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Work & Money

Work / Money Matters / Useful URLs


Finding work

Careers Scotland

Work permits and registration

Worker Registration Scheme

Your rights at work

National Minimum Wage

Equal Opportunities

Finding work

There are a number of ways people can find out about job opportunities within the area. Many people find work through private employment agencies, or advertisements in the local press. Jobcentre Plus is a government agency which provides a free service to help you find a job. You can call in to your local office, search for jobs online, or use the Jobseeker Direct telephone line 0845 60 60 234.

Skills Development Scotlandcan give you information and advice about the skills and qualification requirements for jobs, where and how you can learn and pay for training, etc. It is a free service to anyone wishing help to plan their future employment, training or learning.

Work permits and registration

If you are a British citizen, a Swiss national or a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) you do not need permission to work in the United Kingdom.

If you are not from the EEA, you will need to make sure you have the correct visa to work in the UK. The Working in the UK website provides information about the various routes open to Foreign Nationals who want to come and work in the United Kingdom.

If you are an asylum seeker you must request permission to work from the Home Office, which will only usually be granted if you have been waiting more than 12 months for an initial decision on your application. If you have been granted Refugee Status or Leave to Remain, you do not need a permit to work in the UK. The Scottish Refugee Council can provide advice, information and assistance.

More information on moving to, living and working in Scotland can be found at Scotland is the Place.

The countries of the EEA are:

Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

Workers from A8 countries permits and registration

Workers from Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia no longer register on the Worker Registration Scheme – this ended on 30 April 2011.

However, you may still be asked by an agency (for example JobCentre Plus) to show your Worker Registration Scheme certificates issued before 30 April 2011 to prove that you have worked and can claim benefits.

You and your family members can work in any job (even if studying) in the UK and can set-up, run and manage your own business. If self-employed you must register as soon as possible with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs by phoning 0845 915 4515.

Family members from non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries should get an EEA Family Permit from the UK Border Agency.

If you are from Romania and Bulgaria

Bulgarians and Romanians do not have an automatic right (until end of 2013) to work in the UK unless you are exempt. This could be for a number of reasons, for example if you had leave to enter under the 1971 Immigration act with no employment restrictions.

If you are not exempt there are several options for you but you must not begin working until you have been given permission to do so:

Accession Worker Card (AWC) – you can only apply for this once your employer issues you with a “letter of approval” from the UK Border Agency - to obtain this the employer must complete a Work Permit application form and the job or the individual must meet certain criteria depending on the work in question. The AWC only allows you to do the job it is issued for – it is purple in colour and also known as “purple registration card.” You apply using form BR3.

Some Bulgarians and Romanians can apply for the AWC without the letter of approval from the employer – this is for 11 categories of work:

  • Airport-based operational ground staff
  • au pair placements
  • domestic workers in a private household
  • minister of religion
  • overseas government employees
  • post graduate doctors, dentists and trained GPs
  • private servants in a diplomatic household
  • representatives of an overseas newspaper/agency
  • sole representatives of overseas businesses
  • teachers and language assistants on approved exchange scheme
  • overseas qualified nurses undertaking supervised practice

You apply using form BR3

Highly skilled individuals – if you meet the criteria for some other immigration schemes which are or were open to non-EEA people – for example the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme or Post Study Work – you can apply for a blue registration certificate – this will give you unrestricted access to the UK labour market. You apply using form BR2.

Self-employed – you do not require permission to be self-employed in the UK but you are advised to obtain a yellow registration certificate – this will show potential customers that you are allowed to do the work in question. You apply using form BR1. If self-employed you must register as soon as possible with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs by phoning 0845 915 4515.

Students – Bulgarian and Romanian students at UK educational institutions may work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during official holidays. However you will need to acquire a yellow registration certificate, using form BR1, before you do any work at all. You must also provide evidence of having Comprehensive Sickness Insurance to obtain this certificate.

Once you have been working legally in the UK for at least 12 months without a break in employment you will have unrestricted access to the UK labour market. For example a student working part-time for a year would meet this. However a self-employed person would not – the 12 months work must be for an employer.

There are also two schemes in agriculture and food processing for Bulgarians and Romanians:

Sectors Based Scheme - for those aged 18-30 to be employed for a maximum of 6 months in certain posts in the fish, meat and mushroom processing sector which are difficult to fill from the resident labour market.

Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme – for farmers and growers in the UK to recruit workers for short-term agricultural work.

For more information on Bulgarians and Romanians and working in the UK please see the UK Border agency website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/eucitizens/bulgaria-romania/

The accession workers’ helpline number is 0114 207 6022

The Relocation Advisory Service’s number is 0300 244 6824

Your rights at work

All workers in the UK are entitled to a legal National Minimum Wage, and are protected by a system of laws including on working hours, health and safety, discrimination, deductions from wages and more.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), the organisation that represents Britain’s trade unions, has produced a leaflet for people coming to work in the UK. The leaflet provides comprehensive information on your rights, and where to go for help and advice. The leaflet can be downloaded in the following languages:

  • Czech
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Hungarian
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Slovak
  • French
  • Spanish

On the online advice pages of the Citizens Advice Bureau you will also find a leaflet specifically on migrant workers and their rights.

Other useful information about rights at work can be found at Direct.gov website, which explains what to do in many situations such as if you are pregnant, if there is a problem at work or when you start a new job.

You can also get advice from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Agency workers are a special group of workers that have slightly different rights and entitlements than other permanent workers. TUC leaflet “Agency workers have rights too!” will give you basic information about the rights you have if you work for an agency.

National Minimum Wage

This is the minimum that you can be paid for each hour that you work:

The current rates (from 1 October 2011) are:

  • £6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
  • £4.98 - the 18-20 rate
  • £3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
  • £2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

Tips given directly to you do not count, but any paid through your pay packet do.

Your employer can make deductions from your wages. See the Rules for making deductions from your Pay for more information on the rules on deductions.

Equal Opportunities

Discrimination is illegal in Scotland on the grounds of Race, Gender, Disability, Belief & Religion, Sexual Orientation and Age. Some of the laws apply only to employment but some also apply to goods, facilities and services, education and property. Anti-discrimination legislation is enforced at present by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) as well as through private solicitors. The three commissions are soon to be merged into one single Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

For up-to-date information on all Equality and Diversity issues, including how to find free-of-charge advice, help and training, contact the Highlands & Islands Equality Forum Telephone 01463 251734 or email hief@scvo.org.uk.

Money Matters

Tax & National Insurance

Every worker in the UK needs a National Insurance Number to work legally. This number keeps a track of Your National Insurance contributions, which are a kind of tax. You apply for a National Insurance Number by telephoning 0845 6000 643. Someone will ask for your details and tell you what you need to do next.

You will also have to pay Income Tax. The amount of tax you pay depends on a number of factors. Every worker has a tax Code, which an employer uses to work out how much tax they should pay on your behalf. If you are starting your first job in the UK you will probably have to pay “emergency tax” (at a higher rate) until you have been given a tax code.

Some employers may offer you a job without paying tax or National Insurance (known as ”cash in hand”). This is against the law. If they are breaking this law, they may well break other employment laws, such as those which protect your safety at work. It will be very hard to enforce any of your legal rights if you are working illegally.

Bank accounts

It is important to open an account with a bank or building society, as most employers will pay your wages directly into your account. Various types of accounts are available from each bank and building society, and you may want to seek information from more than one, if there is a choice in your area. You can also bank at Post Offices.

To open an account, you must provide proof of identity (passport, national identity card or national driving licence) and proof of UK address (tenancy agreement or letter from your employer)

The British Banking Association produces leaflets with information on opening accounts for people coming from outside the UK.

Opening a bank account if you are new to the UK

International students – Opening a UK bank account

Highland Council Money Advice Team

The Highland Council Money Advice Team offers a free, confidential and non-judgemental advice and assistance service for those worried about their financial situation. The team has officers based in Inverness 01463 228709; Wick 01955 607752; Fort William 01397 707005

You can also contact them by email: money.advice@highland.gov.uk

Credit unions

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer savings and good value loans for members in the local area.

Inverness Credit Union Ltd

74 Telford Street

Inverness, IV3 6RT

Telephone: 01463 220884

Lochaber Credit Union Ltd

Community Clinic
Glen Nevis Place
Fort William, PH33 6DA

Telephone: 01397 700746

Welfare benefits

There are many different benefits available in the UK for people without work, people on a low income, people with children, older people, people with disabilities, or who are sick or who have support needs.

The rules about who can qualify for any particular benefit or tax credit are often complicated, and may be dependent on your immigration status or work permit.

If you have money problems, or if think you may be entitled to claim a benefit or tax credit, contact your local advice centre.

Useful URLs

Jobcentre Plus http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk

Careers Scotland http://www.careers-scotland.org.uk

Scottish Refugee Council http://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/

Scotland is the Place www.scotlandistheplace.com

Trades Union Congresshttp://www.tuc.org.uk/

The Advice Guidehttp://www.adviceguide.org.uk

Highlands and Islands Equality Forumwww.hief.org.uk

Centre for Economic and Social Inclusionhttp://www.cesi.org.uk

Post Officehttp://www.postoffice.co.uk

British Bankers Associationhttp://www.bba.org.uk/bba/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=138&a=3970

Highland Councilhttp://www.highland.gov.uk

This page was last updated on 01/04/20012.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme