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Applying for UK work visas post-Brexit

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Immigration rules for EU citizens looking to work or study in the UK have now changed.

Before 1 January 2021, EU citizens were able to freely work, travel and study in the UK, whereas non-EU citizens had to meet a skills-based criteria test, in order to be considered for a work visa in the UK.

According to the Office of National Statistics, from 2010 to 2019, 40% of migrants stated that work was their main reason for moving to the UK. Family and international study were also major factors.

55% of foreign-born workers who moved to the UK for work-related reasons were born in EU countries. This is because the free movement rules allowed them to work in any sector in the UK.

However, under the new system, EU citizens are now treated in the same way as non-EU citizens as far as working and living in the UK is considered. In order to work and live in the UK, they now have to apply for a work visa.

One major change which has benefited both EU and non-EU citizens is that the Home Office has relaxed the rules for those wishing to come to the UK to work.

Previously, only highly skilled occupations were eligible for a work visa, whereas now jobs in the hospitality, food manufacturing and care sector are eligible for work visas.

Recent statistics show that EU citizens only make up 13% of work visa applicants. And according to the Home Office, this figure is set to fall by around 70% in the coming years.

If you are a business owner and are looking to employ individuals from EU and beyond, a sponsor license from the Home Office will allow your business now to employ workers from anywhere in the world, not just the EU.

To find out more, please contact Ilyas Bulbulia on 01924 665 470, or send an email to

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