BREXIT – Recruiting Teachers who are not UK or Irish Nationals: Is your School prepared?

Dec 7, 2020 | Recruitment Posts

BREXIT – Recruiting Teachers who are not UK or Irish Nationals: Is your School prepared?

What is changing from 1 January 2021?

points-based immigration system from 1 January 2021 will change how you employ teachers who are not UK or Irish nationals. From this date the UK’s points-based immigration system will apply to all overseas nationals arriving in the UK, including those from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There is no change for Irish Citizens.

Application routes are open and schools can prepare for these changes now.

What are the possible routes?

  1. Becoming a visa sponsor
  • Skilled Worker Visa

Overseas teachers can apply for a Skilled Worker visa up to 3 months before they are due to start work in the UK if:

  • The School, as employer, is a licensed Home Office employer sponsor and it has offered the overseas teacher a teaching job.
  • The overseas teacher can speak, read, write and understand English.
  • The job pays at least £20,480 or the relevant minimum rate for teachers in England, whichever is higher (pro-rata rates apply).


  • Becoming a licensed sponsor
    • The School needs a sponsor licence to hire a teacher from overseas on a Skilled Worker visa.
    • If already a licensed sponsor, the School will automatically be granted a licence under the points-based immigration system. Check if your School is a licensed sponsor and, if not, how to register here

  1. Recruit without becoming a sponsor
  • Graduate Visa
    • International students who have successfully completed their degree in the UK, sponsored by a Home Office licensed student sponsor can access a Graduate Visa from summer 2021. This includes certain postgraduate courses such as initial teacher training.
    • The Graduate Visa permits study, work/looking for work in the UK without a sponsor for up to 2 years after completing the studies. This includes working as a teacher.
    • Applying to switch to Skilled Worker Visa later, without having to leave the UK is possible.


  • Youth Mobility Scheme Visa
  • The Youth Mobility Scheme Visalasts for up to 2 years.  This is for young people aged 18 to 30, including teachers, with certain types of British nationality or are from certain countries. A sponsoring employer is not required.

Applying to switch to Skilled Worker Visa later, without having to leave the UK is possible.

  1. EU Settlement Scheme

Any citizen of the EEA or Switzerland living in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. This means the teacher can continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 without having to apply through the points-based immigration system.

What else do I need to know?

  • International teacher recruitment programme

The programme will continue to recruit international teachers for the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

State-funded secondary schools and academies in England can get help from the international teacher recruitment programme to recruit experienced, qualified mathematics, physics, computer science, general science and modern foreign languages teachers from other countries

How do we apply?

Schools can register for this programme via recruitment agencies who will contact you within 2 working days.

What about the Costs?

The DfE will fund the recruitment and CPD costs.  The School needs to fund the teacher’s salary, supply for CPD days, mentor training, visa and DBS costs.

  • Gaining qualified teacher status (QTS)

There are different arrangements for overseas teachers who want to gain QTS.

Overseas teachers can teach in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools in England without qualified teacher status (QTS) for up to 4 years.  Beyond 4 years is illegal, unless particular conditions apply.

  • Safeguarding checks for teachers from overseas

Candidates from overseas must undergo the same checks as all other staff in schools.

Further Information: