You may need a work visa to work in the UK depending on which country you are from.

While the UK is still a member of the EU, if you are from an EU / EEA country or Switzerland, you won’t need a work visa to work in the UK (as long as you have a valid passport or ID card).

If you’re from outside EU/EEA or Switzerland, you’ll probably need to have a work visa. There are different types of visa for work in the UK, for different types of area of work. Each visa has different conditions and you may need to pass an assessment. The different types currently are:

  • Tier 1 (for exceptionally talented individuals, entrepreneurs and investors to work in the UK)
  • Tier 2 (for skilled workers who have been offered a job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker)
  • Tier 5 (temporary work, in a role such as a sportsperson, a minister of religion or an entertainer)

Where you need to go

Find out more about visas and work permits on the GOV.UK website

Work Visas

If you need advice about immigration or visas, you must to speak to a trained adviser who is registered with OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner). Find out more on the Immigration page.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can provide free immigration advice on some issues. Find out more about getting immigration advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau:

Get Immigration Advice

You can find out more useful information on the Reed website. Reed is an employment agency. You can find out more about employment agencies here.

Your Rights to Work in the UK

National Insurance Number

To work in the UK you will also need a National Insurance Number. You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.

Find out more about National Insurance Numbers on the GOV.UK website:

Apply for a National Insurance Number

You can apply for your NI number through the NI Application Line

0800 141 2075 (Open 8am – 6pm)

Or your local Job Centre Plus can help you apply. Job Centre Plus is at two locations in Leeds city centre. Find out more LINK.

If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP) you may already have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back. If you do, you won’t need to apply for one.

What happens when you apply for a NI number

Jobcentre Plus may send you a letter and ask you to come to an interview where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.

What you need to bring

Your letter will tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity. This may include:

  • passport or identity card
  • residence permit
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence

You will also be told at the interview how long it will take to receive your National Insurance number.

Working without a National Insurance number

You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK. You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.

Last Updated: 13 May 2019

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