Can you work in the UK without IELTS?

Many aspirants experience anxieties about moving to a new country for study, work, or permanent residence. One of the most prominent concerns among applicants is regarding the English language proficiency requirements they are ought to meet such as the IELTS.  

It is possible to work in the UK without IELTS only if you are a native English Speaker or a citizen of an English Speaking country. For a job in the UK, any other non-native speaker is required to show their English Language proficiency by meeting the required IELTS or any other English language proficiency test scores.

Can you work in the UK without IELTS

Depending on the line of work you are engaged in, the IELTS requirement differs.

Can I do part-time work in the UK without IELTS?

You can work part-time without having to submit an IELTS certificate if your employer does not necessitate it. There is no legal obligation that you have an IELTS certification in order to be hired. However, basic English language competency is required to survive in any profession in the UK, and you must pass both the IELTS and the UK Life Skills test when applying for permanent residency after continuously residing and working in the UK for 5 years without a break.

Part-time work is usually done by students who study full time at the universities. Many universities require their students to submit IELTS scores to gain entry into their courses. Thus non native speakers would often possess an IELTS certification as it is required to get accepted to reputed universities.

Can I do full-time work in the UK without IELTS?

Without a valid IELTS score, you cannot work in the UK on a permanent full-time basis. Even if you are awarded a job and subsequent sponsorship without IELTS, you will be needed to demonstrate a legitimate score during the visa processing stage.

The UK Skilled worker visa is the most common type of visa in which full-time employers enter the country. For the issuing of a skilled worker visa, a candidate should possess the following:

  1. A Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer. 
  2. Show that you are receiving an appropriate salary.
  3. Proof of English communication skills.
  4. Proof of maintenance funds.

In which other visas can I work in the UK?

Apart from the skilled worker visa, the following visa classifications will allow you to work in the UK:

Type of visa Description IELTS requirement
Temporary work visa For temporary workers in the UK less than one year IELTS is not mandatory. The English language criteria for the visa must be met by either IELTS for UKVI (General) with a minimum score of 4 bands in all four modules or a UK NARIC report for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree qualification.
Youth Mobility Visa2-year work permit for young people aged 18-30(eligibility is limited to certain countries)Although IELTS is not mandatory, you should provide proof that the mode of delivery of your education for schooling and/or graduation was in English.
Paid Permitted Engagement VisaShort-term entry for experts invited to the UK ( for up to one month)IELTS is not required.
UK Work Visa Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) VisaTo apply for this visa, you must have access to at least £50,000 (Rs.49,10,272.40) in investment money that can be used to start a business in the UK. This visa allows you to stay for three years and four months, with the option of extending it afterwards.IELTS is required.
Investor VisaFor international investors with a minimum of £2 million to invest in a UK business.IELTS is not required.
Health and Care Worker visaFor qualified health-care employees, particularly nurses. They can stay for three years on the visa and then renew it for another two.A maximum IELTS score of 6 is only needed.
Intra company visaAn onsite employment opportunity will be given from within the company. IELTS is not necessary.
Minister of religion visa When a person is offered a job within a faith community (for example as a minister of religion, missionary, or member of a religious order) in the UK. IELTS is necessary as English language proficiency proof has to be submitted for visa approval.

For more information about further types of visa offered by the UK click hereOpens in a new tab.

Can I go to the UK without a job offer ?

You must have a job offer from an approved UK employer before you apply for a Skilled Worker visa. Approved employers are also known as sponsors, because they are sponsoring you to come to or stay in the UK. Along with the offer, there are several other requirements that you should satisfy including gaining a valid IELTS score for the issuing of the visa.

You can change your Graduate route visa (student visa) to a work visa if you are already in the UK on a study visa. If you are offered a job with sponsorship at the end of your study, you can change your visa status from student visa to skilled worker visa. If you are unable to find a job at the end of your course, you can switch to the post study work visa for two years and find a sponsorship job within this time.

Can I work if I qualify any other exam than the IELTS?

The English proficiency test you must take is determined by your field of work. OET is a well regarded English proficiency test for healthcare professionals. Almost all major healthcare organisations prioritise OET scores instead of IELTS. Some organisations accept PTE scores as well but for working in most of the other fields, IELTS is mandatory. 

Health practitioners have additional options for employment purposes because both IELTS and OET are accepted. Academic IELTS is taken for job purposes by nurses, pharmacists, doctors, and other medical professionals. However, pharmacists, radiologists, and other specialists are expected to take the General IELTS for registration and immigration requirements. The score required to qualify for work in a specific field is determined by the demands made by the governing authority of that particular employment sector.

Should I take UKVI IELTS to work in the UK?

The organisation or professional governing authority entirely determines the requirement of UKVI IELTS. The UKVI IELTS, in conjunction with the Life Skills Test, is used solely for visa and immigration requirements to the UK. The sole distinction between IELTS and UKVI IELTS is that a camera will be installed in the examination room to watch each candidate for identity validation and failsafe visa processing.

Even if you have already passed the IELTS, you may be required to take the UKVI IELTS for visa requirements. However, if you already have the qualifying IELTS exam scores, the UKVI scores required would be quite low, typically a band 4 or 5. Visit our blog for more information on the UKVI IELTS.

Shruthi Raveendran

I am Shruthi Raveendran, a TEFL-certified IELTS/PTE and ESL tutor who has 8+ years of experience working in the education industry. I am a passionate writer, logophile and film enthusiast

Recent Posts