How to find a job in the United Kingdom: a guide for foreigners

United Kingdom


How to find a job in the United Kingdom: a guide for foreigners

The UK remains a popular destination for job seekers from all over the world. However, finding a job in the country for foreigners can still be challenging. Find out more about who is eligible to work in the UK without a work permit, what documents are required for employment, and the specifics of the UK labor market

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Great Britain is a country with the fifth largest economy in the world and a low unemployment rate (about 3.7%). As an important center for business, the United Kingdom continues to be a popular destination for job seekers from many countries, especially since the country has a shortage of highly qualified personnel.

Every year, Britain issues about 600,000 work visas, in particular, many citizens of India, China, the USA and Turkey come to work in the country. However, finding employment in the United Kingdom is still a challenge for foreigners.

How can a foreigner find a job in Great Britain? A detailed guide from Visit World and lots of helpful tips below.

Who is eligible to work in the UK without a work permit?

Only citizens of the country have the right to work in Great Britain without a work permit. After Brexit, EU representatives will also need to obtain a visa to work in the country. An exception is made only for people who lived in Great Britain before the decision on Brexit. These foreigners were required to submit an application for "residency status" by June 30, 2021. This allows them to live and work in Great Britain as citizens of the country and does not require a work permit.

What documents are required for employment in Great Britain?

Representatives of the rest of the world must obtain a visa to work in Great Britain. There are many different types of work visas approved in the United Kingdom (about 27 in total), so before you apply you need to choose the permit that is right for you.

The most common work visas in Great Britain include:

1. A skilled worker visa allows a foreigner to be sponsored by a chosen company and move to work in the United Kingdom. Before a foreigner can apply for this visa, a UK business must provide a confirmed job offer.

Not all jobs are suitable for obtaining a visa of this type, the following can obtain a highly qualified worker visa: police officers, medical workers, scientists, engineers, IT specialists, psychologists, lawyers, journalists, etc.

- Features of the visa: the permit is issued for a period of up to 5 years, after which you can apply for a permanent residence document. You will need to prove your English fluency. This visa expires if you change employers.

2. The medical worker visa is designed specifically for doctors, nurses, social workers, health care providers or other health workers. As with the skilled worker visa, you will need a confirmed job offer before you can apply for this visa.

- Visa features: issued for a period of up to 5 years. The permit is canceled if the expat changes company. It is possible to move with the family. After 5 years, a foreigner will be able to apply for a permanent residence document.

3. Global Talent visa allows leaders and talented specialists in the field of art, culture, technology or science to immigrate to Great Britain. In order to apply, an expat must first obtain proof that they are indeed a leader in their field.

- Features of the visa: it is allowed to live and work for up to 5 years. You can extend this visa or apply for permanent residence.

Read more about the available types of work permits in Great Britain at the link.

Confirmation of English language proficiency

To be employed in the UK, you must prove that you can speak, read, write and understand English at B1 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). In particular, take English language tests such as IELTS and TOEFL.

Citizens of certain nationalities, such as representatives of Australia, Jamaica and the USA, are exempt from the above requirements.

For detailed information on language requirements, recognized English language tests and other criteria for people wishing to live in the UK, please visit GOV.UK – Settle in the UK

Features of the UK labor market and popular vacancies

Although the UK offers decent job opportunities, the country still suffers from a shortage of highly skilled workers. This trend allows many foreigners to apply for their dream job.

Of course, the competition remains quite high, but with the necessary experience, qualifications, professional qualities and knowledge of the language, finding a job in the United Kingdom is quite possible.

The main sectors of the economy of Great Britain in which the largest number of jobs are concentrated are: retail and wholesale; health care and social assistance; administration and support; professional and technical fields; education; production; food and construction industry.

So, the economy of Great Britain is dominated by the service sector, it is here that the largest number of companies, both national and international, are concentrated.

The maximum shortage of personnel, including qualified personnel, is felt among:

- health care specialists – doctors, nurses, etc.;

- social service workers;

- chemists, physicists, biological scientists;

- construction engineers;

- employees of the IT sector - business analysts and system designers;

- architects;

- veterinarians

If you want to improve your chances of employment in the United Kingdom and have the right skills at your disposal, then look at these sectors.

Most foreigners in the UK work as software engineers, business analysts, sales agents, content specialists, operations managers, delivery drivers, etc. We talked in detail about popular vacancies among expats in Great Britain earlier.

Where can a foreigner find a job in the United Kingdom?

There are many ways to find work in the UK. Depending on the industry and specific position, you can choose one of the options or combine all of them at once.

1. Search the Internet - thousands of new jobs in a variety of sectors, both full-time and part-time, appear daily on specialist websites. Usually, you can simply upload your resume to a certain website and apply for a job in just a few clicks.

- Popular job search portals in Great Britain: Adecco, Adzuna, Careerbuilder, CV Library, Everyjobsite, Gumtree, Indeed, Jobsite, Monster, Reed, Totaljobs and others.

- Specialized websites, depending on the industry:

Caterer - Hospitality and catering

Charityjob - Charity

Computer Weekly - IT

Design Week - Design and graphics

Hays - Management

Justengineers – Engineering

Madjobs - Marketing and Advertising

NHSjobs - National Health Service

Prospects - Jobs for university graduates

2. Specialist staffing agencies – most staffing agencies often specialize in a specific sector and assist in finding both permanent and temporary work.

3. Company websites – browse the websites of employers that interest you. Information about open vacancies at the company is often posted on them. If recruitment is not currently underway, you can simply leave your contact details.

4. Social Media – Social media platforms are also great for connecting with like-minded professionals. All you have to do is create an account and start searching for people you met at a previous job or who can help you in your job search in some way.

5. Self-employment and freelancing – you also have the right to start your own business or register as self-employed, provided you have the appropriate visa.

With an estimated 4.2 million registered self-employed workers in the UK by 2023, it is a popular source of income for many workers.

If you decide to open your own business, you can be an individual entrepreneur or register as a limited liability company.

How can a foreigner apply for a job in Great Britain?

The job application process will vary depending on the job a foreigner is applying for, but generally you will need to take the following steps:

1. Start looking for a job using the methods above.

2. Make sure you have the right experience and qualifications – Once you've found a position that suits you, check that you have the right experience and qualifications for the job. At this stage, you will be able to clearly understand what you need to get your dream job and what steps you need to take before applying.

3. Start collecting the documents you need to apply - find out what you need to provide to the employer, for example, references from a previous place of work, etc.

4. Prepare a separate resume for each vacancy - this will show the employer that you spent time and effort on the application and will help you stand out among other candidates. Similar rules apply to the cover letter. Make sure you personalize the document and explain why you want to work for this particular company.

5. Prepare for the interview stage – If your initial application is accepted, you will proceed to the interview stage. Currently, they are most often held online. Be sure to take the time to properly prepare for your interview so that you appear professional and confident. Think about what questions you might be asked, and be sure to write down the questions that interest you.

Useful information about working in Great Britain

- As of November 2022 (the latest full government figures), the current average salary in the UK is £27,756 (almost €32,000) per year, up 6.8% on 2021.

- The duration of the working week is 40 hours. People usually work from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays.

- Most UK companies and organizations still have a clear hierarchy where key decisions are made by managers and other senior staff.

- To work in the UK, you need a Tax Identification Number (UTR) - this is a 10-digit social security number. You will need to apply for it before starting work.

- To open a bank account, you will need proof of address, a certificate of income or a certified letter from your company and a passport.

Getting a job in the UK can be difficult for a foreigner, but living in the country has many advantages. The most important thing you need to do before applying is to find out what documents you need to work in the UK.

Igor Usyk - Head of Legal Department at Visit World

For safe relocation to UK, obtaining refugee status and employment, use the advice of an international lawyer.

We help to solve complex and simple issues for your comfort and safety in the UK.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in the UK;

Legal advice on immigration to the UK;

Travel insurance for foreigners in the UK;

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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