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.
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.
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.
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