Do EU nationals need a visa to work in UK?

3 October 2022  •  Visa
Do EU nationals need a visa to work in UK?

After Brexit, the free movement through the UK that EU nationals used to enjoy changed. The freedom to enter and exit the UK largely remains, but the duration and purpose of stay impose certain restrictions. One question arises, 'do EU nationals need a visa to work in UK?' This article answers the question and points out the requirements and benefits of adhering to those requirements.

Is there a need for EU nationals to occupy UK job positions?

The government has taken several steps to address the continued shortage of medical professionals in the UK. Besides encouraging more UK nationals to take up such jobs, the government is enticing more foreign nationals to enter the UK and apply their skills to our healthcare industry.

Therefore, EU nationals are in demand in the UK. They only need to adhere to the new rules regarding their travel and stay in the UK to apply for those jobs. The proximity to the UK, coupled with a sense of familiarity, makes EU nationals viable candidates for those positions.

Do EU nationals need a visa to work in UK?

The short answer is yes, they do. Suppose you’re visiting briefly, six months or less, then you don’t need a visa. However, if you’re taking up a professional position, you need to apply for one.

Check if you need a visa

First, you need to check if you need a visa. The only instance where you may not need a visa is if you’re visiting for less than six months on a one-month professional engagement when ‘invited as an expert in your profession’. This arrangement covers work such as guest lectures, participation in legal proceedings, etc. so would disqualify coming for healthcare locum jobs.

You need a visa if you’re applying for a long-term healthcare job. The type of visa you’ll apply for depends on whether you’re coming to work for the National Health Service (NHS) or any other healthcare organisation. If you’re coming to work for the NHS, you need to apply for the Health and Care Worker Visa. For other healthcare organisations, you need to apply for the Skilled Worker Visa.

To qualify for either visa, you need the skills necessary to work in the healthcare sector. Additionally, you need a job offer from a medical facility in the UK with a clear minimum salary. Furthermore, you need proof of your ability to read, speak, write, and understand English.

Both visas remain active for five years, after which you can renew them as long as your services are still needed. Alternatively, you can apply for permanent residency after five years, should you wish.

These requirements highlight the need first to land a job in the UK. You need to turn to reputable healthcare recruitment agencies to help you find a suitable position to boost your application acceptance chances.

Apply for an EU settlement scheme family permit

Alternatively, you can use this option if you have family in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Iceland. You only need to be outside the UK to qualify for this application. You can apply for the EU settlement scheme either directly before coming to the UK or use a family permit to gain entry and then apply for it while here. Note that this EU settlement scheme option is open to you if you:

  • Used to have a family member residing in the UK
  • If you’re related to a British citizen
  • If you’re related to an eligible person from Northern Ireland

This option allows you to legally reside and work in the UK for five years, after which you can apply for permanent residency.

S2 arrangement

You may also enter the UK under the S2 arrangement, where you accompany a person who is to receive specialised medical treatment. This person will apply for an S2 healthcare visitor visa. You’ll also make similar arrangements to qualify to provide the person with medical care. Note that this option limits you to delivering healthcare for the person you accompany. If you wish to engage in other healthcare work in the UK, you should consider the previous options.

Benefits EU nationals will enjoy when they apply for locum work in the UK

The primary motivation for anyone considering healthcare locum jobs in the UK is excellent pay. Since there is demand for healthcare workers in the country, you’ll not lack a job placement. Here are other benefits:


Locum work doesn’t follow the conventional routine schedule. You’ll find flexible hours that leave you free to engage in other activities, such as extra work, study, or travel. Breaking away from the traditional hours is a welcome break for many and a chance to view your profession from a different angle.


Leaving your home country to work in healthcare in the UK presents a chance to experience different ways of administering medical care. While healthcare work tends to be universal, other locations have different approaches. Therefore, you’ll gain invaluable experience working with different teams and equipment.


Interacting with more healthcare professionals from different walks of life opens more doors of possibilities. You can collaborate on different projects and form new alliances that can come in handy later. Such opportunities have proven highly lucrative in the past.


Besides a different work environment, you’ll also be embedded in a new community. Living in a different culture and society will be a welcome and exciting time in your life. You may grow to love it so much that you decide to apply for permanent residence.


Do EU nationals need a visa to work in UK? Yes, they do for any healthcare job contract. This article points out the eligibility criteria, the steps involved, and what different circumstances present. You only need to work with a reputable agency to ensure a smooth process. Get in touch today and let us help you land the perfect job for your time here.


Photo courtesy of Christian Lue on Unsplash  

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