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Working & Living in the UK

If you are not a British citizen or a national from a European Economic Area (EEA) country you may need a visa before you travel to the United Kingdom.

If you are a so-called "visa-national" you will require entry clearance to enter the United Kingdom, whatever the purpose of your travel. Entry clearance is the term used to describe the application process for visa nationals travelling to the United Kingdom and non visa nationals who require visas. Non visa nationals may require visas, particularly if they intend to come to the United Kingdom for a longer period of time or to settle in the United Kingdom. A current list of visa nationals can be found here.

To apply for entry clearance you will need to make an application at a British mission overseas, usually an Embassy. You will need to complete the necessary application forms and you will be charged a fee.

An entry clearance officer will then decide whether you fulfil the rules and qualify for a visa. The visa will show the purpose of your travel and how long you can stay in the United Kingdom. You will normally be able to enter and leave the United Kingdom as often as you like during the period in which your visa remains valid.

The Work Permit Scheme – applications by employers

The work permit scheme differs from other forms of permission to enter or remain in that it is administered by Work permits (UK), a specialist section of the Immigration & Nationality Directorate, based in Sheffield. The other main difference is that it is the British employer who applies for permission to employ an overseas national rather than the overseas worker applying for permission to enter.

The application must be made in respect of a specific job (normally full time) and the person for whom the application is made will not be able to transfer the work permit to a different job or different employer. As the prospective employer, you must show that you are already trading. You must show that there is a genuine vacancy for an employee; what skills and qualification are required (normally only jobs requiring high level skills are covered by this scheme); whether the person is suitably qualified; and that you have been unable to find anyone of suitable experience or qualifications within the EEA workforce. You will be offering pay and conditions at least equal to those normally given to a resident worker in your employment.

Note: Different rules apply to those wishing to take up employment in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.
Long term Work Permit Free Visas

Media Visa - a full time employed representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation on assignment in the UK.

Overseas Domestic Worker Visa - for people who wish to accompany their employer to the UK as an overseas domestic worker.

Postgraduate Doctor & Dentist Training Visa - for a postgraduate doctor or dentist who has qualified either in the UK or abroad.

Barrister & Solicitors Visa - for a solicitor or law consultant wishing to establish a practice in the UK or a barrister setting up in chambers in the UK.

Writer, Composer & Artist Visa - for people who are primarily engaged in producing original work which has been published, performed or exhibited for its literacy, musical or artistic merit intending to work in the UK.

Teacher & Language Assistants Visa - for teachers coming to an educational establishment in the UK under an exchange scheme.

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