Immigration Advice for Veterinary Surgeons


Being in the European Union vs. not being in the European Union

Until Brexit kicks in and we know more about what’s going to happen, those of you who are from the majority of the European Union countries do not need anything apart from your passport to travel or work in the UK (there are some exceptions regarding work for some countries). This is very good for anyone in the European Union because we don’t need to apply for Visas to be able to enter the UK. Well, that is, until Brexit…

So what if you are not from the EU? What if you’re from Egypt, India, USA, South Africa, Lebanon, Nigeria, or other country that does not belong to the EU?

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you need a Visa or not. There are different types of Visas and I cannot advise you on which one you must get or not (we’ll get there!), but there is a nice and straightforward way to see if you need a Visa to enter the country or not – and it’s official, with the questionnaire being provided by the UK Government:

In many cases, if you need a work visa, this is going to be a “Tier 2 (general) visa” and you will need to get your employer to sponsor you. Not all employers are able to do this, so make sure you check it out with them. Often, corporates are able to do so due to their size, but don’t overlook the smaller practices – they might also be registered as sponsors, especially if they have done it in the past.

In order to get this right, you should consider speaking to an expert in immigration law. You can easily find several online, I leave you with a link to three:

UK Migration Lawyers

Migration Expert

UK Visa Solution

Brexit – the future of immigration

Immigration law is likely going to change after Brexit, but this is likely to have a lot more impact on European citizens that currently benefit from free movement than those already requirement visas for entering the country.

As a matter of fact, what happens to European nationals that don’t have a UK passport and are living and working in the UK is one of the main focus of Brexit negotiations. So far, here’s what’s expected to happen:

  • After Brexit, all EU citizens will be required to apply to the Home Office for permission to stay in the UK (either temporarily or permanently)
  • Those that are living in the UK for 5 years (the specified date for this has not yet been determined) can apply for settled status (permanently staying in the UK)
  • Those that are already living in the UK but have not completed the 5 years can apply for temporary status (and then apply for settled status once they complete the 5 years)
  • It’s not expected that EU citizens moving to the UK after Brexit will have a guaranteed settled status – this will depend on their individual circumstances
  • This application process is expected to take place even for EU citizens that are already permanent residents in the UK.