Relocation to London is a fabulous adventure if you have a great job lined up, all your paperwork is handled by your employers and you’ve found a perfect apartment through your London relocation services company. It’s a dream come true, you’re living and working in one of the most exciting cities in the world and you’re all set to have a great time and your international relocation. For an accompanying spouse?  Not so much…

Relocation to London – Job Searching for Partners. The First Step

Don’t get too stressed out. Despite the laws surrounding the employment of foreign nationals, a work permit is not very difficult to obtain. It can take a couple of weeks if all your paperwork is in order, or a bit longer if the government needs to assure themselves that the job could not be filled internally. The entire process is MUCH easier that a Brit applying for work in the US. We love to have Americans moving here!

Visas and Work Permits

Be aware that there is a difference between a visa and a work permit. If you’re not considering immigration then don’t get caught up in the maelstrom of applying for an immigration visa. The way to get around the work permit issue is to apply for a work visa.  In April 2011 the old HSMP visa program was scrapped. In its place is the Tier 1 Visa which lets you live and work in the UK without having to get a work permit from your employer. This is for highly skilled people to work for any employer in any capacity without having to seek sponsorship. The Tier 2 Work Visa is where you have to get a Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer.

Dependents can be added to a Tier 1 Visa but not so easily to a Tier 2 visa, so when you are negotiating with your company about your relocation, you be sure to ask them about your partner or spouse. A Tier 2 visa might be easier for your employer, but a Tier 1 visa gives your entire family the chance to work and live here with all of the benefits.

The UK Border Agency now handles all of the visa applications, queries through their website.