Beyond the sea: Working in the UK hospitality sector

Especially after the 2012 London Games, the UK has become a central hub for hospitality jobs, meaning that there is a huge variety of opportunities for those coming from overseas. However, if you are planning to work in the UK, there are many things to consider.

Getting that visa

Remember that a visa is different from a work permit. A visa will actually allow you to enter the country, and so if you are not a resident of a European Economic Area (EEA) country, you will need a visa to enter the UK. To apply, contact the British Overseas Mission in your country so you can get an 'entry clearance certificate' in your passport.

Getting that work permit

If you are from Switzerland or an EEA, you can work in Britain without one of these, but you will need to apply otherwise. These are given by a points-based system (PBS), whilst you need to prove evidence of a job offer. Your future employer will apply for the work permit and they will be fully checked by the UK Border Agency.

Applications will have to show your skills and qualifications, but will also have to include your passport, birth certificate, proof of qualifications, entry visa and any previous work permit copies.

Work permits can last up to two years, but a new job will require a new permit. Applications should be made between six months and four weeks before your job starts.

Those who are exempt from a work permit include commonwealth citizens who have at least one grandparent in the UK or a parent who is or was a British citizen. Furthermore, if you are a non-EEA resident, but are studying full-time in the UK for at least six months, you can work part-time during term-time and then full-time in holidays.

Getting on that scheme

Being an EEA citizen will allow you to work in the UK, but if you are wanting to stay longer than a month and are a resident of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia, you will need to register as part of the Worker Registration Scheme. However, you won't need to register if you are self-employed, have dual UK citizenship, or are related to an EEA citizen or a Swiss.

Similarly the Youth Mobility Scheme is for youngsters wanting a slice of UK life. Your government will act as a sponsor if you live in Australia, Canada, Japan or New Zealand.

For the latest information, always be sure to seek advice from the appropriate department.