6 Actions to take after arriving in the UK as a skilled worker



By Olushola Samuel

If you're arriving in the UK with a Skilled Worker visa, there are several essential steps to complete after your arrival. These include tasks like collecting your BRP, registering with the police, opening a bank account, obtaining a National Insurance number, and registering with a doctor.

Receiving a notice from the Home Office confirming your Skilled Worker visa approval marks a significant achievement in your immigration process. For those who applied for the visa abroad, this is the juncture when you can confidently arrange your travel and initiate the necessary preparations for your move to the UK.

Though it might appear that everything is settled once you've landed in the UK and cleared immigration, there are crucial final measures you must carry out upon arrival.

To help you organize your next steps, I've compiled a post-arrival checklist for holders of the Skilled Worker visa:

1. Collect your BRP:

For those who applied for the Skilled Worker visa from abroad, it's imperative to retrieve your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) upon reaching the UK. The BRP is a document given to foreign nationals who have been granted permission to reside, study, or work in the UK. This document is essential as it serves as evidence of your immigration status within the country.

It's typically necessary to collect the BRP before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of entering the UK, whichever comes later. You can collect your BRP from a designated Post Office branch or an Alternative Collection Location (ACL). In specific cases, organizations like legal representatives or large sponsors can become accredited ACLs. By utilizing this service, your BRP can be held at the SSW office for you to collect or be sent to your address.

2. Establish how to verify your immigration status:

While your Skilled Worker visa grants you the right to live and work in the UK throughout its validity, certain situations might arise where you need to prove your immigration status. This applies when dealing with employers or landlords, for example.

Before commencing work, your sponsoring employer will need to conduct a right-to-work check to confirm your eligibility for employment in the UK. Similarly, if you're entering into a rental agreement for a property in England, your landlord will require a right-to-rent check.

Recent changes in regulations mean that physical documents like BRPs are no longer accepted as proof of status during such checks. Instead, employers and landlords are now required to conduct these verifications online. This also applies if you have an eVisa. To facilitate these checks, you'll be asked to provide your date of birth and a 'share code' to your employer or landlord. This unique 9-character code can be generated online and grants access to the necessary information from the Home Office system.

3. Police Registration

According to UK immigration regulations, certain foreign nationals need to complete police registration shortly after their arrival or after obtaining extended stay permission in the UK. This requirement applies if you're 16 years or older, your visa is valid for more than 6 months, and you're a citizen of a specified country. Determine if you need to register by checking your visa sticker or the Home Office's approval letter/email. Register by visiting your local police station, paying the £34 fee, and remember that registration is based on your residential area.

Upon registration, you'll receive a Police Registration Certificate (PRC), proving your compliance with the UK visa rules. Keep the PRC throughout your stay and update the police about changes like your address or new visa status.

4. Opening a UK Bank Account

Setting up a UK bank account upon arrival is crucial. Many employers require a UK bank account for salary deposits. A bank account is also needed for mobile contracts and direct bill payments. Typically, you'll need documents confirming your UK address and identity, such as your passport or BRP. Some banks offer pre-arrival account opening for international customers.

Contact your chosen bank directly for guidance on account setup.

5. Applying for a National Insurance Number

To work in the UK, you must apply for a National Insurance (NI) number while you're in the country. If you have the right to work in the UK, you can begin employment without an NI number. If you possess a BRP, your NI number might be on its back.

Discuss with your employer's HR team for a temporary NI number when added to the payroll. 

6. Doctor Registration

Most Skilled Worker visa applicants must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for NHS access during their stay. The surcharge is usually applicable for visas lasting over 6 months, unless exempted.

You can utilize the NHS upon arrival and should register with a nearby GP surgery. 

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