While Brexit will invariably see the tightening of borders for some, there is a long tradition of South Africans working in many professions and excelling in British schools.
The visa system is points-based and requires all applicants to complete an online application, attend a biometric appointment and provide supporting documents as well as pay the visa fee and immigration health surcharge (IHS) to access the National Health Service in the UK.
From 1995-2008, young South Africans aged 18-30 years could travel and work in England for two years on what was called the ‘Working Holiday Migrant Visa’. This is no longer available so now there are fewer options but still some great pathways to living and working in England.
British Passport or an Ancestry Visa
Many South Africans have parents and grandparents who were born in Great Britain and hold a strong connection they wish to explore.
If a South African can prove they have a British born grandparent, they can apply for a five-year Ancestry Visa. The visa costs £516 + £1,000 (IHS). This visa also allows the applicant to apply to bring a spouse and dependents under the age of 18 at the same cost per applicant. If the applicant has a British parent, then a British Passport may be available to them and this is by far the best option long term.
EU Passport and the EEA Family Permit
If you have an EU passport, you are able to arrive and work in the UK immediately. There will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until 2021. The applicant and family can apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. The scheme will open fully by March 2019.
An EEA Family Permit allows people with an EU passport to bring their partner and dependents to the UK to live and work if they apply for this permit.
Tier 2 General Migrant Visa
Currently, an individual and their family may be able to sponsored to teach in England. At the moment, only secondary Maths, Science, Computer Science and Mandarin teachers are seen as “shortage professions” that can be easily sponsored.
A school can only apply to sponsor someone if it holds a licence to sponsor and allocations to apply, but even then the application is not guaranteed to succeed.
The school also has to pay upwards of £3,199 per application and if they are successful, the teacher can apply for a Tier 2 General Migrant Visa. This visa also allows the teacher’s partner to gain a spousal visa and dependents to also apply and live and study or work in the UK.
The shortage Tier 2 visa application costs £464 per person and £600 IHS per person for a three-year tenure in the UK.
Engage Education are market leaders in assisting overseas teachers to secure exceptional contract and permanent roles in schools across England. Engage Education consultants support teachers with their visa applications, securing a role, the collection of documentation required to teach in the UK and general transitional support about relocating to the UK and into the British National Curriculum.