Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Working in the UK, spouse visa

This week Janny started her first job.  After applying for so many "entry level" positions over the past couple of months, we were starting to become down hearted by the lack of response.  Given the current economic situation in our area, even the most basic of jobs seem to be saturated with applicants.  So it was a relief when Janny received a phonecall offering her a part-time job within walking distance of our house.  I think the fact that the manager is a regular traveller to Thailand may have been a factor in landing the job but it has also made her feel a lot more relaxed about working for him too.  It's certainly not big money; but more importantly, Janny feels like she is contributing and making her own money rather than relying on me for everything. 

Is working on a spouse visa legal? 

Anyone in the UK on a settlement or "spouse visa" is entitled to work full-time.  I should however point out that only those on a "spouse" and not a "fiance" visa can work.  Anyone entering on a fiance visa is not elligible to work until after they have married and been granted FLR. 

Requesting a NI number (National Insurance)

When we started looking for work for Janny, the first thing we did was apply for a National Insurance number which she needs to work legally and pay NI contributions (should she qualify).  This was a very simple process.  All I had to do was call the NI helpline which can be found on the Directgov website.  I was asked on what date Janny entered the UK, which type of visa she has and why she was requesting a NI number.  Within a couple of days we received an application form in the post which was simple to fill out.  We returned the form with a photocopy of Janny's passport & visa and a couple of weeks later a letter arrived containing Janny's NI number.
Some people have said that they had to attend an inteview at a jobcentre before being issued with a NI number, but that was not the case with my wife.

A tip when applying for jobs

I'm not sure if this had any effect whatsoever on the outcome of my wife's application; But when we first started applying for jobs I contacted some employers direct.  When I told them my wife is Thai, they asked if she was entitled to work.  I thought maybe this had potentially put off some employers from contacting Janny.  From then on, we amended Jannys CV and on any covering letter we included a statement just detailing that she is fully entitled to work under the conditions of her spouse visa.



  1. "Anyone in the UK on a settlement or "spouse visa" is entitled to work full-time."

    This is not exactly correct, UKBA can and does apply certain restriction depending on the status of the spouse, spousal visas granted to partners of persons who are non domicile, or whom are registered as non resident yet may only live in the UK for up to 183 days in the year, and for no longer than 91 consecutive days, can have similar restrictions applied as to those of a student visa. This is not uncommon for partners of people working off-shore in industries like oil and gas, finance or in the armed forces.

    A benefit of applying for an NI directly at a Job Centre Plus facility is that the NI number is issued immediately and in most instances appointments can be offered within a few days.

  2. Congratulations to Janny, I hope she enjoys her new work and it is a good start of better things to come.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Could the visa agencies please stop using this blog to advertise their services? The content, if anything is aimed at advising the reader that such services are NOT required.

    Many Thanks

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Imperial visa as previously, please read my above comment before spamming this blog with your "services"

  7. @Imperial visas - I have respectfully requested on several ocassions that you do not spam your business on this blog. The whole point of this blog is to make it clear to anyone that it is reletively simply to obtain a visa without the need to employ the services of a visa agent like yourself. You obviously haven't bothered to read the comment above yours AGAIN asking you not to comment on my blog. Due to your constant spamming I will now be forced to apply a moderation block on all blog comments!!!!

  8. Hi, I am a Singaporean looking to apply for a Spouse visa to start working in the UK and live with my husband. I was wondering if my current plan is feasible as I do not have any other official outlets to check.

    I will be graduating from uni with an Honours degree in May and would be heading to UK for the Summer for 1.5mths to go for interviews in UK. Only after I snag a job offer and return to Singapore in July will I start applying for Spouse visa, aiming to start working and living in UK in August/September. Your tip about the NI was something I did not know about. Would I need that number before I go for interviews? Also, would I be able to get a job offer (which meets the financial requirements of the visa) BEFORE I apply for the visa? Your help would be very much appreciated!

    Maybe you can reply me at in case your comment box gets messy (:


  9. Hi Ameera,

    You do not need to have a job offer to qualify for the spouse visa. Also to be clear, the new financial requirement of the visa applies to your husband as your sponsor, not yourself. The new minimum salary requirement for sponsors effectively rules out the need to justify how you will afford to live in the UK without recourse to public funds. If he can meet that requirement then that is all that is needed on the financial side of things. So having a job offer before applying for the visa probably won't have any affect


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  11. Hi Jasmina,

    Thanks for your best wishes and I'm glad the blog has been of soem use to you.

    What kind of jobs are you looking to get into, what are your skills? To be honest when my wife first arrived, we found it very difficult to get any responses to many job applications, even for "entry level" positions such as cleaners. It was almost three months after starting her job search that my wife found a part-time job. All we really did was check job websites everyday for updates and applied to as many as possible. We found the best site for us was

    Hope this helps and good luck with the job hunt


  12. Hi Jasmina,

    I am pleased to hear that you got your spouse visa. I am also about to apply for mine and would like to know what you had to submit for your application. If you would be kind enough to share with you may PM me.



  13. Hi,
    I am happy that you have this site, I too was worry that our application for a spouse visa without an agency wouldn't be successfull, but it all worked out at the end.
    I have been living with my husband (and our 16 months old baby) since July 2011 in the UK. I have been looking for employment since we arrived, in fact, I had an interview online 2 weeks before we landed in the UK. I applied for NI the same week I arrived and countinued to searched until the week before giving birth. I continued when my son was 3 months, and I am still looking. So far, I have had 6 interviews. No job yet. My cover letter states that I have no restrictions to work in the UK. However, it looks like it puts off a lot of employers.
    My probationary period is about to expire in July 2013, since I entered the country before the new rule came into place.
    I am very worried because my husband is self employed and we were relying on me finding employment in order to apply for residency. Our income does not exceed the new rules of 26,000 a year. And for what I have gather so far from the UKBA (now to be scraped) and immigration officers, they say they will use the old rules, but effectivily apply the new ones with different excuses.
    You sound like a smart man, do you have any information about our chances of residency?
    My husband is British by birth, and so is my son.
    We have a small business with profits of about 14,000 a year.
    We live with my husband's parents.
    We have small savings, under 7,000.
    Last year, as my husband was also unssuccessful to find employment, we started a small business and were told to apply for Tax Credits. We were told this does not break the rules of No recourse to public funds.... ????
    I have called HMRC, and they assure me that this will not affect.
    In any case even with Tax Credits, we don't hit the 26,000 mark.
    Sorry this became long. Hope to hear from you.
    By the way, my job search is just as an admin.


  14. Hi Steve
    A very useful site !
    My wife arrived one month ago and I am in the process of making her presence in the UK "visible" for employment, banking and other uses.
    In the process of obtaining a visa I used a so called "expert" who attempted to charge me £1400 ! This was an "immigration" lawyer, who appeared to know less than I did. I refused to pay, they settled out of court and I did the visa myself.
    Happy to offer unofficial unpaid advice in general terms to anyone.The process is relatively simple but very detailed. Providing you have the right records anyone can complete it.
    Best wishes to all

  15. Thanks Geoff,

    Very true. When people first start looking into the visa process it can feel very daunting, so in a way I can understand why some would be scared to do the work themselves. But like you say, it really is quite straightforward as long as you read the relevant information and tick all the boxes. Unfortunately these "immigration experts" play on that fear and take advantage with extortionate fee's. I even had to put a block on comments on this blog because it was being spammed daily by some of these companies. I now have to moderate all comments :(

    Anyway, hope your wife is settling in well. At first when the visa is granted and your wife arrives it may feel like the hard work is done. In reality it's just the begiining. Remember to keep up to date with the ever changing rules (new LITUK test & B1 English requirement is just one example)

    All the best

  16. hi guys my name is Graeme hope you dont mind me getting involved as ive just managed in FEB 2013 to get my wife and stepson aged 12 into the UK , both are Indonesian Nationals and I may be able to help with info regarding spouse visa/ working in UK/ NI contribution and tax. I have done all the work myself on their behalf without the use of expensive and unnecessary agents etc. Just ask the questions and I will try to help anyone

  17. Hi Khun and Graeme,

    I just received my spouse visa yesterday and my fried who is now in living in the UK is really confusing me. She was on a fiance visa they got married and she finally received her spouse visa. Now she has a biometric residence permit, which i don't have. I applied in the Philippines and they gave me a stamped spouse visa which has a three year validity. My question is am I going yo have the biometric residence permit after my spouse visa? When should I enroll? Can i find or get a job or will be allowed to get a job with my bare spouse visa alone? My other friend who has applied and had her spouse visa last 2010 told me that yes I can definitely work with my spouse visa but I' am really confuse and I need to know what is the real deal.

    Also with the spouse visa are we allowed to travel to Europe without getting Schenzen visa?. Again this other friend of mine said that her Filipina friend and the british husband has traveled to Sweden without the spouse obtaining a Sweden visa and she just showed her biometric residence permit. But my other friend said that even residents needs to obtain a visa if traveling around Europe. (By the way i' am Philippines passport holder and same as with my friends). So I hope you can help me. A response will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.


  18. hi thank you for this blog. I followed it and got advice on how to go about my spouse visa application. I got my visa 2 months ago and came into UK a month ago. I applied for an NI number and I just sent back my application form. am now awaiting the process. thank a lot.

    however l wanted to go into nursing but with this "no recourse to public funds" issue, I'm not sure if I will be eligible for NHS funding, or to any higher education school fees funds at all. please if you have any information on this would you mind sharing it. am not sure to what extend this statement limits us as spouses of british nationals.