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Coming from another country to work in the UK

The UK Coalition Government in 2010 was very clear that it wanted to set strict limits on the number of people who can come and work in the UK from non - EU countries.  If you are not from an EU country and you want to work in the UK you will need to take specialist advice and be able to show that you have some specialist skill which your employers needs and which cannot be found from within the current UK workforce.  As you can see, this now makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to come and work in the UK in the care sector from a non-EU country.  It will help if you have a job offer before you try to enter the country, but there is an absolute limit set each year for the number of skilled workers allowed in and once that is reached, no more non-EU workers will be allowed in.


Regulations change quite frequently as this is a politically sensitive area in many countries in Europe. Before deciding to come and work here you should always take up to date advice and consult the Home Office website (see below) or ask the British Embassy or Consulate in your country for advice.


Workers from EU  countries


If you are a worker from a country within the EU then the EU principle of freedom to work in any country applies.

In particular, if you are a national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia, you do not any longer need to obtain permission before you can work in the UK.


Bulgarian and Romanian nationals

This extract from the Home office website explains the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals taking employment in the United Kingdom.


"Romanian and Bulgarian nationals have the right to reside in the UK as a job seeker if they are actively seeking work and have a genuine chance of getting a job. These conditions and the relevant requirements of the Immigration (<acronym>European Economic Area</acronym>) Regulations 2006 must be met.  In addition, from 1 January 2014, only people who have been resident in the UK for three months will be able to satisfy the Habitual Residence Test, and so access Jobseeker's Allowance."


(This means you would be unwise to arrive without a job, since you cannot get state social security benefits for three months.) This is a politically sensitive issue and the regulations may change - be careful. Please check websites before just arriving!

NB In May 2015 the UK has a General Election. It may well be that these rules will change again when a new Goverment is elected.

You do not need permission if you are working in a self-employed capacity. However, you can apply for a registration certificate to confirm your right to work as a self-employed person in the United Kingdom if you wish. More details are on the applying page.


If you are a student in the United Kingdom, you may take employment for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time work during vacation periods from your course but you must first obtain a registration certificate confirming that you are a student. More details are on the applying page.


This page was updated on 30 March 2015.  It is complicated and may change. Please do not rely upon it being completely up to date and consult the Government websites first.

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