Right to Work

In order to work for County Teachers in the UK it is not enough to simply have a passport from your own country. You need a visa to let you live and work in the UK for a pre-arranged length of time. There are a number of ways to obtain the necessary visa – some are new, based on a points based system, others are traditional, such as ancestry rights.


UK Residency and British Ancestry

Many teachers are able to enter the UK based on ancestral connections to the UK, UK citizenship and European citizenship. The most common entry clearances on which our teachers work are:


UK Passport

Those eligible for a UK passport include people who were born in the UK, have been naturalised in the UK or can prove legitimate descent from a mother or father born in the UK. You can see whether or not you are eligible at the Home Office’s Identity & Passport Service on www.ips.gov.uk


Ancestry Visa

Commonwealth citizens aged 17 and over can apply for this visa if they can show proof of a grandparent born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. You must intend to support yourself through employment in the UK, as there are limitations on an ancestry visa holder’s access to public funds. This visa is granted for five years and is renewable.


The New Points Based Immigration System

For those teachers who are not eligible for entry based on their UK residency status or ancestral background, other entry clearances are available under the new tiered points-based immigration system, implemented 27th November 2008. Please note that Working Holidaymaker Visas and Work Permits have now been replaced by the points based system, outlined below. The following tiers are most likely to apply to teachers wishing to teach in the UK:

Tier 1 Highly Skilled Workers Tier 1 allows highly skilled people to come to the UK to look for work or self-employment opportunities. Unlike Tier 2, Tier 1 visa holders do not need a job offer or sponsorship to apply. Points are given for qualifications, previous earnings, previous UK experience, age, language skills and proof of savings.

Tier 2 Sponsored Skilled Workers Tier 2 offers routes into the UK for skilled workers who have a job offer from a UK-based employer. The employer must be a registered sponsor, recognised by the UK Border Agency. In addition to meeting the points criteria for this tier, workers will need to present a certificate of sponsorship from their employer.

Tier 3 Low Skilled Workers Tier 3 applies to individuals wanting temporary, low skilled work. (This tier will not apply to teachers and is currently suspended).

Tier 4 Students Tier 4 applies to those wishing to undertake further study in the UK and who are paying for tuition at a recognised British training institution. Students who come to the UK on this entry clearance are eligible for part time work (20 hours per week). You will still need to possess a recognised teaching qualification in order to take up a teaching position in the UK.

Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme Tier 5 is for young people from participating countries who wish to experience life in the United Kingdom. The applicant’s government acts as their sponsor. Successful applicants will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the UK (with some restrictions, such as self-employment) for up to 2 years. Participating countries on the UK Border Agency’s list of ‘Deemed Sponsors’ currently includes Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Monaco only. Please visit the UK Border Agency’s website for up-to-date information about participating countries.

Points Calculator You will need to consult the online points calculator provided by the UK Border Agency to find out whether or not you are eligible for any of the entry clearances in the new tiered system.


  • REC Member