Getting a UK Work Visa
I'm particularly interested in hearing your personal experience with working abroad. What kind of job did you secure? How did you pitch yourself as worthy of the time, paperwork and cost of being sponsored? Did you find work under the table (i.e. bartending) or volunteer (resume builder)?
My boyfriend is moving to London in November and I will be following in his footsteps in January. He got a job offer he couldn't refuse working for the London branch of his current U.S. employer. I presently work in commercial production in Los Angeles and am looking to obtain work in the UK in the realm of film, TV or news. I studied in London in 2001 and interned with the BBC and an independent film company in Soho. I'm terribly excited to pick up where I left off.
For me, the UK gov't paperwork went WAAAAAY faster then expected. I was told the work permit would take 2-4 months to get---it came thru in 3-4 weeks. I was told the UK Entry Clearance visa could also take a few weeks--I had it in hand w/in a few days after sending in my app.
The funky thing is that, under the impression that the work permit & visa would take some time, I hadn't even BEGUN to pack up, rent/sell the house, etc. thinking I've got several months and/or weeks on it. Now, my future boss is aware of all this going thru & wants to know if I can start next week
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine
So, if you don't have a visa, you'll probably want to get started on it. And, that in itself can be another big hurdle. You'll either need to qualify on your own (which isn't easy these days) or qualify as a partner based on your boyfriend's visa. This also isn't necessarily too easy as you need to demonstrate a 2 year relationship, living together for that time frame, common bills, etc. And, don't even think about coming over here and then getting married, they likely won't let you without a proper marriage visa. And then even if you are married, you have to go back home to do all the paperwork to enter on a spousal visa.
There are quite a few horror stories even among British citizens trying to get their foreign spouses into the country. Not trying to scare you, I just wouldn't take it lightly or as automatic (or cheap).
And then there is a bit of a recession here. I am not sure there are going to be that many job opportunities. Although, many people as they lose their jobs are heading back to their home countries.
quote:Originally posted by halfnine:
Well, the visa process can take that long. Earlier this year, it took us about 2 months for the work visa and another month for the entry clearance.
So, if you don't have a visa, you'll probably want to get started on it.
Indeed. I get the sense that the speed with which my work permit & visa came thru was not typical.
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine
I moved to London two years ago when I was transferred from my US employer to their UK branch. When I came over, I received a UK work permit, which was recently (Nov 08) renamed to "Tier 2 - Sponsored Skilled Worker". However, I recently lost my job and am now considering applying for the â€œTier 1 â€“ Highly Skilled Workerâ€ permit.
To get a sponsored work permit (Tier 2), your company will need to apply for you and prove that (1) they want you to work in that position and (2) that they were not able to find a British person to fill the role. Officially, it should take Americans (like me) 2-3 weeks to get a sponsored work permit processed. However, it is possible to find passport agencies that will do it for you faster, or even the same day. I found a 24-hour agency in NYC, and I had my permit the next day. This is because in order to get the permit, you need to schedule an appointment at the consulate, which usually has at least a 2-week wait list. However, you can pay passport agencies - who already have meetings booked -to do it for you, thus no wait.
As for significant others, I know there is a way that your boyfriend can sponsor you to come into the UK on his work permit and you do NOT have to be married, as I have several friends here in London that have that arrangement. In such a case, if your boyfriend looses his job, both of you will have 28 days to leave the country. However, I do not know if you will be permitted to look for work or what the process is to apply for such a visa.
As another option, you may want to consider applying for the "Highly skilled worker permit", which was recently renamed to "Tier 1". This is a permit that anyone can apply for that allows you to come into the UK to look for work (i.e. you do not need a job before you apply). However, it requires that you meet a "highly skilled worker" threshold. The threshold is determined on a points based system. You get points for several different things, including English language proficiency, education level, total pay during the past 18 months (so if you haven't had a job in a while, that could hurt you), time spent working in the UK in the past, any education degrees received in the UK (degrees, not study abroad), and evidence of money to support yourself. If you meet the threshold, this would probably be the best bet for you, because it gives you a lot of flexibility. If you are approved, your Tier 1 visa will last for three years. However, the fee is rather expensive, 750 GBP. If you are applying from inside the UK, it can take 2-3 months to get approved. However, if you are applying from outside he UK, I have heard that the average time is 3-4 weeks, or you can pay a passport agency to get it done for you in less than 2 weeks. However, the passport agencies for Tier 1 UK visas tend to charge a lot as well -- my friend had to pay $800 on top of 750 GBP fee to get his visa in 2 weeks.
For more information on Tier 1 and Tier 2 go to this website. The site also includes a pointâ€™s calculator, which will help you determine if you are likely to have enough points to qualify for Tier 1. They also have a helpline with very nice people who have always been able to answer my questions.
Finally, if you come into the country illegally or as a â€œtouristâ€ and then find a job in UK, your employer will have to show that they recruited you legally before your employment can be legal. The best thing to do then, is immediately apply for Tier 1, then pretend that you didnâ€™t find the job until you already had the Tier 1 visa. But if you donâ€™t qualify for Tier 1, you could face some issues.
â€œDo not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trailâ€ - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am a teacher. I registered with a hiring agency (Bluewave International, highly recommended for any teachers looking to move to UK) and they found me the job/took cre of my work permit. I then had to apply for the visa myself, but it took only a couple of days--and I didn't pay for a service to do it for me.
One thing that surprised me (so naive!) was how much it cost for the visa. I don't remember now, but it's currently Â£205 with a work permit. For some reason I thought it'd be les than $100. Silly silly me!
Given your situation, I would take the advice given earlier: come over on a partner visa with your boyfriend, or apply for the Tier 1 visa. OR magically get a job offer first and have the company take care of your work permit!
“I'm not at my best when I moralize or philosophize. Logic is elusive, especially to one who so rarely uses it.”
Otherwise, I'm not sure about how the partner visa thing works. I do know that you should prepare for it to take a while and it may end up taking a fair bit of time and it may not. It is different for everyone. There are also holiday (vacation) visas which might be an option until you secure employment. I'm not sure what all the requirements are on that but it's something to look into.
lovemyluggage wrote:One thing that surprised me (so naive!) was how much it cost for the visa. I don't remember now, but it's currently Â£205 with a work permit. For some reason I thought it'd be les than $100. Silly silly me!
Mine was $400 USD last fall. Yep, a bit of a sticker shock. Speaking of stickers, it's a sticker affixed to your passport. If your passport expires before the visa does, (which mine did!), you'll just get to carry around both--that old passport w/ the UK Entry Clearance Visa (sticker) on it, and your new one.
I just got my Tier 1 visa, a few days ago and it should be interesting to see how I go... it's basically a 3 yr unsponsored visa. Fingers crossed...
i found these guys had some helpful information when it came to the arduous task of moving my life to a different country!
hope that helps.
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