Researching Moving to UK

Old Dec 7th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Researching Moving to UK

Has anyone done any research or actually moved from the US to the UK. I have always wanted to live in Europe and have recently started looking in to it.
I was told recently that the UK currently has a very low unemployemnent rate and is opening doors to a few more foreigners. I dont know how accurate this is. But I did a search for jobs in london for people with my skill sets and there were TONS !!

I am a software engineer with about 8 years exp specializing in Financial applications (exp. Structured Fin, ABF , and other portfolio management). Does anyone know how difficult it is to find an employer willing to import an American?

Thanks
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Hi,

You're right, unemployment is low here in the UK (about 2.7%) Nevertheless I believe you would still need to be sponsored by a UK company before you could relocate.

Another, possibly easier, method might be to get a job in the States with a multinational company with offices in the UK. You might then be able to move temporarily or permanently to the UK within that company.

Good luck.
melr is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:01 AM
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It is unlikely that an employer would be willing to sponsor you unless your skills are truly unique AND in high demand. We just moved to the UK three days ago (after 5 years in Brussels and six months in Germany). I work in a high demand field and get many calls from UK headhunters, but even so, there were/are virtually no employers willing to go through the whole work permit hurdle. As an American married to a Canadian with Right to Abode, I have the right to work in the UK, the only reason I'm getting so many calls/emails.
Two other cautions: there may be plenty of openings, but the salaries are (IMHO) shockingly low. Don't be surprised if a UK position pays as little as half of what you'd expect to get for the same job in the U.S. (even with the lousy exchange rate). How people here in the UK mix such a high cost of living with such middling to just plain crappy salaries is a mystery to me.
Second, while the UK may be European, it's not "continental." The lifestyle, attitudes, etc. in the UK are very different from the lifestyles and attitudes on the other side of the Channel. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your perspective.
I don't mean to be discouraging, only realistic. If you are really bound and determined to try life in the UK, you will probably find a way! Just be prepared for the obstacles (and there are many!) you will encounter. And whatever you do, make sure it's legal--an "under the table" move is stressful and can have serious, negative consequences.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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It is unlikely that an employer would be willing to sponsor you unless your skills are truly unique AND in high demand. We just moved to the UK three days ago (after 5 years in Brussels and six months in Germany). I work in a high demand field and get many calls from UK headhunters, but even so, there were/are virtually no employers willing to go through the whole work permit hurdle. As an American married to a Canadian with Right to Abode, I have the right to work in the UK, the only reason I'm getting so many calls/emails.
Two other cautions: there may be plenty of openings, but the salaries are (IMHO) shockingly low. Don't be surprised if a UK position pays as little as half of what you'd expect to get for the same job in the U.S. (even with the lousy exchange rate). How people here in the UK mix such a high cost of living with such middling to just plain crappy salaries is a mystery to me.
Second, while the UK may be European, it's not "continental." The lifestyle, attitudes, etc. in the UK are very different from the lifestyles and attitudes on the other side of the Channel. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your perspective.
I don't mean to be discouraging, only realistic. If you are really bound and determined to try life in the UK, you will probably find a way! Just be prepared for the obstacles (and there are many!) you will encounter. And whatever you do, make sure it's legal--an "under the table" move is stressful and can have serious, negative consequences.
P.S. I am having trouble posting at the moment, so apologies in advance is this shows up two or more times!
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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It is unlikely that an employer would be willing to sponsor you unless your skills are truly unique AND in high demand. We just moved to the UK three days ago (after 5 years in Brussels and six months in Germany). I work in a high demand field and get many calls from UK headhunters, but even so, there were/are virtually no employers willing to go through the whole work permit hurdle. As an American married to a Canadian with Right to Abode, I have the right to work in the UK, the only reason I'm getting so many calls/emails.
Two other cautions: there may be plenty of openings, but the salaries are (IMHO) shockingly low. Don't be surprised if a UK position pays as little as half of what you'd expect to get for the same job in the U.S. (even with the lousy exchange rate). How people here in the UK mix such a high cost of living with such middling to just plain crappy salaries is a mystery to me.
Second, while the UK may be European, it's not "continental." The lifestyle, attitudes, etc. in the UK are very different from the lifestyles and attitudes on the other side of the Channel. Whether that's a good or bad thing depends on your perspective.
I don't mean to be discouraging, only realistic. If you are really bound and determined to try life in the UK, you will probably find a way! Just be prepared for the obstacles (and there are many!) you will encounter. And whatever you do, make sure it's legal--an "under the table" move is stressful and can have serious, negative consequences.
P.S. I am having trouble posting at the moment, so apologies in advance if this shows up two or more times!
BTilke is offline  
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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I don't necessarily agree that it's hard to get employers to take you on. And I think you're in what's called a "Shortage occupation" so if you get a job, you'll likely get a work permit and thus a visa.

Mmm. I just checked- you're not. Harder but more difficult. Have alook at workingintheuk.gov.uk
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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there have been a couple of extensive threads on this recently. Ifyou search above you will find dozens of responses - and can then come back with specific queries.

Many seem to agree that in the UK - vs the US - you will be in salary shock - despite the very high cost of living.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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I don't know if it's still the case, but in answer to BTilke's observations of low salaries, many UK cos. provide co. benefits such as cars and expense accounts that can substantially improve your cost of living.

The very best scenario would be to get posted to the UK by a co. in the US. Then you're usually given a living allowance as well as salary. I would suggest you look at websites of US cos. who might have use of your services and see if they have any overseas opportunities.
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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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I would love to work in Paris, but I don't speak french.

I mentioned the UK ( I really mean London) for several reasons. So I am concentrating on London because of the large amout of financial instituions. Also Many UK companies are heavy users of Microsoft Technolgy (C#,vb.net,asp, etc) which I have most experiance with.
I speak the language - so that makes it a better choice too. And last but not least, I really like london, even though it is not "Contenetal" europe it would work well for me.

I am not that concered about salary as long as I could get by, because I dont plan to stay there forever, I would just like to live there for a few years.

Actually looking at many online Job boards, salaries really don't look that bad. I see some positions that I probably fit up to 75GBP/year. I do agree on average they look a little less than US.

If anyone knows of any recruiters that specialize in overseas recuriting - I would love the info.

Thanks for the advice so far

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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 11:47 AM
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It's true that many companies give car allowances and other perks. Also don't forget that the holidays are far more generous.
 
Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:14 PM
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For most people, Britain (and especially SE England) is on a different planet for job-hunting from the rest of Europe. Certainly for English-speaking, financial service-oriented proferssionals, unemployment here is just about the lowest in the world.

Research the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. If you qualify (and pretty well anyone with a degree who's got on with a career since university will qualify - as will almost anyone else who's developed their skills and carved a career out for themselves), you don't need a work permit, or any sponsoring. Just get the HSMP stamp, then turn up here and find whatever job you can talk your way into - whether it's got anything to do with your career history or not.

If you don't qualify on the HSMP scheme, then you need to find an employer first. The chances of anyone on this board knowing anything concrete about openings for your speciality are slender.

But you can find out for yourself the way we all find out about jobs in countries that speak the same language - by getting off your ass, onto a plane and talking to the headhunters in your speciality. If you've skills someone wants, an employer will sponsor you whether you're American or Tahitian. If you haven't, you'll at least have had a pleasant five days in the world's greatest city. If your skills are in demand, but not enough for an employer to go through the hassle of applying for a work permit first, take lessons on how to present yourself to overcome that barrier.

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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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Thanks Tons Flan

I found a website called workpermit.com, took a little survey and it showed I got 100 points - I need 65 to qualify. some of the questions are a little subjective, so I am not sure what my real point total would be. but this is encouraging. I will continue to research it.

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Old Dec 7th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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Speaking as an American who recently went through the visa process, I can assure you it's not quite as easy for nonEuropeans as the British believe. If it were, there are thousands of unemployed/underemployed highly skilled IT workers in the U.S. who would be here in a flash, esp. from the hard hit Pacific NW.
Re the low salaries issue, the benefits are not all *that* great and certainly don't make up for the prices in the overheated housing market. And it's easier to get a car with your job in Belgium than it is in the UK. Or so the many Brits we know working in Brussels tell us. As for holidays, again, I think you will find that the holiday benefits in the UK are not terribly generous, esp. compared to continental Europe. I don't think it's particularly common for employees, esp. new hires, to work only 35 hour weeks and get 5 weeks paid vacation plus an extra month's salary to boot.
As I said above, if you are truly determined to work in the UK, you may eventually find something somewhere. Just don't expect it to happen easily or quickly.
FlannerUK, my husband spent several years as a high level IT manager in the financial industry and currently directs the operations of a high tech company, having the final say on all the professional hires (including the hires for the UK offices), so actually we do have a "slender" idea about this market.
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