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Working in the UK

This section describes the immigration categories available to foreign nationals who want to work in the UK. Each category has different requirements, so you should read the eligibility requirements for your chosen category before you apply.

If you are a UK employer and you want to employ migrant workers, go to the Employers and education providers section.

In 2008, our points-based system for immigration replaced most of our previous work-based categories. For more information about this change, see the Comparisons page.

If you want to come to the UK for a short time as a businessperson, sportsperson, entertainer or special visitor, the Business and special visitors section explains how you can apply.

For highly skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs and recent graduates from UK universities

You do not need a job offer when you apply to enter or stay in the UK in these categories, but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.

For skilled workers

If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you can apply to come or stay here to do that job.

For temporary workers

If an employer in the UK is willing to sponsor you, or if you are a national of a country that participates in the youth mobility scheme, you may be eligible for temporary entry permitting various types of work here.

Other categories

You can also apply to work in the UK as a domestic worker; as the sole representative of an overseas firm; or as a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.

For workers from the European Economic Area and Switzerland

Most European nationals are free to come to and work in the UK - but if you are a national of a country that has recently joined the European Union, you may need to register with us or apply for our permission before you begin work.

For workers and businesspersons from Turkey

Turkish citizens can benefit from a European agreement with Turkey if they want to establish themselves in business in the UK, or if they are already working here legally.

For Commonwealth citizens with UK ancestry

If you are a Commonwealth citizen and at least one of your grandparents was born in the UK, you can apply to come here to work.