Eligibility to Work in the United Kingdom
If you have a British or EU passport, you can work in the UK without restrictions. If not, you may find that there are limitations on the type of work you are able to do, or the length of time you are allowed to work in the UK.
As the rules relating to visas and permits can change at any time, it is important to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information concerning eligibility to work in schools in the UK. This can be found on the Home Office website www.homeoffice.gov.uk or visit www.ukvisas.gov.uk or www.workingintheuk.gov.uk.
European Economic Area (EEA)
If you are an EEA member or Swiss national you have the right to work in the UK. You do not need a work permit, but you may be required to register under the Worker Registration Scheme if you are from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia.
You are entitled to work in the UK if you are accompanying your spouse, who is a British or EU national. You do not need a work permit, but must have a settlement visa or EEA family permit.
If you are a teacher from the Commonwealth, you may have the ‘right to abode’ in the UK, which means you can live and work in the UK without restriction. If not, you may be eligible for one of the following:
- A Working Holidaymaker Visa
This allows you to live and work in the UK for up to two years and to work in the UK for up to 12 months. To qualify for this you need to under the age of 30. You must be able to show that you are mainly here on holiday and that you can finance your holiday and return home without the need to work. You are not allowed to take contracts of longer than four months. Once your working holidaymaker visa has expired, you would only be permitted to continue working in the UK if eligible to switch into work-permit employment.
If you are a Commonwealth citizen with a British parent or grandparent, you are eligible for a UK ancestry visa, which means you can work in the UK for up to five years. You do not need a work permit.
As a foreign national, unless you qualify under the permit-free employment scheme, you must have a valid work permit to work in the UK. Only a school that has offered you a contract lasting at least four months can apply for this and if granted, you can then work for that school for up to four years.
If you are a teacher coming to the UK under an approved exchange scheme, you will not need a work permit as this is one of the categories under permit-free employment.