Here are the different pathways to live and work in the UK without a job offer already in place. This article provides information on 10 such pathways, plus an additional resource to help you find your ideal job in the UK.
Go through each option listed below or navigate directly to your desired section through these links:
EU Settlement Scheme
UK Ancestry Visa
Youth Mobility Scheme (T5)
Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa
Graduate Immigration Visa
Global Talent Visa
Young Professionals Scheme
High Potential Individual Visa
#1: EU Settlement Scheme
Be informed that the EU Settlement Scheme ended on 30 June 2021, and all eligible candidates had to have made their applications prior to this deadline. Nationals of EU, EEA, and Switzerland, who were eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, had a unique opportunity to stay, work, and study in the UK without requiring a visa.
Applicants for the no-cost EU Settlement Scheme would be granted either Settled Status or Pre-settled Status, based on their duration of residence in the UK. If the applicant had resided continuously in the UK for at least 5 years, they received Settled Status, equivalent to permanent residency and providing similar Freedom of Movement rights as when the UK was part of the EU.
For those without 5 years of residence in the UK, Pre-settled Status was granted. After 5 years of total residence, applicants could then apply for Settled Status. The condition for applying for Pre-settled Status was having been in the UK for at least one day before 31 December 2020 and within the previous six months.
#2: UK Ancestry Visa
This visa permits people from British Commonwealth countries, whose grandparents were born in the UK, Channels Islands or the Isle of Man, to live, work, and study in the UK. This visa can be extended for up to 5 years, after which indefinite leave to remain, also known as ‘permanent residence’ or a ‘settlement visa’, can be applied for. Eligibility for British citizenship is also an option.
The key challenge in applying for a UK Ancestry visa is providing acceptable proof of your grandparent’s birth.
#3: Youth Mobility Scheme (T5)
This scheme is open to individuals aged 18-30 who hold passports from nine eligible countries, or one of three British Overseas passports.
Nationals from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan can apply for the scheme, provided they succeed in a ballot application. The ballots open twice a year and run for 48 hours.
The Youth Mobility Scheme allows individuals to work for any employer or self-employed for two years in the UK. Participants can then switch to a Skilled Worker visa or another visa category.
#4: Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa
The British National (Overseas) visa, launched in January 2021, allows BN(O) passport holders to live, work and study in the UK for up to five years.
#5: Graduate Immigration Visa
The Graduate Immigration Visa, launched on 1 July 2021, is designed for recent graduates from UK universities to live and work in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies.
#6: Tier 1 Investor Visa
The Tier 1 Investor visa allows individuals to live and work in the UK if they have an approved investment plan and are willing to invest a minimum of £2m.
#7: Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent visa is open to all nationalities, aimed at individuals recognized as leaders or emerging leaders in technology.
#8: Start-up Visa
The Start-up visa is designed for individuals who are establishing a business in the UK for the first time. You must have an innovative, viable, and scalable business idea that’s endorsed by an approved body.
#9: Innovator Visa
The Innovator visa is for more experienced businesspeople seeking to establish a business in the UK. Similar to the Start-up visa, your business idea needs to be innovative, viable, and scalable. However, for an Innovator visa, you also need £50,000 in investment funds.
#10: Young Professionals Scheme
The Young Professionals Scheme is a proposed reciprocal arrangement between the UK and India that will allow under 30s to live and work in the other country for up to 24 months. The scheme is yet to be confirmed and the details are to be finalized.
#11: High Potential Individual Visa
The UK government is planning to introduce a new High Potential Individual visa. This will allow individuals who have graduated from top global universities to enter the UK and look for work, without sponsorship, for a period of up to two years. They may then switch into the Skilled Worker route once they have secured a suitable job.
Additionally, for those who wish to find a job in the UK, many online platforms can assist. Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Reed, and Totaljobs have job listings across numerous sectors and provide resources to help with resume writing and job interviews.
Remember that immigration laws can be complex and subject to change. It’s always recommended to seek advice from an immigration advisor or lawyer to understand the current rules and regulations that apply to you.