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Old 03-28-2007, 02:57 AM   #1
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Default American moving to London?! NEED ADVICE!

My best friend just informed me that she is moving to NZ and we've been having this big heart to heart about how we've both wanted to move abroad for some time now...

Here's my thing, I am completely and utterly clueless as to moving abroad, how that whole thing works. All I know is that I am sort of at a turning point in my life as my military career thank God (it's been rewarding and amazing experience but totally and utterly not for me) coming to its end in the next year or two and I'm trying to figure out where I want to go from there.

I'm the kind of person who is all over the map, I cannot deal with stillness. So I think after much deliberation, I want to move to London.

I have my degree in criminology and my whole life I've wanted to pursue the federal law enforcement life. Being over here in Afghanistan I've had a lot of time to contemplate what I want and what's important to me.

Aside from the possibility of going to graduate school in London (which I am considering), how difficult is it for an American to find more than temp work? I have lived in Chicago so I am used to a high cost of living, etc.

Any advice or anything would be helpful.

Thanks,
Nicole
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Old 03-28-2007, 05:55 AM   #2
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I do not have direct experience with London, per se, but in general, in order to get a job in a foreign country (and to acquire the associated work visa which will be required), you need to demonstrate that you have unique skills and experience not available from the local population of citizens. This is the general guideline that most countries use in order to allow their own citizens first crack at a job, and rightly so. So, if you want to work oversees in a law enforcement capacity, you need to think of something unique or special that you can bring to the table that may be in short supply in the UK. With your military background and experience, you may very well be able to get over that hurdle, but it is a bit of a crap shoot. Some countries have work visa programs for young people that will allow you to work in certain types of jobs for 6 months or a year, but I think many of these are more unskilled labor type positions. If you want to use your degree, the hurdles towards getting a visa may be higher.

I had been looking at working overseas myself and the country I ultimately would have gone to would be the one that offered the best combination of job market for my skills AND easiest ability to secure a work visa. I would suggest you comb the internet, find some expat message boards and research what other people have done to secure work in the UK. If you are really committed and do your homework you should be able to find something I expect (though it may not be easy). Good luck.
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:10 AM   #3
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althought i can't speak from first hand experience, my older sister did relocate to london several years back (she is still there.) I remember her having an extremely difficult time securing a work visa even after her company hired a lawyer to get one for her. after several months of going through the process livefreeordie described above, she finally recieved one. therefore, while not impossible, it is very difficult for a non-EU citizen to gain the proper visas to work in the uk with out someone (an employer, immigration lawyer, etc.) behind them.

that being said, if you really want to live in the uk for a short time (say...less than a year) you could always just stay in the country after your three months are up. in terms of finding work, pubs are always willing to hire young people for cash in hand jobs the pay isn't anything amazing, but you could get by.

i'm sorry this post isn't more optimistic but the hard reality of todays EU is that it is very difficult to legally work there as an american.

good luck!
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Old 03-28-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
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If I pursued graduate school in London would that increase my odds of getting the visa? I think after doing a lil homework on jobs and thinking about what I want to do, the first step to get the foot in the door is graduate school.
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Old 03-28-2007, 09:07 AM   #5
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It sounds like what you are looking for is more permanent, but you could always try www.bunac.org. I had a friend that got a visa through this company and it worked out really well. She worked in a pub, so she wasn't using her degree, but she thought it was work it. Maybe it could be a starting off point?
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Old 03-29-2007, 06:57 AM   #6
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i would highly recommend going the grad school route. my sister initially started in school in the uk which led to an internship which led to her company hiring her and doing all the pain in the ass visa work for her.
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