As an immigrant, before you are allowed to work legally in the UK, you need to obtain work authorization, whether you are a highly skilled professional seeking employment opportunities, a student aspiring to gain practical experience, or someone reuniting with family members, the law does not allow you to work without getting the necessary authorization.
These authorizations grant you as a foreigner the legal right to work in the UK, if you have just arrived in the UK and wish to obtain work authorization to be able to work in your chosen field, here is a detailed guide on how to get work authorization in the UK.
How to Get Work Authorization in the UK
To get work authorization, you have to qualify for it, submit a comprehensive application, and get a positive response on your application.
Check your eligibility
The first step you need to take to get work authorization in the UK is to check if you are eligible to work in the UK. Does your visa type allow you to work? That is the question you need answers to.
Different visas apply to various circumstances, such as work, study, or family reasons. You can visit the official UK government website or consult with an immigration expert to determine the most suitable visa category for your situation.
You can be eligible to work in the UK if you enter the country with a work visa, student visa, or even an investment visa but your specific situation can hinder you from working, for example, if you are on a student visa but haven’t gotten your full-time study authorization. You need to understand your specific situation.
Choose the right visa type
Once you’ve identified your eligibility, it’s time to select the appropriate visa type. For work authorization, standard options include the Tier 2 (General) visa for skilled workers, Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa for business owners, or Tier 5 visa for temporary workers.
Each visa type has specific requirements, so you need to match your qualifications and intentions with the right category.
Secure a job offer
For most work visas, you need to secure a job offer from a UK employer. You can network in your field to source for jobs, use job portals, or contact recruitment agencies directly, let them know that you need a job and they will help you source for a job after which you pay a commission.
While searching for a job, make sure your skills and qualifications align with the job market demands in the UK to increase your chances of finding a suitable position.
Obtain a certificate of sponsorship (COS)
If you secure a job offer from a UK employer, the employer will provide you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS). This document is crucial for your visa application and demonstrates that you have a genuine job offer from a reputable organization in the UK.
Gather required documents
Before you start your application properly, you need to gather the necessary documents, gathering them ahead of time helps to ensure that you avoid mistakes during the application process.
Double-check the specific requirements for your visa type and ensure all documents are up-to-date and accurate. Common documents include your passport, proof of finances, proof of English language proficiency, and the COS from your employer.
Submit your application
Now that you have gathered all the needed documents, it’s time to submit your visa application. You can do this online through the official UK government website.
All you have to do is pay the application fee, provide the required information, and upload your documents as instructed. When filling out your application form online, please, be thorough and honest to avoid delays or rejections.
Wait for a decision
After submitting your application and attending the biometrics appointment if it’s required for your visa type, a biometric appointment is not always required in all situations, you have to wait for a decision to be made on your visa.
Depending on your situation and the volume of applications received by the visa authorities, the processing times can take four weeks to two months. While you wait, stay patient and refrain from making any travel plans until you receive a decision on your visa application.
Approval or rejection
If you receive a positive response, congratulations, you’ve been granted work authorization in the UK, if the response is negative, the authorities will give you the reason for rejection, and you can address the issue and reapply.
If you are an immigrant, it is illegal to work in the UK without securing proper authorization, the law does not allow you to work, you need to secure proper authorization before you will be granted permission to work.
If you are currently in the UK as a foreigner and you wish to secure authorization to work, you can follow the steps in this guide, check your eligibility, choose the right visa type, diligently follow the application procedures, submit your application, and wait for a decision, if the decision is positive, you can legally work in the UK, if its negative, you can address the issue and reapply.