☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Work permit withdrawal symptoms

Losing your job is bad. Losing your job when it’s linked to both your right and the right of your wife and two children to stay in the country is very, very bad. And losing your job and then having to stay in the country while you hand over your passport in an attempt to secure your immigration status is really very bad – particularly if it means you lose the opportunity to interview in somewhere like Dubai as a result.

As thousands of people are made redundant, immigration lawyers say they’re being approached by lots of ex, or soon to be ex-bankers who are worried about their immigration status.

“If you’re on a work permit and you lose your job, you will need to switch to a Tier One visa,” says Julia Onslow Cole, UK head of global immigration at PWC Legal. “It’s a big issue – particularly for people who are in the middle of an immigration process at banks that are going into administration. They can’t continue with their outstanding application and have to start again.”

Landing a Tier One visa isn’t that difficult. The UK government runs a website stipulating the criteria and an online calculator to help you establish your eligibility.

“Most of the people coming to me are eligible,” says Sushma Awtani at solicitors Landau Zeffertt Weir. “You need to score 75 points overall and you immediately get 20 points if you’re under 28, 50 points if you have a PhD, and 45 points if you earned 40k or more in your previous position.”

Lawyers say the real issue is the hassle of switching from a work permit to Tier One status and what happens during the period in between. “If you came here on a work permit, your immigration permission ceases as soon as you’re no longer an employee,” says Onslow Cole. “This creates practical problems – you might want to go for an interview in America or Singapore, but you can’t leave the country.”

Surprisingly, perhaps, lawyers say many of the thousands of international bankers in the City of London want to stay around and look for a new position. Onslow Cole says that those who leave are interested in Dubai, China and South America.

For information on how to get into China and South American countries (and more), we suggest you visit the very helpful Fragomen website, which offers useful emigration information for anyone looking to leave the City for a year or two.

Comments (34)

  1. What this article fails to metion is WHERE most of these people with immigration problems are from. Most of the people mentioned in the article are from either India or China (more from India). Instead of taking the experience they have gained in London back to their home country and become senior managers in companies over there, these bankers are encouraged by immigration lawyers to stay in London. Why are they being encouraged to stay when there are no jobs?
    This is exploitation and is known as THE BRAIN DRAIN.

  2. They are not being forced to stay… However, I am one of those leaving the Netherlands and returning home to Albania.

  3. Dude, Americans have the same problems too… I agree, having Americans in the UK go back would increase the average IQ in both countries.. known as the BRAIN IMPROVEMENT.

  4. Who cares. The writer of this article hasn’t got anything to do in the office. He/she passes her time writing stupid comments.

  5. I am not aware that any immigration lawyers are “encouraging” Indians to stay. As a headhunter, I see it as more the case that people are seeking advice so that they choose where they work.
    Not being a Daily Mail reader, I don’t pander to racists who want the Indians (or Americans ) to go home. Would “X” say the same junk about Pakistanis as he says abgout Americans ? Why not ?
    Upset they earn more than you ?
    Poor dear.

    Many Indians, Americans, French, etc have set up home in the UK, and have bought homes that are not exactly easy to sell in the current market. Even Daily Mail readers know about that.

    Yes, London experience is valuable in India, just as experience in Hollywood is valuable to a west midlands acting company, but London is the centre of finance. You go home if you’ve either failed or seriously made it.

  6. @Peter Burn: The name of the person writing the article is just below the title. Look hard and you’ll find it, it’s Sarah Butcher. So now you know it’s a she.
    The other point to know is that she actually works at efinancialcareers. It IS her job to write articles there.
    Thanks for your constructive comments though, I’m sure.

  7. I believe people should believe in fate

  8. In difficult times, it’s easy to hammer foreigners who have been benefiting from the growth in the UK to build up some good experience, language skills and let’s face it sometimes serious money.
    But let’s not fall into that cliche yet again, it’s quite primitive.

    Now if you expect foreigners to go back “home”, think that I consider London “home”.

    I have considered going back to France but what for (appart from claiming outrageous benefits I am entitled to as a French citizen)?
    I just think it’s a matter of time before other countries get hit as badly as we are here in London, so I’m gonna stay around if you don’t mind. I don’t feel like wasting the cost of relocating.

  9. Most of the guys losing their jobs have been in UK for 1 or max 2 years That is not much experience to take back home.

    London is anyway not a place you can survive for too long without a job! But at least if someone wants to look for a job should have the chance. After that person would have contributed a big amount in taxes without any public recourse unlike the residents here.

  10. X 23: I reckon that your priceless comment will go over the head of too many people, unfortunately. Anyway, cheers!

  11. A very upsetting issue with getting a tier 1 visa is an unjustifiable 10-14 weeks of waiting and not being able to travel. I think this is really bad that proceeding the applications take them so long – and I cannot see a rational reason for that! In other countries it is much quicker.
    And it really makes people feel very unwelcome. Just like the comments in some media that these people are stilling jobs and should go home…Perhaps some of them are just forgetting that all these people are leaving 30% of their salaries in taxes, while not being able to claim any social benefits.
    Regarding the work permitt scheme – I thik is very uncivilised and there should be an allowance to stay for a reasonable time in case the employment is terminated…Perhaps the same 10-14 weeks which it takes to get a tier 1…

  12. My point is that all those bankers from outside the EU ( a lot of them from India) are getting a raw deal by immigration lawyers who actively encourage them to stay by straight away finding ways for them to stay – when all the client wants is just some advice. The lawyers are just greedy with no real concern for their client.

    Yes, the non-EU bankers are settled into a good life in London and understandably are reluctant to go back, but we are heading into a deep recession in the UK. There are hardly any jobs, just more and more layoffs. Being unemployed for 6 months or more means the mortgage doesn’t get paid. Not only that but being unemployed in a foreign country for a long time is DISASTROUS for a person’s self esteem and confidence. Instead of remaining in London waiting perhaps years for the market to recover, these bankers would be better off going back home and becoming senior executives at firms over there. Places like India and China are GROWING and need such people.

    It is not racist or xenophobic to point that out.

  13. That is not 100% true about Chinese and the Indians. There are a lot of Eastern Europeans, South Americans, etc. etc. etc. A lot of these guys are already on HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Program) visas which grant the right to stay and look for work in the UK. The ones hit hardest are the Lehman grads who don’t have a right to stay in the UK if they lose their jobs.

  14. “Landing a Tier One visa isn’t that difficult.”

    Sure, if you’ve got all the time in the world.

    They’re very particular about documentation; it took me over 2 months to get my employer to produce the proper documents, and almost 5 months for the UK Border Agency to process it.

    That’s stage 1 of 3.

  15. If London does not need foreign professionals to come and look for work in London this should be clearly spell out by some higher authorities so that graduates do not come or stay in UK gaining false hopes and subsequently suffer. The policies of the government is in conflict with what’s going on. The UK Border Agency is giving more opportunities for foreigners to work in London- HSMP and Post work study.

    Because of the feeling by EU that non-EU should not be allowed to stay and work in London, those who come here only to gain experience in an international market in order to become leaders in their home countries are being punished and chastised. How do I convince people that I only here for work experience?

    Let me tell the truth more bluntly- experience that I have witnessed. London can on longer claim to be an international market- it is becoming more and more euro sceptic. British people are hesitant to hire people who are non-EU evident from their ethnic origin even if they have right to work. They prefer british candidates. London no longer judge applicants by their skills but by their ethnic origin.

  16. I have been turned down for a Tier 1 visa because one of my bank statements was an internet printout, not an original. I applied under teh HSMP transitional arrangements where a mixed set of bank statements was accepted. It took 2.5months for a rejection letter to come back and led to a cancellation of my business trips. Furthermore I have been detained at the airport today as this is now a blemish on my immigration history. Easy isn’t it?

  17. my 1st HSMP visa was approved in 3 wks from the date of receipt by Home Office. i dont know why it took others 12-15 wks to do so. i was residing overseas prior to the grant of HSMP. Anyway, the capital mkts in UK are on free fall & no turnaround sign until 2010. For those out of job & unwilling to switch to a smaller boutique, PACK UP & GO HOME.

  18. Losh –

    That is what happens in a downturn / recession…..

  19. Thx dude. But for the sake of the debate, please can you just avoid posting? It makes sick to think that actually there is no selection for people like you. If you want to give advice, please feel free but being lucky is not for everybody. And for you info, other people are looking everywhere without any luck.

  20. Losh: Here’s a tip-instead of bemoaning hiring policies why don’t you try
    improving your English language skills-maybe that would help you get hired more quickly.

  21. Dear CITYBANKER,
    don’t worry, those hardworking immigrants (Indians, Chinese, Russians,etc), who have been paying more taxes than your lazy countrymen (assuming you are British) can even spend, will ALWAYS find jobs whereever they go. Because they are hard working and don’t take comfort and quality of life for granted. The countries that are most long-term oriented in their immigration policies will benefit from this. Hopefully, UK will remain one of them, though, people like you certainly do not help!

    Immigrant worker Reply
  22. @ImmigrantWorker:

    It is YOU who is taking things for granted.

    You seem to think that Immigration into the UK is your GOD-given right just because you (may) have some specialist skills that are (were) in demand. You also seem to think that hard work alone is the ONLY thing necessary to make a successful immigrant. You are wrong. By calling your future countrymen “lazy’ you seem to show utter contempt for UK society. CityBanker was pointing out the immoral pratices and the human cost when an economy goes sour. You seem to take it personally. Grow Up.

  23. Unfortunately i am not a Chinese, Russian or Indian having gained experience in Banking with a proven track record to work in a different challenging culture, probably a couple of languages under my belt and the opportunity to make a quick move to my domestic booming economy which may not at present pay big bucks but will certainly have a positive outlook and the opportunity to build towards a fantastic job in a few years.

    Sadly this is not the case in London and as a born and bred Londoner working in banking for the last 10 years i think those educated individuals from overseas have great opportunities. Those like me now have to prove we have the same skills and determination as those overseas workers to make it abroad or get through the next few years here.

    BTW i really do get upset and dissapointed when i hear people say ‘go back home’ in the media generally – have we as a country really not moved on at all? This country is great we gave experience and made contacts with people from all over the globe – in difficult times lets not let ourselves down – the good times will be back and London is a truly international city and is way way too big to fail.

    Banker on sidelines Reply
  24. It is very interesting reading all these comments. It just prove the point that people are not ready to learn and understand the current trend in globalisation.

    I am amazed to hear people say “go home”, “Lazy Uk people” wow!!!

  25. that is my badluck ok any way i hope to get the job

  26. What about all those UK and European graduates now trying to get into finance in London, having to compete with foreign graduates who have no independent right to work here? Do you think that is fair?

  27. it is a very stressful time to be on a work permit when financial services is declining. I was in M&A after the .com boom and this was before the HSMP program was widely available. Good luck to those who have been made redundant.

  28. actually UKgraduate, I think it is what has made London such a globalpowerhouse. Having the brighest grads globally as opposed to just the UK redbrick grads improves the city’s competitive standing

  29. When there are no jobs then what is point paying 750 to Immigration Agency and hefty amounts to solicitors and search for a job in a country where there are no job and people are being made redundant?

    Law for tier 1 also says that when you are living in UK on Tier1 then you have to show atleast 12 months in last 15 month continuous job and people who are on this visa are mostly well educated and they will earn in their respective countries (mostly Asian) a good amount with a better living standard than in UK even if they earn 60K here in UK.

  30. Andrew: I don’t think your tip will work. Don’t escape from the truth.

  31. To UKgraduate: Yes, absolutely. Let the best man have the job instead of simply the man who happens to be born in the right countries.

    Most of the comments appal me. Have you taken a look at a trading floor lately? What % do you think are British passeport holders? I would say 50%-60% of the front line staff at best. Of course, if you throw in the assistants and the tea lady, the % of British nationals working in the city increases…

    Seriously, London has become a financial powerhouse because it managed to attract the most talented people and this happened prior to you, UKgraduate, joining.

    Let’s not forget the contribution those Russian, Indians, Americans made. Afterall, they did pay their national insurance contributions and taxes for a number of year. I think they are entitled to stay. I would hire a Indian or a Russian with 2-3 year experience over a Englishman straight from Oxbridge any time.


  32. The UK is perhaps the only developed country in the world which has such a negligent attitude towards the economic opportunities for its’ OWN citizens. Do you think the Americans have such an attitude? Or the French? Absolutely not – just ask the UK bankers of Lehman Brothers and how they got stiffed out of salary payments during the bankruptcy because the New York HQ wanted to look after’ it’s own. Just try getting a a front office investment banking job in New York without the appropriate immigration papers and please tell me how that goes…..

    Yes, the job should go to the best man. But an EU citizen, who has the required skills and abilities, should NOT have to compete for a job in London with an similar individual who is sending his CV from Chicago, or Moscow or Mumbai.

    With regard to taxes paid by these foregin bankers, they are not getting noithing for their taxes. They have access to free healthcare (the NHS), etc. Yes, London has become a global financial powerhouse in part, and in part only, because of the contribution made by foreign individuals. But just look at the rensentment this causes outside the M25. Is London a new country?

  33. UK graduate,

    I sympathise with your plight and your “the boat is full” mentality but this is a globalised world and am not sure that the EU citizen has a natural right to protection from competition. The NHS is a joke and most foreigners (who pay seperately for private insurance) know that they are pouring money down a black hole which they shall never see again. If you are skillfull enough (and I hope you graduate from a decent university and not those converted polytechnics) and did not major in non numerical subjscts like Art History (favourite subject of British royals) than you should not fear heatlhy competition. The banking sector was due for a healthy shake out anyway and perhaps your native gifts lie in another direction and not finance? The Tory party for instance?

  34. UKGrad, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Find a job in Amsterdam, Brussels or Berlin, and the only real requirement is to have a high enough salary. New York was losing out to London, and one reason was better immigration laws. No competition leads to fewer jobs, not more. Have a look at Belgium or France…

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.


Screen Name


Consult our community guidelines here