British bankers on Wall Street: not dead just yet

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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."

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