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Can an American work in England/UK legally? If so, how?

Discuss international visas, immigration and citizenship issues.

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Can an American work in England/UK legally? If so, how?

Postby Winston » Thu Dec 26, 2013 5:44 am

Hi all,
My friend Mitchell, whom Steve Hoca interviewed, just had an English lady fly over from the UK to Pennsylvania to be with him. He told me about it over the phone. They spent a few weeks together and had a great time. Mitchell said that she was VERY different from American women and much more down to earth, mature, friendly, evolved, etc. She also told him that England was very different from America, not as crazy and dysfunctional, and more down to earth and sane.

Mitchell also said that he talked to the woman's daughter on the phone and that she sounded very mature and down to earth as well, even though she's only in her 20's. Her daughter said that in the UK, you can talk about science fiction or deep topics with girls, and it is considered normal and cool. But in the US, you would be a weirdo if you did that.

After she left, she bought him a plane ticket to come to the UK to be with her. Wow that was generous! He is now very nervous about going overseas for the first time. I told him not to think about it and just do it so he can get out of the toxic environment he's in.

So you see, this confirmed my feeling that UK women are NOT the same as US women after all. He was also told that in England, people like American accents, so that would be a plus in his favor.

The thing is, Mitchell works as a security guard, which is something he could do in any country. But the question is, can he work in the UK as a US citizen? What are the labor laws on that? How can an American work in the UK legally?

What do most American expats in the UK do for money there?
Last edited by Winston on Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby tre » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:11 am

Expats with legit workers passes usually come in two varieties:

1) The "talent": Those who have skills above and beyond or at least specialized in comparison with what can be found in the home country.

2) The cheap labor: Those who are willing to work for much lower wages than locals or do the jobs that locals don't want.

I can't imagine that your friend would be hired to work as a security guard in the UK as a US Citizen...it just doesn't make any sense. That is unskilled, but relatively easy labor. I could be wrong (the USA does MANY things that don't make sense), but WHY would their government give him a pass for that? If he was an Engineer with tons of experience, I'd say he could DEFINITELY land a job there right now.

Also, I wouldn't take anything she said seriously. Women say lots of stuff that isn't true. He'd best take her free ticket, fly to the UK and have fun. I don't see how that could hurt him in the least. I have absolutely no desire to visit the UK, but even I'd take the opportunity if I got a free ticket...lol.
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Postby Winston » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:18 am

Well I think he wants to live there with her, and wants to hold his own. So how can he make a living there then?
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Postby tre » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:35 am

Winston wrote:Well I think he wants to live there with her, and wants to hold his own. So how can he make a living there then?


Well if she has enough $$ to throw him a plane ticket, then she isn't poor. I don't think it's a great idea to live with someone you don't really know very well though.

Does this girl have any connections for work in the UK? If she can help him get hired at a job in the UK that will back him on his employment pass application, he'd have the best chance. I am not sure how high the government standard is for accepting a employment pass applications in the UK. In places like Singapore and Hong Kong, it's VERY HIGH. Getting hired by a foreign company is not the hard part, it's getting your employment pass approved by the government...that's the challenge.

If he can't get an employment pass, he will need to look at making money online...that would be his last option I suppose. However, he won't be able to get by on $1500 per month in the UK...
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Dec 26, 2013 8:18 am

Winston asked me to comment on this thread. Maybe I'm not the best person to ask, as I don't really need to know these rules.

Generally I know that you can't really get a work permit here unless you're going to do a job no Brit can/wants to do. So that means you'll have to do stuff there are skill shortages for, or manual labour (e.g. picking crops).

As I've just come back from Thailand it feels astoundingly expensive here. I wanted to buy a pastie for lunch but it was £3.90. Rents here start at £495 a month (what I'm renting my place out for). And the train from Heathrow to my sister's town on the coast cost me £31 - that was over a month's travel costs in Guangzhou!
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Postby publicduende » Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:13 am

For citizens of "tier 1" countries (which the US are), it's relatively easy to have a temporary Visa in the UK if they want to do some sort of course, even a part-time one. English language obviously doesn't apply, but if your friend is willing to invest some of his savings into a trade/vocational short course like plumbing or electrical installation, he would have the double benefit of being legally allowed in the UK while gaining some valuable skills he can use back in the US, or even in the UK if he were to stay.
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Re: Can an American work in the UK legally? If so, how?

Postby publicduende » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:29 pm

Winston wrote:Mitchell also said that he talked to the woman's daughter on the phone and that she sounded very mature and down to earth as well, even though she's only in her 20's. Her daughter said that in the UK, you can talk about science fiction or deep topics with girls, and it is considered normal and cool. But in the US, you would be a weirdo if you did that.


This is one of things I've been debating all along with some of the US members here. The UK still has a good number of middle class families who still bring up their kids with some sense of reality and empathy towards the others. This particular woman, and/or her ex-husband, must have been good parents for their girl not to turn up the kind of brainless slut many think represents the younger generation.
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Postby momopi » Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:15 pm

xiongmao wrote:As I've just come back from Thailand it feels astoundingly expensive here. I wanted to buy a pastie for lunch but it was £3.90. Rents here start at £495 a month (what I'm renting my place out for). And the train from Heathrow to my sister's town on the coast cost me £31 - that was over a month's travel costs in Guangzhou!


Just curious, what is the size and filling of the pasty, and does the price include gravy?

For comparison, "Pasty Kitchen" in Los Alamitos, Orange County, California:

Beef Pasty: $2.35 SM, $4.70 LG
Chicken Pasty: $2.30 SM, $4.60 LG
Gravy: $0.35 4oz, $0.75 10oz
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Postby Ghost » Thu Dec 26, 2013 11:53 pm

I don't think he can work legally in the U.K. unless he can do something valuable that EU citizens can't do.

If he is under 30, he can look at getting a holiday work visa for Australia and New Zealand. I think those are easy for Americans to get. And since those are commonwealth countries, she should have no trouble getting something in those places. Might be easier than trying to get both into the U.S. or U.K.
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Postby mattyman » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:42 pm

How old is this guy btw?

If it's low-skilled labour (especially types of jobs UK citizens are reputed to being unwilling to do), I'm afraid to say that as immigrants go, employers tend to favour cheaper labour from eastern Europe. I don't know specifically about the security industry.

What license does he have if any? Has he done door-staff/bouncer work? In the UK to work in the security industry you need a Security Industry Austhority (SIA) license (to work legally). I'm not sure what sources of funding would be available. I know that the course isn't that cheap, something in the region of £200 for a Doorman's license. But beyond that I'm not sure about security guards/officers.
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Postby mattyman » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:50 pm

Xiongmao

"As I've just come back from Thailand it feels astoundingly expensive here. I wanted to buy a pastie for lunch but it was £3.90. Rents here start at £495 a month (what I'm renting my place out for). And the train from Heathrow to my sister's town on the coast cost me £31 - that was over a month's travel costs in Guangzhou!"

That would carry you for a MONTH travelling around Guangzhou?!

That rent you quoted in some places, you'd be lucky to get a cheap, skanky mouldy place with druggie-scum as neighbours, especially in the seaside towns.

Train fares have gone up again, probably by more than inflation.
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Postby Renata » Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:31 pm

An American can work in the UK if they meet certain criteria, jobs can be tough to get though but there's lots of employment agencies like Adecco & Reed that can help if you are legal. I worked there under the youth mobility scheme that was open to commonwealth citizens but it's not anymore.

What's his field of expertise? Check this link for more info >
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas ... n/working/

He can apply for the scheme that fits him best >

High-value migrants
Investors, entrepreneurs and exceptionally talented people can apply to enter or stay in the UK without needing a job offer - but you will need to pass a points-based assessment.

Skilled workers
If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK and your prospective employer is willing to sponsor you, you can apply to come or remain here to do that job.

Temporary workers
If an employer in the UK is willing to sponsor you, or if you are a national of a country that participates in the youth mobility scheme, you may be eligible to come and work in the UK for a short period.

Other categories
You can also apply to work in the UK as a domestic worker; as the sole representative of an overseas firm; or as a representative of an overseas newspaper, news agency or broadcasting organisation.
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