Working in London

A quick and easy guide to working in London, including visas and tips on finding work.
A portrait of two businesspeople walking on a glass balcony with the London city skyline shown below.
Business in London. Image courtesy of © Shutterstock.

London has long been a magnet for people searching for jobs, both nationally and internationally. Depending on your country of origin, you will need to find out what are the legal implications of working in the UK, including visa, tax and work permit requirements.

UK visas and work permits

Before you visit London, check the UK Visas website to find out whether you require a visa. 

In addition, visit the Working in the UK section to find out whether you need a permit to work in London. 

BUNAC's Intern in Britain programme helps students and recent graduates to intern in the UK for up to six months.

You must register for a National Insurance number as soon as you start work.

Find out more about visas and regulations for working in London, which are the same as elsewhere in the UK.

UK tax

All employees in the UK are required to pay income tax on their earnings and any pensions. If you are in official employment, tax will be deducted automatically from your wages. 

Self-employed workers must keep records of their income and expenditure and fill in an annual tax return. Find out more at HM Revenue and Customs

You are required to pay National Insurance (NI) contributions to build up your entitlement to state benefits. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn and your type of employment. You must register for an NI number as soon as you start work and will need to attend an interview as part of the application process.

National Minimum Wage

The majority of UK workers are entitled to a minimum wage. This varies depending on your age and the full rate applies to adults aged 21 and over. You are eligible regardless of whether your work is permanent or on contract, part-time or full-time, at your employer's premises or based elsewhere. There are, however, certain exclusions such as au pairs and some apprentices.

Finding a job in London

The usual guidelines for any modern city apply when looking for work in London. Newspapers, websites and employment agencies can help you find a job and there is also a network of government-run Job Centres. Ensure your CV is up to date and that you have references that can be checked by potential employers.