There are more than 155,000 Americans living in the United Kingdom according to the United States Census Bureau, but the figure is thought to actually be closer to 225,000. According to the Bereau, the majority of Americans in the UK are White (74.7%), followed by Hispanics (14.5%), Black (14.1%), Asian (4.3%), and Native American (0.9%). Those classified as belonging to ‘Other’ consist of 7.9%.

All of those classified in the above figures are Americans who have become legal UK residents or are seeking UK citizenship as well as temporary workers and students. Most everyone moving to London from U.S. are doing so for an extended stay and will most likely look for some type of work to sustain them while they are there. If you are anticipating working in London then the following information on obtaining a work permit will come in handy.

Applying for a Work Permit

Before moving to London from U.S., you will want to apply for a work permit. Such a permit allows you to work for longer than six months anywhere within the UK. Employers in the UK are also required by law to only hire foreigners who hold work permits.

However, there are a couple of tricky catches to the process of obtaining a work permit. There used to be a Tier 1 Visa which allowed holders to start a business or find work freely throughout the UK, but that visa officially ended 6 April 2011 and is no longer available. Therefore, the only other option is the Tier 2 Visa or UK Work Permit which requires UK employers to be able to prove to the government that they could not fill the advertised job by a qualified worker from the United Kingdom or European Union.

Secondly, those moving to London from U.S. cannot directly apply for Tier 2 Work Permits. It is the responsibility of the employer who requires the foreign worker to do so. This process can take months to complete as there are various criteria to meet. Therefore, you either should wait before moving to London from U.S. until a contacted employer obtains the work permit for you or have enough finances to remain in the city for an extended period without work until you can locate an employer in need of your skills and receive a work permit from them.

Jobs That Require and Don’t Require Work Permits

Job opportunities for foreign works are listed in several option categories, one of which needs to be selected when obtaining a work permit. These sectors are:

  • Business and Commercial
  • Training and Work Experience Scheme
  • Sectors Based Scheme
  • Global Agreement on Trade in Services
  • Sportspeople and Entertainers

There are, however, several types of jobs which do not require a work permit. If you are moving to London from U.S. and are skilled in one of the following jobs then you are good to go.

  • Owner of an overseas company located in London or other part of the UK
  • Teachers and assistants of languages who are part of an approved exchange program
  • News and broadcast representatives
  • Graduates of science or engineering
  • Airport operational staff of foreign owned airline companies
  • Seasonal workers in agriculture
  • Members of a religious order, including ministers and missionaries
  • Foreign government employees
  • Dependents of these types of workers

If you require more information on work permits or the various visas available, or need help in moving to London from U.S., contact London Relocation Services.