You must have a job offer before you can come to work in the UK, right?
Well not necessarily!
There are legal ways you can come to the UK – or remain in the country if you’re already legally there – to find work without having a job offer beforehand.
Here are nine ways you can do this (plus a bonus resource at the end to help you land your Dream Job in the UK).
EU Settlement Scheme
European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals eligible to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme should take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live, work and study in the UK visa-free.
When you make an application under the free-of-charge EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll be granted either Settled Status or Pre-settled Status.
Settled Status is granted if you’ve had 5 years or more of continuous residence in the UK. It’s basically permanent residency and gives you the same Freedom of Movement rights you enjoyed when the UK was part of the EU.
If you’ve not got 5 years of UK residence, you’ll be granted Pre-settled Status, and after 5 years of total residence you’ll be able to apply for Settled Status. You only need to have been in the UK for one day before 31 December 2020 and within the last six months to be eligible to apply for Pre-settled Status.
The deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme ends 30 June 2021, so if you’re eligible, you need to be quick.
UK Ancestry Visa
The UK Ancestry visa lets you come to the UK to live, work and study without a job offer first if you come from a British Commonwealth country and your grandparents were born in the UK, Channels Islands or the Isle of Man. It can be extended up to 5 years, after which time you’ll be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain, also known as ‘permanent residence’ or a ‘settlement visa’. You may also be eligible to apply for British citizenship, if you so wish.
The hardest part of applying for a UK Ancestry visa is making sure you have acceptable proof of your grandparent’s birth, but if you have this to hand and are from a qualifying country, this is an excellent visa that gives you full control over your affairs.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your UK Ancestry visa
Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme
The Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme is open to people aged between 18-30 years old who hold passports from nine eligible countries, or who hold one of three British Overseas passports.
If you meet the age criteria and you’re from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, San Marino or Taiwan – or hold a Hong Kong British National (Overseas), British Overseas Citizen or British Overseas Territory Citizen passport – you can apply for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa to come to the UK for up to two years.
You’ll be free to work for anyone or yourself during your two years in the UK, and the best part is you can switch to a Skilled Worker visa or other visa route while still in-country at the end of your two years.
If you’re switching from a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa to a UK work visa, you’ll typically have your employer sponsor your Skilled Worker visa application. They’ll issue you with the mandatory Certificate of Sponsorship, and most employers also pick up some or all of the visa and Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) costs.
So if you see your future in the UK and are eligible for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme, it’s a great way to get your foot in the door while you look for work.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme visa
Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa
A new visa route was launched in January 2021 for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders.
The British National (Overseas) visa – or BN(O) visa – lets BN(O) passport holders come to the UK to live, work and study freely for up to five years. Your initial BN(O) visa is issued for 30 months, and can be extended in the country.
After five years, you’ll be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain, as well as British citizenship if you wish.
The UK Government announced that 27,000 Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders applied for the visa in the first three months, and expects 300,000 applications over the next five years.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa
Graduate Immigration Visa
Launching in April 2021, the Graduate Immigration Visa – also known as the Post-study Work visa – is a new visa that lets recent graduates from UK universities live and work in the UK for up to two years after finishing their studies.
The first cohorts eligible for this visa will graduate in Summer 2021, and you must have studied a degree, masters or doctorate course in the UK for at least 12 months to qualify.
The Graduate Immigration Visa can be switched to another visa type in the country – such as the Skilled Worker visa – and while the two years you’ll spend on this visa don’t count towards permanent residence, you’ll have plenty of time to find a great employer who can sponsor your work visa so you can start clocking those qualifying years to settlement.
Tier 1 Investor Visa
For those with the cash to spare, the Tier 1 Investor visa lets you live and work in the UK once you have an investment plan approved by the Home Office. You’re required to invest a minimum of £2m and to hold this money in a regulated financial institution. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) states that this must be “disposal income”, which is why on average less than 400 Tier 1 Investor visas are issued each year.
But if you have the financial means, this is a relatively straightforward way to come to the UK to live and work, and after five years leads to permanent residence.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your Tier 1 Investor visa
Global Talent Visa
The Global Talent visa is open to all nationalities and is for people who are considered leaders or emerging leaders in technology. To qualify for the Global Talent visa, you’ll need the endorsement of Tech Nation and have to go through an endorsement application process, as well as applying for the Global Talent visa itself.
The Global Talent visa leads to settlement after either three or five years, and is an excellent way for technology and other creatives to come to the UK to live and find work without needing a job offer first.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your UK Global Talent visa
The Start-up visa lets you come to the UK to set up a new, innovative company. Your business idea must be new – that is, you can’t already be trading – and it must be different from everything else on the market, with potential to scale.
Similar to the Global Talent visa, you’ll need the endorsement of an official body, in this case either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.
The Start-up visa is an excellent choice for entrepreneurs and recent graduates who have links to UK higher education institutions. The Start-up visa is valid for two years, after which time you may be eligible to switch to an Innovator visa.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your UK Start-up visa
Another great visa for entrepreneurs is the Innovator visa. Like the Start-up visa, you need to have a brand new business idea and the endorsement of an approved body.
But unlike the Start-up visa, the Innovator visa requires you to have at least £50,000 in funding available for your business idea. So if you began on a Start-up visa and have managed to scale your business after two years to £50,000 in reserves, you’ll be able to use that money to satisfy the funding requirement. But if you’re starting new, you’ll need to show the funding from another approved source.
Innovator visas are issued for three years and can be extended, and you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain after just the first three years.
Click ‘Get Started’ below to find a professional immigration advisor to help you apply for your UK Innovator visa
How to Get Your Dream Job in the UK
Your UK visa is just one of many, many things you’ll need to successfully tick off before you can live and work in the UK. And one of the hardest things people find coming to the UK is actually finding a job – even when they’re already in the country.
Many people make huge mistakes drafting their CVs and covering letters by following terrible online advice or using techniques that may have worked for them in their home countries, but won’t satisfy a UK Hiring Manager.
There’s also the process of applying for a job. There are many massive job portals in the UK with literally millions and millions of candidates. People think that the popularity of job portals means they’re the best way to find work in the UK – but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Job portals are black holes that simply waste your time.
And when you start to interview, what can you expect a UK Hiring Manager to ask? How should you prepare? What are sensible questions to ask (HINT: “will you sponsor my visa?” isn’t one of them!).
To help you through this minefield, we’ve launched How to Get Your Dream Job in the UK, an online course with 5+ hours of video content, proven CV and covering letter templates and a number of checklists and outreach scripts.
On the course you’ll learn exactly how to draft a killer CV that will make a UK Hiring Manager want to pick up the phone immediately to invite you to interview.
You’ll discover how to tap the UK’s Hidden Job Market and avoid the disappointment of sending application after application into a black hole job portal where you never get any feedback.
And you’ll know precisely how to prepare for and ace an interview with a UK Hiring Manager so that you’re the No.1 candidate for the job.
You can get a detailed overview of How to Get Your Dream Job in the UK by clicking this link, which also contains details on how to subscribe to the full course (which is available through a desktop browser and mobile app, so you can go through it anywhere!).
Click ‘Get Started’ to find out exactly how to get your Dream Job in the UK
So there you have it, nine ways to work in the UK without needing a job offer first. And when you’ve arrived in the country, you can use our proven How to Get Your Dream Job in the UK course to make sure you get work quickly, without wasting time and effort on things that simply don’t work.
Best of luck!