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Teach in England if you qualified outside the UK

Working as a teacher in England if you qualified outside the UK

This guidance is for non-UK citizens who qualified as teachers outside the UK.

To teach in England you will need:

  • the correct visa or status
  • teaching skills and experience you can demonstrate to an employer
  • to pass criminal and professional safeguarding checks (these will be organised by your employer)

The correct visa or status could be one of the following:

Irish citizens do not need a visa to work or live in the UK.

It is also very helpful to have:

  • a teaching qualification (this can be from your own or another non-UK country)
  • English ‘qualified teacher status’ (QTS)

Visit Get into Teaching for general information and support about being a teacher in England, including details of salaries and benefits.

Applying for qualified teacher status (QTS)

Qualified teacher status (QTS) is the professional status teachers in England gain at the end of their teacher training.

Teachers who qualified outside the UK can work in English schools for up to 4 years without QTS. However, obtaining QTS will make it easier for you to find work and develop your career as a teacher.

This is because:

  • in many English state-maintained schools, QTS is a legal requirement when the 4-year exemption period is up
  • in all English schools, QTS is used to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs

How to apply

Depending on where you qualified as a teacher, you may be eligible to apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency for QTS.

You could also apply for assessment only QTS while you earn a salary as a teacher or you could apply to train to teach in England.

Learn more about the routes to QTS if you teach, or have teaching experience, outside the UK.

Visas and immigration

This section explains the visas and immigration routes you may be able to use to work in England.

You can check if you need a UK visa and contact UK Visas and Immigration for help.

Check if you can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you might be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living, working and studying in the UK without applying for a visa.

The deadline for most people to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021.

However, if you or your family are from the EEA or Switzerland, you can still apply if you or a family member were living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

You must also either:

  • meet one of the criteria for a later deadline to apply
  • have ‘reasonable grounds’ for not having applied by 30 June 2021

More information is available about the eligibility criteria for later applications to the EU Settlement Scheme.

You can also apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if you already have pre-settled status and are applying for settled status. You must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme again before your pre-settled status expires to stay in the UK.

Search for a teaching job and apply for a skilled worker visa

The main visa route for non-UK teachers in England is the skilled worker visa.

To apply for a skilled worker visa, you will first need to search for a teaching job in England. You can use the UK government’s Teaching vacancies service to search for available teaching roles.

Before you apply for a teaching job, contact the school to make sure it is a Home Office licensed sponsor. If the school is a sponsor, it can help you apply for your visa. Schools can also become sponsors to employ you.

You’ll be able to apply for your skilled worker visa if:

Salary requirement for a skilled worker visa

The salary threshold you must meet depends on whether you have qualified teacher status (QTS) and the region you are applying to work in.

This table shows the minimum salary non-UK teachers must earn to be eligible for a skilled worker visa, by region and status (QTS and non-QTS).

Inner LondonOuter LondonLondon fringeRest of England

Inner and outer London

The skilled worker visa thresholds match the minimum salary set in the national teachers’ pay range.

London fringe and the rest of England

For teachers without QTS, the skilled worker visa threshold is above the minimum salary set in the national teachers’ pay range.

However, schools have some flexibility in how they set salaries. You may be able to negotiate a different rate of pay if the salary on offer does not meet the skilled worker visa requirements.

The salary requirements for a skilled worker visa apply whatever type of school you work in (funded by the UK government or in the private sector).

Working part time as a teacher

You can work part time, but your salary must meet the threshold for a skilled worker visa. There are 2 requirements:

  • your part-time salary must be at least £20,480
  • the full-time equivalent of your salary must meet the minimum set for your region and status (with QTS or without QTS)

Apply for a skilled worker visa.

Work as a teacher in England without a skilled worker visa

This section explains the other visa and immigration routes you may be able to use to work as a teacher in England.

Graduate visa

If you’re already an international student in the UK, you can apply for a graduate visa on successful completion of your degree. To apply, you’ll need to have been sponsored by a Home Office licensed student sponsor over the course of your studies.

The graduate visa will allow you to work, or look for work, in the UK for up to 2 years after completing your studies (3 years for PhD students) without a sponsor. This includes working as a teacher.

You’ll be able to switch from a graduate visa to another visa (such as the skilled worker visa) without having to leave the UK if you meet the requirements for the new visa.

High potential individual visa

To be eligible for a high potential individual visa, you must:

  • have a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD from a university listed in the Global Universities list
  • have been awarded your qualification no more than 5 years before you apply
  • have English language skills to B1 intermediate level
  • have personal funds of £1,270
  • pass a security and criminality check

You do not need an offer of a teaching job to apply for this visa and you’ll be able to stay in the UK for 2 years with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, and 3 years with a PhD.

Youth Mobility Scheme visa

The Youth Mobility Scheme allows young people from certain countries to come to the UK each year to study or work without a sponsoring educational institution or sponsoring employer. This includes working as a teacher.

A Youth Mobility Scheme visa lasts up to 2 years. You may be able to switch from a Youth Mobility Scheme visa to another visa route (for example the skilled worker visa) without having to leave the UK. You’ll need to meet the requirements for the other visa route.

Other visas

Depending on your personal circumstances, you may be able to work in the UK on alternative visas – for example, a Family visa, a UK Ancestry visa or, if you’re from Hong Kong, a British National (Overseas) visa.

Help for secondary school teachers

If you’re interested in teaching children aged 11 to 18 at a secondary school in England and you have English QTS, sign up to the Get an adviser service. You’ll get personalised support from a trained Department for Education (DfE) adviser to help you apply for jobs in England.


For help with the information on this page, email

DfE does not directly administer teacher training courses or appoint teachers, so we cannot help with individual applications to training providers or schools.

You can contact get an adviser for help with your application if you are eligible for their service.

Further information

More information about English standards for teachers, curriculum, discipline, school inspections and teaching resources is available. Find out more about:



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