Working In London as a Foreigner

Despite recent issues, the UK’s economy remains one of the strongest in the world. Hence, there is no surprise that it is a diverse country and lots of foreigners want to work there. The few who decide to distinguish themselves will succeed in this booming environment.

There are certain fields in higher demand than others in the UK. Fields like tech, science and medical present more job opportunities in comparison with other fields. If you have decided to move to London for work, here are a few things you should be aware of about working in the UK as a foreigner.

What to Know Before Working in London

1. Get a Visa

We are assuming here that you have the right class of visa that permits you to work in the UK as a foreigner. This is of course the starting point. UK work visas are broadly categorized into four groups which include short term, long term, investor/business/talent and other work visa types. You need to have one of these visa types to be eligible to work in the UK.

2. Make Enquiries

Do your research about job roles you can fit into, the salary and other requirements that should be met. You may be working with a company that has an office outside of London. If working in London interests you, discuss with your HR. The discussion would give you more information about a transfer. Employers will also have to consider immigration implications of hiring foreigners. Only a company that has paid the sponsor licence cost and has been duly approved can employ migrant workers.

3. Be Humble and Unique

As important as humility may be, take care not to mix it up with low self-esteem. Distinguish yourself from others. You can start this by reviewing your CV and making the necessary adjustments. At times, your cultural difference as a foreigner could give you an edge. These are some of the things London job recruiters watch out for.

4. Be Diligent

The amount of hard work you put into a job may determine how long you would last at it. Hard work could show your commitment to a job, strong desire to succeed and make you stand out from the competition. Your employers get motivated by your level of productivity and most likely want you to stick around longer.

5. Salary

On average, a worker’s annual salary is about £31,461 per year. The minimum wage paid per hour depends on the age of the worker. The National Minimum Wage is the minimum salary workers are entitled to. And it is strictly for those between the ages of 16 and 24. Workers above 24 years of age are entitled to the National Living Wage. The National Living Wage is notably more than the National Minimum Wage.

Below is a list of some of the most in-demand jobs and their different annual pay in London according to Cosmopolitan and other sources.

  • Teaching jobs – £18,000 and above
  • Nursing jobs – £33,000 and above
  • Accounting jobs – around £62,000
  • Architecture jobs – between £27,000 and £35,000
  • Software engineering roles – £38,000 and above
  • Web Developer – starting from £31,500
  • UI/UX designer – £62,000 – £87,000
  • Product Manager – £55,000
  • Marketing Manager – around £37,000

Take note that these salaries are not fixed. They may vary based on years of experience and location.

Being Self-employed in London

Here are some steps to take if you are interested in being self-employed as a foreigner.

  • You need to be sure that your immigration status permits you to be self-employed. A foreigner with business with the intentions of starting a business in London must possess the required visa and work permit.
  • Carry out a detailed market survey and you are sure that your business would be a success. Then you can go ahead to make a well-structured business plan.
  • The legal structure of your business needs to be defined. Whether you would be a sole owner, have a partnership, freelance or start a limited company needs should be clearly stated.
  • Choose a distinct business name to differentiate your business. You may need to register the name even if you don’t intend to run a limited liability company. With this, you can be certain that no one else will use your exact business name. For registration, your business must have an address too.
  • It is mandatory to also register your business with the HMRC for appropriate tax payment. The HMRC stands for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. If you own a limited company, you would need to register it with Companies House.


The top 3 self-employed job roles in London are makeup artists, marketing and social media consultants. Take note that there may be extra rules specifically for the type of business you want to run. They may vary from location to location and a special licence might be required.

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