The UK officially left the EU in June, but not much has changed yet. EU nationals can still come to live and work in the UK. Sadly, on 1 January 2021 this will change and it will be more difficult to come here to live and work. So, if you're thinking about coming to live and work in the UK, the perfect time is now!

1. Choose a city

Lots of people choose to go where they have friends. Some people go for London for its size or opt for Birmingham. However, we think Edinburgh is the perfect choice! 


  London Birmingham Edinburgh
Cost of Living High Medium Medium
Size The UK's biggest city, with 9 million people. It often takes a long time to get around. Birmingham has a popularton of just over a million.   Edinburgh is a compact city, with a popularion of around 500,000. Not too big and not too small.

A big city, but it has a river and some big parks

There are some nice parts, but it isn't generally considered to be very beautiful (sorry Birmingham!) One of the most beautiful cities in the UK. It has a castle, extinct volcano, many parks and is close to the highlands.
Transport Very good transport network, but it's quite expensive to use Mostly buses, operated by private companies. Modern and comprehensive bus network and a tram line.  You can walk or cycle most places too.
Nightlife Great options, but unfortunately going out can be expensive Not really famous for its nightlife, although of course there are some options A good mix of options! From traditional Scottish pubs to student clubs.


2. Decide when to come

To be able to live and work here without any restrictions, you must arrive by 31 December 2020. You might want to wait a little for restrictions around COVID-19 to ease and check that you don't have to self-isolate on arrival. Check the Scottish Government website to know if you have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

3. Find a language school

If you need some more confidence in your English to live and work in the UK, then studying at a language school can help. Make sure you find the right one for you.


  • Check school reviews on Facebook and Google.
  • If you are in the city, take a trial class. Some schools will let you take a free trial class to check the course is right for you.
  • If you are not in Edinburgh, ask for a Skype chat with a teacher. What kind of activities do they do in the class? If you are going to spend 1000s of £s in their school, this is a reasonable request.
  • Ask how many years of experience the teachers have
  • If you want to work and study at the same time, make sure the school offers a flexible schedule. Can you change from studying full-time to part-time when you get a job? Do the part-time courses let you change your hours if your rota changes?


4. Find somewhere to live

You may be able to get accommodation with a language school initially or use sites like AirBnB or a hotel or hostel. Here are some good options for short-term accommodation. Then, find somewhere to live more permanently. Sharing a flat with people who don't speak your language is a great way to make friends and become more fluent in English. Make sure you ask the right questions - check this guide for more information.

5. Prepare to work

It's a good idea to get a National Insurance Number (NINO) as soon as possible. You don't need one to start work, but it makes things easier. You should also update your CV to make it as attractive to employers and write an effective cover letter. If you're studying with us, we can help you at our free CV Workshop.

EU nationals who arrive in 2020, can live and work in the UK permanently! If you arrive before 31 December 2020 and want to stay after 30 June 2021, the only thing you need to do is complete some forms on the government website. Search "settled status" for more information.

infographic showing how to come to the UK to live and work

Frequently Asked Questions

Can EU citizens work in the UK?

Yes! There are no restrictions on working and living in the UK for people arriving in the UK by 31 December 2020. You can keep working in 2021 if you arrive in 2020.

What happens if I want to arrive in 2021?

The UK government hasn't announced its plans in detail yet. However, it's likely that EU citizens who arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 will need a visa to work in the UK. We don't know how this will work, but the numbers may be limited, you may have to pay, and you may need a job offer or a certain English level to apply.

Can I still access the national health service (NHS)?

Yes! If you arrive by 31 December 2020, you'll be able to work in the UK, use the NHS for free, enrol in education, access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you're eligible for them and travel in and out of the UK. All you have to do is remember to complete some forms on the government website before 30 June 2021. Search 'settled status' for more information.

What is 'settled status'?

You need to apply for pre-settled status or settled status so that you can keep living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. It's a simple process and it's free. You'll get pre-settled status if you arrived in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 and have lived here for less than 5 years and settled status if you have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. Find out exactly what the dfference are on the UK government website

Is it free to apply for settled status?

Yes. You should apply on the Government website.

Can I leave the UK after I get pre-settled status?

Yes, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your pre-settled status. You can also go on holiday any year, as long as you spend at least 6 months of any 12 month period in the UK. See the UK government website for more information.

To find out how you can combine an English course with a job in the Edinburgh, watch the video on our General English page