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Working in the UK

If you want to work in the United Kingdom, you should check that your status allows you to do so before taking up employment. Not everyone who comes to the UK is allowed to work. More information can be found on the Home Office web site at:

Useful contacts

Department for Work and Pensions
Jobcentre Plus website:

National Minimum Wage Tel: 0800 917 2368

Newly Self-employed Helpline Tel: 0300 200 3504

HM Customs & Revenue (HMRC) -Formerly Inland Revenue
HMRC provides advice on taxation, National Insurance Contributions, etc

Trade Unions

In many jobs there will be a trade union representing the rights of people who work there. These rights include: the right to the national minimum wage, the right to breaks, holidays and holiday pay; the right to health and safety protection; the right to join a union; the right to protection from unfair discrimination.

If you have a problem, you should contact a trade union, or the TUC’s Worksmart web page


Learndirect is an organisation that can provide information on apprentiships, English & Maths qualifications and skills for work. There may be a charge for the courses that are available. Visit:

National Insurance number

To get a National Insurance number, you must apply by phone and must have the right to work or study in the UK.  National insurance application line:0345 600 0643/4. Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.

For information about services and benefits that may be available to you visit the website for the Department for Work and Pensions at:

Working Holiday Makers

Different rules apply if you are a working holiday maker. The working holidaymaker scheme is an arrangement where a Commonwealth citizen or British Dependent Territories citizen aged between 17 and 30 can come to the United Kingdom (UK) for an extended holiday for up to two years. You can work, but only provided this is incidental to the holiday. The holiday should be the primary reason for your stay.There are other conditions around this scheme. For a full list visit:

Drugs warning

The UK has severe penalties against anyone found smuggling drugs. Drug traffickers may try to bribe travellers. If you are travelling to the UK avoid any involvement with drugs.

Customs and Excise

For advice on bringing personal belongings and goods into the UK visit:

The Equality & Human Rights Commission

The Commission has a mandate to challenge discrimination and to protect and promote human rights. They aim to uphold people’s rights, value,diversity and challenge intolerance and tackle areas where there is still unfair discrimination or where human rights are not being respected. If you feel that you are being unfairly treated you maywant to contact the Commission. Further information is available via their web site at

Worker’s Rights

For help and advice on work related matters visit and select the Working, jobs and pensions item. This includes information about:

  • Finding a job
  • Holidays, time off, sick leave, maternity & paternity leave
  • Redundancies, dismissals and disciplinaries
  • State pension
  • Workplace and personal pensions
  • Contract and working hours
  • Pay, tax, national minimum wage
  • Rights at work and trade unions

Health & Safety at Work

The Health and Safety Commission is responsible for health and safety regulation in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive and local government are the enforcing authorities who work in support of the Commission.

The main aims of the Health and Safety Executive are reducing risks and protecting people. If you are concerned with a Health and Safety issue within your workplace you can find advice and information on how to report this on the Health & Safety Executive web site at

For all the information you need on the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees you can visit a dedicated website that has been set up by the Health and Safety Executive at

The Trade Union Congress, (TUC), is an umbrella organisation of 51 affiliated Unions that represent nearly six million working people from all walks of life. They campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad. The TUC negotiate in Europe, and at home build links with political parties, business, local communities and wider society.

The TUC have a dedicated website which has very comprehensive information about your rights at

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, (ACAS) aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. They provide up-to-date information, training, conciliation and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems. For lots of really useful information you can visit their website at

53340Working in the UK