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Work permit/ Visas

Work permit is a generic term for a legal authorisation which allows a person to take employment. It is most often used in reference to instances where a person is given permission to work in a country where one does not hold citizenship.

A visa is an indication that a person is authorised to enter the country which "issued" the visa, subject to permission of an immigration official at the time of actual entry.

Whether you need a visa depends on the purpose and length of your stay and on your nationality. The UK Visas website will tell you whether you need a visa to enter the UK and, if so, how to apply for one.

Most Citizens of the member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals have free acess to enter and work in the UK - but if you are a national of a country that has recently joined the European Union, you may need to register or apply for permission before you begin work.

Other nationalities need a visa to work in the UK. However, dependent spouses whose partners have permission to enter the UK through their work permit are  permitted to work by virtue of their visa. You will find detailed information on the Home Office website. Most  common categories for work visas are:

Highly skilled workers
And also investors, entrepreneurs and recent graduates from UK universities. You do not need a job offer when you apply to enter or stay in the UK in this category, but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.

Skilled workers
If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you can apply to come or stay here to do that job.

Temporary workers

If an employer in the UK is willing to sponsor you, or if you are a national of a country that participates in the youth mobility scheme, you may be eligible for temporary entry permitting various types of work here.

Partner VISA
If you already have a visa, your partner can join you and stay and work in the UK for the same duration as your VISA as long as you can prove that you have a relationship ("similar to marriage") for two years or more, you prove that you can support yourselves and that you will live together, .

Student VISA
A full time student (15 hours or more per week) is allowed to work 20 hours per week.

Fiancée Visa
You can apply for permission to come to the UK as the fiance(e) or proposed civil partner of a person who is settled in the UK or applying to settle here. It is usually valid for six months and you must not work during this time. After you have married or registered your civil partnership, you can apply to stay here as the husband, wife or civil partner of a settled person.

Other categories
You can also apply to work in the UK as a domestic worker; as the sole representative of an overseas firm; or as are presentative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.

See  below for resources

The resources in this section are available only to FOCUS members. Members must login to gain full access to the UK Information listings. Not a member? Signup to gain full access.