Everything You Need to Know About Hiring Teachers from Overseas

Nicki Harris, an expert education HR consultant at Juniper Education, shares insights and strategies for successful overseas recruitment. Learn about visa requirements, sponsorship procedures, and essential pre-employment checks. Explore the benefits of hiring teachers from abroad and how they contribute to inclusive classrooms and address staffing shortages.  


As a tactic to combat the UK's teacher shortage crisis, recruiting teachers from overseas has become increasingly common for schools seeking to diversify their staff and enrich their learning environments. However, navigating the process can be complex, with various legal requirements and pre-employment checks to consider.


In this blog, one of our expert education HR consultants, Nicki Harris, shares her thoughts on this important topic and provides valuable insights into successful recruitment strategies for teachers from around the globe. Nicki discusses the essentials of recruiting teachers from abroad, including the additional pre-employment checks necessary for overseas workers. These checks are vital due to the strict legal obligations surrounding the employment of non-UK employees, which must be adhered to at all times.

Basic requirements to work as a Teacher in a UK school  

Teachers coming from abroad must obtain a visa or another form of immigration clearance to engage in teaching roles within UK schools. This typically involves acquiring a skilled worker visa, necessitating sponsorship from the school, local authority, or academy. Sponsors must possess a valid 'worker licence,' alternatively known as an 'employer licence.' It's important to understand that individuals who aren't UK citizens but have undergone initial teacher training in England also require appropriate immigration status to work in the UK legally.

Teachers are exempt from the earnings thresholds that are applicable to skilled workers as long as their pay aligns with the national pay scales designated for teachers.

How can schools apply for a sponsorship?  

If you are not already a sponsor, you can apply. This does cost money, and some conditions need to be met. Below is a breakdown of the procedures schools must follow when seeking sponsorship for teachers from overseas.

  • Eligibility check: Verify eligibility through the government website.
  • Role suitability: Determine if the teaching role qualifies for sponsorship.
  • Licence selection: Choose the appropriate type of licence needed for sponsorship.
  • Sponsorship management: Appoint someone within the school to oversee the sponsorship process.
  • Online application: Apply online and pay the required fee.
  • Licence validity: If granted, the licence will be valid for four years, provided all criteria are met.

The school is responsible for ensuring that everyone’s right to work has been checked and that a successful applicant's visa or immigration status can be checked online.  

Other pre-employment checks of overseas workers  


To work as a Teacher in the UK, Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is a legal requirement in maintained schools. Overseas applicants do not need QTS to teach in maintained schools for the first 4 years of their stay. To be eligible for this, the applicant must be qualified as a teacher in a country outside the UK and have successfully completed a teacher training course recognised by the organisation that regulates teachers in the country where they qualified.  



The teacher must produce an overseas police check, if available, from their home country. A UK DBS check must also be obtained once they have a UK address. 


Professional standing 

The school must request evidence of professional standing, for example, a letter from the organisation that regulates teachers in the country where the applicant qualified, confirming their status as a teacher.  This document should also confirm that the applicant’s authorisation to teach has not been suspended, barred, cancelled, revoked, or restricted and that no sanctions have been imposed on the applicant.  


Other pre-employment checks  

Ensure the school adheres to the statutory guidance outlined in part 3 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) for all additional pre-employment screenings and that the school implements safe recruitment practices.

Utilising government resources

One crucial resource for ensuring compliance is the government's official website, which features information on recruiting teachers from overseas and offers comprehensive guidance on the specific checks required depending on the country from which the teacher is being recruited.


In summary, it is imperative for schools to ensure they adhere to the correct procedures when employing teachers from overseas. However, hiring teachers from abroad can provide significant benefits to both schools and pupils. They bring enriched cultural perspectives into the classroom, creating a more inclusive learning environment and broadening pupils' horizons. Plus, hiring teachers from overseas can help address staffing shortages in critical subject areas or geographical regions, ensuring that schools can deliver quality education even in challenging circumstances.

Would your school like to explore overseas recruitment?

Our team of education HR experts are available to support your school recruitment efforts, whether you're seeking staff from overseas or closer to home.

Why not book a free session with our consultants and together, we can help you discover the perfect people for your school, academy, or trust.