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Human Resources

Who can work in the UK?

Permanent Right to Work

An individual is eligible to work in the UK without restriction if they are one of the following:

  • British citizens1;
  • Irish citizens;
  • European Economic Area (EEA)2 citizens with Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Swiss nationals with Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Holders of Settlement / Indefinite Leave to Remain.

1Please note: not all British passport holders have an automatic right to work.  The passport must state BRITISH CITIZEN on the picture page for it to prove a right to work. 

2European Economic Area (EEA) members

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Time Limited Right To Work

Non-British or Irish Citizens must have a work permit to enable them to work in the UK, this includes any EEA or Swiss national who was not resident in the UK before 1 January 2021. The work that they can undertake will depend on the type of work permit they hold.

What an individual can do whilst on a visa will depend on their visa category.  Some visas will give individuals a unrestricted right to work, while others will restrict what they can do.

All employee's with a time limited right to work will require a follow up check when their visa expires. This is to ensure that the University has evidence of their continued right to work. 

Unrestricted Right to Work

The below visas allow non-British and Irish citizens to undertake any type of work for as long as their visa remains valid. They can qualify for one of these visas through either family members, meeting certain requirements, or sponsorship by an employer.

  • EEA National with Status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Family members of an EEA National
  • Dependant of a Points Based Migrant
  • UK Ancestry visa holders
  • T5 Youth Mobility visa holders
  • Global Talent Visa holders

Restricted Right to Work

Anyone who is not eligible for one of the above routes will need to make an application via the points based immigration system.  Holders of the below visas will be restricted in what they can do and where they can work.

  • Tier 2 / Skilled Worker – restricted to working/conducting research for their sponsor only. May work up to 20 hours per week for a supplementary employer if it does not interfere with their main job and is in the same profession (SOC code).
  • Temporary Worker (Government Authorised Exchange) – restricted to working for their sponsor only. May work up to 20 hours per week for a supplementary employer if it does not interfere with their main job and is in the same profession (SOC code).
  • Tier 4 / Student Visa – restricted to working 20 hours per week during term time. They can work full time during holiday periods. Eligible holiday periods will depend on their level of study.

Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Asylum seekers are not normally allowed to work in the UK.  Where they are, they will be limited to shortage occupation list roles. 

Refugee status is granted following a positive decision on an asylum claim.  Refugees have unrestricted access to the labour market.

If someone presents a UK Travel Document or Application Registration Card (ARC) you may need to conduct an ECS check before we can establish if they have the right to work. If an ECS is required, HR will conduct this.

Find out more

  • You can find more information about eligibility to work and right to work checking here.
  • A list of the eligible right to work documents are online here.
  • Information about the Employer Checking Service (ECS) can be found here. ECS checks must be done by HR. 
  • More information about the EU Settlement Scheme can found here.
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