Expat Guide

Working in the UK

Finding a job in the UK is nearly the same as in the US, a resume is referred to as a CV or curriculum vitae, meaning life story. If you’re looking for an employer to hire you from abroad, it is very difficult to find one to do so, because they have to explain why they cannot find a local citizen to do said job.

There is, however, a Highly Skilled Migrant Worker Program, in which you may qualify for, and also a list of shortage occupations in which it is easier to obtain a work permit. It is worthwhile to use the UK NARIC (see link at right) service to have an official “translation” of US qualifications to UK terms, there is a small fee.

Immigration & Visas

You might not need any work-related visa at all: if you have permission to be in the UK as someone’s spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, whether that person is permanently settled in the UK or not, you can normally work with no restrictions. This is true even if your spouse themselves has a restriction on working (for example, a student). Fiances and visitors cannot work at all.

If you are not coming to the UK as someone’s dependant, the UK Home Office has a range of schemes and programmes that allow US nationals to come and work in the UK. The website Working In The UK (see right) has a full listing of the Home Office schemes and programmes.

From 1 May 2007, graduates of UK universities can apply to work for 12 months under the International Graduates Scheme (see link right). Highly skilled people who can demonstrate the required number of points can apply to join the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (see right). These schemes require no application or input from employers, and are not linked to a specific job.

If you are not eligible for any other scheme, you must obtain a Work Permit in order to come and work in the UK. Your UK Employer applies for on your behalf, and unless your job is an acknowledged shortage occupation, they must prove to the Home Office that it is a genuine vacancy that has been advertised but could not be filled by a local worker. If your Permit is granted, you use it to apply for immigration permission to stay and work in the UK.

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