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What do you need to work in the UK?

What you need to work in the UK

· A passport issued in your country of origin.

· Your birth certificate.

· Proof of your qualifications and references.

· Copies of any previous work permits.

· Your entry visa.

· A bank account

· National Insurance Number

Please note: The transition period

There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements.

The current rules on trade, travel, and business for the UK and EU will continue to apply during the transition period.

New rules will take effect on 1 January 2021. New visa requirements will come into effect.

To check if you require a visa for the UK – click on the link and follow the instructions

The UK Border Agency classifies people who want to move and work in the UK in the following fashion:

High-Value Migrants – Need to complete an assessment based on a point-system. This category generally refers to people with exceptional talents, investors and entrepreneurs (people who mean to invest their own money into the British economy)

Skilled Workers – In this case, applicants need to be sponsored by their prospective employer who is offering you a position, in order to be able to apply for a work visa.

Temporary Workers – This generally applies to individuals who are interested in coming to work in the UK for a period of time of at most 12 months, such as young people participating in a Work and Travel program.

Students – Although restricted to 10 or 20 hours, many international students can work part-time in the UK.

Other – This non-denominational category of workers includes a number of different situations where special rules exist, like the case of domestic workers and representatives of companies located in a foreign country.

Other Types of work visas

Other long-term work visas

General work visa (Tier 2)

Intra-company Transfer visa (Tier 2)

Minister of Religion visa (Tier 2)

Sportsperson visa (Tier 2)

Short-term work visas

Temporary Worker - Charity Worker visa (Tier 5)

Temporary Worker - Creative and Sporting visa (Tier 5)

Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (Tier 5)

Temporary Worker - International Agreement visa (Tier 5)

Temporary Worker - Religious Worker visa (Tier 5)

Temporary Worker - Seasonal Worker Visa (Tier 5)

Youth Mobility Scheme visa (Tier 5)

Investor, business development and talent visas

Innovator visa

Start-up visa

Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1)

Global Talent visa

Exceptional Talent visa (Tier 1)

Graduate Entrepreneur visa (Tier 1)

Investor visa (Tier 1)

Other work visas and exemptions

UK Ancestry visa

Get an exempt vignette

Domestic Workers in a Private Household visa

Representative of an Overseas Business visa

Turkish Businessperson visa

Turkish Worker visa

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 a European Economic Area (EEA) citizen

· You are a Swiss national

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.

If you are not a British Citizen or EEA Citizen or Swiss National

If you’re 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

For a full list of the visas available to you, and to check if you need a UK visa, please visit:

But remember, having a visa doesn’t necessarily mean you are automatically able to work in the UK, and you may also 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.

Tier 2 Visa Information

This is the most requested type of work visa to the UK

You can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa if:

· you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK

· you’re from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland

· Getting sponsored

· You need to be employed by a licensed sponsor to apply to live in the UK.

· Your sponsor checks that you can do the job they’re hiring you for and if it qualifies you for a visa. They’ll assign you a certificate of sponsorship to prove this.

· They must also give you other information you need when you apply, for example, how much you’ll be paid.

Immigration Rules Appendix K: shortage occupation list

Please click on the link and then scroll through the relevant occupational section

Tier 5 Visa has different requirements

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.

However, you can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa without sponsorship if you:

· Want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years

· Are 18 to 30 years old

· Have £1,890 in savings

· Have certain types of British Nationality or are from certain countries

You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you’re aged 18 to 30 and you’re from:





New Zealand

Hong Kong

Republic of Korea


You can also apply if you’re 18 to 30 and a:

Tier 5 Visa - You cannot apply if you have:

· children who live with you

· children you’re financially responsible for

· already been in the UK under the scheme or in the former ‘working holidaymaker’ category

Getting a National Insurance Number

When you live and work in the UK you need to have a NI number in order to pay your National Insurance contributions if you want to have access to certain benefits like state pensions and student loans.

In order to be able to apply for a NI (National Insurance) number, you need to have the right to live and work in the UK.

Your NI number represents your personal account number, and it’s meant to ensure that every tax payment you make, whether it’s for the income tax or for National Insurance contributions, is properly attributed to you. It also serves as an identifier in all your dealings with the HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs), and the Department for Work and Pensions.

You have two different options available for getting a NI number:

1) You can use a service and pay a fee (about £25) to get assistance and make sure things run smoothly.

2) You can apply to get a NI number yourself where you will need to arrange for an EOI interview.

UK Tax

All employees in the UK are required to pay income tax on their earnings and any pensions. If you are in official employment, tax will be deducted automatically from your wages.

Self-employed workers must keep records of their income and expenditure and fill in an annual tax return. Find out more at HM Revenue and Customs

You are required to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions to build up your entitlement to state benefits. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn and your type of employment. You must register for a NI number as soon as you start work and will need to attend an interview as part of the application process.

National Minimum Wage

The majority of UK workers are entitled to a minimum wage. This varies depending on your age and the full rate applies to adults aged 21 and over. You are eligible regardless of whether your work is permanent or on contract, part-time or full-time, at your employer's premises or based elsewhere. There are, however, certain exclusions such as au pairs and some apprentices.

Qualifications and references

You can find out how qualifications awarded in your home country relate to British qualifications through UK NARIC. If you want to know if your professional qualifications are recognised in the UK, contact the relevant professional body. You should make sure any references or testimonials are translated into English.


You can browse thousands of full and part-time jobs, upload your CV and manage applications on websites such as CV-Library, which is the UK’s leading independent job board with nearly 200,000 live jobs across all sectors:












Some Useful Websites

If you need help with CV / Resume writing or some job hunting tips - please contact me at

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