Non UK workers are a vital part of the archaeological workforce. FAME members Headland Archaeology are sharing some useful guidance designed to clarify the current position for foreign workers looking to work in UK archaeology. This is based on the latest UK government advice but we can only vouch for its accuracy as of today. We will try to keep up with developments and keep you posted.
Want to work in archaeology?
Below you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions about working in archaeology in UK, as a non-UK citizen.
Q: I’m an archaeologist from EU. Pending Brexit, am I allowed to work in UK?
A: Yes. You’re your ability to work in the UK will depend on the time of your arrival in UK.
Graphic from the GOV.uk website explaining the current situation.
Agreement on rights for EU citizens and their families
The agreement we have reached for EU citizens and their families is:
- People who, by 29 March 2019, have been continuously and lawfully living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means they will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
- People who arrive by 29 March 2019, but won’t have been living here lawfully for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
- Family members who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK by 29 March 2019 will also be able to apply for settled status, usually after 5 years in the UK.
- Close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) will be able to join EU citizens after exit, where the relationship existed on 29 March 2019.
Q: I’m an archaeologist from outside EU. What should I do to work in UK?
A: You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you:
- want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
- are aged 18 to 30
- have £1,890 in savings
- are from: Australia/Canada/Japan/Monaco/New Zealand/Hong Kong/Republic of Korea/Taiwan
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/tier-5-youth-mobility
Q: I am from the commonwealth with British grandparents. Do I have to apply for visa?
A: You can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa. It is for 5 Years, extendable with potential to settle in the UK permanently.
You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you:
- are a Commonwealth citizen
- are applying from outside the UK
- can prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
- are able and planning to work in the UK
- are 17 or over
- have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants
- can and plan to work in the UK
For more information visit: http://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries
Q: What if I don’t meet the above criteria ?
A: Then you need to obtain a Tier 2 visa. Depending on your circumstances there are various requirements but the most usual are:
- You need to be sponsored by an employer so you will have to make a case to them
- To be paid a salary of £30,000 per year in the UK (only with an exception for PhD holders),
- To have at least £945 in your bank account 90 days before you apply for the visa
- To pass an English knowledge test.
You should have a decision on your visa within 3 weeks from your application.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general
Q: If I am eligible how can I obtain a British passport?
A: If you wish to get a British passport, the options are two:
- You have a parent that had been born in a place that entitles them to British citizenship rather than inheriting it from your grandparents, or
- You must become a British citizen. Some of the requirements are :
- You must have lived 5 years in UK
- You haven’t broken any immigration laws
- You pass the Life in UK test, which consists of 24 questions covering topics such as British values, history, traditions and everyday life
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/becoming-a-british-citizen
Q: What documents do I need to travel to UK?
A: If you are an EEA citizen until 29th of March 2019 a passport or any form of ID allows you to travel, live and work to the UK. After that date the passport will be the most likely way to visit to the UK.
If you’re not from an EEA country you must have a valid passport to enter the UK. It must be valid for the whole of your stay. You may also need a visa, depending on which country you’re from.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control/before-you-leave-for-the-uk
Q: What do I need to start living and working in UK?
A: Apart from your passport (we recommend holding a passport as your official photographic ID), you will require a place to stay, a National Insurance Number and a bank account.
A place to stay
You can look online through several websites/platforms that letting agencies and private landlords use. The prices are either pw (= per week) or pm (=per month). On top of your rent, you will have to pay council tax. Council tax is a domestic tax based on property value. Water bills are included in council tax only in Scotland. In England, water bills must be paid separately, same as gas/electricity There are 8 bands from A to H and each band matches with a fixed amount that can be found on your local council’s website. For example, if you intend to move to Edinburgh this can be found on Edinburgh Council’s website. The closer your band is to H, the more expensive the council tax will be but at the same time the better the property will probably be.
A National Insurance Number
Q: What is National Insurance Number (NINo) and how can I get it?
A: Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number for monitoring tax and national insurance payments. It is unique to you and will never change. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and the tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
You do not need a NINo in order to start working, however, you must begin the procedure as soon as you start. You will be given a provisional NINo until you receive your permanent one.
You will need to apply by phone for a National Insurance number. The National Insurance number application line is 0800 141 2075. Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number
A bank account
To open a bank account, you will need to either phone or visit a branch in order to book an appointment. The high street banks usually require proof of ID, proof of address and proof of employment. Please visit a bank’s website to find about the process since it might differ from bank to bank.
For proof of ID you can provide any of the following:
- Full and current passport
- Full and current photocard driving licence
- Current UK Provisional photocard driving licence
- Current EU/EEA National identity photo card.
For proof of employment your employer can provide:
- A letter with the details of your employment, addressed to the bank of your choice.
For proof of address you must provide any of the following:
- Bank, Building Society or Credit Union statement (showing a minimum of 2 transactions within the last 3 months)
- Utility bill/utility statement dated within the last 3 months
- Council tax bill for current Council Tax billing year and dated in the last 12 months
- Full and current UK photocard driving licence (only if not used as proof of identity)
- Jobcentre Plus letter dated within the last 3 months, containing your address and your allocated National Insurance Number (NiNo).
Q: How do I apply for jobs in archaeology?
A: You can visit the British Archaeological Jobs and Recourses website at http://www.bajr.org/.
Q: How the medical system works in UK?
In UK, the number 999 must be dialled when seeking emergency assistance from police, fire brigade or ambulances. You can get medical advice over the phone from the 24h NHS (National Health Services) line, by calling 111, and explaining what the issue is. Appointments in hospitals, dental clinics etc, can also be arranged at any day of the year.
After you settle your accommodation, you must register to a local GP. GP stands for General Practitioner, or local doctor.
For more information about English GPs visit: https://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSservices/doctors/Pages/NHSGPs.aspx
For more information about Scottish GPs visit:
The main difference between Scotland and England is that in Scotland you can get prescribed medicine at no cost, while in England you must pay a set charge per item.
For more information visit:
Q: What if I need help to understand how the accommodation, the legal system and benefits work?
A: Citizens Advice provides free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems. You can book an appointment and discuss with an advisor there, about your issue.
For more information visit: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
Q: How can I improve my English?
A: For many of the people who live and succeed in UK, English is not their mother tongue. Your local council offers free courses that you can attend. Another way is to subscribe to an online course, or use an app to work on your English skills, downloading one of the various apps available.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/improve-english-maths-it-skills
Q: I have an EU/EEA driving license. Can I drive in UK?
A: In archaeology having a driving license is essential for senior roles. If you have a valid EU/EEA licence, you can drive any vehicle covered by the categories shown on your licence. Remember that in the UK we drive in the in the left-hand lane, and the driver sits on the right-hand side of the car.
If you intend to bring your own car or buy a car in UK, please be aware of any parking restrictions in your area. Parking can be expensive in certain areas so always do research beforehand.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/driver-and-vehicle-licensing-agency
Q: I have a young child, what are my options for childcare?
A: You have different options for parenting and public or private childcare in UK. The information will differ from area to area, so you will need to search for the option you’ll have based on the town/area you’re looking to move to.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/childcare
Q: What about schools?
A: The general rule is that your child will have to attend a school based on his/her permanent address but please check the government’s website for information based on your needs. There are plenty private or public options.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/browse/childcare-parenting/schools-education