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The right to work in the United Kingdom


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The Right to Work

British citizens and those with settled status have an unconditional right to work in the UK.

British Citizens

A British Citizen has an unconditional right to work in the UK. There are four ways of getting British citizenship:

1 By birth or adoption [British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA 1981) section 1]

2 By descent [BNA 1981 section 2]

3 By registration [BNA 1981 sections 3-5]

4 By naturalisation [BNA 1981 section 6 and Schedule 1]

Before you apply for naturalisation you must have sufficient knowledge about life in the UK, and sufficient knowledge of the English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic language [BNA 1981 section 6 and Schedule 1, British Nationality (General) Regulations 2003, regulation 3 and Schedule  2]. You must go through an allegiance ceremony, and may lose your citizenship if it was obtained by fraud, false representation or concealment of a material fact [ BNA 1981 sections 40 and 42]

Settled Status

If you have settled status you have an unconditional right to work in the UK. Settled status, indefinite leave to remain and permanent residence all mean the same thing. [Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971), section 33]

Who qualifies for settled status?

Those who qualify for settled status include the following;

EU Nationals

Following Brexit, the government set out its position on the status of nationals of the European Economic Area (the EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland. The rights and status of those nationals will remain the same until 30 June 2021. From 30th March 2019, the EU Settlement Scheme allows successful applicants to continue living and working in the UK after 30th June 2021. Successful applicants will either be given settled status(if they have lived in the UK for five years or pre-settled status which allows you to stay in the UK for 5 years. After 5 years you can apply for settled status. The rights and status of EEA nationals in the UK is currently unchanged.

If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, Switzerland or one of the following European Economic Area (EEA) countries, you have the right to work in the UK:

Austria Germany Malta
Belgium Greece Netherlands
Bulgaria Hungary Norway
Croatia Iceland Poland
Cyprus Ireland Portugal
Czech Republic Italy Romania
Denmark Latvia Slovakia
Estonia Liechtenstein Slovenia
Finland Lithuania Spain
France Luxembourg Sweden

 

You will need to provide documents from the following list to prove that you have a right to work:

  1. A passport showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a British citizen or a citizen of the UK and Colonies having the right of abode in the UK.
  2. A passport or national identity card showing the holder, or a person named in the passport as the child of the holder, is a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  3. A Registration Certificate or Document Certifying Permanent Residence issued by the Home Office to a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  4. A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  5. A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the holder indicating that the person named is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  6. A current passport endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, has the right of abode in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK.
  7. A current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
  8. A full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder's parents or adoptive parents, together with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
  9. A birth or adoption certificate issued in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, together with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
  10. A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person's permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.

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Last Updated: [02/09/2021]