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How Many Hours Can A Dependent Work in UK?

Overseas workers living in the UK may bring a spouse, unmarried partner, civil partner, or immediate family members on a Dependant Visa, which permits them to work in the UK for as many hours as they like.

Contact IAS online for further information on eligibility to apply for a Dependant Visa, and speak to one of our dedicated immigration lawyers on 0333 305 9375, or use our live chat.


Can Dependents Work in the UK?

Migrant workers on eligible visa categories can bring dependants to the country to work or study full-time in the UK if they can prove they have the necessary funds to support them and fulfil other requirements.

All dependants over the age of 16 who come to the UK to work on a Dependant Visa can do so for the duration of their visa without needing sponsorship and face few restrictions.

Mostly, dependants can work at any professional level, in any field, including on a freelance basis. However, the Home Office doesn’t allow those on a Dependant Visa to work as a doctor or dentist in training, sports professional, or sports coach.

Dependents can also come to the UK to study without restrictions on the course or place of study via the Family Visa route. However, they may be required to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval.

Which UK Visas Allow Dependents?

Main visa holders can bring dependent family members to the UK as a dependant for work if their visa type is any of the following:

  • Skilled Worker Visa
  • Global Talent Visa
  • High Potential Individual Visa
  • Health and Care Worker Visa (with some restrictions)
  • Innovator Founder Visa
  • Government Authorised Exchange Visa
  • Scale-up Worker Visa
  • Graduate visa (If your dependants were on your Student Visa)

UK Student Dependent Visa new rules mean holders can not bring dependents to the UK unless their postgraduate course is designated as a research programme. Eligible programmes include PhDs and other doctoral qualifications or master’s programmes with a research component, including a requirement to produce original work. Student Visa holders who began their course before the start of 2024 are not subject to the new rules.

Those coming to the UK on a Health and Care Worker visa will also face restrictions, with care workers in certain roles no longer able to bring dependants to the UK.

If you are unsure if your current UK visa allows you to bring a loved one to the UK, contact IAS for further advice and options.

How Many Hours Can Dependents Work in the UK?

UK Visa holders on a Skilled Foreign Worker Visa do not have any restrictions on the hours worked for their sponsoring employee. However, they must not exceed 20 hours of additional unsponsored work if they work a second job (unless voluntary).

Their dependants working in the UK on a Dependant Visa have no restrictions regarding minimum or maximum working hours. They can work as many hours as they choose to, under any employer, or as a self-employed worker on a freelance basis, although they must follow UK employment and taxation laws.

Parents playing with child, outside

Studying in the UK as a Dependent

A dependant can come to the UK as a dependant and then study on a part-time or full-time basis with any Dependant Visa, including a Student Dependant Visa.

A Student Dependant Visa allows a holder to study in the UK for up to the same time approved on the main visa. The same applies if you are a dependent of a work visa – in this case, if the main visa holder has been working in the UK for at least five years, and the student dependant wishes to remain in the UK, they may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) at the same time as the main visa holder.

Types of Family Members Who Can Come as Dependents

Only spouses, partners, and direct family members can enter the UK and apply for a UK Dependant Visa. This includes a married or civil partner, an unmarried partner who has lived with the main visa holder for at least two years, and children under 18. They do not need to apply at the same time as their partner.

A qualifying dependent can also include an adult coming to the UK to be looked after long-term by a parent, grandchild, brother, sister, son or daughter. There are restrictions to this category, including that appropriate care must not already be accessible in the dependent’s home country.

Partners and spouses who wish to come to the UK as dependants must provide proof of their relationship with the main visa holder, such as a marriage certificate, shared utility bills, and tenancy agreements. For child dependants under 18, the main visa holder must prove that the child is dependent on the main visa holder or their partner such as providing the birth certificate or adoption papers.

Get in touch with our expert lawyers for assistance on your immigration application.

How Can IAS Help You?

Are you looking for guidance on how to apply for a dependent visa in the UK? If you are uncertain about your eligibility, the IAS team has years of experience helping dependants with their UK visa applications.

Our team of experts will be able to answer any questions regarding how many hours you can work and the legal responsibilities that come with a UK Dependant Visa.

We provide up-to-date advice on working in the UK as a dependant and can help you join a loved one in the UK quickly and without unnecessary stress or worry.

Get in touch with IAS online on 0333 305 9375, email or use our online chat to service to book an appointment.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The minimum wage threshold for a Skilled Worker Visa holder in the UK is £38,700. However, depending on your job, the minimum income may be higher as the Home Office expects skilled worker visa holders with eligible jobs to earn the standard going rate for their job or the minimum income stated above, whichever is higher.

To extend your stay in the UK, you must fill in the FLR (M) form on the Home Office website. You may wish to seek advice from an immigration expert to ensure your renewal is straightforward.

A National Insurance Number is needed to work on a Dependent Visa in the UK. You can start work on a Dependent Visa before you get your National Insurance Number if you provide evidence of your right to work in the UK.

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