If you are a ‘visa national’, you will be required to apply for a Standard Visitor visa before you can visit the UK. Although non-visa nationals do not need to apply for a Standard Visit visa, both visa and non-visa nationals are subject to the same visitor restrictions. Visitors travelling to the UK are allowed to conduct certain narrowly defined activities. Generally speaking, you can visit the UK as a Standard Visitor:
for tourism, for example on a holiday or vacation
to see your family or friends (including your unmarried partner)
to volunteer for up to 30 days with a registered charity
to pass through the UK to another country (‘in transit’)
for certain business activities, for example attending a meeting, an interview or a workshop
to take part in a school exchange programme
to do a recreational course of up to 30 days, for example a dance course
This is not an exhaustive list and contains many restrictions. If your main purpose of travel is looking for work, you need to ensure that the activities you plan on conducting are permitted activities.
On a Standard Visitor visa, you are permitted to attend interviews, meetings, conferences, and seminars, as well as negotiate and sign contracts as part of your work search. However, you need to bear in mind that you are not permitted to undertake substantive or productive work in the UK, or to be paid by a UK source (subject to some exceptions).
This does not prevent you from engaging in personal projects and doing minor and unplanned work for your foreign employer, provided you don’t take up local employment. You should seek legal advice before conducting business activities in the UK, as undertaking activities beyond the permitted scope can impact future UK immigration applications. If you are caught, you may be deported to your home country, or require additional documents when next you plan on travelling to the UK, or even face a multi-year entry ban.
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