Working in the UK

Expats Guide to Working in the UK – Visa, Immigration and Employment Opportunities


Many expats worldwide choose to live in the United Kingdom (UK). It has much to offer people seeking outstanding career possibilities in one of the world’s top economies. Most visitors are welcomed by the country’s broad, tolerant culture, even if breaking through the legendary “British reserve” might be difficult.

The United Kingdom, with its rich history and diverse scenery comprising four nations and numerous regions, truly has something to seduce everyone. Whether you’re looking for urban excitement or rural tranquility, the United Kingdom offers lots.

With so much to offer, expats considering relocating to the United Kingdom will require assistance. A little homework is vital before you go, whether it’s advice on the best areas to live and work, making the most of your money, or preserving your family’s health and well-being.

In our blog, we will talk about the expat’s guide to living and working in the UK. Moreover, with our guide, ex-pats living in the UK will also get better information about which city they should choose based on their requirements.

Things You Need to Know if You Are Planning to Work in the UK?

Because of the country’s centuries-old reputation as an economic powerhouse, working in the United Kingdom can be a precious experience. There are various options for working in the United Kingdom:

  1. As a Migrant of High Economic Value.
  2. As a Skilled Worker
  3. Working as a Temporary Worker
  4. For Specialty Professions
  5. For a Commonwealth citizen with British ancestry, you have the right to vote.

What Are the Requirements for Work Visa in the UK?

In order to qualify for a work visa, you must have some qualifications in all the above. To be eligible, you must be a citizen of a qualifying nation. European nationals, nationals of UK territories, and nationals of Commonwealth countries (if you have a grandparent from the UK living in the Commonwealth) are not need to have a visa to work in the United Kingdom.

For immigration to the United Kingdom, you will need documentation of a job offer in the United Kingdom for several of these categories.

To be eligible for a work visa, you must have some qualifications in all the above. To be eligible, you must be a citizen of a qualifying nation. European nationals, nationals of UK territories, and nationals of Commonwealth countries do not need to have a visa to work in the United Kingdom.

For Immigration to the United Kingdom, you will need documentation of a job offer in the United Kingdom for several of these categories.

Interesting Read: UK Travel Guide – Everything You Need Before You Plan Your Visit

What is the Visa for High-Value Workers?

  • Tier 1, Exceptional Talent: This visa may be granted to immigrants who can demonstrate that they have specific abilities that would be extremely useful to the UK. Artists, scientists, and leaders highly respected in the United Kingdom are highly valued.
  • Tier 1 Entrepreneurs: Entrepreneur visas are available to immigrants who want to start and run a business in the United Kingdom. The most crucial component of this visa is that the immigrant must be able to run a business in the United Kingdom for it to continue to operate.
  • Tier 1 Investors: Investor visas are available to anyone with at least £1,000,000 to invest in the English economy.

What is the UK Visa for Skilled Workers?

A Skilled Worker visa is for immigrants who have work offers from companies in the UK and can pass the points-based system for Tier 2 immigration. Immigrants who can immigrate with a job offer can apply for the general Skilled Worker visa.

In the Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa category, there are three different subcategories eligible for immigration. Each of the items listed below has its own set of criteria.

  • Skilled Religious Worker Visa
  • Skilled Worker Visa for Sportspersons
  • Employees that have been transferred inside the company

What is the UK Visa for Temporary Workers?

Temporary workers, often known as Tier 5, are individuals who plan to leave their home countries to work in the United Kingdom for up to 12 months. This visa categorization is divided into six groups.
1. Tier 5, Creative and Sporting: This category is open to athletes, artists, and entertainers.

  1. Tier 5, Charity Workers: Members of a charitable organization may travel to the UK to perform volunteer work.
  2. Religious Workers (Tier 5)
  3. Tier 5, Government Authorized Exchange: This category is not intended to fill open vacancies.
  4. Tier 5, International Agreement: For work “classified as international law.”
  5. Tier 5, Youth Mobility Scheme: Australian, Canadian, Japanese, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and Taiwanese young people.

What Are the Types of UK Visas?

Between January and March 2019, 7.8 million tourists visited the United Kingdom. According to Visit Britain statistics 2.9 million people visited in March alone. In terms of culture, music, sports, the economy etc, the United Kingdom is a significant player. Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Big Ben, and the London Eye are just a handful of the country’s important tourist attractions. These facts reflect the growing demand for people who plan on working in the UK.

While Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom does not require a passport to travel to other nations, you do. If you want to visit the United Kingdom, the first step is to fill out the UK Visa Application Form, which you may do either online or physically.

The United Kingdom has implemented a points-based system in which each applicant earns points for fulfilling the conditions of each visa type. To be awarded a visa, an applicant must obtain several issues.

Which Types of UK Visas are Available?

1. UK Work Visa

There are four different types of visas under this category. Short-term and long-term work visas and Investor, Business Development, Talent Visas, and other work visas are available. Tier 5 visas are for short-term employment. These visas are typically issued to foreign people who wish to work in the United Kingdom for a long or short period. Multiple tickets are available depending on your profession and credentials.

2. UK Student Visa

These are Tier 4 visas for foreign nationals interested in a British educational institution. Under this, there are two types:

  • Tier 4 General Student Visa: This type of visa is for people not a part of the European Economic Area, are not 16 years of age or older, and want to enroll after 16.
  • Tier 4 Child Student Visa: On the other hand, this type of Visa is for those under 18 who are not citizens of the European Economic Area and want to study in a private school in the United Kingdom.

3. Visitor’s Visa

This is the standard visa for tourism, visiting family members, medical treatment, and other professional reasons.

4. UK Business Visa

Attending meetings and conferences, participating in trade shows and giving seminars and speeches, doing site visits and inspections, and so on are some of the critical activities you can do here.

5. UK Family Visa

This is given to people who want to live with their families indefinitely. They could be permanent UK residents’ spouses, kids, parents, or relatives. The processing of your UK visa can take up to three weeks. As a result, it is preferable to apply for a visa at least 30 days before your departure date.

6. Global Talent Visa

The Global Talent visa is a category of UK immigration for talented and promising individuals in specific fields such as science, humanities,etc. In February 2020, the Global Talent visa superseded the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa category.

The Global Talent visa is an immigration category that allows you to settle in the United States after three years. You may be able to apply for British citizenship after completing your settlement application and the required residency period in the UK.

This means that if you have talents, your chances of living and working in the UK are significantly higher than others.

How Much Does a UK Work Visa Cost?

If you are applying for a skilled worker Visa in the UK, you’ll need to have enough money to pay for the following things. The money you will be spending while applying for a UK work visa includes:

  • The application fee for which the standard price ranges from 625 pounds to 1423 pounds, depending on your circumstances.
  • You will also have to pay the health surcharge, usually 624 pounds per year.
  • Also, try to support yourself when you arrive in the UK. For this purpose, you’ll usually need to have at least 1270 pounds available.

Apart from these circumstances, you can also pay a lower application fee if your job is on the shortage occupation list. This information will also be told anytime you apply for the visa.

Here is an example providing you with information about the cost of a visa if you are applying from Argentina:

Suppose that you are applying for a work visa from Argentina for two years on a skilled worker visa. Your job is not in shortage, so your ticket will cost around 625 pounds, plus you will pay an additional 624 pounds each year for your healthcare surcharges. This means that you will pay 1873 pounds when applying for your visa. So, make sure to arrange these finances prior to your plans for working in the UK.

What Are the Application Fees for a Work Visa in the UK?

UK If you’re applying from outside the UK, the average price is determined by whether you’ll be in the UK for the following reasons:

  • £625 per person for up to three years
  • f more than three years – £1,235 per person

If you’re applying to extend, switch, or amend your visa from within the UK, the average price is determined by whether you’ll be in the UK for:

  • £719 per person for up to three years
  • f more than three years – £1,423 per person

Interesting Read: Top 10 Tips on How to Save Money Being an Expat in the UK

What is a Biological Residence Permit, and How Can You Apply for One in the UK?

A Biological Residence Permit (BRP) is a permit used to confirm your right to study, identity, and right to any public service or benefits you’re entitled to. Usually, you will be provided with a BRP if you apply to visit the UK for more than six months or intend to extend your visa above this duration. Furthermore, if you use to settle in the UK or transfer your ticket to a new passport, you will need to get a BRP.

You cannot get yourself a BRP if you use the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check” app to prove your identity. To get a BRP in these circumstances, you will have to prove your right to work and live in the UK online instead.

So let us know which information is on your BRP:

  • Your name, date, and place of birth.
  • Your fingerprints and a photo of your face. This will be counted as your biometric information.
  • Your immigration status and any conditions of your stay.
  • Whether you can access public funds like health benefits or not. This information is essential.

Moreover, you’ll also have national insurance (NI) number printed on your BRP. Although not all BRPs have this number, this number is dependent on factors like the date it was issued and your visa status. Make sure to get this permit as it is one of the essential documents for working in the UK.

Working in the UK as a Self-employed Individual or Freelancer

Suppose you live in the United Kingdom and want to try your hand at freelancing. That’s great! More and more professionals are becoming freelancers, and many people are turning to basic freelance projects to augment their income.

If you want to legally permit yourself to work in the UK, you must first register as a freelancer with HMRC. You can choose to register as a sole trader. This means you are self-employed or are solely responsible for any business losses, and have complete control over your post-tax profits. HMRC’s website has more information about working for yourself in the UK.

If you’re an ex-pat, be sure you have a visa to work as a freelancer in the United Kingdom. You may get analytical information on the type of visa you’ll require for Freelancers in the UK. Tier 1 General is a famous work visa for professionals who have recently moved to the UK and want to work freelance.

If you’re an international student in the United Kingdom, you’re most likely on a Tier 4 visa. When you have lessons, you are limited in how many hours per week you can work, and you are also prohibited from taking certain occupations. Please read all the details in our related blog post to avoid surprises. Also, for more relevant information, visit UKCISA’s website, the UK’s official advisory organization serving the interests of international students.


Since the UK is one of the strongest economies, it attracts a huge number of bright minds to join its workforce. According to the Office for National Statistics, the United Kingdom has Europe’s third-largest economy, with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate.

In total, the UK employs a little over 3.5 million foreign workers. Surprisingly, while there were roughly 75,000 more non-EU nationals working in the UK in the previous year.

Working in the UK did not require a visa or work permit before Brexit if the person was from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. But since the UK left the EU, a transition period has been established, and the rules have now been changed. This means that if you are planning to work in the UK, then you should be well prepared. Furthermore, you must have all the required knowledge required to get a legit work visa for the UK.

To keep in touch with your loved ones in the United Kingdom, buy the free SIM from Talk Home Mobile. If you want to connect with your loved ones in the United States, you can also read our detailed guide on calling from the UK to the US.



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