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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I will both be completing our PhDs in 2011 in the US. We are American citizens. We would like to move to London and get our next jobs there after we graduate.

What are the steps we need to take first to do this? And since we are married, does only one of us need to get a job first in order for us to move there? My husband would like to continue doing research, I would like to teach but am not sure if it is easy to get a teaching job over there since the education system is quite different.

Do we get a job first, then visa? Or do you need a visa before you look for a job? I really have no idea of the steps we should take first. Is there a UK government website that clearly explains the process?
 

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My husband and I will both be completing our PhDs in 2011 in the US. We are American citizens. We would like to move to London and get our next jobs there after we graduate.

What are the steps we need to take first to do this? And since we are married, does only one of us need to get a job first in order for us to move there? My husband would like to continue doing research, I would like to teach but am not sure if it is easy to get a teaching job over there since the education system is quite different.

Do we get a job first, then visa? Or do you need a visa before you look for a job? I really have no idea of the steps we should take first. Is there a UK government website that clearly explains the process?
Probably the best way for you is if your husband can qualify as a highly skilled worker (Tier 1 General) visa under the points based system. If he can score enough points from his qualifications, experience and salary levels etc, he may be eligible for this visa which allows him to come to UK to look for jobs and take up a suitable post. Other work visas require a job lined up in advance, with sponsorship from prospective employer, which as you can imagine is quite difficult in current job market.
UK Border Agency | Highly skilled workers

You qualify as a dependant family member, and you can work in UK without any further permission. To work on a permanent contract in a UK state school, you need to have teaching qualification called QTS - qualified teacher status. Sadly your state teaching certification/license won't be recognised as equivalent, and you will have to go on a course for an overseas trained teacher, requiring a portfolio of evidence and passing lesson observations before being granted QTS. You can work as unqualified teacher for 4 years before having to get QTS. There are no such restrictions for working in a private school, or a US curriculum international school.

For you to qualify as a main breadwinner (salary earner) as a teacher will be more difficult, as the UK government has recently tightened visa rules for overseas teachers. Basically only those teaching secondary (high School) shortage subjects such as Math and Science can get a work visa without the school having to prove shortage of suitable applicants from UK and EU - not likely in the current oversupply of teachers in most areas of UK. Being eligible to work as a teacher doesn't mean it will be easy to find a teaching job, in a shrinking labour market and tough competition for teaching posts. Lack of UK experience will be a further handicap. While a few years ago it was quite easy to pick up supply (substitute) teaching jobs in London for overseas teachers, the situation has changed dramatically as more people are entering or returning to teaching, having been made redundant or escaping from poor job prospect in industry and commerce.

There's never an optimal time to relocate to another country, and UK is still mired in recession with poor job prospect and uncertain future. So do weigh up your options very carefully before you make what may turn out to be an expensive mistake. And always have a plan B (as we say in UK) if things don't work out and you need to return home. Don't burn all your bridges.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should mention that the teaching I would like to do is at the university level - teaching science courses or labs. I'm not sure if that is possible. In the US all I would need is my PhD degree and some previous adjunct teaching experience (which I have). So would I need further certifications in the UK for this type of position?

I just did the online points calculator and both my husband & I only obtain 70 points (when 75 are needed). This is because we each have very low salaries right now since we are getting our PhDs. Does this mean we won't be able to get a visa?
 

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I should mention that the teaching I would like to do is at the university level - teaching science courses or labs. I'm not sure if that is possible. In the US all I would need is my PhD degree and some previous adjunct teaching experience (which I have). So would I need further certifications in the UK for this type of position?

I just did the online points calculator and both my husband & I only obtain 70 points (when 75 are needed). This is because we each have very low salaries right now since we are getting our PhDs. Does this mean we won't be able to get a visa?
For university teaching, currently you don't require special teaching qualification (though as you say, PhD is pretty much sine qua non), though there are plans to introduce on-the-job training towards some sort of professional qualification.
If you do get your PhD, that will push up your points total. Perhaps getting a job in the States first will help you not only with your visa but also with your attractiveness to a UK employer.
 

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Let me second Joppa's suggestion about getting some work experience in the US before trying to relocate overseas. It was a few years back that I made my move, but having some US experience can really make you more employable as a foreigner.

Just about all European countries these days have their highest unemployment among young people and those looking for entry-level positions with brand new qualifications. It can also help to have some form of experience on the job that is "unique" to the US job market - or in short supply in the market in which you are looking.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Let me second Joppa's suggestion about getting some work experience in the US before trying to relocate overseas. It was a few years back that I made my move, but having some US experience can really make you more employable as a foreigner.

Just about all European countries these days have their highest unemployment among young people and those looking for entry-level positions with brand new qualifications. It can also help to have some form of experience on the job that is "unique" to the US job market - or in short supply in the market in which you are looking.
Cheers,
Bev
The obvious first question is "have you published". That's not enough as I well know from personal experience, but it is almost essential for validating your degree. These days, in the UK, if one's degree is not from Oxford or Cambridge or a handful of other universities depending on field, or Edinburgh (Scotland) or Queens (N.I.) things are tough. Not every minor or state university in America is recognised as equal, in part because of the disaster that making "universities" out of all the polytechnics, some of which rate rather badly in the way of community (ex-junior) colleges in the USA.

Fortunately science speaks for itself. But even so: my daughter, with a First from Cambridge in medicine, scarcely needed an interview to get her first quasi-research junior house doctor positions. Whereas others had to go abroad.

Read up as much as you can about the academic environment here. And be aware that scientists are leaving here for more money in the USA. Even Paul Dirac left - and he was Lucasian Professor. OK, I admit it: it was to rejoin his elder daughter Mary in Florida...

But maybe you're not scientists?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The obvious first question is "have you published". That's not enough as I well know from personal experience, but it is almost essential for validating your degree. These days, in the UK, if one's degree is not from Oxford or Cambridge or a handful of other universities depending on field, or Edinburgh (Scotland) or Queens (N.I.) things are tough. Not every minor or state university in America is recognised as equal, in part because of the disaster that making "universities" out of all the polytechnics, some of which rate rather badly in the way of community (ex-junior) colleges in the USA.

Fortunately science speaks for itself. But even so: my daughter, with a First from Cambridge in medicine, scarcely needed an interview to get her first quasi-research junior house doctor positions. Whereas others had to go abroad.

But maybe you're not scientists?

We are scientists. And we both have to have publications in order to get our PhDs. They usually won't let students at our school graduate until they have at least 2 publications.

So is the general concensus here that we need to get post-docs in the US first in order to get a job in England later? That doesn't make much sense to me. Even if we got a post-doc here our salary would likely not be high enough to get us the 5 more points that we need on the visa calculator. We are getting paid a stipend now (although it's not a lot once converted to pounds) and we are working in labs now full-time as PhD students. Plus I'm working on the side by teaching at a local community college (also for next to nothing pay). So would it still be better for us to get a job in the US after our PhDs? Then go to England a few years later? I don't think it would ever happen then if we had to do that. We want to go abroad when we are still under 30, then we can come back to the US later to have a family. We aren't too keen on staying around here for longer and getting jobs here first, then going to England later right when we want to be having a family.
 

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We are scientists. And we both have to have publications in order to get our PhDs. They usually won't let students at our school graduate until they have at least 2 publications.

So is the general concensus here that we need to get post-docs in the US first in order to get a job in England later? That doesn't make much sense to me. Even if we got a post-doc here our salary would likely not be high enough to get us the 5 more points that we need on the visa calculator. We are getting paid a stipend now (although it's not a lot once converted to pounds) and we are working in labs now full-time as PhD students. Plus I'm working on the side by teaching at a local community college (also for next to nothing pay). So would it still be better for us to get a job in the US after our PhDs? Then go to England a few years later? I don't think it would ever happen then if we had to do that. We want to go abroad when we are still under 30, then we can come back to the US later to have a family. We aren't too keen on staying around here for longer and getting jobs here first, then going to England later right when we want to be having a family.
It is possible to get post-doctoral posts (such as fellowships) at a British university, but competition is keen and there aren't many jobs around (according to weekend press reports, UK government is threatening with 30% cut in funding to unis, because of recession). All unis have suffered, including the top ones for science like Imperial College London which gets the bulk of its research funding from industry, again due to recession. If such fellowships are open to non-EU nationals, the uni itself will sponsor you for a suitable visa so you needn't worry about it. Look at professional journals and international scholarly organisation covering your specialism about any openings. This is probably your best bet, rather than a career-type job which will be even harder to secure in the current climate. Even if just one of you is able to get a fellowship, the partner can still come over as dependant family member with work privileges, so you may be able to earn a bit doing some undergraduate teaching, tutoring etc.
 

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A PHD automatically qualifies you for a (Tier 1 General)
PhD gives you 50 points, but you still need further 25 points for Tier 1 visa. If your age and salary level aren't optimum, you may just fail to get the points total.
 
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