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How To Migrate To The UK As A Lawyer


The UK has a strong legal tradition, and many qualified lawyers dream of practicing there. However, moving to a new country with a different legal system can be intimidating. This guide will give you the information you need to understand the process of becoming a lawyer in the UK.

1. Job Specification

The first step is to assess your existing legal qualifications. The UK has two main legal professions: solicitors and barristers. Solicitors primarily handle legal matters for individuals and businesses, while barristers represent clients in court.

For both routes, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is the key regulatory body. If your qualification is from a country with a recognized legal profession, you might be eligible for exemptions from some parts of the qualification process.


2. Check Qualifications

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A law degree (or equivalent): You’ll need a recognized law degree from your home country or an equivalent qualification.

2. Pass the SQE: Most internationally qualified lawyers will need to take the SQE. This two-stage assessment tests your knowledge and skills in the core areas of English law. The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the key to becoming a solicitor (the equivalent of a lawyer) in England and Wales. This two-stage exam tests your legal knowledge and skills.

3. Barrister qualifications: The process involves completing the Bar Course and a period of pupillage (apprenticeship) under a qualified barrister.

4. Qualifying Work Experience (QWE): In the United Kingdom, it is a requirement for individuals to complete two years of supervised legal work to fulfill the mandatory professional training needed to become a qualified lawyer.

3. Visa Requirements

Throughout this process, you’ll need to secure the appropriate visa to live and work in the UK. The specific visa category will depend on your circumstances.

1. Skilled Worker Visa: This visa is suitable for qualified professionals with a job offer in the UK. You’ll need to meet specific salary and skill-level requirements.

2. Intra-Company Transfer Visa: This visa is an option if you’re already employed by a multinational law firm with a branch in the UK. It allows for internal transfer to the UK office.

3. Exceptional Talent Visa: This visa is for highly skilled and recognized individuals in their field. It might be an option for very distinguished lawyers with exceptional achievements.

4. Network and Build Relationships

ZStart connecting with UK law firms and legal professionals in your area of expertise. Building relationships can be invaluable for finding a job sponsor and navigating the legal landscape. Platforms like LinkedIn and attending industry events can be great for networking.

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