Members of the EU, EEA and of Switzerland do not need a work permit. The UK Border Agency monitors work visas and provides specific information.
For highly skilled workers, 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 these categories, but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.
For skilled workers: If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you may apply.
The Tier 1 visa allows highly skilled people to look for work or self-employment opportunities in the UK. Tier 1 migrants can seek employment in the UK without a sponsor, or take up self-employment.
This visa allows you to remain in the UK for 3 years and 4 months after your first date of entry. You may apply for a two-year extension of your Tier 1 visa status before your initial visa expires. After you have spent 5 years in the UK under the Tier 1 visa category, you may apply to remain in the UK permanently.
This category is now closed to applicants who are outside the UK, and to migrants who are already here in most other immigration categories.
If you do not qualify for Tier 1 visa status, you may also apply to work in the UK permanently as a Tier 2 Skilled Worker.
To qualify to apply for a work visa under the UK Ancestry category, you must be:
In addition, one or more of your grandparents must have been born in the UK, the Channel Islands or on a ship or aircraft registered in Britain. If you are claiming UK ancestry through a grandparent born in the Republic of Ireland, your grandparent must have been born before March 31, 1922. You may be a legitimate or illegitimate descendent to qualify for a visa under the UK ancestry category.
You may also apply to work in the UK for periods ranging from 12 to 24 months as a Tier 5 Temporary Workers.
Young people from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Monaco may apply to work temporarily in the UK under relaxed regulations established for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. Each country has a fixed number of allotments assigned each year for workers to qualify under the scheme. Young people located outside the UK who are British nationals or citizens of British territories may also qualify in unlimited numbers under the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme. You may remain for up to 24 months under the Youth Mobility Scheme, but you may not renew your visa after the expiration date.
To calculate your potential points, use the Points-Based Assessment Calculator.
If you are a citizen or legal permanent resident of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you may also work, study or live in the UK indefinitely, as long as you retain your Swiss or EEA citizenship or resident status. Family members who hold citizenship or legal resident status in the EEA or Switzerland may also accompany you or join you in the UK to live and work without obtaining a visa, even if they are natives of a different country than you are.
The Worker Registration Scheme for citizens and residents of Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia was discontinued in the UK as of 30 April 2011, and citizens and residents of these countries no longer need a visa to work legally in the UK. If you or any of your family members are citizens or residents of Bulgaria and Romania, you may enter the UK and remain without a visa or residence permit. However, you or your family member will probably need a specific Work Permit if they seek employment. In most cases you will also need to apply for an Accession Worker Card. If you are seeking low-wage work, you may apply for a work permit under the Sectors Based Scheme or under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS). The Sectors Based Scheme employs workers in fish processing, meat processing or mushroom processing. SAWS employs workers to plant, harvest and process crops for shipping and to handle livestock. Once you or your family member have completed 12 months of continuous employment, you no longer need a Work Permit or Accession Worker Card to work legally within the UK.
If you are a citizen or legal resident of Turkey, you may apply to live, work or establish a business in the UK. Applications must be made for no fee.
You may also sponsor visa applications for your spouse or civil partner and dependent children who are not Turkish nationals to live with you in the UK for no fee. You may apply for a visa either before traveling to the UK or from inside the UK (if you are legally present). Depending on your present location outside the UK, you may be required to apply online or submit paper documents. If you are a Turkish national employed legally within the UK, you may change employers within the same line of work after working with your original employer for three years. After four years of being legally employed in the UK, you may legally work for any employer in the UK, in any line of work you choose.