Useful information if you’re planning to make a move to Shetland from overseas.

Working in Shetland

The first thing to do before planning a move to Shetland is to see if you need to apply for a UK visa. You can do this on the UK government website.

For the latest vacancies, see our Jobs in Shetland page. You will need to prove to your employer that you have the right to work in the UK. Check if you are eligible to work here using the government website right to work service.

Everyone who works in the UK needs a National Insurance (NI) number. If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP), you might have a National Insurance number already ­– it will be printed on the back of your BRP if you do. If not, you need to call the National Insurance application number: +44 (0)800 141 2075, and ask for an application form.

For certain jobs (or certain kinds of voluntary work), you may need to have a criminal records check. This is carried out by Disclosure Scotland and you need to apply for a certificate.

Workers in Scotland must be paid at least the legal National Minimum Wage. Income Tax and National Insurance payments will be taken directly from your wages and your employer should give you a statement showing how much you’ve been paid and how much has been deducted. Find out more about Income Tax on the UK government website.

The law protects you from discrimination by employers on grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion or beliefs. If you have any difficulty, contact the Shetland Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Housing

See our Housing page to see your options for buying or renting a house in Shetland. The Money Advice Centre also has a useful online guide to buying property in Scotland.

Education and lifelong learning

See our Schools and education page for general information on learning opportunities in Shetland.

If your first language isn’t English, there are courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) available. Shetland College UHI offer two courses: Writing for Employability and Living in Scotland. Living in Scotland will be of particular interest to students hoping to apply for Citizenship and for those preparing for the Life in the UK test. There are also free ESOL classes available through Adult Learning Shetland.

The Shetland Library also has lots of free resources, including audio language guides and offers free internet access.

Driving

If you would like to learn to drive, there is some useful guidance on the UK government website, including information about how to book your theory and practical tests. You can search, using your Shetland postcode, for your nearest approved driving instructor.

If you’re thinking of buying a vehicle, there’s a useful step-by-step guide on the UK government website.

Health services

See our Healthcare page for a guide to the health services available in Shetland. The National Health Service in Scotland is free to UK residents, apart from charges for dental treatment.

If you are a national of a country outside the United Kingdom, you may have to pay some charges, depending on the arrangements between the NHS in Scotland and the health service in your home country. See the NHS Inform website for more details. Emergency services and treatment are always free.

Consultants at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick can carry out many surgical procedures but more specialised treatment is available in Aberdeen and other Scottish mainland hospitals.

Banking

To open a bank account in Scotland, you must make an appointment with an adviser at one of the banks and you must provide proof of your:

  • Identity (for example a passport, national identity card or national driving licence)
  • UK address (for example a tenancy agreement or letter of confirmation from your employer); and
  • Employment