Essential Employment Paperwork in Scotland



Generally speaking, foreign nationals coming from EU and EEA member states are free to go to Scotland for work purposes. They are not required to possess any permission to stay and work in the country. On the other hand, non-EU or EEA expats need to meet certain criteria before they are given a work permit for Scotland. 

Since Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, it follows the “points-based immigration system” which is responsible for regulating the entry of non-EU/EEA foreign nationals, including for purposes of employment in Scotland. The scheme consists of five tiers or visas, and foreign nationals wanting to take up employment usually fall under Tier 2 which is also referred to as the Intra-Company Transfer Visa. 

Types of Tier 2 Visas 

The Tier 2 or Intra-Company Transfer Visa only applies to the citizens coming from non-EU and EEA countries as well as to those that have been given a job offer by a company based in Scotland. The latest Scottish/UK Tier 2 visa is further classified into three categories:                                                                

Long Term Staff 

The Long Term Staff is issued to expats that are under an intra-company assignment in Scotland for more than 12 months. It will only be granted if it has been proven that there is no equally qualified local applicant that can fill the job vacancy and if the foreign applicant has worked for the employer overseas for at 12 months. 

Short Term Staff 

This type of visa is granted to foreign nationals that will work in Scotland for up to one year and to those who have been part of the company for at least 12 months. 

Graduate Trainee 

The Graduate Trainee visa is for transfers into a graduate trainee programmes that are categorised as specialist roles. Applicants should be recent graduates and has spent at least three months working for the employer that will transfer them to Scotland. 

Application Procedures and Requirements 

Applications for the Tier 2 visa must be done at the Consular/Embassy of United Kingdom in the foreign national’s home country. It normally takes about three weeks before the Consular issues a visa and it is advised that expats start the application process at least three months before the start date of their job in Scotland. 

A Certificate of Sponsorship is one of the essential requirements for the Tier 2 visa. This document is not an actual paper document but a reference number which contains information about the expatriate’s personal details and nature of work. The employer or sponsor need to provide the foreign national with the reference number which must be attached or written on the visa application form. The Scottish Certificate of Sponsorship is valid for three months from the date it has been assigned to the expat. Other essential requirements are:

  • Valid Passport
  • Several Passport-sized photos
  • Qualifications, ranging from GCSE A-Level equivalents to PhD’s
  • Future expected earnings (income received from foreign national applicant)
  • Sponsorship (type of sponsorship an expat is applying under)
  • English language skills
  • Available maintenance (financial capacity of the expat to support himself)