Right to Work in the UK: The Comprehensive Guide

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The Right to Work in the UK is extremely important to be able to legally get a job in the country. You’ll need to make sure you have all the correct documents and the right visa before you find employment. In our comprehensive guide, check out all you need to know about the Right to Work.

What Is the Right To Work in the UK?

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The Right to Work in the UK is your status to be able to get a job in the UK legally when you come and settle here. People in different situations in the UK will have different restrictions on their Right to Work and a lot depends on your immigration status, but even if you’re coming to work in the UK for a short time, you need to know how to prove your Right to Work to an employer before you can start your job legally!

Who Has the Right To Work in the UK?

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In a few cases, you might automatically have the Right to Work if you are either:

  1. A British citizen
  2. An Irish citizen
  3. On the EU Settlement Scheme

This means if you are coming from the Republic of Ireland and have an Irish passport, you will already have the Right to Work. This is also similar to Irish citizens having the Right to Rent as well. You’ll also have the Right to Work if you have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme and have received either pre-settled or settled status.

Check out our How To Rent Guide!

What About the Right to Abode?

If you have the Right to Abode in the UK, you will also be automatically given the Right to Work. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement in order to prove that you can live in the UK without restrictions.

What does my ‘leave’ mean? Your ‘leave’ is your immigration status in the UK and is the period you have been given to reside and or work in the country. Your leave could be restricted to a certain type of job and length of time, or it can be indefinite meaning that it won’t expire.

Can I Work on a UK Student Visa?

If you have managed to successfully obtain a Student visa for studying in the UK, you are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on a temporary contract. You are also limited in the types of work you can do while on a Student visa and you cannot be self-employed.

What Right To Work Documents Do I Need?


In order to have the Right to Work in the UK, you’ll need to have all the correct documents to prove that you can legally work in the country. You should be aware that even though you might have a UK visa, this might not mean you also have the right to work since different visas will only permit you to do certain activities.

Read more about UK Visa Types!

Documents for Automatic Right to Work

If you automatically have the Right to Work, you will need to have the following documents to be able to prove it:

  1. British passport
  2. Irish passport
  3. Certificate of Entitlement

If you have any of these documents, they will automatically provide you with the Right to Work.

Documents for Visa-holders’ Right to Work


If you are looking for the Right to Work in the UK as a foreign national, you’ll need to apply first for a UK visa. The main visas you can work on in the UK are the Skilled Worker visa and the Student visa.

For the Skilled Worker visa, you will need to have qualified on the UK’s points-based immigration system for which you will need documents proving:

  1. A job offer
  2. Your qualifications
  3. A B1 level of English

You’ll need to get at least 70 points in order to be eligible to work in the UK. Read more about the points-based system in our guide.

In order to apply for a Student visa, you’ll need to have:

  1. Place offered at a university
  2. Recommendation letter from a teacher
  3. B1 level of English

How Can I Prove My Right to Work?

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What your immigration status is will determine what you might need to use in order to prove your Right to Work in the UK. There’s no official Right to Work certificate or document that will clearly state that you have permission to work in the UK, you will need to look at your situation to determine which document you need.

British or Irish Citizen

If you’re a British or Irish citizen, you can use your passport to prove that you have the Right to Work. You can do this even if your passport has expired!

If you don’t have a passport, then you must present a document showing both your name and National Insurance number on it along with a birth certificate or certificate of naturalisation.

UK Visa Holder

If you are a UK visa holder, you can prove your Right to Work by showing your employer one of the following:

  • A valid passport with the visa inside
  • A valid biometric residence permit or card

Indefinite Leave to Remain

If you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you will usually have a Home Office stamp inside your passport. This will be sufficient to prove that you have the Right to Work in the UK.

What Is a Right To Work Share Code?


If you have either pre-settled or settled status on the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to prove your Right to Work with a share code. How this works is that employers can use your unique share code to look up and validate your immigration status in the UK online without using any other documents.

How Do I Get My Right To Work Share Code?

In order to get your Right to Work share code, you’ll need to fill in your passport details on the government’s website. After you’ve completed the online form, you will be given a 9-digit code that is valid for 90 days and can be given to your employer for them to validate your Right to Work.

Is this a different share code from the right to rent? Your Right to Work share code is completely separate from your Right to Rent share code. You should take care which one you hand over to your landlord and employer respectively.

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