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This is for a EU citizen who has never lived in the UK and is neither working for a UK company, nor has worked previously for one.

As 2021 (soon 2022), what are the regulations for moving to the UK for work?

Is registering as self-employed acceptable? Would creating an ltd and working through it make things easier or would this be bending the rules? Can they move there and just start searching for work? (staying less than 90 days in a 180 days period).

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As 2021 (soon 2022), what are the regulations for moving to the UK for work?

For most EU citizens, this will not be possible without a sponsoring employer, which is excluded from consideration. Another possibility that seems to be beyond the scope of the question is family-based immigration.

Is registering as self-employed acceptable?

Registering as self-employed doesn't help one to qualify for a visa.

Would creating an ltd and working through it make things easier or would this be bending the rules?

Setting up a new business can help one qualify for a visa, but the business must be "innovative" and must be endorsed by a sponsoring organization.

Can they move there and just start searching for work? (staying less than 90 days in a 180 days period).

There is no 90/180 rule in British immigration law. Visitors are typically admitted for six months at a time. It is permissible to look for work as a visitor, but immigration officers seem not to know this, and there have been reports of EU citizens being denied entry to the UK under these circumstances. Regardless, anyone who does find work while in the UK as a visitor is prohibited from working in the UK. Visitors are also prohibited from switching to another visa category, so it is necessary to leave the UK, apply for a work visa, and wait for the visa to be granted before returning to the UK and starting the job.

The UK has an online visa check tool that listed five possibilities when I used the example of an Austrian citizen wanting to start a business:

  • start-up or innovator visa: for one of these visas you need an "innovative" business idea that "must be something that’s different from anything else on the market," which you will need to demonstrate by getting an endorsement from an approved endorsing body.

  • global talent visa: to qualify, you must be a "leader or potential leader" in academia or research, in arts or culture, or in digital technology.

  • representative of an overseas business visa "if you work for an overseas company and you’re planning to set up your first UK branch or subsidiary."

  • investor (tier I) visa "if you want to invest £2 million or more in the UK."

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    "Regardless, anyone who does find work while in the UK as a visitor is prohibited from working in the UK." Violating this rule will make it a lot harder to get a new visa, since they keep track of such violations for years. Don't even try.
    – Mast
    Nov 14 '21 at 15:30
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    @Quora Feans Employers in the UK are required to check a job applicant’s right to work gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work before employing them. Setting up a limited company (overseas or UK-based) doesn’t give you the right to work in the UK without a visa, other than to carry out the business-related activities any visitor is allowed to do gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/…
    – Traveller
    Nov 14 '21 at 16:16
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    and there have been reports of EU citizens being denied entry to the UK under these circumstances => if this is a concern OP could just fly to the UK via Ireland. The Irish cannot deny them entry and the Ireland->UK flight doesn't have immigration checks normally. This is a completely legal loophole that will remain as long as Ireland is both in the EU and the Common Travel Area. Nov 14 '21 at 20:30
  • @JonathanReez There is no loophole. For non-Irish EU citizens: deemed leave (Article 4) is granted when entering the UK from Ireland. Travelling between the UK and Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey or Jersey - GOV.UK: You can be in the UK for up to 6 months on your first visit from Ireland. This time starts from the date you entered the UK. You can prove the date you entered the UK by, for example, your ticket or boarding pass. ...You cannot do any paid or unpaid work Nov 15 '21 at 7:40
  • @JonathanReez Your rights within the Common Travel Area: Common Travel Area rights can only be exercised by citizens of Ireland and the UK. If you are not a citizen of Ireland or the UK, you cannot exercise Common Travel Area rights. Nov 15 '21 at 7:42

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