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Check if you have the right to work in the UK

This advice applies to Wales

Your right to work in the UK depends on your immigration status - this is also called your ‘leave’. If you don’t have the right to work, you might be able to apply for it.

You automatically have the right to work in the UK if:

  • you’re a British or Irish citizen

  • you have pre-settled or settled status from the EU Settlement Scheme - or you’ve applied and you’re waiting for a decision

  • you have a family permit from the EU Settlement Scheme

  • you have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK

  • you have right of abode in the UK

You might have a right to work in the UK if you have a visa with a time limit. This is called having 'limited leave to enter or remain’. 

If you entered the UK illegally or your leave has ended, you don’t have the right to work in the UK.

Check if you’re a British citizen

You should check if you’re a British citizen if you’re not sure - for example, you might be a British citizen if you:

  • have a British parent

  • were born in the UK or a British overseas territory

  • were born in a British colony before 1983

You can check if you're a British citizen on GOV.UK.

If you have limited leave to enter or remain 

You’ll have limited leave to enter or remain if you have a visa with a time limit. 

You’ll usually have a document which says if you have the right to work - for example, a biometric residence permit. 

You might have restrictions on the type of job or work you can do, or the number of hours you can work.

If you have a visitor visa

You usually won’t have the right to work - you’ll only be able to work in certain situations. You can check if you have the right to work on GOV.UK.

If you have a student visa

You’re only allowed to work a certain number of hours. If you’re not sure how many hours you can work, you should check your immigration documents or talk to your education provider. 

You can check the rules about working with a student visa on the UKCISA website.

If you’ve lost your job and your employer sponsored your visa

If you want to continue to work and stay in the UK, you’ll need to either: 

  • get a new sponsored job

  • change to a different type of leave

Talk to an adviser if you’ve lost your job before the date your leave is due to end.

If you’re an asylum seeker

Most people who are applying for asylum don’t have the right to work - you can find out if you have the right to work as an asylum seeker on GOV.UK.

Talk to an adviser if you’re not sure if you have the right to work.

Check how to prove your right to work

You’ll need to prove your right to work to your employer before you start working. You can check how to prove your right to work.

If you work when you’re not allowed to

It’s against the law to work in the UK if you know you’re not allowed to. This includes:

  • doing types of work you’re not allowed to do

  • working more hours than you’re allowed to

Talk to an adviser if you’re working and you’re not allowed to.

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