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What Does ‘The Right To Work’ Mean, And Why Is It Important For International Job Seekers?

  • by: Jenna Beard
  • On: 24, Jul 2019
2 min read

Applying for jobs can be difficult. You have to find vacancies, write a great CV, and prove that you’re the best person for the job.

But you also have to make sure that you are eligible to work in whichever country you’re applying to. This is known as having the right to work.

What Is The Right To Work?

The Right To Work is a legal requirement for anyone looking to work in the UK. Other countries have similar laws in place, so wherever you’re looking to work, you must ensure that you have the right to work there.

You automatically have the right to work in the UK if you were born there, or if you’re a citizen of the European Economic Area.

However, you will also need to apply for a residence permit before you can make the trip to the UK.

If you’re not a citizen of the country you’re hoping to work in, you’ll need to get at least a visa and a work permit to work there.

How You Can Get The Right to Work:

First, you must apply for a visa to work in whichever you’re looking to move to. Having a visa does not mean you have the right to work, you will also have to get a work permit. This is not something you can do, your employer will have to apply for a work permit on your behalf.

The length of the permit often depends on the type of work you will be doing. If you were hired to work on a specific project, your permit might last until that project is done, or it might simply last for one year. You can apply to extend or renew your permit when it ends, which is usually much easier than the initial application to get it.

Work permits are also only for specific jobs with specific employers. If you change job, you’d need to get a new work permit.

Securing a work permit cements the fact that you are a legal worker, with the right to work in that country.

How You Can Prove Your Right To Work To Potential Employers:

Employers must make sure that you do have the right to work before they can officially employ you. When an employer checks a candidate’s right to work, they will check all documentation.

Employers can face hefty fines of up to £20,000 or even face imprisonment if they’re found to have employed someone who does not have the right to the work.

You can help prove you have the right to work by making sure you have all necessary documentation ready, such as your passport, visa, and work permit. You should also keep records of correspondence to prove you have been honest and forthcoming with all your information and documentation during the recruitment process.

Read our job interview guide, read about skills that will help you get a job, or learn about IR35 and what it means for you.

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