Are you relocating to the UK and looking for work?

Finding a job as a foreigner is a challenging process. However, with an exciting job market and a wealth of in-demand roles, you might find that your next dream role is just around the corner – or across the sea – here in the United Kingdom. In the following guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about how to find a job in the UK. 

How can a foreigner get a job in the UK?

The good news: it's possible to get a job in the UK as a foreigner. However, you'll need to secure the right documentation first. Let's take a look at the main routes you can take to work here: 

Skilled Worker visa

With very few exceptions, you'll need a Skilled Worker visa to work in the UK. For this visa, you'll need to have a complete job offer from a UK employer approved by the Home Office.

You can find a full list of the covered sectors and the roles here. To gain this type of visa, a certificate of sponsorship from an employer is a must. You also need to meet certain minimum salary conditions based on your type of work.

Each job under this type of visa will have its own set of requirements, which may include qualifications and training. Often, similar-sounding positions will have different eligibility requirements; for example, a chef is considered a highly skilled position, but a cook is not. 

Graduate visa

If you completed your degree in the UK, you may be able to get a Graduate visa instead. This visa replaces your existing Student visa and allows you to stay in the UK for a minimum of two years (three if you have a PhD or doctoral qualification) after completing an eligible course. Your course provider will need to notify the Home Office when you've finished your studies.

You must then make sure that you apply online for this type of visa before you start looking for graduate positions. Unfortunately, not all employers will hire graduates with this immigration status, so check on visa requirements with a hiring manager to avoid disappointment.

Health and Care Worker visa

If you have a healthcare qualification and experience working in a medical setting, you may be eligible for the Health and Care Worker visa. This type of visa allows you to gain employment in NHS jobs, with an NHS supplier, or in adult social care. Once again, you'll need to have a certificate of sponsorship from an employer that has been approved by the Home Office. 

Scale-Up Worker visa 

Fancy working in some of the fastest-growing industries in the UK? The Scale-Up Worker visa allows you to stay for two years when you are sponsored by an employer. To gain this type of visa, you'll need to have a six-month job offer from an approved scale-up business, have a certificate of sponsorship, and make sure the role is listed in the eligible occupations. 

Other visa options

While the above options are the main visas you can get, they are not the only ones. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may be eligible for other types of visas, which will allow you to work in the UK. You can check out the other available visas on this portal

What kinds of jobs can I get in the UK?

The UK government regularly updates its shortage occupation list for skilled workers. You should check this list to see which roles suit your existing skill set

You may be surprised to learn that in addition to positions in IT, engineering, and sustainability, highly skilled artistic roles are also in high demand. Dancers and musicians, however, must meet standards required by internationally recognised UK dance companies and orchestras.

What is the easiest way to find a job in the UK?

Now that you understand the legal requirements of how to find a job in the UK, let's talk about logistics. Whether you need sponsorship, are looking for a graduate job, or are currently in the UK with right-to-work documents, here are some of the tactics you may want to consider: 

Use the power of LinkedIn

In the UK, LinkedIn has over 39 million users and is the top platform for professional networking. With 85% of UK jobs filled through networking, it's essential that you include LinkedIn as part of your job search. After all, 70% of roles are not advertised publicly. 

Expert tip: Optimise your LinkedIn

Your professional profile is one of the best marketing materials you have. Make sure it works for you. Here are some ways to maximise your chances of making an impact on LinkedIn: 

  • Choose a clean, professional headshot 

  • Write a compelling summary to hook attention

  • Gain endorsements from previous employers or clients 

  • Be strategic when adding skills to your profile

  • Avoid the most common LinkedIn mistakes

Search on a variety of job boards

There are many popular online job boards in the UK, representing a broad array of industries. Find a Job is a government-run online search engine with job listings throughout the UK. There are also specialist job boards for specific industries. Check out our hand-picked selection of the best UK job search sites here.

If you're already in the UK and have a permit to work here, you can also google “jobs near me” to receive immediate suggestions on jobs available in your area. Just take note of job restrictions outlined in your immigration documents.

Check out British newspapers

Newspapers may sound like an old-school route, but you shouldn't overlook them. When it comes to how to find a job in the UK, you want to leave no stone unturned. Luckily, you don't have to buy the papers to use them when you're looking for new jobs. 

The Guardian features many professional and graduate UK jobs online, and the print edition focuses on a different sector each day. If you're interested in charity or not-for-profit work in the UK, check out the Big Issue Recruit. Bookmark these websites and check them regularly.

Top tip: create a stand-out CV and cover letter for UK jobs

Once you've identified your visa route and connected yourself to that dream role, there's one last thing to do: apply for the job. To win over a discerning hiring manager based in the UK, you'll need to create a well-written CV and cover letter. Needless to say, these documents are your golden ticket to landing an interview – and a job – in the UK.

Write an impressive CV

There's no global standard CV format, and different parts of the world have their own expectations. You can read more about the differences between international CVs here

For example, did you know that, in the UK, we advise against including a photo, date of birth, and nationality on your CV due to anti-discrimination laws? CVs should be tailored to the role you're applying for and should highlight why you're the right candidate for the job. They should also come with all the right elements, including formatting, content, page length, and other industry-specific essentials. If you feel like entering a totally unfamiliar territory here, consider the help of professional CV writers.

Back it up with a cover letter 

Once you've aced your CV, the next step is to make sure that your cover letter fits the bill. This freeform part of your application should back up everything your CV details. Use it as a chance to showcase your professional value to a potential employer. 

The biggest mistake that candidates make here is simply regurgitating the information on their CV. Don't do that. Instead, focus on results-based points that tell the reader about the impact your work has done. Doing some initial research into the employer, and tailoring your messages to their expectations, will go a long way too. Check out our comprehensive cover letter guide here, complete with a selection of adaptable examples. 

Ready, set, get hired!

The UK regularly changes its immigration policies and visa requirements. But while the process of finding jobs in the UK for foreigners can be tough to navigate, there are many job opportunities and exciting roles waiting to be filled by candidates from around the world. Knowing how to find a job in the UK and getting your application documents ready once you need them can give you a head start in the local job market.

If you're considering applying for work in the UK, why not start with a free CV review? Let our experts advise you on how to supercharge your UK job search today.

This article was originally written by Allie Dickinson and has been updated by Charlotte Grainger.

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