Teaching in England but qualified from outside the UK


Teaching in England can be a great career choice if you have qualified from outside the UK.

If you qualified outside of the UK there are a number of steps you will need to take. 

The Department for Education (DfE) explains you will need:

  • The correct visa or status
  • Teaching skills and experience you can demonstrate to an employer
  • To pass criminal and professional safeguarding checks (these will be organised by your employer)

We have published another support article on the topic of enhanced DBS checks here.

It can also be helpful to have:

  • A teaching qualification (this can be from your own or another non-UK country)
  • English ‘qualified teacher status’ (QTS)

In this article, we look at qualifications you will need to teach in England and link to additional information. 

If you are looking for employment support as a new teacher to England you can subscribe to Edapt and we will be able to support you.

Teaching in England: do I need to have QTS as an international teacher?

The DfE explains that international qualified teachers are allowed to work as a teacher in England for up to 4 years without QTS. 

This is called the ‘4 year rule’

The 4-year rule applies to overseas teachers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • They qualified as a teacher in a country outside of the UK
  • They have completed a course of teacher training that is recognised by the competent authority of that country
  • They are employed in maintained schools and non-maintained special school, but not a pupil referral unit

However, in many schools funded by the UK government in England known as state schools, teachers must have QTS. 

Even where QTS is not a legal requirement, the majority of English schools use it to assess the quality of candidates for teaching jobs.

You can find out more about the different types of schools in the English education system here.

You can apply for QTS if you trained outside the UK here.

Teaching in England: applying for a skilled worker visa

The DfE explains that the main visa route for non-uk teachers in England is the skilled worker visa.

To apply for a skilled worker visa, you will first need to search for a teaching job in England. You can use the UK government’s Teaching vacancies service to search for available teaching roles.

Before you apply for a teaching job, you will need to find out whether the school is a Home Office licensed employer sponsor. Sometimes it will be the local authority or academy trust that holds the sponsor licence instead of the individual school. 

You could check the Home Office’s Register of licensed sponsors: workers but you should also check directly with the school. Sponsors can help you apply for your visa, and schools can apply to be employer sponsors in order to employ you.

You’ll be able to apply for your skilled worker visa if:

Salary requirement for a skilled worker visa

The salary threshold you must meet depends on your qualification status and region.

This table shows the minimum salary non-UK teachers must earn to be eligible for a skilled worker visa, by region and status (QTS and non-QTS).

Inner London Outer London London fringe Rest of England
QTS £32,157 £29,915 £26,948 £25,714
Non-QTS £22,849 £21,582 £20,480 £20,480

These thresholds match the minimum salaries on the national teachers’ pay ranges, except for the non-QTS rates in the London fringe and the rest of England, where the threshold is the minimum for a skilled worker visa.

We have another published another support which outlines pay scales for teachers in England.

You can email [email protected] for further assistance.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.