Veterninary Work Visas - UK

UK Employment Eligibility

Due to the changes in employment laws, it is now much more challenging for a non-EU candidate to work here in the UK. Below is a summary of work visas that are applicable to veterinary workers.

Replaces Highly Skilled migrant permit.

The programme is designed to allow highly skilled people to migrate to the United Kingdom to look for work or self-employment opportunities. The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme is different from the Sponsored Skilled Workers arrangements because you do not need a specific job offer in the UK to apply and have the freedom to work for more than one employer.

Who can apply as a highly skilled worker?

When you apply you are awarded points based on your qualifications, previous earnings, previous UK experience, age, English language skills, and available maintenance (funds).

You must score:

  • 75 points for your attributes including:
    • age
    • qualifications
    • previous earnings
    • experience in the United Kingdom
  • 10 points for English language skills
  • 10 points for available maintenance (funds)

Replaces standard work permit.

The skilled worker category is for people coming to the United Kingdom with a job offer to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This replaces the old ‘work permit’ process and applies to permanent work, not locums as the work is specific to one employer.

**This category also covers applicants coming to fill shortage occupations and Veterinary Surgeons are included on this list.

Before you apply under the skilled worker category, you must have:

  • a sponsor /licensed UK Employer
  • a valid certificate of sponsorship.

When you apply, you are awarded points based on your:

  • Qualifications
  • Future expected earnings
  • Sponsorship
  • English language skills
  • Available maintenance (funds)

How long can you stay for?

If you are given permission to stay as a skilled worker, you will be able to live and work in the United Kingdom for a maximum time of three years plus one month, or the time given in your certificate of sponsorship plus one month, which ever time is shorter.

At the end of the three years, you will need to apply to extend your stay as a skilled worker if you want to stay for a further period. If you are given permission to extend your stay in the United Kingdom as a skilled worker, this is a further two years.

Replaces the working holiday scheme.

To qualify for Youth Mobility Scheme, a Points Based System you must be able to demonstrate that you have funds to support yourself of not less than £1600. You must provide documentary evidence to support this, dated no earlier than one month before you apply for entry clearance.

So far, only Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand have joined the YMS. However, you are also eligible to apply if you are a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or a British National (Overseas).

Entry clearance is issued for 2 years.


Points are awarded for what is called ‘Attributes’ for which you must score 40 points.

  • 30 points are available for holding a passport describing you as either a citizen/national of Australia, Canada, Japan or New Zealand or for holding a passport describing you as a British Overseas Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas).
  • You will also score 10 points if you will be 18 years of age or over when your entry clearance becomes valid for use, and you must be under 31 years of age on the date of application.

You must score a total of 40 points for these two criteria which are stipulated requirements in Appendix A of the Immigration Rules.

Maintenance (Funds)

In addition, 10 points are awarded for the availability of £1600 for maintenance.

An applicant coming to the United Kingdom under the Youth Mobility Scheme must be able to support himself/herself for the entire duration of their stay in the United Kingdom without the use of public funds.

Even if you have attained the pass mark of 40 for ‘Attributes’, your application will be refused if you do not pass this requirement.


You must not previously have spent time in the United Kingdom as a Working Holiday Maker or a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) temporary migrant.

Self-employment is only allowed under the following conditions:

  1. You do not own permanent premises; from which you do business (other than your home);
  2. The total value of the equipment you use in your business does not exceed £5000; and
  3. you have no employees.

The United Kingdom Ancestral Visa is for Commonwealth citizens with a grandparent born in the United Kingdom and Islands.

You will qualify if you can show that:

  • you are a Commonwealth citizen
  • you are aged 17 or over
  • you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (see note below)
  • you have a grandparent who was born in what is now the Republic of Ireland before 31 March 1922 (see note below)
  • you are able to work and intend to do so in the UK, and
  • you can support yourself and any dependants without needing any help from public funds.

You do not need a work permit and if you arrive with a UK Ancestry visa, you will have permission to stay for five years. After five years, you will be able to apply to live here permanently provided you still meet the requirements for United Kingdom ancestry and you have worked continuously in the United Kingdom.

Here at Carlton Professional we would be happy to discuss your situation and provide you with information on the options available to you. We cannot process any application on your behalf, however, we can put you in touch with the relevant authority.

For more information on Immigration Work Visas, please visit the Government site for UK Visas and Immigration.

While we have many years’ experience in recruitment, we are not financial, tax or immigration specialists and would always recommend seeking professional advice.

Putting in the work to establish yourself as a self-employed locum vet or veterinary nurse is time well invested. Our veterinary recruitment agency has worked with a number of new self-employed vets so if you have any questions, need any advice, or just need pointing in the right direction, then please contact us.

Carlton Announcement.

Enhanced Pay Rates being Offered –  Locum Staff shortages are seeing some positions attracting enhanced pay rates- Ask today.

IR35 –  We have negotiated  solutions and options  for Limited Company Vets to continue operating.  Ask today

Your Availability – Call us today and update your availability so we can get searching for you. 

Carlton Professional Announcment