Your rights to working in the UK

Your rights to working in the UK

So you want to work in the UK, but you have no idea where to start.

If you’ve never worked in the UK before, or don’t even know if you’re eligible to, it can be a challenge to find the right information. If you’re not sure what job you can do, or what your rights are, look no further.

Here are your rights to working in the UK:

Am I eligible to work in the UK?

You are eligible to work in the UK, and therefore don’t need to obtain a work permit, if any of the following apply:

  • You are a British citizen
  • You are an European Economic Area (EEA) citizen – see list below
  • You are a Swiss national

EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Nationals of certain countries, such as Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria, may require special permission to work in the UK.

You will also need to apply for a UK residence card or be able to prove your right to work in the UK as an EU citizen (for example, a valid UK National Insurance number).

For more information related to EU, EEA and Commonwealth citizens and your rights to working in the UK, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/eu-eea-commonwealth.

What if I don’t have the right to work in the UK?

If the one of the parameters above does not apply, or you are not from one of the countries listed, you will need to obtain a visa and/or work permit before finding employment in the UK.

Visas

If you are not a British citizen, EEA citizen or Swiss national, you may need to apply for a visa in order to be able to work in the UK.

You should be able to apply for a visa via a British Overseas Mission in your own country, or the British Embassy. For more information specific to your own country, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations.

For a full list of the visas available to you, and to check if you need a UK visa, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/visas-immigration.

But remember, having a visa doesn’t necessarily mean you are automatically able to work in the UK, and you may need a work permit in order to begin working.

Work permit

If you’ve already found a job in the UK and been accepted to work, or you have a visa but it prohibits you from working, you may need to obtain a work permit.

You cannot apply for a work permit directly. Your employer in the UK will need to apply on your behalf. The length of your permit will depend on the type of work you do and the sort of permit granted.

* Please note, the information outlined above is intended for general guidance purposes only, and is subject to change.

For more detailed information about your rights to working in the UK, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration

  • Lucky Dzamikumah

    I am a Ghanaian, please do I have to obtain both Visa and Work permit before finding employment in the UK, and how do I obtain it? I currently got job in the UK but because I don’t have the right to work document the job was denied me. Please I need your reply badly.

    • Michael Cheary

      Hi there,

      Unfortunately, we can’t help candidates secure visas or work permits to find work in the UK. The best thing to do is to speak to the British embassy in your country, who should be able to advise you on your next steps.

      Hope this helps, and best of luck with your job search.

      Best wishes,
      Mike

  • Basilio Celli

    Hi all, my mother is Italian citizen and i’ve got “Residence card of a family member of a union citizen” so i can legally work in UK, but on Site is written ” you’re not eligible ot work in UK” yes till some time ago i was not eligible, but now i am, how can i change it on site? any tip or advice?

    • Michael Cheary

      Hi Basilio,

      If you send your details over to social@reedonline.co.uk, we’ll ask a member of the team to look into this ASAP.

      Best wishes,
      Mike

  • Matthew Anctil

    Hello,
    I am a US citizen here in the UK on a Tier 4 dependent visa. my residence permit card says that i have “restricted work” and jobs posted by reed say that the jobs are available only to people with the right to work in the UK and wont let me aply

    • Michael Cheary

      Hi Matthew,

      Are you able to send your details over to social@reedonline.co.uk, so we can ask someone to look into this?

      Best wishes,
      Mike

  • Chriswin

    Hi there
    I uploaded my resume for an international position post and received a message that I am not eligible to apply for the post. Yet the advertisement says I can apply to obtain sponsorship for a visa as they are looking for international applicants too.
    Why am I receiving this message and why am I being blocked to apply for the post?

    • Michael Cheary

      Hi Chris,

      Are you able to send more details to social@reedonline.co.uk, so we can look into it?

      Many thanks,
      Mike