Working overseas can be a rewarding next step in one’s career—but first, one must get through all the paperwork required to get a work visa. We’ve outlined some of key factors to keep in mind that shape work visa timelines when applying in any country, as well as some country-specific factors that might be needed.
Does the Applicant Need a Work Visa, or are They Starting a Business?
There are different paths to work visas for entrepreneurs who are expanding their company globally than for employees who want to work abroad. Entrepreneurs looking to set up a firm will need to set up a legal business entity in the country before they begin operating—or they can rely on a global Employer of Record solution (also known as International PEO). Entrepreneurs should do one of the two first, then apply for any necessary work permits once the company is set up.
Countries have their own requirements for setting up a foreign-owned business—and some, like Kenya, have different requirements for different sectors. Whether an entrepreneur is starting a business or an employee is seeking a work permit, they must go through the proper channels and present all the necessary paperwork for their visa. Otherwise, they run the risk being deported.
What to Keep in Mind When Applying for a Work Visa
Countries vary in their work visa or work permit requirements, but many will require that applicants present:
An Offer of Employment
A valid job offer is often a prerequisite for applying for a work visa. Applicants will need to have an official, written offer letter from a local employer who has authority to sponsor workers before the necessary work authorization may be requested. The UK requires that the salary be “appropriate” for the position and also requires that applicants have sufficient finances to immigrate before they will issue a UK work permit. And in some countries, the employment offer letter must address why the applicant is the best choice for the position. For instance, Kenya gives preference to Kenyans, so a Kenyan company’s letter must state why the applicant was chosen and detail their unique strengths, as well as name a local understudy that will be able to learn the ropes and eventually take on the same role. Kenyan work permits can be difficult to get due to this burden of proof.
Degree or Document Attestation
Degree or document attestation proves that an applicant has the skills required for the job. Each country has its own name for this requirement. In China, it’s called “foreign expert status,” and required for management, tech, sports, arts, and other professionals.
The United Arab Emirates mandates an “educational certificate attestation” for any foreigner who wants to work in the country. No matter the country-specific title, the process is the same: third-party proof (such as a degree) of skills is required for the position.
In Italy, the “Declaration of Value” is essential so one’s degree can be recognized by Italian colleges. Depending on the applicant’s position, this may be required. To work in Saudi Arabia, an applicant will need to have their degree authorized from the Saudi consulate. Countries will list what pre-application paperwork must be attested for veracity by an official, as well as who can attest documents, so the applicant can take care of everything before applying.
A Medical Check
Medical checks depend on the country of origin and the position. Canada, the UK, and Australia all require that applicants get a health check if they lived or worked in certain countries for a specific period of time. Canada requires that anyone who is in close contact with the general public—such as health or education workers—get a medical check.
The UAE requires a pre-employment medical check be conducted in the country. They will issue a 60-day entry visa for work to allow the applicant to get settled and complete all work and residence visa requirements.
Saudi Arabia requires a medical check with specific tests, including HIV, TB, and Hepatitis A, B, and C; however, applicants can get the health check done in their country of origin and send the appropriate paperwork along with the work visa application. Medical checks are required to obtain a China work permit; these can be completed in the applicant’s home country.
Rely on Experienced Global Expansion Services
Untangling what specific procedures and documents are required for which work permits can be confusing and takes up valuable time. Velocity Global’s team of experienced immigration experts are here to help you get answers to your question. With our end-to-end suite of services, we offer capabilities in more than 185 countries—and can assist you with global immigration services virtually anywhere across the globe. Reach out to us today to learn how we can support your next steps.