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What is a letter of recommendation when applying for a work visa?

If you are currently in the UK and are applying for a visa to live and work in another country, it may be necessary to obtain and provide a copy of a letter of recommendation alongside the other documentation required to process your application.

What is a letter of recommendation when applying for a work visa?

The letter of recommendation is in some ways similar to an employment reference, and in certain contexts may also be referred to by other terms such as a “letter of guarantee” or a “letter of endorsement”.

The requirements will vary slightly depending on your specific circumstances and the visa processes for the country you are travelling to. If you are transferring to a new post in a different country but with the same employer, the letter of recommendation will come from your current employer. Typically, it should include your name, date of birth and details such as your position in the company and how long you have worked there, as well as details of the position you are taking on in the new country, including a start and end date. It is common for such letters to also include a recommendation or endorsement of the good character of the visa applicant.

If you have been accepted for a completely new job at a company abroad (i.e. not transferring within the same business or group of companies) then your future employer may be required to provide a letter of recommendation in support of your visa application. The letter will contain similar details to those outlined above, confirming your new position, start date and end date and possibly confirmation of salary.

It is very important to check the specific documentation requirements for the country for which you are applying for a work visa. Many have particular requirements for the new employer’s recommendation letter to be accompanied by a confirmation letter from relevant national authorities such as a department of employment, chamber of commerce or other government ministry or bureau. If in doubt, always check the website of the embassy, consulate or other body responsible for handling visa applications.


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