What Visas Are Available for EU Citizens Looking to Work in the UK?

UK Visa

In this article, we explore the different options available for EU citizens looking to work and reside in the UK…

The UK has always been a popular place to live and work for EU citizens, and it used to be that all an EU resident would need to do is pack their suitcase and jump on a plane. Since 2020, however, things have got a little more complicated for those looking to relocate to Great Britain.

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union in January 2020, those looking to work here have to tick a few boxes in terms of requirements. Furthermore, in this article, we’ll run through the ways in which EU residents can work in the UK, including spouse visas and graduate visas.

Keep reading to find out the different types of visas…


Right to Work in the UK

Permission to work and live in the UK is granted on a points-based system and, anybody looking to apply will first need to make sure that they meet a specific set of criteria. As well as, undergoing a number of checks including a criminal record check. A person may be able to live and work in the United Kingdom by applying for a visa and, in this section, we’ll take you through the different visas available:


A Spouse Visa

Also known as a Family Visa, this is a form of permission which may be granted if your spouse (husband, wife or civil partner) has already settled in the UK. In this instance, ‘settled’ means that he or she has a settled status, meaning an indefinite leave to remain or evidence of permanent residence.  In order to be eligible for this kind of visa, the UK based spouse must either be a British or Irish citizen or, have been living in the United Kingdom continuously prior to the 1st of January 2021. 

For this kind of visa, both partners must be over the age of 18 and be planning to live together in the UK. While it is possible to apply for this kind of visa, success is not always guaranteed. A spouse visa may be refused on human rights grounds, for example, if the person applying has a criminal record and is considered to be a danger to UK citizens.  If a spouse visa is disapproved, a good immigration solicitor may be able to help the applicant to appeal the decision.

If a decision is approved, the applicant will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge of £470 per year – with the first year’s payment due on application. This surcharge is made to cover the person’s healthcare on the NHS while in the UK.


A Skilled Worker Visa

If an EU citizen has skills and experience which are desirable in the UK and, they have a firm job offer from a Home-Office licensed sponsor (a company or business), they may be eligible for a Skilled Worker Visa. In most cases, the employment must pay a salary of £26,500 per year or more and, be able to speak English at a B1 intermediate level (as laid out on the Common European Framework of Reference for languages).  Such jobs may include engineering, IT and senior medical positions. 

EU citizens may also be eligible for a Health and Care Visa as long as they meet the requirements for the Skilled Worker route. With this kind of visa, applicants must have skills and experience in the health sector and have a job offer from an organisation such as the National Health Service (NHS). This kind of visa can be obtained on a fast-track, and, in many cases, these workers will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.


A Student Visa

The UK is known for its high standards of education and, as such, many EU residents are keen to study here. In some cases, EU citizens may be eligible for a Student Visa (aged 17 or above) or a Child Student Visa (aged between 4 and 17). In order to be eligible for student visas, the applicant must have a verified offer of a place at a college or institution which is Home-Office licensed. As well as being able to read, write, speak and understand English and, be able to show evidence that they have enough money to support themselves while living and studying in the UK.


A Graduate Visa

If an EU citizen has studied  for and successfully completed a degree at a minimum of undergraduate level in the UK, he or she may be able to gain a Graduate Visa. This  can give them the right to stay and work in the United Kingdom for up to two years (or up to three years for doctoral students) once their studies have been successfully finished.


Work Opportunities in the UK

Whether the application is to work within the bright lights of London or take up agricultural research position in the countryside, the UK offers many great opportunities for EU citizens. Since Brexit, there’s no doubt that moving to the UK and working here is a little more complicated but, this is certainly possible for those who have skills to offer UK businesses or, they have a husband, wife or civil partner who already lives here.


For the best chance of success, applicants should always read the requirements carefully and make sure that all their ducks are in a row in terms of documentation as this will save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.

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