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If you're a planner seeking work in the United Kingdom, we have summarised relevant information to guide you in the right direction. However, it is also important to check published government advice for any additional requirements or updates to procedures. Please note that the following information should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances and does not constitute legal advice. 

First, you'll need to find employment with a sponsored employer. If you're not quite sure where to start, or just want to explore your options and review the employment market, there are a few popular job search sites on social media, but also the RTPI Jobs Board.  It might also be worth checking out Glassdoor.

At the moment, there might not be a huge number of licensed sponsors offering jobs, but we hope this will change in the future as employers gain more awareness of how the system works.  You may also want to contact employers such as multi-disciplinary consultancies who have offices in the UK and abroad.

Once you get hired by a UK organisation that is willing to sponsor you, they will likely provide you with all the necessary information. However to give you an idea of what to expect, we'll briefly outline the next steps.

  • A total of 70 points is needed to be able to apply to work in the UK.
  • As a town planner with a job offer, you should already have a head start with 50 points.  This would be thanks to the 'skilled occupation' category and an ability to speak English.
  • If you hold a relevant PhD, you can gain an extra 10 points.
  • Your salary will also play a part in determining whether or not you meet the requirements. The going rate for town planning officers is currently £28,500, which is calculated as the 25th percentile of salaries in the profession. If your salary is at least £25,650 (90% of the going rate), you'll earn 10 points. If you're making at least £28,500, you'll earn the maximum of 20 points.

In conclusion, if you have a job offer for at least £28,500, or at least £25,650 with a PhD, you could be eligible for the visa.

Other costs to consider

Costs include a visa application fee of either £625 or £1,235 (depending on the length of your stay) and a healthcare surcharge of £624 per year. You'll also need to prove that you can sustain yourself during your first month in the UK, which means having a bank balance of at least £1,270. If you're moving with a partner or family members, there will be additional costs to consider, which you can find more information about on the relevant government website. This is also where you will find the link to the form used to apply.

General Advice

  • You may consider visiting the UK, for example via a study trip or to attend a conference (for RTPI events, see here) to understand the job market first.
  • Currently, the Institute does not have mutual recognition agreements in place with other planning institutes.  Becoming an RTPI member could therefore reinforce your existing training and credentials.  You can find out more here.
  • You may want to research the UK planning systems.  There are many free or low cost resources now available online.  Alternatively the International Manual of Planning Practice provides RTPI members with a discount.
  • Major consultancy companies have offices across the UK and you may want to search on-line through the RTPI Consultants Directory.
  • You can also find addresses of UK local authorities through the UK Government information website
  • Review the RTPI monthly magazine The Planner
  • Review the RTPI jobs board
  • RTPI accredited universities may advertise academic vacancies.

To find out more about UK Planning Policy

Town planning is a devolved matter in the UK. This means there are different planning systems operating in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Read more on our Policy webpage.

If you are member, you can join the RTPI UK Networks, groups and forums or our Young Planners. These provide information on activities and events in the English Regions and UK Nations.