The UK is a highly attractive prospect for many people looking to forge a new career in a new country. Big, bustling cities like London, Birmingham, and Manchester come with a plethora of opportunities. Smaller towns and villages can also offer long-term prospects and a more relaxed pace of living. But what are the best pathways to find a job in the UK? Let’s look closer.
Work Visa Requirements
Before getting into the job hunting process itself, we should touch on work visas. Several long-term work visas are available for foreign nationals looking to settle in the UK. These include:
- The Skilled Worker visa
- The Health and Care Worker visa
- The International Sportsperson visa
- The Start-up visa
The precise criteria differ from visa to visa. For example, the Skilled Worker visa requires you to secure a job with an employer approved by the UK Home Office. Meanwhile, the Health and Care Worker visa is for medical professionals who want to work with the NHS or in adult social care.
You can see the most up-to-date eligibility requirements for all UK work visas here. When job hunting, you must ensure any potential role meets these requirements. You may also have to update your visa if you go on to change your job or employer while in the UK.
Job Searching Online
The internet provides numerous channels for finding a job in the UK. A prominent port of call is the UK government’s Find a Job site. Here, you can search for jobs across a vast spectrum of industries in England, Scotland, and Wales. If you’re based in, or relocating to Northern Ireland, the relevant government-run directory is JobApplyNI.
Other general job search portals include:
There are also job search sites for specific industries. For example, you may want to use a Caterer if you work in hospitality and events management. If you’re a medical professional, you can see what’s on offer at NHS Jobs.
There’s likely to be a lot of competition for each job vacancy. To give yourself the best chance, read the job description in a forensic way. Be clear on:
- Exactly what kind of experience and skill set the employer is looking for, so you know what to emphasise in your application
- What the application process actually entails – for example, is there an online portal you have to access, or will you be expected to email over your application?
- What is the closing date for applications
How to improve your CV
It’s vital that your résumé, also known as a CV in the UK, is as good as it possibly can be in order to find a job in the UK. It must, of course, be up-to-date and filled with details on your previous roles and academic qualifications. But, just as importantly, it must be well-presented and well-written.
You can find free résumé builders online, which will automatically structure your information in an appealing template. It’s also possible to hire professional résumé writers and editors. The latter can be handy if English isn’t your first language, and you’d like to check your résumé is grammatically correct.
Another thing to think about is LinkedIn, the professional social media site. These days, many employers like to see that candidates have a fully completed LinkedIn profile. So it’s well worth keeping yours up to date, detailing your previous job roles and qualifications. It’s even better to include testimonials from colleagues, and to upload a nice, smiling photo too.
Rather than applying directly, you can join a recruitment agency which acts as an intermediary between you and potential employers to help you find a job in the UK. Recruiters will guide you through the process, which can be useful if you’re new to the UK job market. They can prepare you for interviews, negotiate better salaries, and give you insights into what employers are expecting. If you don’t get past a particular interview, the agency may be able to get constructive feedback so you can improve.
There are countless recruitment agencies in the UK, many specialising in particular fields like healthcare, tech, and engineering. So, if you have an industry in mind, it may be worth getting in touch with the relevant agencies.
What if you’re not looking for a new job, but want to transfer to the UK branch of your organisation? The good news is there is a designated pathway for this, via the Senior or Specialist Worker Visa.
There are some strict conditions to be met, however. For example, your organisation must be approved by the Home Office, and your job must be on the government’s list of eligible occupations. The salary must also be at least £42,400 per year. A full breakdown of stipulations and time frames for this visa can be found here.
Many larger employers run special graduate training programmes which typically last a year or two, but sometimes longer. They allow you to gain insights into the company, develop skills, and receive mentoring. Although these are entry-level positions by definition, they can potentially put you on the fast track to more senior roles.
Organisations ranging from law firms and investment banks to consulting firms and retail giants will offer graduate schemes every year. But, since graduate programmes often come with generous salaries and can kickstart lifelong careers, competition is fierce.
Different companies will take applications at different points in the year, so you should do your best to stay in the loop. It’s worth following companies you’re interested in on social media so you’re aware of any relevant announcements. It’s essential to research the company thoroughly, so you can demonstrate your interest properly during the interview process. Speaking of which, you may have to prepare yourself for phone and video interviews and online psychometric tests.
Remember to always check if the role in question is eligible for UK work visas.
Managing Your Salary in the UK
Once you’ve secured your job and begun earning in the UK, you’ll be subject to income tax. This is never the most exciting aspect of beginning a new life abroad, but it’s important to understand how it works. To make life a bit easier, we’ve provided a quick guide to filing taxes in the UK. We’ve also put together these smart tips for managing your money in the country.
If you intend to use some of your salary to provide financial support for loved ones, the Remitly app can come in handy. We take the hassle out of sending money back to your home country, providing a quick, cost-effective remittance service. Just visit the homepage, download our app, or check out our Help Center to get started.