Home Columns London Relocation Moving to London Part I: What You Need to Make Your Move...

Moving to London is a dream held by many and perhaps a reality achieved by few. Well, maybe that last bit isn’t entirely accurate considering the multitude of expats relocating to London every year, but it unfortunately is true that not everyone who wants to move to London is able to.

A while back, I had contributed a post to Anglotopia on the “Top 10 Reasons to Move to London.” A common response to that was effectively, “Yes, well, that’s all very well and good, but I don’t need convincing; I need a way to move there!” Indeed, with its culture, beauty, history, and ongoing global attention (especially as of late with the Royal Wedding and impending 2012 Olympics), London has an obvious appeal that doesn’t require a sales-pitch. It does, however, necessitate a lot of research and planning. Rest assured, you don’t have to do all that legwork on your own, but the early stages do lie heavily on your shoulders.

The first step to moving to London is finding employment that will secure your UK visa. That’s the tough part, and while I wish I could offer you sure-fire secrets to that success, it’s truly a hurdle no one but you can overcome through rigorous job-searching. Unless you’re studying abroad or already have rights to reside in the UK as a citizen (or spouse of one), as a professional, you’ll need to acquire a Tier 2 visa through corporate sponsorship. You can achieve this in one of two ways: requesting a transfer with your existing employer or finding a new job in London. In the latter case, you must prove to the company that you’re an asset worth sponsoring, as the company itself must prove to the UK government that, in hiring you, you offer something that local UK and EU citizens could not. Not the easiest of tasks (no offense).

In view of the above, wanting to live in London means committing to making it happen. You have to work for it to earn it. Don’t passively submit your CV (curriculum vitae, which is more comprehensive than a resume and the norm in the UK) to online job sites where you could easily get lost among the masses. If you do it at all, remember that it’s a numbers game—don’t content yourself with a handful of applications and lose all hope if you don’t hear back on any of them. Better yet, network, network, network. Get on LinkedIn and put the feelers out for anyone you know within your field or anyone you know who knows anyone. Contact local UK employers directly to discuss prospects and register with industry recruiters. Then take it a step further with those companies/recruiters and arrange appointments to meet in person. It may not guarantee immediate success, but at least they’ll know who you are when a suitable opportunity does come up.

And word to the wise when contacting multinational companies: go directly to their London office, not your local one. Employers might not be too keen on hiring you if your sole interest in them is getting placed in one of their overseas offices.

As I said before, though, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Friends, colleagues, and headhunters will hopefully be of help in getting the professional referrals you need to find a London job. And while your employer will likely help in procuring your Tier 2 visa, there are a multitude of UK visa solicitors you can consult with as well. Some useful resources on both recruiters and solicitors can be found at the London Relocation blog (www.londonrelocationservices.com/blog) in the following posts:

Relocation to London – Headhunters for Jobhunters – Recruiters and Agencies for Americans Moving to London
Relocation UK – Companies That Can Help You Obtain Your UK Visa

It goes without saying that relocating to London isn’t easy, but it’s sure worth the elbow grease! And once you do move to London, the next great challenge will be finding a place to live—in Part II of this series, I’ll delve into why using a relocation agent to do so is in your best interest. Until then, sweet London dreams to you, and cheers to making them a reality!

This was a guest post written by the folks at London Relocation Services.

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