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17 May 2024

A guide to if you can work on a UK Visitor Visa

There are many rules surrounding the Visitor Visa and what you can and cannot do. If you plan on visiting the UK and want to work, then read on to find out if you can or not.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Work on a UK Visitor Visa.

Due to the different rules surrounding the Visitor Visa regarding what you can and cannot do, it might get confusing to understand what the rules are. 

Lately, we have even seen some people claim they have been working on a Visitor Visa in the UK, which is also the issue we are tackling in this guide.

Please be aware that if you are in the UK on a Visitor Visa, you cannot then begin working at an employer in the UK. This breaks the rules of the Visitor Visa, and you will get in trouble. It could also make it harder for you to get another visa to return to the UK in the future. 

However, there are some specific ways that you can work in the UK whilst you visit. Also, there are many other things that you can do in the UK whilst you are on a Visitor Visa. We shall guide you through the rules, and show you what is allowed.

Remote work on a UK Visitor Visa

Working remotely is the most direct way of working whilst you are in the UK, but it cannot be your only reason for visiting. 

Under the rules, there are other permitted activities that are related to work, but they are not proper ways of working whilst you visit the UK. We shall cover these in the next section.

If you have a job in your home country, then when you visit the UK, you will be able to continue working remotely. This means that if you cannot book a lot of time off for a trip to the UK or will need money to support you on your trip, then you can at least continue to work. 

To work remotely whilst you visit, you will need to simply apply for a Visitor Visa like you normally would. Then, you will need to mention that you will be working remotely, but that it is not your main reason for visiting. You cannot visit the UK just to work remotely, it has to be coincidental, and you have to prove this. 

For example, you can work remotely if the main reason for your visit is that you have come to the UK to visit family.

We have a blog on working remotely in the UK whilst on a Visitor Visa if you want more information.

What you can and cannot do on a Visitor Visa

Under the rules for the Visitor Visa, there is a list of things that you can do, with anything not listed being what you cannot do. The list gets updated by the UK Government now and then.

Some of the activities you can carry out are related to work, so in a sense they are a way of doing work on a UK Visitor Visa. However, they are for very short-term reasons.

The full list of what you can do is:

  • Carry out business activities such as attend interviews and meetings, negotiate contracts, attend fairs, get training, provide training, give an unpaid talk, visit and inspect sites, oversee deliveries, or repair and install equipment.
  • Activities related to studying such as study for six months or less at an accredited institution, carry out research, do a placement related to medicine, sit an exam, do unpaid clinical work, or take either the Objective Structured Clinical Examination test or the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board test.
  • Academic activities such as exchange programs or carrying out research; senior doctors and dentists can also take part in research, teach, or undertake a temporary clinical practice.
  • Carry out a Permitted Paid Engagement; this can be done by experts in their fields who have been invited by a UK-based organisation or client to speak at a conference, give a lecture, be a student examiner, be a pilot examiner, represent a client as a lawyer, or do sport as a professional sportsperson; perform as an artist, entertainer, or a musician.
  • Finally, you can visit for medical reasons to have private medical treatment, have NHS treatment that has been paid for by your government, or donate an organ to family or friends. 

All of the above activities have slightly different requirements to prove that you are coming to the UK to carry out the activity. For example, visiting for medical reasons requires a doctor’s note.

How to come to the UK to work

Whilst you cannot come to the UK solely to work on a UK Visitor Visa, you have plenty of other options for working in the UK.

There are several different temporary worker visas, and longer-term worker visas available to choose from. 

They all have their own unique requirements. For example, the Skilled Worker Visa is the most popular worker route into the UK. To be able to apply for one, you first need to have a job offer from a UK employer, and have a Certificate of Sponsorship from them. 

An example of a temporary worker visa is the Seasonal Worker Visa. This entails working in the UK to do seasonal work, such as being a fruit picker on a farm. It also requires a Certificate of Sponsorship before you can apply. 

For a full list of the various different visas, visit our web pages for worker visas and temporary worker visas to see what appeals to you.  

How we can help

For assistance with applying for a UK visa, whether it is the Visitor Visa, to a type of worker visa, our experienced law team can help you.

You can arrange a 10-minute free assessment with a member of our team, during which you can discuss your situation and allow them to see if we can help you or not. After this, if it is decided that we can help you, then you can book a longer consultation that lasts either 30 minutes or an hour. The longer consultation requires a payment. 

The team member you initially talk to will act as your case worker throughout your entire application, and will be there to answer any questions that you have about the visa application process. 

Get in touch with us today if you want our expert visa assistance.

Ready for assistance?

If you have any questions, or want to book an appointment with one of our legal experts, contact Woodcock Law today. Call us on +44 (0)20 7712 1705 or email

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