Once you get your BN(O) visa, you can work straight away. You can work in any job, apart from as a professional sportsperson or sports coach. If you are unsure if a job role falls into one of these categories, you should get immigration advice.
Proving your right to work
You can only use share codes to prove your right to work. A share code is valid for 90 days and it can be used multiple times during this period. You can find out more about proving your right to work on the government website.
Employers and landlords cannot accept physical documents for a right to work check, even if they show a later expiry date.
Migration Yorkshire has information for employers on the rights of BN(O) visa holders to work.
National Insurance number
You can look for, and start, work without a National Insurance number, as long as you can prove you are eligible to work in the UK.
You can find out how to get your National Insurance number on the government website. You will need to provide a copy of your passport and proof that you have the right to work.
The Prince’s Trust is a charity which helps young people aged 11 to 30 from anywhere in the UK. It offers hundreds of free courses, grants, and training to start your career.
The National Careers Service offers free tailored advice and guidance around employment. They can help you make decisions on learning, training, and work, finding local courses, and different careers.
Citizens Advice offers information and guidance on your rights at work. This includes checking your employment contract, the hours you are working, and being paid.
Starting a business
The government has advice on starting a business, including writing a business plan, working for yourself, and employing staff.
Certificates of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC)
A Certificates of No Criminal Conviction (CNCC) is the equivalent of a criminal records check in the UK.
The authorities in Hong Kong have decided that CNCCs can only be obtained for:
- reasons relating to applications for a visa
- to visit or to reside in another country
- for the adoption of children
However, in exceptional circumstances, they may also give consideration if a CNCC is needed to meet the legal or administrative requirements of foreign countries. This could include pre-employment checks needed for a BN(O) visa holder to start a job in the UK, in sectors like healthcare and education.
In the UK there are some statutory requirements for employers to carry out such checks, but in many instances, it is only best practice (and not a legal requirement). Information about pre-employment checks in the education sector can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 3 – Safer Recruitment) and for healthcare under the NHS Employment Criminal Record Check standards.
As of 8 June 2022, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) no longer issues letters to the Hong Kong Police as part of a CNCC request. If the applicant holds an offer of employment from an organisation that requires a CNCC check, they should request a CNCC direct from the Hong Kong Police. They should include an official offer of employment from their prospective employer as part of their CNCC application.
For education, applicants should include a letter offering them a job from a UK school or organisation when applying.
For healthcare, applicants should include an official offer of employment from the relevant organisation, for example, the NHS.
If granted, the Hong Kong Police will send the CNCC directly to the prospective employer.
Guidance on requesting a CNCC (such as the style of letter required) is available on the Hong Kong Police website.
If the Hong Kong Police do not provide a CNCC, we encourage you to contact the employer and direct them to the relevant guidance for when obtaining a CNCC is not possible. For education, this is Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 3 – Safer Recruitment) and for healthcare, this is the NHS employers guidance (point 7.5).
The Hong Kong Nursing Association website has produced a resource pack for nursing professionals in Hong Kong who want to take up employment in the NHS in England. The information is for registered nurses, a registered midwives, or non-NHS workers. The pack will support you and your understanding of the various routes or pathways to secure employment.