Working in the UK

Immigration routes which allow to take up employment or set a business in the UK are rather limited. 

The most common option is sponsored employment, currently known as Tier 2 route. It is called sponsored, because the employer has to sponsor the migrant employee and follow the due process. Sponsored employment is for skilled workers only. This route will be modified in January 2021 to allow sponsorship of medium skill level jobs and jobs paid below the current threshold. For  more information on this route, visit Tier 2 visa page.

Another category specifically designed for people who wish to come to work in the UK is for commonwealth nationals with a UK-born grandparent. This route is called UK ancestry.

Family members of migrants in most long-term immigration categories are allowed to take up employment in the UK without the need for further applications for permissions. For example, partners of students, Tier 2 migrants, ancestry visa holders, representatives of overseas businesses, investors, entrepreneurs or start-up visa holders are permitted to take up employment without restrictions and do not need sponsorship for their roles.

Students are allowed to work in the UK for 20 hours a week during the term time or full time during the holiday period as long as they are studying at a degree level in a state funded university.

There are also various programmes for temporary work and work experience, such as Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme for Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30, Tier 5 Government authorised exchange for internship and work experience programmes, or Tier 5 charity workers. These routes do not lead to settlement in the UK and do not allow switching inside the UK to other immigration routes. Nevertheless, many interns or youth mobility visa holders return to rejoin their employer as sponsored workers on completion of their temporary contract.

Representatives of an overseas business are allowed to work in the UK for their employer. No additional employment or self-employed work is permitted.

Entrepreneurs and innovators are limited to working in their own businesses or as self-employed.

Investors have unlimited employment options and can also set up and run their own businesses.

Similarly, holders of Global talent visa are entitled to take up employment as well as set up and run their own business.

Immigration routes which allow to take up employment or set a business in the UK are rather limited. 

The most common option is sponsored employment, currently known as Tier 2 route. It is called sponsored, because the employer has to sponsor the migrant employee and follow the due process. Sponsored employment is for skilled workers only. This route will be modified in January 2021 to allow sponsorship of medium skill level jobs and jobs paid below the current threshold. For  more information on this route, visit Tier 2 visa page.

Another category specifically designed for people who wish to come to work in the UK is for commonwealth nationals with a UK-born grandparent. This route is called UK ancestry.

Family members of migrants in most long-term immigration categories are allowed to take up employment in the UK without the need for further applications for permissions. For example, partners of students, Tier 2 migrants, ancestry visa holders, representatives of overseas businesses, investors, entrepreneurs or start-up visa holders are permitted to take up employment without restrictions and do not need sponsorship for their roles.

Students are allowed to work in the UK for 20 hours a week during the term time or full time during the holiday period as long as they are studying at a degree level in a state funded university.

There are also various programmes for temporary work and work experience, such as Tier 5 Youth Mobility scheme for Commonwealth citizens under the age of 30, Tier 5 Government authorised exchange for internship and work experience programmes, or Tier 5 charity workers. These routes do not lead to settlement in the UK and do not allow switching inside the UK to other immigration routes. Nevertheless, many interns or youth mobility visa holders return to rejoin their employer as sponsored workers on completion of their temporary contract.

Representatives of an overseas business are allowed to work in the UK for their employer. No additional employment or self-employed work is permitted.

Entrepreneurs and innovators are limited to working in their own businesses or as self-employed.

Investors have unlimited employment options and can also set up and run their own businesses.

Similarly, holders of Global talent visa are entitled to take up employment as well as set up and run their own business.