Working in the UK

This page shows information about working in the UK.

Disclaimer: Hongkongers in Britain is not a legal firm or an immigration advisory service. Our advice shall never be regarded as professional legal and/or immigration advice. You must seek professional legal and/or immigration advice from your legal and/or immigration advisor in order to protect your interest.

Last Updated: 4-7-2023

There are five important points you need to know if you are a BN(O) visa holder and you wish to find a job :​

  1. You have the right to work as soon as you have been granted the BN(O) visa.
  2. However, you CANNOT work as a professional sportsperson or sports coach.
  3. ​To work in the UK, you will need a National Insurance number (a.k.a. NI number).
  4. You can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you have the right to work in the UK. You can ask your employer to view your right to work here. If you cannot generate your share code successfully, or your record is not correct (i.e.: showing others’ photo, distorted photo or no photo), according to a reply to an open letter co-signed by Hongkongers in Britain and the3million from the Home Office in 2022, you can update your records on the UKVI system to correct your photo. You can also ask your prospective employer, recruiters or agencies to determine whether you have a right to work in the UK using another system on GOV.UK website. If all the aforementioned measures fail, please seek assistance from your MP as soon as possible. You can find your MP’s contact information here.
  5. If your potential employer or recruiters are concerned about your BN(O) visa and your right to work, you may send them the ‘To whom it may concern letter’ from the UK Government for their information.

​Source and credit:

In the UK, legal protections for employees, workers and the self-employed are different. Please read the website of Work Right Centre to understand the details of differences.

You may also read a Facebook post of Hong Kong Hub – Yorkshire and Humber for the Hongkongese / Cantonese information.

To understand the skills needed in each region you can look at the Skills Advisory Panel webpage for the area you are interested in: 

​Source and credit:

National Careers Service

National Careers Service is a FREE Government service in England provides careers information, advice and guidance. They can help you to make decisions on learning, training and work at all stages in your career.

  • Skills assessment – Learn more about your skills and match them to potential new careers.
  • Explore Careers – Choose from over 800 career profiles to discover what a job involves.
  • Find a course – Look for learning and training opportunities local to you.
  • Action plan – Taking the next step in your career can sometimes feel overwhelming. It’s helpful to break down a big decision into small steps that you can do one at a time. Use your action plan to keep track of the goals and actions you and your adviser set during your appointment.
  • Careers advice – The National Careers Service can help you make career decisions throughout your life. From deciding your education route, planning a career change at any age or getting the job that is right for you.
  • How to write a CV – Check their CV advice on what to include and how to make it stand out.
  • How to write a cover letter – Learn more about cover letters, why they’re important and how to use them.
  • Interview tips – Find out about the different types of interviews and how to do well in them.
  • Common interview questions: how to answer – Learn how to answer interview questions with confidence and make a good impression.
  • Phone interviews: how to do well – Follow their advice on how to prepare and succeed in phone interviews.
  • Video interviews: how to do well – Follow their advice on how to well in live or pre-recorded video interviews.
  • Explain gaps in work history – Get advice on how to tell employers about gaps in your employment history.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile – Develop your job search and network by creating an online LinkedIn profile.

Source and credit:

Job searching platforms

Run by the UK Government:

Disclaimer: Hongkongers in Britain does not have any contracts with and does not make any benefits from the companies listed below.

NOT run by the UK Government (in alphabetical order):

Some of them also provide career advice:

Job searching platforms and tools for specific industries:

Information about specific industries

You can find useful information about specific industries in the section.

British English vs American English

It is advised to use British English instead of American English to avoid misunderstandings, prejudices and inconsistencies, especially when you are applying for a position which requires you to have the skill of attention to detail, or you say you have this skill in your CV.

To make your life easier, you can change the language setting of your word-processing apps, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs. You can set the document as using English (United Kingdom) instead of the default setting English (United States). Then run the spelling check function. You can find most spelling mistakes in this way.

We also advise you to use an artificial intelligence (AI) to proofread your writing. However, some AIs, such as ChatGPT, may not be able to generate results in British English. In this regard, you still need to use the aforementioned method to change it into British English. To play safe, please read the following websites to understand more about the differences between British English and American English.

•    UOC Language & Style – Differences between British and American English
•    British Council – British English and American English
•    Wikipedia – Comparison of American and British English

Note: This section is written with the assistance of the spelling and grammar check function of both Google Docs and Microsoft Word (and also ChatGPT for the Cantonese version), However, human judgements prevail.


Ecctis – Ecctis provides official UK national agency services on behalf of the UK Government in qualifications, skills, and migration:

  • UK ENIC is the UK National Information Centre for recognition of global qualifications and skills.
  • UK Visas and Nationality services are provided on behalf of the UK Home Office. Visas and Nationality statements support applications to the Home Office for visas and for settlement.
  • The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UKCPQ or CPQ) provides official advice and support for the recognition of international professional qualifications in the UK. They operate the UKCPQ on behalf of BEIS, the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Source and credit:

Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)

DBS – DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions. DBS is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office.

The types of check are as follows:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
  • a enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with a check of the barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the adults’ barred list, children’s barred list or both

Applicants (job candidates) cannot apply for a standard or enhanced check by themselves – you will need to get an application form from the employer who asked you for a disclosure check.

You can request a basic check for yourself.

The type of work you are doing, or will be doing, will determine the level of check that you need.

You can find out more about the DBS check process in this guide.

Source and credit:

Certificate of No Criminal Record (CNCC)

A CNCC is a document issued by Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF).

Please read subsection ‘Alternatives other than providing CNCC’ before you start your application for CNCC.

Alternatives other than providing CNCC

In the UK, there are some statutory requirements for employers to carry out such checks but in many instances, it is only best practice to do so.

In the absence of CNCC, employers are expected to obtain as much information as possible in the form of references before deciding whether to make an offer of employment.

In this regard, you are advised to discuss with your prospective employer and/or their recruiter(s) regarding the CNCC issue, and see if any alternatives will be accepted by them, for example, providing a written sworn oath stamped by a legal firm in the UK.

On 11 November 2022, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has issued the Letter on Certificates of No Criminal Conviction. You can send the link of this letter to your prospective employers, agencies and their recruiters to discuss if alternatives can be accepted. The letter covers the following industries:

  • Education sector
  • Healthcare
  • Adult social care
  • Taxi driver or private hire vehicle driver
  • Aviation

Mandatory documents

Generally speaking, when you apply for it, you need to submit the following documents to HKPF, which are mandatory:

  1. The ORIGINAL of signed Application form
  2. The ORIGINAL of signed Fingerprint consent form
  3. PHOTOCOPY of applicant’s Hong Kong Identity Card (if you are a Hong Kong resident) / valid Travel Document
  4. PHOTOCOPY of a request letter from the relevant Consulate / Immigration Authority / Government Authority, which contains the applicant’s name and clearly indicates that the production of the Certificate is required. There should also be a POSTAL ADDRESS of the relevant Consulate / Immigration Authority / Government Authority since the application result will be directly sent to them by registered mail. (Note: we have been notified that some Hongkongers can apply for their CNCC from HKPF successfully using their (conditional) job offer. So you may try and apply for your CNCC using your (conditional) job offer, but please also note that it is not guaranteed that the application will be successful.)
  5. The ORIGINAL of a full set of the applicant’s fingerprints taken by law enforcement agency / Consulate where the applicant presently resides.
  6. Processing fee of HK$250 per person. Please pay the processing fee in bank draft, made payable to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”. The draft must be payable in Hong Kong. A personal cheque in HK dollar which is issued and authorised by any licensed bank in Hong Kong is also acceptable. Regarding the abbreviations on the bank draft / personal cheque, you may write ‘The Government of Hong Kong SAR’.

You may also be required additional document(s). Please visit the related webpage of Hong Kong Police Force to make sure you fully understand their requirements.

Taking fingerprints

When you are applying for Certificates of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) outside Hong Kong, you are required to provide a full set of your fingerprints taken and certified by the UK Police Forces. In this regard, you may need to find out whether your local Police Force is providing this service by searching the keyword ‘fingerprint’ on their website. This service usually charges.

Please find out your local Police Force’s website in the following links.

Please note that some local Police Forces may not provide fingerprint service for application for CNCC. If this is the case, you may need to book your appointment with other Police Force instead.

A request letter from the relevant Consulate / Immigration Authority / Government Authority

Please note that from 8 June 2022 the British Consulate-General Hong Kong and The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in London no longer issue letters to the Hong Kong Police as part of a CNCC request.

On the other hand, we have been notified that some Hongkongers can apply for their CNCC from HKPF successfully using their (conditional) job offer. So you may try and apply for your CNCC using your (conditional) job offer, but please also note that it is not guaranteed that the application will be successful.

There are several ways to complete this requirement, depending on which industry or occupation you are going to work in. If there is a governing body for your industry or occupation, you may seek assistance from them to write a letter. If not, you can still seek assistance from the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office in London (HKETO) (Email:

Nurses and midwives

You can seek assistance from The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) in order to obtain a letter. This can be done during the registration process. You do not need a job offer to begin the process.

NHS positions

After you have obtained an (conditional) offer from NHS regardless of the job role you are applying for, you can request the recruiter(s) or the responsible officer(s) to write a letter to HKPF.

Other industries and occupations

You can seek assistance from HKETO (Email: Their requirements are quoted below,

“The Hong Kong Police requires you to provide several documents for application, one of which is a request letter, which may be issued by our office. We will review whether a request letter can be issued to you if you can email us the following two documents for our review:
1) A scanned letter from your prospective employer / school or university / relevant institution addressed directly to us in their letterhead. Please see our office’s name and address below:
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
18 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3JA
The letter from your prospective employer / school or university / relevant institution needs to include the following information:
a) your title
b) your full name, which matches that of your HK ID card
c) your HK ID card number
d) your post or subject of study, etc
e) to state why a CNCC is required for your post / study, etc. We need specific reasons such as the nature of your job / study, etc
For examples:
1) your job / study, etc requires contact with vulnerable people or children or students, etc
2) you are required to work in high security areas e.g. airports, etc
3) you are required to work in the healthcare sector e.g. hospitals, care homes and in contact with vulnerable people
4) a specific UK regulation requiring your post or your situation to have a CNCC.
f) the name, job title and signature of the person, who issues this letter
2) A scanned copy of your HKID card
Please note that we will not accept your offer letter from your employer or prospective employer as the offer letter is between you and your employer or prospective employer.
Please note that we only communicate directly with applicants, not any other parties including employers. All documents have to be sent to us by you as applicants only. Please do not ask your employer or school or institution to contact us.
If you have any questions on the above, please email me with your telephone number.”

Source and credit:

Useful Tools

FREE Employment workshops &
FREE One-to-one career coaching sessions

If you are still in Hong Kong and planning to move to the UK, or you are in the UK and looking for a job, you may sign up to attend our FREE employment workshops and/or one-to-one career coaching sessions which are provided by our deliver partner, Renaisi.

For details, please visit our dedicated webpage here.

Organisations and services providing supports

If you are looking for assistance from organisation(s) providing supports on your employment journey, please read this section.

Hong Kong Nursing Association UK CIC (HKNAUK)

If you are:-

  • A Registered Nurses or Enrolled Nurses (including General, Midwife, and psychiatric) who are from Hong Kong,
  • Members who are originally from Hong Kong gain their nursing qualifications outside Hong Kong, or
  • Nurses who are originally from Hong Kong are planning or have arrived in the U.K.

You can sign up to become a member of HKNAUK.

Capability Works (mainly charging services)

They provide:-

  • 15 minutes free employment consultation
  • Charging services regarding writing CVs & cover letters, preparing for interviews and networking in the UK.

By entering the promotion code HKBDISC10 , you can receive additional 10% off discount.

Become a civil / public servant

Jobs from the UK Central Government and public bodies

You can find civil/public servant positions from the UK Central Government and public bodies from Civil Service job search.

The requirement of nationality are usually stated at the bottom of a job ad. Some are open up for British Citizens, while some also for British Nationals (including British National (Overseas)), and some also for Irish/EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens as well.

Jobs from local authorities

You can also find information of job vacancies from your local authorities on their websites.

Civil Service College

Civil Service College is an organisation offering innovative training courses across subjects, from accountability and governance to leadership training, finance management, project management and personal development.

ESOL English Classes

When living in the UK, it is hard not to use English. If you are not confident in your English language skills, you can try to look for the ESOL classes in your council. These ESOL classes are subsidised by the UK government and it is usually free of charge to enrol and attend.

If the quota of councils’ ESOL classes is full, there are still some paid and free English learning classes available. And some non-governmental organisations also provide some free English practising sessions. However, you should note that the resources allocated to different councils in different cities will be different, and many different organisations are providing these classes.


Northern Ireland



Courses funded by Adult Education Budget

At the moment, most parts of the UK may impose 3-year residency requirement on BN(O) visa holders when they enrol in a course funded by Adult Education Budget (AEB), except Greater London.

From November 2022, if you are a British National (including British Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas)) residing in Greater London, you may be eligible for enrolling in a course funded by AEB immediately on arrival in London. Please inquire the educational institute for further details. You can read the detail in the following website of Greater London Authority:

Nonetheless, please inquire the education institute and/or your local authority concerned to check:

  • Whether a course is funded by AEB;
  • Whether it requires 3-year residency; and/or
  • Whether you are exempted from the 3-year residency requirement.

Please also note that the 3-year residency requirement is not imposed on ESOL English courses approved by local authorities. So, if you are a valid BN(O) Visa holder, you can apply for a space of ESOL English course approved by local authorities straightaway regardless your living place.

Voluntary Service

In the UK, it is very common for people to participate in voluntary work. Newly arrived Hongkongers are advised to find voluntary position. You may meet some new friends locally and this will help you to integrate into the local community more easily. You can practise your English and enhance your CV at the same time. Or even you may discover some job opportunities through your new networks.

There are a lot of voluntary opportunities in the local councils and non-governmental organisations that you can try to have a look at.

To search for volunteering opportunities, please visit the following GOV.UK website for details:

You may also visit the following websites to find volunteering opportunities in your local area:



Northern Ireland



Joining a Trade Union

It is your legal right to join a trade union in the UK.

A trade union can:

  • negotiate agreements with employers on pay and conditions
  • discuss big changes like large scale redundancy
  • discuss members’ concerns with employers
  • go with members to disciplinary and grievance meetings
  • provide legal advice for their members

We highly advise you to join a trade union regardless of your position / company / workplace / industry. The main concern is that trade unions usually have their ‘pre-existing issue policy’. They may not provide any support regarding your existing issue (i.e. injury at work or employment dispute) arisen before the date of your joining.

To find a trade union to join, you can utilise the following website of the UK Government and the tools provided by Trades Union Congress (TUC).

ACAS – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Whether you are an employee or an employer, you may need support regarding employment issues, including:

  • Employment rights
  • Rules
  • Best practice
  • Templates of letters, forms and policy documents
  • Dispute resolution services
  • Training

You can find relevant free services and resources from ACAS on their website.

Unfair dismissal and Injury at work

Please read the following website for a specific topic.

Retirement arrangements

Please read the following resources to understand specific topics regarding retirement arrangements.


For professional taxation advice in the UK, please refer to the following link of a third party (in Hongkongese / Cantonese only).

Regional Supports

You can also find regional employment support information from 12 Hong Kong Welcome Hubs.


Northern Ireland




Please send an email to our Employment Team at if you have any enquiries regarding employment or starting a business in the UK. We apologise that our Employment Team has a heavy workload so please forgive them if they cannot reply to you so soon.

​#英國港僑協會 #港僑協會 #HKB #HongkongersinBritain #MissionPerm #移英港人家園計劃 #移英港人 #移民英國 #BNO #在英港人 #英國 #香港人 #港人 #移英 #移民 #工作 #工作申請 #英國就業 #空缺 #就業 #求職 #career #Employment #搵工 #Job #職位空缺 #就業市場 #英國求職 #英國搵工 #英國勞工權益 #勞工權益 #EmploymentRights #jobvacancies #labourmarket #righttowork #SkillsAdvisoryPanels #NationalCareersService #Jobsearchingplatforms #Ecctis #DisclosureBarringService #UKPoliceForces #DBS #UK#England #義工 #volunteer #voluntary #tax #taxation #稅務 #retirement #pension #退休 #退休金 #唔識英文