UK Work Permit


You can get a job in the UK if you have a UK work permit or better put, a permit to work in the United Kingdom.

The UK welcomes and actually depends on thousands of non-UK nationals to work here and help in developing her economy.

Getting a UK work permit should therefore not be impossible (obviously), provided you have the skills and qualifications required for a particular job.

Did some one whispered: How do I then get a work permit? Many have found it unbelievably difficult to get a permit to work here in the UK. Some have described the situation as a catch 22 situation.

To get a UK job, you need a work permit and without a work permit, you can not get jobs. Lets briefly discuss What a work permit is, the different types, how to qualify for one and then the application process.

What is Work Permit?

UK work permit is a legal document issued by the Work Permit UK, an arm of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the UK government.

It is permission for a specific individual to work in a specific capacity. It is usually not transferable either between individuals or jobs. If you are given a work permit for a job as a nurse in hospital A, you cannot work as a nurse with that work permit in hospital B.

There are six types of work permits. Depending on the category of your employement, one of the following would be issued:


This is for businesses and commercial outfits. It relates to applications for people on the UK Skills Shortage Occupation list. This type of application is usually approved on time, as it does not require a lot of enquires.

Since April 3 2006, overseas trained doctors and dentist intending to work or undergo a period of postgraduate training in the UK are now required to apply for this type of work permit.

They do not qualify for permit free training visa any longer. You can read more on this at the new immigration rule for overseas doctors section.


This is issued to people not on the UK Skills Shortage Occupation list. This usually includes sports persons and entertainers.


This is work permits issued under the training and work experience scheme for people outside the EU to undertake a work based training programme in the UK. After the end of the duration of training, they are required to leave the UK.


This stands for the Global Agreement on Trades in Services. This allows employers out side the EU to send their staff to the UK to undrtake jobs for them in the UK.


This is Sector Based Scheme work permit that allows low skilled employees to come to work in the UK for up to 12 months in certain sectors like the food industry.


Allows students outside the EU who are studying in Universities and Colleges for high degrees to undertake internship here in the UK.

There is also the Multiple Entry Work Permit (MEWP) for people who travel regularly within a short period for the same employer in the UK.

Who Needs a UK Work Permit?

All non-British nationals, who are not settled in the UK, and are non-EU citizens, will require a work permit if they intend to undertake employment that requires a work permit, except they are

• Swiss nationals

• Citizens of Gibraltar

• Commonwealth citizen claiming UK Ancestry

• a seaman under contract to join a ship due to leave British waters

• a person employed as a civilian in NATO Forces

• a person given permission to stay as the dependant of a person settled in the UK

• a dependant under another category (in some cases), or

• a student (in some cases)

How Do I Apply For Work Permit

Individuals cannot apply for work permit for themselves. This is usually done by the prospective employer.

For more information on UK work permit, please go to:

UK Work Permit Website

Useful Links

Information to help in extending your work permit

UK Home Office Website- An invaluable resource for all your immigration issues, download forms, e.t.c

United Kingdom Passport Services (UKPS) - for British national

Working Holiday Visa
- Information for Commonwealth and other nationals wishing to apply for British Nationality or Passport

Can't Get UK work permit? Grab one for New Zealand


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