Edinburgh City Scape at dusk, blue and pink sky with buildings lit up. A tower clock on the right side with the Edinburgh Castle in the back. One of the places a foreigner can get a job in Scotland.

Jobs in Scotland for Foreigners

Do you want to work abroad in Scotland? Whether you’re moving there temporarily on a youth visa or you’re making a permanent move to Scotland, you’ll need to find a job soon after you arrive. Luckily, there are lots of jobs in Scotland for foreigners.

If you’re on a temporary visa, you may be concerned that no one will want to hire you, since you can’t commit to working for them for an extended period.

The standard interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is surely going to pop up, right? Wrong! There are so many temporary jobs in Scotland that cater specifically for foreigners seeking temporary work within the country.

It’s one of the things which makes Scotland such a great place to move to as a temporary foreign worker.

Work-Life Balance in Scotland

One of the best aspects of working in Scotland is a stable work-life balance. As a full-time employee, you’re entitled to a minimum of 28 paid holiday days per year.

This time off gives you plenty of opportunities to explore Scotland and the rest of Europe. Many companies offer additional time off, depending on where you work. You can work, travel and enjoy a fantastic quality of life while working in Scotland.

You can hunt for a job in Scotland in several ways. Searching job advertising websites, going through temporary recruitment agencies, applying directly to companies you’d like to work for and inquiring about jobs on farms with accommodation are all possible options.

But before you start looking for work abroad in Scotland, there are a few legal things you should sort out, since you’ll be legally required to have them prior to being recruited by any business in the country.

Related: The Pros and Cons of Living in Scotland

What you need to work abroad in Scotland

Office buildings in Edinburgh's city centre at Rutland Court
My friend Chris works at the office building on the left. Play your cards right and you can be his coworker.

Before you can work abroad in Scotland, you’ll need the following paperwork and documents. Of course, you can start looking and applying for jobs before you have any of the following. But be sure to have everything mentioned below as soon as you can to make your transition into the workplace much easier.

National Insurance Number for the UK

To legally work in Scotland, everyone needs a National Insurance Number (NIN). This is a number used by the government to properly document taxes and contributions.

To apply for a National Insurance number, call the National Insurance number application line. The only possible problem you’ll come across is that to get a National Insurance number card, you must have a UK address. So be sure you’re settled somewhere long enough for you to receive all your paperwork and permanent NIN card before you apply for them.

You can apply for jobs and even begin working without a National Insurance number, as long as you let your employer know you’ve applied for one.

To get your NIN and to open up a bank account as an EU citizen, you’re only required to show ID as proof of being able to work abroad in Scotland.

If you’re moving to Scotland from outside the EU, you’ll have to obtain a work visa as proof of being able to work abroad in Scotland before you can get your NIN. The easiest visa to get is a 24-month youth mobility visa, also known as a “working holiday visa” or “gap year visa”. See below for more information on how to get a working holiday visa.

Scottish CV (curriculum vitae )/Resume

To apply for jobs, you’re required to present a curriculum vitae (resume). The CVs employers expect in Scotland may be slightly different than the ones you’re used to creating in your country. I’m definitely not an expert, so I suggest checking out the following sites for tips.

If English isn’t your first language, please be sure to get a native English speaker to double-check your spelling and grammar. If you don’t know any English speakers, you can hire a freelancer on sites like Upwork to help ensure everything is correct before you begin sending your CV off to potential employers.

Opening a Bank Account in Scotland

The outside of a large Royal Bank in Edinburgh Scotland
This was my bank – The Royal Bank of Scotland. Isn’t it beautiful?! You should see the inside!

To get paid, you need to have a bank account and getting a Scottish bank account in Scotland isn’t the easiest thing to do as a foreigner. If you’re like me and insist on getting an account with a Scottish bank (Royal Bank of Scotland or Bank of Scotland) you may be required to get a reference from a trusted UK citizen. If you aren’t so picky, it’s much easier to open an account with an English bank, such as Natwest, Lloyds or Barclays.

To open a bank account, you’ll be required to provide proof of address and ID. Generally, a utility bill is sufficient as proof of address. But seeing as you’ve probably just moved to Scotland when you’re opening a bank account, it’s unlikely you’ll have one. 

Make sure you take your flat letting Agreement and your temporary work visa with you. This is usually enough to count as proof of address. Most banks will be okay with this. But if yours isn’t, don’t be disheartened. There are plenty more banks throughout Scotland and many of them have no issues for a foreigner to open an account with a temporary work visa.

UK Scotland Visa Application for working holiday foreigners and expats to find jobs in Scotland

Work Visa for Scotland

If you’re moving to Scotland from outside the EU, you’re required to obtain a work visa. There are several options available to you, depending on how long you’re planning on staying in Scotland. I moved to and worked in Scotland on a “working holiday visa”. This allows people from the following countries to obtain a 24-month temporary visa to live and work in Scotland.

  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • Australia
  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Korea

If you’re interested in going down this route, check out my post on How to Obtain a UK Working Holiday Visa.

If you’re an EU citizen, you don’t have to get a visa to legally work in Scotland.

If you aren’t from the EU or any of the countries listed above, there are other options. Stop by the British Consulate Office in your area to find out what you need to do to move to and work in Scotland.

Related: How to Apply for a UK Working Holiday Visa

Working in Scotland as an American

Unfortunately, moving to Scotland is a challenge for my American friends. There are still several ways you can do it, but it’s not as simple as just getting a working holiday visa. If you plan on moving to Scotland for work as an American, you can apply for a work visa through the UK Government Immigration website.

But to be granted a visa, you must already have a job lined up before moving to Scotland. You’ll have to speak to your place of work and get them to help you obtain the proper work visa. Click here to find out more.

How to get a job in Scotland as an Expat

A group of adults working in an office - one of the jobs foreigners can get in Scotland is work in an office
This could be you! I don’t even know if these people are working in Scotland… it’s just a stock photo from stock.adobe.com. We can pretend though!

How long you’re planning on spending in Scotland helps you decide which types of jobs to apply for. There are several jobs in Scotland for expats and options for those who choose to stay in Scotland temporarily. You may think that places won’t want to hire you if you can’t commit to a long-term contract. But I found Scotland to be very accommodating to temporary workers.

Even Scottish citizens apply for jobs through temporary work agencies, since these jobs can often lead to full-time permanent positions within the company.

If you’re looking for more flexibility and a job that grants you the freedom to explore Scotland and other European countries whenever you like, a position in the hospitality industry is the way to go. Many people in search of this lifestyle apply for jobs at hotels, hostels, restaurants and bars.

Another option I recommend is to get a job at one of Scotland’s many attractions. Larger cities like Edinburgh have an abundance of attractions that will gladly hire foreign employees. One such attraction is Edinburgh Zoo. I found a job in the gift shop and loved it! Several of my co-workers (such as those in food services) were also from other countries. It’s fantastic being able to share your workspace with so many people from so many countries.

Related: What it’s Like Working at Edinburgh Zoo

Job agencies in Scotland

Temporary Job Agencies:

Jobs in Scotland with Accommodation

There are several different types of jobs in Scotland that offer accommodation. Most of these jobs are outside the larger cities. But if you want to spend your days exploring the gorgeous Scottish countryside, getting a job with accommodation may be your best choice. In Scotland, you can get various farm jobs with accommodation, or work at out-of-town hotels that offer their employees room and board.

If you’re interested in working at a hotel in Scotland, I highly recommend you check out the careers page on Luxury Scotland for more information.

There are several options when it comes to farm work with accommodation in Scotland. The list below is a great place to start. If you’re thinking about volunteering on a farm with free accommodation check out WWOOF Scotland.

Farm work in Scotland:

Highland Cow standing in a field in Scotland
Potential coworker? Some farm jobs offer accommodation.

Jobs in demand in Scotland

Jobs in demand in Scotland vary significantly depending on where you settle down. Scotland has several sectors seeking skilled workers, such as the financial services, the oil and gas industry, engineers, health care and the service industry.

If you’re planning on staying in Scotland temporarily, I advise reaching out for jobs in the hospitality and customer service industry, as they are much more flexible. They can give you the opportunity to take random days in the middle of the week off work, as opposed to being stuck to the strict Monday-Friday working week. This perk allows you to travel through Scotland a lot easier.

No matter what type of job you apply for, Scotland makes it very easy for foreigners to find work. Whether you’re planning on living and working in Scotland temporarily or you’re making the move permanent, you’ll find an abundance of jobs waiting for you. To make you feel better about finding a job in Scotland, know this: I moved there during the 2009 world recession and still found a job in Scotland! If you’re ready to put in the work, the Scottish job market is ready for you.

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Comments 54

  1. I’m glad you had such a good experience living in Scotland for 2 years. Now when you’re eighty you can look back and have great memories.

    1. Post

      It was a great experience! I wish everyone could move to Scotland for a while. Or at least just move abroad.

      1. Hi …my name is Martins Jasper from Nigeria, please how do I get job in Scotland…….am currently living in Nigeria but want to relocate in Scotland

        1. Post

          Hello Martins, I know that people do move to Scotland from Nigeria but I am not sure about the visa requirements from your country. Please reach out to the British Consulate in your country and they will be able to help you out! Good luck!

      2. I wish to live and work in Scotland
        But I need help through it
        It seems very expensive

    2. Thank you so much for all your helpful info Wandering Chrystal. I am from Stirling but have lived in the USA for 20 years, and shall be retiring back in Scotland with my American husband.
      Your blog has much helpful information and many great links!> Thanks for being a great wealth of info on all things Scottish, I didnt realise how beautiful my home country was until I moved away!. I have been returning yearly and travelling all over the country. I was jaw dropped with its awesome beauty, especially when the sun shines!
      Thank you for doing a Scottish person proud!

      1. Post

        Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Heather! I am glad that you appreciate and enjoy my Scottish content. It always makes me feel extra special when it comes from a person from Scotland! It really is such a gorgeous country! I hope your husband loves it as much as you do! Where are you planning on moving to when you go back?

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      Hello! Be sure to contact one of the recruitment centres listed above. They will be able to assist you in finding work!

      1. Hi crystal my name is Faith wangeci from Kenya but currently working in Qatar as a Housekeeper/nanny for 4yrs, I would like to work in Scotland kindly assist me my dear friend

        1. Post

          Hello Faith! That is very exciting that you want to work in Scotland! Your best bet is to contact the British Consulate office in Kenya and see what requirements you will need for working in Scotland. They will be able to assist you with your move and a visa that will allow you to work and live in Scotland. Sorry I couldn’t be more help! I am not sure about the rules regarding Kenya. Good luck! https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-high-commission-nairobi

        1. I want to move to Scotland for a job, heavy flight mechanic am i want to leave there in Scotland, please give me this job.

      2. Hey am a Nigerian and I want to further my education in Scotland and still look for small work to support my self

        1. Post

          Hello! If you are planning on moving to Scotland from Nigeria a university/student visa is the way to go. Sometimes after your studies, it is possible to find work in your field of study and the company may be able to sponsor you to stay. You should contact the universities you want to attend to find out more about becoming an international student.

          1. Hi crystal im eluisa from philippines.
            I wish i could find job herein also after my contract finish here in jordan by the end of 2021♥️

  2. Hey!! I am a women from namibian.looking for a job in Scotland. Experience in hospitality and tourism.

    1. Post

      hello – there are a lot of hospitality and tourism jobs in Scotland. You will need to obtain a working visa to be able to legally work in the country. I am not sure what the visa laws are in Nambia but there is a British Consulate office in Windhoek. You should contact them and see the steps you need to follow to move and work in Scotland. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. Hi my wife is from Russia. 2 doctrines excellent English written and spoken worked for MSD merick sharp and dhome pharmaceutica company 8 yrs plus russien simiker 1 yr. Is thier companys in scotland looking for that exoeriance or russien translators etc that would give her work visa also. She’s 49

    1. Post

      Hello – I am not sure what companies in Scotland are hiring for that specific position. Her best bet is to search the sites in the post with job listings and see if anything fits what she is looking for. Good luck! I hope she finds the perfect job!

      1. Hi it is possible to start working without experiences in Edinburgh? it’s extremely difficult i know, but it’s a struggle living in a poor country. I hope it’s possible

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          I would assume it would be similar to getting your first ever job in your country. We all have to start somewhere, right? I would still apply to the jobs you want and find entry-level jobs that require no experience. Once you start working at one of those jobs, the experience will keep building. Good luck!

  4. I wanna move to Scotland permanently and work as a computer programmer. I live in brazil, in latin america, outside the EU. Is there a central hub for this type of work on the internet? I wish I knew, otherwise I’ll have to search the internet for the hundreds of IT companies in the country and literally search door-to-door. That could take forever.

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      I think your best bet to start would be to reach out to temporary agencies in Scotland. They can do the searching for you and many of the jobs lead to full-time permanent work. Otherwise, I am not certain where you could find a general listing of just IT positions. I hope this helps – I wish you the best of luck in your hunt for a job in Scotland!

  5. Am a Nigerian citizen also presently residing in nigeria. But I wish to relocate abroad to Scotland with my wife and a 3year old son. How can I make my dreams a reality. Thank you

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      Hello! So, I am not 100% sure about how to relocate from Nigeria to Scotland. My advice is to contact the British Consulate office located in Nigeria and see what visa processes you can do to help make your families move to Scotland. I wish you the best of luck! Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

  6. Good day,

    We ( my husband , 3 adult children , 2 of my childrens partners and I)are planning on relocating to Scotland from South Africa. My husband and 3 children is British passport holders. myself and their 2 partners will have to move over on visas.
    what is the best agency to register with for employment?

    1. Post

      Hello Charmaine, I don’t have a specific recommendation as the best agency to register with. I would recommend checking out which agencies are in the city/town you are moving to and start there. All of the agencies are great but definitely check out the one closest to the location you are moving to.

  7. Hi am a microsoft engineer in my late 40s with over 15yrs work experince am in South africa at the moment, can i get a job in scotland.

    i share my linkedin profile, i want to relocate from south africa

    1. Post

      Hi Isaac, I have known several people who moved from South Africa to Scotland during my time there. I believe they needed to get a special visa through the South African government. Please reach out to the closest British Consulate in South Africa to find out what you need to make your move. Good luck!

  8. Hello,
    I am Gulzar khan from Rajasthan, India. i am searching a job in scotland. can you help me…….

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      Hello Gulzar – I highly recommend reaching out to the British Consulate in Delhi (as I believe that is the closest to Rajasthan) if you require a work visa. As for searching for a job please check out all of the temporary job agencies to get you started in the search for a job!

  9. Hello, I’m Ana from philippines i really wanted to work and live in Scotland is there any possibility ?

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      Hello Ana! I am not sure about the visa’s from the Philippines but I do know that I have met people living in Scotland who were from the Philippines so it’s definitely a possibility. Please contact the British Consulate in your city to see what is required for you to make the move. I wish you the best of luck!

  10. Hi Crystal,
    I’m attempting to move from the US to Scotland in the near future.
    The work visa program seems contradictory in a way. As far as I understand it, you need a visa to work in Scotland, but you can’t work in Scotland unless you have a visa.
    It reminds me of the adage; If you want a job, get experience. If you want experience, get a job.

    I think your site is great with a lot of useful information.

    1. Post

      Hi Mark! It is so much harder for Americans to move to Scotland. I know the visa program I used was for commonwealth countries which makes it a lot easier to move around. For Americans, you have to either have a spousal visa or a work visa for a specific job prior to moving. There may be another way but I am not 100% sure. I know several Americans make the move to Scotland each year so it is possible! I wish I could be more help – I suggest that you contact the British Consulate in your State and see what other requirements you may need to fulfill to make the move. I wish you luck!

  11. Hi Crystal !
    I really enjoyed and found useful this website. 🙂
    I would like to know if there’s a chance for.me to move with my family to Scotland.
    I am from Argentina. I’m a teacher of English and working at a school.

    1. Post

      Hello Maria! Thank you for the kind words! I could not find any information about people moving to Scotland from Argentina unfortunately. I know for some countries a job and work visa via the job is required before moving abroad. That is one way to move to Scotland – if you look for some English teaching jobs (check out this post: https://wanderingcrystal.com/jobs-in-scotland-for-foreigners/)

      I do recommend contacting the British Embassy in Argentina – there is one in Buenos Aires. They should be able to provide you with what requirements you will need to move to Scotland. I wish you the best of luck! Also, my friend was in Argentina earlier this year doing a study abroad program and she loved it! Such a beautiful country.

  12. I am from saint lucia, caribbean would love to find a job in the kitchen or entertainment in Scotland, I’m currently on vacation there with my girlfriend im going home soon where can I find a job and wat do I really need

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  13. Hi,
    Me and my wife decided to move in Scotland via Ankara Agreement. I’m from Turkey. I’m an electrical and electronics engineer but the job doesn’t have to be engineering.
    My wife paints and sells the canvas.
    Could you help me find a job or lead the way of selling the canvas?

    1. Post

      Hello! That is very exciting you are moving to Scotland. I know that there are a lot of jobs for Engineers. Be sure to check out the links to temporary agencies and the links for job postings. As for selling art, I am not actually sure! I suggest maybe looking for some facebook groups in Scotland linked to selling art? I do wish I knew someone but unfortunately I do not. I wish you the best of luck!

  14. Hi, l am British Citizen and living in Pakistan but l want to come to Scotland and work as a Linen Porter. How can l do it?

    1. Post
  15. Fellow Canadian here, I want to move to Scotland and work there but I am over the 35 yr old holiday work visa limit What other types of visas can someone apply for or go about securing a visa? I just got back from a visit and I fell in love!

  16. Fellow Canadian here, I want to move to Scotland and work there but I am over the 35 yr old holiday work visa limit What other types of visas can someone apply for or go about securing a visa? I just got back from a visit and I fell in love!

    1. Post

      It is definitely harder to get another visa for those over the 30 age limit. The best option (but it is a bit difficult) is to get a work visa that would be sponsored by your job. If you have any special skills, you should seek out jobs and get a visa that way. Other ways are, of course, such as attending university.

  17. Hi Crystal I am a US citizen and have been looking into moving to Scotland for some time now. I have money for college and/or trade school. In your opinion was is the best school or trade to look into for Scotland?

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      That is completely dependant on what you are looking to do. There are several different high demand jobs in Scotland in the financial services, the oil and gas industry, engineers, health care and the service industry. Edinburgh University is an incredible school that I recommend (I have friends that went there). Still, the University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde (in Glasgow) and the University of Aberdeen all have incredible programs. I recommend reaching out to each university, seeing what the entry requirements are, and going there.

  18. Hi! I am about to graduate from college in the U.S. and I really want the opportunity to visit Scotland and temporarily work there. I’ve always wanted to visit and I do not know how to go about searching for a temp job/internship since I am an American. Do you have any suggestions as to where to look? I am great with kids, I’m getting my undergrad in Business Administration, and have been interning in social media for fashion brands. I don’t think many places are looking to hire someone internationally but would love for some advice.

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      Hi Bailey,
      You will need to get a visa to work in Scotland which can be a bit more difficult for Americans. You should reach out to a few businesses that you want to work for and see if they are hiring internationally. They will have to sponsor your visa for you. I also recommend speaking to the British Consulate in your state and see what steps you need to take to live and work in Scotland.

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