Working in the UK is a terrific way to gain new experiences, earn money, make local friends, and explore the diverse country.

Whether you dream of living in London, discovering the British countryside, or working in another major city – such as Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, or Cardiff  – there are various ways Australians can legally work in the United Kingdom.

Of course, for those with dual citizenship and a UK passport, you can enjoy the same services – such as free healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS) – opportunities, and rights as any other British citizen. For everyone else, here are some options to consider:

Youth Mobility Scheme (Working Holiday)

Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians (among other eligible nationalities) aged between 18 and 30 with no dependents can apply for a Youth Mobility Scheme visa to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. Applicants must have a minimum amount of savings (£2,530 or equivalent) and must not have previously entered the UK on a Youth Mobility Visa or a working holiday maker visa.

Visa holders can leave and re-enter the country during the two-year validity period. A popular option for people looking for working holidays in the UK, visa holders can take up most types of employment.  

UK Ancestry Visa

Ancestry visas are available to Commonwealth citizens who have a grandparent born in the UK, Isle of Man, or Channel Islands. This is a 5 year work visa which has no restrictions on the type of work you can do.  Your dependents are able to accompany you on this visa. This is a work visa can lead to settlement.

Skilled Worker Visa

A Skilled Worker Visa can be a great option for people looking to work in the UK for a longer period. This is available to people with specific skills and for certain jobs.

Visas can last up to five years after which time people may be able to apply for settlement. Your dependents are able to accompany you on this visa.

Additionally, there are Intra-Company Transfers, the Health and Care Worker Visa, International Sports Person and Minister of Religion visas, all of which require sponsorship from a UK company or organisation.


Business and Global Talent Visas

All of the following require endorsement from relevant bodies.  These visa types may be suitable for Australians who want to set up a business in the UK or if they are considered a global talent in their field. They include:

  • Start-Up visa
  • Innovator visa
  • Global Talent Visa

These visas allow you to set up a business in the UK, or simply work in your field of expertise.  Each visa has different criteria and conditions.

Individuals who work in the fields of arts and culture, digital technology, or academia or research might consider applying for a Global Talent Visa if you are at the very top of your field.


Other Options

Several other UK visas allow people to work in the UK.

You can be a Representative of an Overseas business, and there is a raft of temporary work visas which require sponsorship from overarching bodies in the field of work.  Temporary worker visas include charity workers, creative workers, season workers and religious workers. 

Family Visas (sometimes referred to as Partnership Visas) can be used by people who have a British  or Irish partner or a partner who is settled in the UK. 

Reviewing your options thoroughly increases your chances of success and saves you wasting time and money. Please contact us for further advice. 


Photo by Merakist on Unsplash