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An Introduction to Umbrella Companies for Overseas Teachers

Teaching is not just a job which appeals to those who want to enjoy a stable career with good prospects and defined career progression. For those who have a wanderlust, there are also a number of opportunities to work abroad.

The demand for overseas trained teachers to come and work in the UK has never been greater due to the chronic shortage of teachers in English and Welsh schools.

For teachers looking to come to the UK to work, the challenges of securing employment, and having the confidence to teach in a new country may initially appear daunting.  Fortunately, there are many UK supply teaching agencies that specialise in sourcing great overseas trained teachers, and ensuring they are fully equipped to teach in the UK. 

Many of these supply teaching agencies will ask their overseas trained teachers to choose an umbrella company to employ and pay them for the work they undertake whilst in the UK.

What is an umbrella company?  

The taxation and employment legislation concerning temporary workers in the UK is complicated and is continuously changing.  Therefore, supply teaching agencies in the UK outsource the employment and payment of their supply teachers to umbrella companies.  This enables the agencies to focus their time and resources on finding the best work opportunities for their teachers.

As a supply teacher employed by an umbrella company you are not required to complete an annual tax return in the UK, as the umbrella company will take responsibility for ensuring the correct taxation is paid over to the authorities.  You may still be required by the tax authorities in the country you usually reside to declare your UK earnings.  The umbrella company can provide you with the information you require for this.

Why use an umbrella company?

Working through an umbrella company is the simplest way to work as a temporary worker in the UK, which is very important for anyone who wants to focus solely on their work, whilst getting to grips with living in a foreign country.

If you register with an umbrella company before you purchase your flight tickets to the UK you may be able to be reimbursed for some of the costs you incur in moving to the UK.  This can include your flight costs to the UK, and your initial accommodation costs.

Overseas teachers may find themselves working via different supply teaching agencies whilst in the UK.  The umbrella company will be your single employer in the UK allowing you to work via different agencies and not having to worry about taxation or when you are getting paid.

Having a single employer will ensure you receive your annual tax free allowance allocated to your salary regardless of how many different supply teaching agencies you are registered with.

Umbrella companies like Orange Genie Education are also responsible for ensuring that their teachers get the protection and benefits that employees are entitled to, such as holiday pay and sick pay which are otherwise not usually available to those who work for themselves. For an overseas teacher, who may not be familiar with the legislation in this country, having someone else to put their interests first can help them to negotiate the employment landscape in the UK.

How easy is to work as employee of an umbrella company? 

To register as an employee of an umbrella company should be relatively straightforward and many have the option for you to complete your registration online, quickly, with a minimum of fuss.  Many umbrella companies would be happy to speak to you whilst you are still overseas to answer your questions in more detail, and to provide you with an indication of how much pay you can expect to take home on a weekly basis.

Once you start to work in the UK, you will find that many umbrella companies like Orange Genie Education have robust processes in place with supply teaching agencies to ensure you always get paid accurately and on time.

Being employed by an umbrella company can be particularly beneficial for those overseas teachers who may not wish to become a director of their own UK company.  The roles and responsibilities of working as a director of your own limited company are very complicated and you may still have to communicate with the UK authorities for many years after you have left the UK to return home!

How to find an umbrella company

Many supply teaching agencies may provide you with a list of compliant umbrella companies they will permit you to use.  The agency would have carried out due-diligence on umbrella companies which would have covered important aspects such as the compliance credentials of the umbrella companies, its reputation for service, and its financial stability.

Overseas trained teachers looking to come to work in the UK sometimes also receive personal recommendations from teachers who may already be working in the UK, or have previously worked here.

To find out more about how Orange Genie Education could help you with your employment please call 01296 468 483 or email

If you found this article useful, you may also wish to have a read through:

Why Orange Genie Education?

We employ and pay thousands of supply teachers and education support staff every year. Our employment portfolio stretches over 10 years in the umbrella industry making Orange Genie Education one of the most trusted umbrella brands. With this in mind, there’s no wonder we have long lasting relationships with hundreds of recruitment agencies all over the UK. Upon joining Orange Genie Education you become an employee of ours benefiting from:

Single employer for all assignments

  • One payment for all different agency assignments completed in a week
  • Simplified and efficient taxation from single tax code
  • Guaranteed pay for the work completed
  • Continuous employment rights
  • Maternity and Paternity pay
  • Sick pay
  • Access to a workplace pension
  • Statutory rights
  • Improved personal credit references and rating
  • Extraordinary employee benefits including 24/7 access to a GP, councelling, support, fitness resouces, and discounts & offers worth hundreds of pounds in day to day savings

Reassurance our supply teachers are employed by an FCSA member that protects and supports contractors. Our aspiration is to improve the lives and wellbeing of supply teachers and education support staff.

Get started HERE with OrangeGenie Education and get paid on time every time >>

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