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How to get work in the UK: everything you need to know

If you need immigration advice on how to get work in the UK, our immigration solicitors are fully versed in employment law and can help you every step of the way. Ring our customer care team today to hear more about our bespoke advice sessions and our comprehensive application support appointments on 0161 532 7993.

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    Relocating to the UK for employment

    Relocating to the UK can be a stressful, expensive and lengthy process. Not only must you consider the logistics of emigrating overseas but also the legal prerequisites, such as immigration control and ensuring you have a ‘right to rent’ and ‘right to work’ while in the country.

    However, one of the biggest complications is how to get work in the UK in the first place. As a migrant who originates from overseas, it is not as straightforward as applying and accepting a job offer. Indeed, before you start packing, you first need to satisfy UKVI and the immigration authorities.

    To get work in the UK, you will need an appropriate visa. The UK’s points-based system offers a wide variety of different work schemes and immigration permits, some of which will grant you the opportunity to work in the UK on a temporary seasonal basis (such as in the summer) while others will give you permission to remain in the country for up to five years.

    Excluding temporary schemes under the Tier 5 route for creatives, sportspeople and the Youth Mobility Scheme, there are at least six visas you can choose from.

    These are:

    How to get work with the Skilled Worker Visa 

    The Graduate Visa is only applicable to international students who have completed a degree in the UK while the Start-up and Innovator Visa routes are set aside for entrepreneurial talent.

    This leaves the Skilled Worker Visa which remains the most popular route. It is generic in style and applies to the vast majority of industries and sectors in the UK, meaning you are not restricted to apply for a specific job. You can seek any form of employment in the country and then apply for the Skilled Worker Visa.

    However, you will still need to score 70 points in order to successfully receive your Skilled Worker Visa and begin working in the UK.

    50 of these points are non-negotiable or ‘non-tradable’, meaning they are mandatory requirements which you cannot swap or exchange to score points elsewhere.

    These non-tradable 50 points are comprised of:

    • Job offer (20 points) – must be from an employer who has a Sponsor Licence 
    • Skill level (20 points) – the job and candidate must be at the required skill level
    • Language ability (10 points) – you must be able to speak and understand English


    how to get work in the UK

    The last 20 points for the Skilled Worker Visa 

    The remaining 20 points you need to score are ‘tradable’ and largely depend on your prospective salary, your education and whether or not you intend on filling a job on the UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The SOL invites highly talented people to work in the UK to fill a domestic shortage of skills in the labour market. It comes with some advantages for applicants too. For example, some healthcare professionals can benefit from a visa discount since they are fulfilling a role that is in dire shortage in the UK.

    As such, if you can fill a role shortage as outlined via the SOL, you can score the 20 remaining points required.

    However, the minimum salary you can be offered is £20,480. UKVI will not accept overseas applicants with a prospective salary below this threshold. In terms of points, you will score 0 here if you are offered this salary.

    The salary rules 

    The salary rules are slightly more complex than they were before Brexit. Previously, the Tier 2 Work Visa was designed with a blanket salary threshold in which most applicants had to earn a minimum of £30,000 to come and work in the UK. In recognition of a potential skills shortage prompted by Brexit, the UK Government has since lowered the threshold and made it more flexible – although a little bit more confusing.

    For most who cannot fill a shortage via the SOL, the salary stipulation is vital in order to score the last remaining 20 points. Since £20,480 is the minimum and scores zero points, you will need a job offer with a salary above this threshold.

    You will score 10 points if you are offered a job with a salary of £23,040 to £25,599, or 20 points if you offered a salary of £25,600 or above. However, if your chosen field of work has a higher ‘going rate’ salary, then your employer should offer you the relevant salary.

    If you still fall short of the total 70 points required, you can score the remainder based on your education level. If you have a PhD in a subject relevant to your job, you will earn 10 points. However, if you have a PhD in a STEM subject that is relevant to your job, you will earn 20 points. This latter route was created by the Government to encourage highly skilled researchers and scientists to come to the UK.

    What this means is that you can score the remaining 20 points required based on your salary, skills and educational level. You can swap where you score points here, providing you are offered a salary of no less than £20,480.

    How to get work in the UK: other considerations

    It is pertinent to note that getting work in the UK does not only hinge on these visa rules. You will need to weigh up the practicality of relocating, where you will live, your expenses, your savings and your lifestyle. This is because in your initial years of living in the UK, you will be subject to immigration control and therefore prohibited from all welfare support systems. At every turn, you will have to prove you have a right to live, work and rent in the country. You will need to pay the hefty Immigration Health Surcharge fee before you arrive in the UK in order to have access to healthcare via the NHS, too.

    You will also need a place to live that is not in a state of housing disrepair

    Fortunately, if you need advice on how to get work in the UK, our expert immigration lawyers can help you. Our Manchester Immigration Lawyers can advise you over the phone, face-to-face or via a Skype call if you prefer. If you need assistance on obtaining a Work Permit to the UK, speak to our friendly customer care team today on  0161 532 7993.

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