Right To Work In The UK


In order to earn a wage as teacher, it is not enough to simply have a passport from your own country. You need a visa to let you live and work in the UK for a pre-arranged length of time.

Visa Travel

There are a number of ways to obtain the necessary visa – some are new, based on a points based system, others are traditional, such as ancestry rights.

UK Residency and British Ancestry

Many teachers are able to enter the UK based on ancestral connections to the UK, UK citizenship and European citizenship. The most common entry clearances on which our teachers work are:

UK Passport

Those eligible for a UK passport include people who were born in the UK, have been naturalised in the UK or can prove legitimate descent from a mother or father born in the UK.

European Economic Area (EEA) Passport and Swiss Nationals

If you possess a passport from a member country of the European Economic Area (EEA) or are a Swiss National you are entitled to work in the UK.

If you do not currently possess a passport from an EEA country or Switzerland but you have a parent or grandparent born in one of these countries, you may be eligible for a passport enabling you to work in the UK. You will need to check with the relevant authorities.

Ancestry Visa

Commonwealth citizens aged 17 and over can apply for this visa if they can show proof of a grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. You must intend to support yourself through employment in the UK, as there are limitations on an ancestry visa holder’s access to public funds. This visa is granted for five years and is renewable.

The Points Based Immigration System

For those teachers who are not eligible for entry based on their UK residency status or ancestral background, other entry clearances are available under the tiered points-based immigration system, implemented in 2008. The following tiers are most likely to apply to teachers wishing to teach in the UK:

Tier 1 Highly Skilled Workers

Tier 1 allows highly skilled people to come to the UK to look for work or self-employment opportunities. Unlike Tier 2, Tier 1 visa holders do not need a job offer or sponsorship to apply. Points are given for qualifications, previous earnings, previous UK experience, age, language skills and proof of savings.

Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Workers

Tier 2 offers routes into the UK for skilled workers who have a job offer from a UK-based employer. The employer must be a registered sponsor, recognised by the UK Border Agency. In addition to meeting the points criteria for this tier, workers will need to present a certificate of sponsorship from their employer.

Tier 4 Students

Tier 4 applies to those wishing to undertake further study in the UK and who are paying for tuition at a recognised British training institution. Students who come to the UK on this entry clearance are eligible for part time work (20 hours per week). You will still need to possess a recognised teaching qualification in order to take up a teaching job in the UK .

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme

Tier 5 is for young people from participating countries who wish to experience life in the United Kingdom. The applicant’s government acts as their sponsor. Successful applicants will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the UK (with some restrictions, such as self-employment) for up to 2 years.

Participating countries on the UK Border Agency’s list of ‘Deemed Sponsors’ currently includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand. Please visit the UK Border Agency’s website for up-to-date information about participating countries.

Important Notice

If you are thinking of coming over to teach in the UK it is a good idea to check the UK Border Agency website frequently for current and up-to-date information about coming to the UK for the purpose of work.

The information above is provided by TimePlan as guidance only. Always refer to the British High Commission in your area for current and official information about working in the UK.