa – For individuals of British or other eligible nationalities ages 18 to 30 with £2,530 in savings who are looking to work and reside in the UK for up to 2 years.
    • Graduate Visa – For recent international graduates and holders of similar qualifications from an approved UK Higher Education provider who plan to work for 2 years or 3 years for Doctoral studies at maximum. 
      • Note: To be eligible, you need to hold a Student Visa at the time of your application.
  3. Investor, Business, and Talent Visas

Immigrating to Scotland for Study

Home to several leading educational institutions, Scotland is a great place to move to undertake your studies. Whether you’re looking to begin university or post-graduate studies, there are several types of visa routes you can apply for. 

Since Scotland’s separation from the EU, a few things have changed as far as requirements are concerned:

  • Students from the EU and EEA, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland who arrived in the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards are required to apply via the New Student route.
  • Students from countries outside of the EU are required to apply for a Student Visa.

Here are the kinds of visas that you can apply for:

  1. Student Visa (formerly known as Tier 4) – This is the most common pathway for students ages 16 and above planning to take their undergraduate and post-graduate studies at a registered sponsoring institution. 

To be eligible for the Student Visa, you’ll need a non-transferrable score of 70.

Note: Formerly Tier 4 Visa

  1. Child Student Visa – For children ages 4 to 17 who are to attend independent or private schools.

    Note: Formerly Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa
  1. Short-Term Study Visa – This is usually acquired by students taking brief study or training courses. However, this visa has several restrictions on your ability to work in the country.
  1. Standard Visitor Visa – For individuals planning to study in Scotland for not more than 30 days. This is most commonly acquired by students participating in exchange programmes or school visits. 

Unfortunately, this visa prohibits its holders from doing paid and unpaid work.

Immigrating to Scotland for Family

If you’re planning to immigrate to Scotland to rejoin your family, the overall requirements differ depending on nationality.

  1. EEA and Swiss Nationals – Unfortunately, the  EU Settlement Scheme closed applications on 29 March 2022. However, you may still be able to make an application if you have ‘reasonable grounds for missing the cut-off period. 

For more information on family members’ eligibility, you can click here.

  1. Non-British or Non-Irish Nationals – Regardless of your reason for coming to Scotland, your spouse, partner, and dependent children (under 18) can apply to join you. 

Take note that you’ll have to provide evidence of your genuine relationship and intent to live together. You’ll also need to provide supporting documents that prove you can sustain yourself without state benefits.

  1. British Citizens – Non-British or non-Irish family members must apply for a visa. You will also need to meet the Home Office minimum income requirement if not exempted.

For any legal concerns, Scotland has a handful of skilled family lawyers that you can contact. 

Need some information specific to your status?

You can take this quick quiz if you’re still unsure of the type of visa you’ll need to apply for. Answering a few questions on the purpose of your visit and the length of your stay will determine the kind of visa you’re eligible for.

It’s important to note that processing time depends on the visa type you’re applying for and where you’re applying from. 

So, it’s best to contact your local British Embassy for assistance if needed. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of local immigration lawyers, too.

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