The Voice of Commercial Archaeology

Employment in UK Archaeology

Working in UK Archaeology: UK citizen

If you are interested in a career in archaeology there are two main job posting websites the British Archaeological Jobs and Resources website at and Jobs Information Service & Training (JIST) from CIfA As the leading representative body of archaeology employers FAME is also a resource. Our members are always looking for new employees, see their listings for contact details of organisations near you to see if they are hiring.

It is important to note, that if you are interested in a career in UK commercial archaeology you will most likely need to get a CSCS card. Here is a guide to that process CSCS Card for the Archaeologist  (last update March 2018).

BAJR Guides and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists are both sources of good information on the practicalities of working in archaeology and how to be a professional.

FAME is committed to fostering an open dialogue with employee representatives and chairs the Joint Industry Working Group , a forum convened to share information and discuss employment issues including terms and conditions, health and safety and skills development and accreditation. In addition to FAME there are representatives from the CIfA Diggers Forum, Prospect, and the British Archaeological Jobs Resource (BAJR).

Working in UK Archaeology: non-UK citizen

Below you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions about working in archaeology in UK, as a non-UK citizen.

Q: I’m an archaeologist from EU. Am I allowed to work in UK?

A: Yes. Until the end of 2020 EU citizens can still come to work in the UK without a visa. However, starting in 2021 a visa will be needed.

Q: I’m an archaeologist from outside EU. What should I do to work in UK?

A: You can apply for a Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) visa if you:

  • want to live and work in the UK for up to 2 years
  • are aged 18 to 30
  • have £1,890 in savings
  • are from: Australia/Canada/Japan/Monaco/New Zealand/Hong Kong/Republic of Korea/Taiwan

For more information visit:

Commonwealth with British grandparents.

You can apply for a UK Ancestry Visa. It is for 5 Years, extendable with potential to settle in the UK permanently.

You can apply for a UK Ancestry visa if you:

  • are a Commonwealth citizen
  • are applying from outside the UK
  • can prove that one of your grandparents was born in the UK
  • are able and planning to work in the UK
  • are 17 or over
  • have enough money without help from public funds to support and house yourself and any dependants
  • can and plan to work in the UK

For more information visit:

What if I don’t meet the above criteria ?

Then you need to obtain a Tier 2 visa. This system is changing and a new system will be in place for 2021. Currently, depending on your circumstances there are various requirements, but the most usual are:

  • You need to be sponsored by an employer so you will have to make a case to them
  • To be paid a salary of £30,000 per year in the UK (only with an exception for PhD holders),
  • To have at least £945 in your bank account 90 days before you apply for the visa
  • To pass an English knowledge test (some nationalities do not need to do this).

For more information visit:


Q: If I am eligible how can I obtain a British passport?

A: If you wish to get a British passport, the options are two:

  1. You have a parent that had been born in a place that entitles them to British citizenship rather than inheriting it from your grandparents, or
  2. You must become a British citizen. Some of the requirements are :
  • You must have lived 5 years in UK
  • You haven’t broken any immigration laws
  • You pass the Life in UK test, which consists of 24 questions covering topics such as British values, history, traditions and everyday life

For more information visit:


Q: What do I need to start living and working in UK?

A: Apart from your passport (we recommend holding a passport as your official photographic ID), and in some cases a visa, you will require a place to stay, a National Insurance Number and a bank account.

  • A place to stay

You can look online through several websites/platforms that letting agencies and private landlords use. The prices are either pw (= per week) or pm (=per month). On top of your rent, you will have to pay council tax. Council tax is a domestic tax based on property value. Water bills are included in council tax only in Scotland. In England, water bills must be paid separately, same as gas/electricity There are 8 bands from A to H and each band matches with a fixed amount that can be found on your local council’s website. For example, if you intend to move to Edinburgh this can be found on Edinburgh Council’s website. The closer your band is to H, the more expensive the council tax will be but at the same time the better the property will probably be.

For more information visit: or and (for Scotland only),


  • A National Insurance Number

Q: What is National Insurance Number (NINo) and how can I get it?

A: Your National Insurance number is your own personal account number for monitoring tax and national insurance payments. It is unique to you and will never change. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and the tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

You do not need a NI number in order to start working, however, you must begin the procedure as soon as you start. You will be given a provisional NI number until you receive your permanent one.

You will need to apply by phone for a National Insurance number. The National Insurance number application line is 0800 141 2075. Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

For more information visit:

  • A bank account

To open a bank account, you will need to either phone or visit a branch in order to book an appointment.  The banks usually require proof of ID, proof of address and proof of employment. Please visit a bank’s website to find about the process since it might differ from bank to bank.

For proof of ID you can provide any of the following:

  • Full and current passport
  • Full and current photocard driving licence
  • Current UK Provisional photocard driving licence
  • Current EU/EEA National identity photo card.

For proof of employment your employer can provide:

  • A letter with the details of your employment, addressed to the bank of your choice.

For proof of address you must provide any of the following:

  • Bank, Building Society or Credit Union statement (showing a minimum of 2 transactions within the last 3 months)
  • Utility bill/utility statement dated within the last 3 months
  • Council tax bill for current Council Tax billing year and dated in the last 12 months
  • Full and current UK photocard driving licence (only if not used as proof of identity)
  • Jobcentre Plus letter dated within the last 3 months, containing your address and your allocated National Insurance Number (NiNo).

 Q: How the medical system works in UK?

In UK, the number 999 must be dialled when seeking emergency assistance from police, fire brigade or ambulances. You can get medical advice over the phone from the 24h NHS (National Health Services) line, by calling 111, and explaining what the issue is. Appointments in hospitals, dental clinics etc, can also be arranged at any day of the year.

After you settle your accommodation, you must register to a local GP. GP stands for General Practitioner, or local doctor.

For more information about English GPs visit:

For more information about Scottish GPs visit:

The main difference between Scotland and England is that in Scotland you can get prescribed medicine at no cost, while in England you must pay a set charge per item.

For more information visit:

 Q: What if I need help to understand how the accommodation, the legal system and benefits work?

A: Citizens Advice provides free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems.  You can book an appointment and discuss with an advisor there, about your issue.

For more information visit:

 Q: How can I improve my English?

A: For many of the people who live and succeed in UK, English is not their mother tongue. Your local council offers free courses that you can attend. Another way is to subscribe to an online course, or use an app to work on your English skills, downloading one of the various apps available.

For more information visit:

Q: I have an EU/EEA driving license. Can I drive in UK?

A: In archaeology having a driving license is essential for senior roles. If you have a valid EU/EEA licence, you can drive any vehicle covered by the categories shown on your licence. Remember that in the UK we drive in the in the left-hand lane, and the driver sits on the right-hand side of the car.

If you intend to bring your own car or buy a car in UK, please be aware of any parking restrictions in your area. Parking can be expensive in certain areas so always do research beforehand.

For more information visit:

Q: I have a young child, what are my options for childcare?

A: You have different options for parenting and public or private childcare in UK. The information will differ from area to area, so you will need to search for the option you’ll have based on the town/area you’re looking to move to.

For more information visit:

Q: What about schools?

A: The general rule is that your child will have to attend a school based on his/her permanent address but please check the government’s website for information based on your needs. There are plenty private or public options.

For more information visit:




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