UK work visa

UK work visa

Your right to work in the UK as a foreigner currently depends on where you are travelling from as well as what type of work you are looking to carry out. If you are coming to the UK for employmentpurposes, you may well need a UK work visa as well as a job offer in order to take up employment.

The UK is currently an EU member state, meaning that citizens from other EU/EFTA states have the freedom to travel to and work in the UK. However, following the Brexit vote in 2016, the situation for EU/EFTA nationals is likely to change by 2019.

For non-EU/EFTA nationals, the United Kingdom created a UK immigration points-based assessment in 2008 which controls the flow of workers from non-EU/EFTA countries as part of a ‘managed migration’ process. Immigration and the right of foreigners to live and work in the UK is a heated topic and recent governments have tightened regulations, including penalising both employers and landlords who don’t carry out sufficient checks on employees and residents. Recent changes to UK work visas include increasing salary thresholds and language requirements, as well as closing some of the UK work visa categories.

Can I work in the UK?

If you are a citizen of an EU/EFTA country, you currently have the right to live in the UK and work without a UK work visa. See our guide to EU/EFTA citizens moving to the UK for more information.

All non-EU/EFTA citizens will need a UK work visa to work in London and other areas of the country. Nationals from some countries are able to enter the UK and stay for up to 6 months without a visa but they are not permitted to do paid or unpaid work. See our guide to UK visas and residence permitsfor more information on who needs a visa to enter the UK.


UK work visa requirements

If you are a non-EU/EFTA national wanting to work in the UK, you will need a work permit UK relating to the type of work that you are doing. See the below section for information on types of UK work visas available. Most of the UK work visas require sponsorships from the UK-based employer so you will need to have secured a suitable job and sponsorship before applying for the UK work visa. UK work visas are not currently available for casual or low-skilled employment so it is not possible to enter the UK on another type of visa and take up casual, temporary or low-skilled work.

The UK immigration points-based assessment system

Your eligibility for a UK work visa is determined by the number of points you score on the UK points system. Points are awarded for the following in this system:

  • Qualifications
  • Future expected earnings
  • Sponsorship
  • English language skills
  • Self-provided funds


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