Can I live and work in the UK?

Updated on 9 September 2020


Our guidance for migrants is for people who have a right to be in the UK or a right to work in the UK. Therefore, as a first step you need to understand your immigration status.

Illustration of the Union Jack, a passport and visa application
(c) Shutterstock / Bakhtiar Zein

⚠️ The UK left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and entered a transitional period, currently due to end on 31 December 2020, during which EU law continues to apply in the UK. The UK’s relationship with the EU beyond the end of the transitional period has not yet been finalised. Please note that the guidance below reflects the law as it applied before the UK’s departure from the EU, and as it will continue to apply throughout the transitional period.

It is not possible to explain all of the rules about the right to work and be in the UK here. In case of uncertainty, you should go to the UK Visas and Immigration section of GOV.UK for up-to-date information. You can follow the links below to information on GOV.UK on the following specific topics:

For further advice, you can go to an accredited immigration adviser or immigration solicitor. You can find your nearest accredited immigration adviser, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, on GOV.UK.

Alternatively, you can find an immigration solicitor through the Law Society (in England and Wales), the Law Society NI (in Northern Ireland) or the Law Society of Scotland (in Scotland).

With regards to visa and immigration status and tax, there are two important things to note:

  • We talk about your UK tax ‘residence’ throughout this website. Here we are considering where you are resident for tax purposes – this may not be the same as for visa/immigration purposes.
  • Provided you are living and working in the UK legally, your visa/immigration status will have no bearing whatsoever on whether you are able to claim a tax refund.

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