UK Work Permits and Visa Information

UK Work Permits and Visa Information

(in association with our partners at

If you're a job seeker looking for a UK job, then you've come to the right place. This site will help you find your way to the road of employment and find the profession for your level of expertise. If you've got potential then you might even find yourself working for a big-name company.

Who can and who can't live and work in the UK?

Permanent Residents of the UK and British and European Nationals [EEA] do not need to apply for the right to work in the UK. Mostly all others will need to ensure that they have this right to work, study or live in the UK and there are many ways in which this can be achieved.


The most common way to obtain this right to work is by obtaining one of the many types of work permit or permit free employment available. These include permits for those who have been offered a job ; for those who have not had such an offer but are of a highly skilled and experienced nature ; those who are British Commonwealth citizens under 31 years old ; those working as Ministers of Religion, for International Press, as Postgraduate Doctors or Dentists, Overseas Governments and many more.

There are many other ways to enable you to legally live and work in the UK including people who have UK or EU partners or those with British or Irish Ancestry amongst others.

It is a common fact that too many opportunities are lost due to a lack of awareness of your options.

Employers and Recruiters miss out on the people they need and Candidates miss out on their ideal job because of lack of information and help. It is also a fact that these opportunities are sometimes avoided because it is felt that too much extra work and admin is required to make it happen. Actually, all it takes is an email or a phone call to give you an idea about such matters and after that, there is either little or no extra work. That is what our partners at SkillClear do for you.

General Information for UK Immigration, Work Permits and Visas.

Work permit schemes were originally designed to ensure that non-EEA nationals did not compete with the resident labour force. However, in today's market, with relatively low unemployment, the Government is more focused on working with British Industry to make it stronger, especially in areas that demand skills that are officially considered to be in short supply - notably IT, telecommunications, engineering, teaching and medicine. Even so, foreign candidates must show themselves to be ideal for a position that has proved difficult to fill with local workers. In areas of occupation shortages, advertising is not required, nor is it required for board level roles, transfers from your overseas company to the UK, those with previous work permits in the same field and those that are coming with investment. In addition, the new Sectors Based Scheme allows lesser skilled people obtain a work permit such as in the Hospitality Industry (Chefs, Waiters etc) and the Meat Packing Industry. This is a quota based scheme renewed annually.

Only an employer can apply for a work permit. It remains specific to one role and does not cover a transfer to another position within the company or a move to another although doing this can be easier if required. There are many routes of entry if you work as a contractor or want to work as a business visitor, on an advisory or consulting basis.

Permit Free Employment is another very useful way to enter the UK to work - it still requires providing documented details of candidate and role but is relatively a more simple process. It is not a work permit as such, it is a visa that allows work in specific categories.

For Commonwealth citizens, the Working Holiday Scheme can allow a 2 years visit to the UK to work and/or holiday if you are under 31 years of age and is an ideal way to minimise some of the other permit and visa headaches that can crop up.

The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme is a great development in recent years and allows those skilled individuals to obtain a one year full work visa for the UK without the need for a job offer first. It overcomes most of the hurdles commonly encountered. For instance, a recruitment company cannot sponsor a work permit for those it wishes to place. So now, as an agency, all you need to do is obtain this HSMP visa for your best people and you can contract them out and place them permanently WITH the right to work. For individuals, you can come to the UK to look for work. If you find it, I am sure you are used to an employer asking you if you have a work permit. Well now your answer is 'Yes'. You can take that job without your new employer needing to do anything different to taking on a UK national.

People who are married to or partners of UK nationals, residents, work permit holders or EEA nationals can also obtain the right to work on that basis.

People who have UK or Irish grandparents may also be able to obtain the right to work.

For all above categories, your family can come too if they are under 18 and dependant on you. Your parents and grandparents may also be able to accompany you depending on their particulars.

Before you make a decision that any candidate or opportunity is not for you, why not look at all of your options first. There are probably more than you think.

This is important to you. Make sure you are fully informed or a placement, a great employee or a great job may just slip past.

This information has been supplied in association with our partners at SkillClear - Immigration, Work Permit and Visa Consultants.

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