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Working in the UK

  • A U.K. work visa allows residents of other countries 12 months of access to working in the United Kingdom. Work visas vary greatly depending on country of origin and sponsorship. With the exception of the Youth Mobility Scheme, workers must receive sponsorship from a U.K. business to earn a work visa. Visas allow workers 12 months in the country, primarily to holiday while working about the country. Applicants may not have children or previous U.K. work visa experience to qualify for the Youth Mobility Scheme.

    The U.K. offers Youth Mobility Scheme work visas to citizens of several countries each year, including Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, and Taiwan. The United Kingdom allows a set number of Youth Mobility Scheme workers from each country every year. Travelers must hold a valid passport from the country of origin, and the passport must remain current throughout the entire work visit stay. United Kingdom work visa applicants must demonstrate financial ability to survive the time in the U.K. without needing state funds. Travelers will need to verify funds prior to acceptance.

    U.K. work visa age limits typically fall between 18 and 30. Older applicants may meet requirements and gain approval, but only if the country of origin maintains available spaces for the year. Holiday, not work, must represent the primary reason for work visa application. Applicants must prove no health risk prior to acceptance in the U.K. work visa program. Many work visa programs require sponsorship, but if a traveler cannot gain sponsorship from a U.K. business, the country of origin may act as sponsor.

    Most applications receive consideration and approval within 12 weeks. Some applicants may receive approval in as little as three weeks. Processing times for applications vary by type and duration of stay. Most visa services incur fees. The U.K. government issues no refunds for visa permit and permanent residence fees.

    Applicants may also apply for citizenship to extend working visa stays. Residents must first obtain a biometric residence permit for any stay longer than six months. In addition to biometric permits, applicants must also complete the standard naturalization process for U.K. countries. Applicants do not need to give up nationality from the country of origin when applying for citizenship in the U.K. The U.K. Border Agency provides a detailed list of requirements for citizenship. Upon approval, newly appointed U.K. citizens assume and reserve all rights and responsibilities of full citizens of the United Kingdom. The U.K. government may deny or reject applications for citizenship at any time.

    To discover more information on work visas available for the U.K, visit the U.K. Border Agency website for additional details.