So you want to work in the UK, but you have no idea where to start…
Whether you’ve never worked in the UK before, or you’re a foreign national and don’t know if you’re currently eligible to – it can be a challenge to find the right information. Particularly since the UK left the EU.
To keep you clued up with the facts, here’s some more info on your rights to working in the UK:
Am I eligible to work in the UK?
You are currently eligible to work in the UK, and therefore don’t need to obtain an employment visa, if any of the following apply:
- You are a British citizen
- You are an European Economic Area (EEA) citizen – see list below – who worked in the UK before 31st Dec 2020
EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, 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.
3. You are a Swiss national who worked in the UK before31st Dec 2020
If option 2 or 3 applies to you, you’ll need to apply for settled status in the UK before 30th June 2021 in order to avoid any potential issues when it comes to your employment.
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 one of the parameters above does not apply, or you’re not from one of the countries listed, you may still be able to work in the UK. However, you will need to obtain a visa before finding employment in the UK.
A new points-based immigration system has been introduced in the UK, which aims to attract skilled workers who can contribute to the UK’s economy.
We’ve already covered the most common UK work visas, but here are some of the visas you may be eligible to apply for:
Skilled worker visa – This visa has replaced the Tier 2 (General) work visa. In order to apply for this visa you must work for a Home Office approved employer, have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer, and do a job that’s on the list of eligible employers.
For more information about whether you’re eligible for a skilled worker visa please visit: https://www.gov.uk/skilled-worker-visa.
Health and Care Worker visa – This type of visa allows qualified health care professionals (such as doctors and nurses) to come to the UK to help support the NHS. Certain health and care workers will also be eligible. In order to apply for this visa you must also have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from your employer.
For more information about whether you’re eligible for a skilled worker visa please visit: https://www.gov.uk/health-care-worker-visa.
Global talent scheme – The global talent scheme is aimed at highly-skilled scientists and researchers and allows them to come to the UK without a job offer.
Graduate immigration – If you’re a foreign national completing a degree in the UK from summer 2021, you may be able to work in the UK at any ability level for up to two years (or three years if you’ve earned a PHD). More information on this visa will be available closer to the time.
You may be able to apply for these visas online, or at an overseas visa application centre. However, this will depend on your country of residence.
For a full list of the visas available to you please visit: https://www.gov.uk/visas-immigration.
Do I need to be sponsored to apply for a visa?
In order to apply for most work visas, you’ll usually need to gain a job offer with sponsorship from an employer in the UK first.
This employer must also be approved by the Home Office and be on itsr list of eligible employers.
What jobs am I eligible for?
This will depend on the individual employer, the type of role, and your relevant skills and experience.
Whilst some organisations have a licence to sponsor temporary and/or permanent employees to allow them to work at their business, not all of them will be able to do this.
To find out whether the job is something you’d be eligible for, check the job description – or get in touch with the employer directly.
*Please note, the information outlined above is correct as of February 2021, but is subject to change. It is intended for general guidance purposes only.
For more detailed information about your rights to working in the UK, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-visas-and-immigration.