Teaching in the UK.  The low down on Visas!

You are making the decision to teach in the UK so you need to know what is ahead!

One of the first things you need to do is check out if you are eligible to live and work in the UK before applying for a teaching job.  It’s pretty straightforward if you are from NZ, Australia or Canada and under the age of 31 but it’s good to know where to look and find accurate information.

Your teaching agency will be able to guide you and point you in the right direction.  A good teaching agency will be able to identify your personal situation within a couple of minutes and by asking the right questions.

Here are some pointers for you!

When should I apply for my visa and how do I apply?

For the Tier 5 Visa (2-year youth mobility) you should allow 8- 10 weeks before your travel date particularly if you have a teaching job secured.    The application can be done online and is relatively straight forward.   Here is the link to apply.  (Tier 5 Visa Application ) Detailed guidance notes about the requirements can also be downloaded HERE.

What are the requirements?  

To apply for this visa you need to be 18 or over and under the age of 31 on the date you make your application.  As long as you apply for your visa before you turn 31 and it is approved you can enter within the two year period.  You need to also be able to provide evidence of funds.  This is to prove that you can support yourself while living in the UK.   The minimum amount you need to have in your bank account when you apply is £1980.00 (This equates to approx. $3870.00 AUD, $3700.00 CAN and $4100.00 NZD).

It’s important to realise you can only apply for this visa once in your lifetime!!!  Go get it and use it to take your teaching career overseas!

Some people are lucky enough to have family ties and connections to the UK, therefore, allowing them to apply for an Ancestry Visa.   This is for teachers who have a grandparent born in the UK.  This visa is great as it gives you way more time (5 years) than the YMV and is a real gift for those who are able to get it.

How much does an Ancestry Visa cost and how long does it take to get it?

Currently, the Ancestry visa cost is £324.00 and takes around 3 months to get it!  You can extend this visa or apply to settle in the UK if you are loving your teaching job and want to stay on longer!

This visa is attractive for schools as they will benefit from your commitment and continuity at their school.    Check your eligibility HERE!

Some teachers that were born in the UK (or their parents) but grew up overseas may have the opportunity to apply for a British Passport.   If this is your situation you are pretty lucky as the total fee is only £102.86 including the courier fee.  The guidance notes can be found HERE.

Due to the shortage of Maths, Science and Special Education teachers in the UK there is an opportunity for teachers of these subjects to be sponsored by a school on the Tier 2 Visa System.

How do you know if you are eligible for Tier 2 Sponsorship?

Your teaching agency will be able to tell you about client schools that hold the sponsorship licence and present you with interview opportunities.   The process is also fairly straightforward as long as the school has met all of the pre-requisites expected of them.  Provided they have advertised locally and proven that they cannot appoint a suitable teacher they can follow this process.    There is a point’s based system that needs to be followed and it is outlined in the Tier 2 Guidance Notes HERE.

Going for a visa to live and work in the UK has never been easier.  The forms are all online, downloadable and easy to follow with extensive guidance notes available.

Often teachers ask whether or not they should use a visa agency to help them.  This is entirely up to you but an unnecessary cost if you want to save your money for travelling!   With the links provided in this blog, you should be pointed in the right direction and should easily be able to navigate your way through the process.

Will I get questioned at the UK border?

It is always possible and you should be prepared to be questioned!  It’s a good idea to know what your visa limitations are and to have the contact details of where you will be staying when you first arrive on hand.