International• 4 Min read

22nd February 2021

COVID-19: Can you still relocate to England?

Updated 22ND February 2021

During the pandemic, we have remained open, moved most staff to remote working, and our business functions have remained operational. We have been keeping up to date with news and government information to support our staff, candidates, and partner schools. As the situation changes, we endeavour to bring you the most relevant information to you teaching career, so you can continue to make informed decisions about your future career plans, at home or abroad.

Are UK schools hiring?

Schools in the UK have been closed since the beginning of January due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The safe return of schools is a number one priority for everyone in the education sector and we will be doing everything possible to support our partner schools with their recruitments needs in the next few months and into April and September 2021.

A formal announcement on the reopening is due later today and we will be provided a detailed update on what this means for teachers currently in the UK as soon as the guidance is made public.

How can you find a role?

Recruiting in schools has had to adapt as the pandemic has continued, many employers now have robust remote interviewing processes in place that support the needs of both parties. We’ve written some advice for teachers thinking about moving abroad and who are scheduling remote interviews in with schools here.

We’ll also be announcing dates for our unique virtual recruitment event, iday, later in the year.

Visa and Travel updates

We’re continuing to support teachers from Ireland, Canada, Australia, the USA, South Africa and the Middle East relocate to England to enhance their teaching careers. Each region has its own travel restrictions or visa office closures, so we’ve summarised everything below.

You cannot currently enter the UK if you’ve been in or through a country on the banned travel list (sometimes known as the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days, unless you’re British, Irish or you have the right to live in the UK.


Australia’s visa offices are open and operating as usual. Australia does, however, have a travel ban in place at the moment (June 2020). If you are an Australian citizen or a permanent resident you cannot leave Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions unless you have an exemption. One of the exceptions highlights whether your travel is essential for critical industries and businesses. We have seen a number of teachers apply for travel based on this exemption. You can find out more here or talk to our Australian office to find out more.

From 22 January 2021, if you are travelling to or transiting through Australia you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test to your airline, taken 72 hours or less before your scheduled departure.


There are new restrictions in place for anyone wising to travel to the UK from Canada. You’ll need to quarantine or 10 days and take two COVID-19 tests. Find out more about the new mandatory quarantine and what it means for Canadians coming to the UK here.

Visa offices in Canada are now open, however, the Toronto and Edmonton locations are full. If your local office isn’t taking applications at the moment, you can try another location, try booking a primetime spot or sit tight and wait until yours opens up again! Typically visa processing takes between 3 – 6 weeks in regular circumstances. 

  • You can check Canadian visa centres here
  • Find out more information about Coronavirus here 
  • Information for Canadian’s returning to Canada can be found here 


Ireland and the UK are within the Common Travel Area (CTA). The Common Travel Area (CTA) is the commonly used term for a variety of rights that can be exercised by citizens of Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK). It includes the basic right to travel freely between both countries, and also: access to social benefits/healthcare/social housing supports. 

Before travelling, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance. Flights and ferry services continue to operate between Ireland and Great Britain. The availability of transport from Ireland to Great Britain is subject to change.


American visa offices are temporarily closed until further notice (June 2020) Americans are currently under a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, which advises all U.S citizens to avoid international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

Engage Education is still working with American teachers to register and prepare for teaching in the UK once travel restrictions have been lifted. Priority will be given to those candidates who have working rights for the UK. For teachers who require Tier 2 Sponsorships, we are recommending that September 2021 start dates are more realistic.

South Africa

South Africa has travel restrictions imposed at the moment (February 2021) unless for a permanent resident to his or her place of employment, study or residence, outside of the country. Visa offices in South Africa are currently open but only for passports applications and renewals, not for new visa applications. 

Candidates will need to apply for Police Clearance Certificates early as they have to go through independent companies turn around times delayed – our team can talk you through all of this!

  • Find out more about travel restrictions in South Africa here
  • Find out more about travel to the UK here


The UAE is currently on the UK’s quarantine list. Any individual coming rom the UAE will be required to quarantine in a local hotel for up to 14 days and provide a negative PCR test result. Find out more about coming to the UK from UAE here.


Are you in the UK?

If you’re in the UK and your contract has come to an end, we can help. We’re working hard to support all educators to find new roles for September. You can register with us here.

Our promise

Whatever the situation, we’re here for you. Our teams are working round the clock to provide assistance with all aspects of your job search, from CV formatting and interview preparation to assisting with visa queries and arranging virtual interviews with schools for April 2021 and beyond


Whatever your situation, our team is here for you. Register with us today.


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