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British bankers on Wall Street: not dead just yet

The news that Bank of America is withdrawing offers made to overseas MBAs as a result of TARP restrictions is bad news for MBAs. However, we’re assured that it will make absolutely no difference to the overall presence of British bankers on Wall St.

BofA says its move was prompted by restrictions on the use of H1B Visas to banks receiving TARP money. As most US banks have received TARP money, getting into a US bank on an H1B visa now looks unlikely.

However, a senior recruiter at one big US firm says most British bankers in the US aren’t there on H1B visas anyway. They’re there on L-1 visas which allow existing employees who already working for US banks in the City to transfer internally.

“L-1 visas are relatively easy to get – anyone who’s been working for a US bank in the City can get one,” he says.

By comparison, H1Bs usually go to people located outside the US who are hired in to work in the country. The restriction on their use will make it difficult for TARP recipients in the US to hire in not only MBA students, but anyone currently based overseas.

If you want to work on Wall Street you will therefore need to get an internal transfer. This may, however, be difficult too.

“The notion that this is somehow going to make it more difficult for overseas bankers to get jobs in the US is ridiculous,”‘ says David Schwartz of US search firm DN Schwartz & Company. “It’s impossible for anyone to get a job on Wall Street now.”

Comments (6)

Comments
  1. At least eF didn’t take another pop at Barcap – almost 3 in a row there..

  2. This is a non story. Literally the *only* people who use H1B are dubious Indian programmers brought onshore by consultancies to work for peanuts. BoA is using this as an excuse to not honor contracts what with them losing all the money that ever existed in world.

  3. I think a lot of ppl here don’t understand the issue. This effects not just “dubious” Indian programmers, but in particular all International undergrad students in US universities (Indians, Chinese, East Asian, etc., except for Singaporeans, and perhaps some other countries that have some agreement with the US). Even British undergrad students need H1b. I think restricting H1b will have very bad unintended consequences on enrolment in US colleges. L1 is for people who have been working in some other country already, not for people who are going for a job right after university. So while senior bankers should be fine, for juniors it will become impossible to get H1b and jobs (as Wall Street had in recent years become the biggest employers, and they were one of the few groups that used to sponsor H1b. Believe it or not, even companies like Unilever don’t sponsor).

  4. Ultimately it is those “dubious” programmers which have made US economically strong. And what crashed US market and the banks worldwide are US bankers who wanted to lend money to possibly everyone in the world. By curbing H1 B, the only way economy is going to go is downwards – and make other countries attractive to young and talented Asians.

  5. Does anyone know if BofA is obliged to pay sign-on bonuses in spite of reneging offers ?

  6. I have direct experience of the increasing squeeze on visas. I am an experienced professional who has had personal introductions to US firms and serious interest in hiring – until they find they have to sponsor me for immigration. In this market, even in non TARP firms there is pressure to hire US nationals – so I have been forced to abandon a strategy that made sense in career terms. I can only hope that in the UK we are going to start protecting protecting our own in this way as we now have no escape route.

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