The right to work as a citizen
British citizens and Commonwealth citizens who have the right to live in the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, and all their family members can work here without restrictions on the length of time or the work they do. People who come into the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme or under the Working Holidaymaker Scheme, which allows Commonwealth citizens aged 17 to 30 to stay in the UK for two years, can work without work permits. Some students from outside the EEA over the age of 16 can work here, too, for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays.
If you want to work in the UK and don’t fall into one of those categories, you usually need a work permit. If you apply for a job, the employer will check that you have permission to work and do that kind of work before offering you the job. It’s a criminal offence to employ anyone 16 or over who don’t have that permission.
An employer may be able to get you a work permit or work visa from Work Permits (UK), which is part of the Home Office. Work Permits has to be convinced that no suitable and available person settled in the UK or EEA can take the job. If you’re thinking about applying for a job and know that you may need a work permit, you can get all the information and application forms you need from the Work Permits (UK) Enquiry Line on 08705-210-224 or at the Home Office Web site at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.