What is the New UK VISA for Teachers All About?

As a recent update from the UK Government has shown, teachers are needed from select countries around the world, including Nigeria.

In general, those who apply for teaching jobs from overseas need a visa or other immigration status to allow them to work in the UK. They will also need a skilled worker visa, which their employer must sponsor.

The sponsor, in this case, can either be the school, local authority, or an academy trust and need to have a ‘worker licence’, sometimes referred to as an ‘employer licence’. You can check the register of licensed sponsors here.

The two visa categories through which Nigerians can apply for this are the Graduate Visa and the High Potential Visa categories.



Graduate visa: International students can apply for this graduate visa upon successful completion of their degree. To apply, they need to have been sponsored by an eligible Home Office licensed student sponsor throughout their studies.

This visa will allow them to work, or look for a job in the UK for up to 2 years after completing their studies (3 years for PhD students) without a sponsor. You can do the following jobs:

  • Working as a teacher
  • Training to teach on a salaried course or through a teaching apprenticeship

The graduate visa holder can also switch to another visa (such as the skilled worker visa) without needing to leave the UK if they meet the requirements for their new visa.

High Potential Individual Visa: Another category is the high potential individual visa, for teachers who need to:

  • Have a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD from a university listed in the global universities list.
  • Have been awarded their qualification no more than 5 years before they apply.
  • Have English language skills to B1 intermediate level.
  • Have personal funds of £1,270.
  • Pass a security and criminality check.

Teachers can be given this visa even if they do not have an offer of a teaching job, yet it will enable them to stay in the UK for 2 years with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, and 3 years with a PhD.


Apply for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England: Another change the UK is making is the way it awards its Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teachers from overseas.

From 1 February 2023, teachers from the following countries including Nigeria who qualified as teachers, will also be able to apply to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) for QTS

  • Ghana
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Ukraine
  • Zimbabwe

Teachers from these eligible countries will have to show they have met a consistent set of criteria for the award of QTS. According to Gov.UK, over time, this route will be opened to qualified teachers from every country outside the UK.

This will ensure all non-UK teachers awarded QTS meet the same high standards, while also increasing opportunities for highly qualified teachers wherever they are trained.

Find out more on how to apply for QTS in England service and the new criteria for overseas teachers applying for QTS.


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