Working in the UK
Your right to work in the UK depends on a number of factors. These include your nationality and the terms of your permission to enter and remain in the UK.
If you are a British Citizen, a Swiss national or a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) then you do not need permission to work in the United Kingdom.
EEA Member States
Nationals from the following countries are part of the EEA but are subject to immigration controls.
- Czech Republic
If you are a national of one of the above mentioned countries and wish to obtain employment in the UK for any period longer than one month, then you are required by law to register on the Workers Registration Scheme. Once you have found an employer and have accepted a position of employment, it is recommended that you make an application to the Home Office to register on the WRS immediately. Failure to register within the required time frames will result in your employment being found illegal and you may be asked to leave your employment until all legal obligations have been complied with.
Romanian and Bulgarian Nationals
If a candidate is a national of Romania or Bulgaria then they will also be subject to immigration control and will be required to obtain work authorisation prior to arrival in the UK if they wish to live and work here.
Highly skilled nationals from Bulgaria and Romania are subject to the same criteria as non-EEA nationals and so would have to apply under schemes such as Tier 1 or on a sponsored work permit. Unskilled workers will be eligible to work under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS), however this route is subject to strict quotas. Application forms for Bulgarian and Romanian workers are to be completed on specific application forms and are available at www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk.
If a person is a national of Bulgaria or Romania they must show their passport or National Identity card when arriving in the UK along with the relevant work authorisation if they intend to work. After 12 months of legal employment, the candidate may then exercise full treaty rights under European Law for the freedom of movement of workers thereby allowing the person to work without the need for work authorisation. To do this the candidate must apply for a Registration Certificate to confirm their status in the UK.
Workers Registration Scheme
Nationals of most new member states are subject to the Workers Registration Scheme.If the candidate plans to work for a period longer than one month for an employer in the UK, then they must be registered. Once the candidate has legally been working in the UK for 12 months with the same employer they will be free from restriction and able to work without registering on the scheme. At this point it is advised to apply for a residence permit (a free application), to confirm their rights as an EEA worker free from restriction. For copies of the relevant application forms please visit www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk.
This is a document which is issued to a candidate in the form of a stamp or certificate which provides the application with authorisation to exercise full European treaty rights. For more information please visit www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Overseas Nationals (Outside of the EEA)
If a candidate is a national of a country outside of the EEA who wishes to come to the UK to work, there are a number of necessary steps which the candidate must take to ensure that they have the relevant ID and Work Authorisation documentation.
This is a two step process. Firstly the candidate will need to decide which visa or work permit option is most suitable to their circumstances, and in some cases whether they are eligible to make an application (more detailed information provided below on individual visas). Secondly, once the candidate has had their application approved, they will need to obtain further permission to enter or to legally remain in the UK. Only once both these steps have been completed may a candidate begin employment in the UK.
The most common methods of work authorisation are a sponsored work permit, Tier 1- General Highly Skilled Migrants and Post Study Work, Ancestral Visas and the Working Holiday Maker Scheme.
Candidates who are Commonwealth citizens and have a grandparent born either in the UK or the associated islands (Isle of Man, Channel Islands) may be eligible to apply for an ancestral visa. This visa allows a candidate to work in the UK free from restriction for a period of up to 5 years. Once the candidate completes a 5 year stay in the UK, they may be eligible to apply to remain indefinitely as long as they are able to satisfy the immigration requirements associated with it. For more information regarding indefinite leave, please visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Working Holiday Maker
The Working Holiday Maker scheme allows a commonwealth citizen aged between 17 and 30, to come to the UK for 2 years. The conditions of the visa allow the applicant to visit the UK on an extended holiday permitting employment of no longer than 12 months. Once the candidate has completed this 2 years they will be required to return to their home country.
Points Based System
From the 27 November 2008, the UK introduced a new points based system of migration. The points based system is described as the biggest shake-up of the immigration system for 45 years. If a candidate wishes to come to the UK to work or study they will have to apply under one of the 5 tiers listed below:
Tier 1 - General Highly Skilled Migrants
This category is for highly educated and highly skilled workers who are able to score a minimum of 75 points and satisfy compulsory requirements relating to maintenance and English language skills. Points are scored on the basis of academic qualifications, age, previous earnings and UK experience. This visa is issued initially for a one year period, enabling the candidate to come to the UK and establish themselves; they can then apply to extend their visa for a further 4 years. Candidates under Tier 1 do not require any form of sponsorship or job offer from a UK employer.
Tier 1 - Post Study Work
This sub-category of Tier 1 replaces the current post study routes, namely the International Graduate Scheme and the Fresh Talent in Scotland Scheme. Candidates must have studied in the UK on a valid student visa. Applicants must be able to score 75 points on the basis of academic qualifications, the type of institution attended and how their qualifications were obtained. The applicant is also required to prove maintenance but is exempt from the English Language requirement. This type of visa is issued for 2 years and cannot be extended. Candidates are expected to switch into an alternative Tier 1 or Tier 2 as soon as possible. Successful applicants under this sub-category will not require any sponsorship from a UK employer.
Tier 2 - Skilled Workers
The Tier 2 skilled worker (general) category is for skilled workers with a job offer which fills a gap in the UK labour force that cannot be filled by the resident work force. Individuals will need to find a job before an application can be made; points will then be awarded to the individual depending on whether the job is on the shortage occupation list or meets the resident labour market test. Before an individual can apply for entry clearance or further leave to remain, they will need to be granted a certificate of sponsorship from their employer. The employer will need to confirm that the individual has scored a total of 70 points across the different criteria.
Tier 3 - Low Skilled Workers
This tier is suspended for the foreseeable future.
Tier 4 - Students
This Tier is for students and was introduced at the end of March 2009. A Tier 4 sponsor is an educational institution that provides courses of study for students. In order to obtain a licence as a Tier 4 sponsor, private educational institutions will need to provide evidence that they hold a valid accreditation from an accreditation body approved by the Home Office or that they have passed an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
Tier 5 - Youth Mobility Scheme
The Tier 5 youth mobility scheme will allow young people to travel to the UK for mainly non-economic reasons. Sponsored young people from participating countries will be allowed to come to the UK for up to two years, while young UK nationals enjoy similar opportunities in participating countries. Individuals on the Tier 5 youth mobility visa will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the UK, except for setting up their own business, play professional sport or work as a doctor. The sponsors under the youth mobility scheme are the national governments of participating countries and not individual employers or sponsors.
For more information or if you have any questions or requirements you would like more information on, please contact Nicola Morrison at Nicola.Morrison@Matchtech.com