How to get Work Permit for UK without Job Offer? [2024]

Most work visas will require you to find companies that offer sponsorship in the UK in order to live and work here, but there are still ways to obtain a work permit for UK without job offer. There are six work visas that we have listed below that do not require you to be sponsored in the UK.

You will still need to be eligible, provide documentation and go through the application process, but these visas are more favorable due to not having to be sponsored by an employer.

Work Permit for UK without job offer

There are multiple work visas available that do not require companies that offer sponsorship UK in order to move here. Although there is no unskilled shortage occupation list UK, you may be eligible through your ancestry, age or education history.

Each visa still has other requirements such as valid documentation, minimum savings and paying the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

The High Potential Individual Visa UK allows graduates from selected international universities to work in the UK for up to three years. You must have graduated from an eligible university within the last five years. You must have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree, Postgraduate or PHD. You can check if your qualification is eligible through Ecctis.

The Graduate Visa UK is a popular visa with recent graduates within the UK. It allows students to stay in the UK after their studies for up to three years. It is sometimes referred to as a Post-Study Work visa or PSW UK visa. You do not need to be sponsored by an employer on this visa, this makes it a popular gateway to other visas such as Skilled Worker or Health and Care Worker.

The Ancestry Visa UK is a popular route to work or study in the UK if you have at least one grandparent born in the United Kingdom. You must be a citizen of a Commonwealth nation and provide evidence that you can support yourself financially. The Ancestry Visa UK cost is lower than other work visas and you do not need sponsorship in UK by an employer to live here.

The Youth Mobility Visa UK is a working holiday visa that allows young people aged between 18-35 to live and work in the UK for up to three years. You must be from an eligible country and can only enter the UK on this visa once. You can work without job sponsorship and is a good pathway to switch to a longer term visa such as the Skilled Worker.

The India Young Professionals Scheme is a great way for young Indian graduates to live and work in the UK for up to two years. You must have a graduate degree and apply through a ballot. In 2023, there were 3000 places available in which all were taken. You do not need to be sponsored by an employer or meet a minimum salary threshold.

The Hong Kong British national Overseas Visa (BNO) is a route for citizens of HK that are looking to start a new life in the UK. This visa does not require any companies that offer sponsorship UK in order to work and study. You must have registered as a British National before July 1997 and own a permanent home in KH when applying.

Work permit UK requirements

Eligibility for sponsorship to UK will vary depending on your personal circumstances and the work visa type. Most work permit for UK without job offer requires you to be of a certain age, ancestry or qualification.

UK visa document checklist

Documentation will vary depending on the work permit but generally you will need a valid passport, minimum financial savings and speak English to a competent standard.

  • Valid passport
  • Proof of your knowledge of English (IELTS)
  • Bank statement proving sufficient funds
  • Evidence of your qualifications such as a bachelors degree certificate
  • Proof from Ecctis that your qualification is valid
  • Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Your own full birth certificate
  • Your parent or grandparent full birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate if arriving with your spouse
  • Tuberculosis test (from certain countries)

UK Visas Fees

The cost required will vary depending on the type of visa, your dependants, how much documentation is required and more.

Other costs to factor in could be the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Most work and student visas will require this charge which is £1,035 per year for work visas.

Visa TypeVisa Fee
High Potential Individual£822
UK Ancestry£637
Youth Mobility Scheme£298
India Young Professionals Scheme£298
British National Overseas Visa (Hong Kong)£180 – 2 years and 6 months
£250 – 5 years

Moving to the UK cost checklist

  • Visa application
  • Healthcare Surcharge
  • Flights to the UK
  • Insurance
  • Passport renewal or application
  • Short-term accommodation
  • Long-term accommodation
  • International Shipping
  • Pet transport
  • Tests such as English Language or Tuberculosis

Apply for a UK visa

The application process for a UK visa begins when you confirm your identity. This can either be online using the ID Check application or you might have to attend your appointment in person. This is done at a visa application centre where your biometrics will be taken including fingerprints and a photograph. You can apply through the website, for example the Graduate Visa.

Getting a job in the UK

You can use websites such as HaysIndeed and NHS Recruitment to find jobs being advertised, you can also add “Sponsorship” into the search function to find employers currently sponsoring. Contact companies that interest you by sending them them your CV and asking them if they have any sponsorship opportunities available. Many employers have a “Career” section that allows you to submit your CV without a specific job advertisement, this allows them to check their database for suitable candidates when a suitable role becomes available.


Deciding which work visa or student visa is best for you will determine if you are allowed family members to join the main applicant in the UK, who are known as “dependants”. You don’t have to be a permanent resident or have an Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK to bring your family members. Dependants over 18 can work full time in any profession throughout with no restrictions. The length of time allowed to stay is the same as the main applicants work visa.

  • Adult Dependant – £1846
  • Child – £1846

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