How to Get a Work Permit in the UK

To legally come and work in the UK you will need to fall into one of six basic categories:

  1. High-value job category
  2. Skilled worker who has received a job offer from a sponsoring employer
  3. You are a temporary worker or are from a country participating in the youth mobility program
  4. Other categories– domestic worker, an employee of a news or broadcasting organization, certain dentists and doctors, and sailors
  5. You are a Turkish citizen
  6. You are a member of one of the Commonwealth Nations and at least one of your grandparents was born in the United Kingdom

You can begin the process of how to get a work permit in the UK by applying online if any of these describe your situation.

I. High-Value Job Category

Within this category there are 13 subcategories that make up the definition of what is a “high-value” job. This can include writers, artists, investors, graduates entrepreneurs, and several other classifications. A complete listing is is found on the UK Border Agency’s high-value migrants webpage. Make sure to check this before you apply because the job categories considered to be high value does change.

II. Skilled Workers with a Job Offer

There are six categories of occupations for skilled workers:

Make sure to check the UK Border Agency’s skilled workers webpage to see which categories are currently valid to base an application on, as these change.

III. Temporary Worker or a Youth Mobility Country

There are five categories of temporary workers. To be eligible for one of these categories you must already have an offer of employment before you apply:

To apply as part of the youth mobility scheme, you need to be equal to or between the ages of 18-30, able to support yourself while you are in the UK (have at least £1,800 in cash funds), and be from one of the following countries:

  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Canada
  • Monaco
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea

IV. Domestic Worker or Part of a Broadcast Organization

Within this category there are seven subcategories in which you can qualify to come and work in the UK. Check the UK Border Agency’s other categories webpage to see which occupations are currently valid for application:

V. Turkish Citizens

If you are a Turkish citizen and would like to establish yourself in business in the UK you may apply to do just this. In order to do this you will need to demonstrate:

  • You have the appropriate skills, abilities, and available funds to establish your business
  • The profit you make will be able to support your business completely and you will not require outside money from other forms of employment
  • If you are joining another business venture you will need to show you are capable of being an active participant and the profits you earn as your share will be enough for you to support yourself

If you are approved you will be granted initial permission to enter the UK for one year. You can apply for an additional three-year extension once you are already in the UK.

VI. Commonwealth Members with a UK Grandparent

If you are from a Commonwealth country you can apply to come and work in the UK if:

  • You are at least 17 years old
  • You are willing, able, and plan to work in the UK
  • You are able to support yourself while in the UK
  • You can show that one of your grandparents was born in the UK

If your application is accepted you will be able to come to the UK for five years, after which time you can apply to extend your stay.


Once you have determined which category you fall into, you may begin an online application.

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