UK / EU nationals: any success stories moving from London to NYC at VP / director levels?

Basically the title; I’m just curious how feasible it is to get into PE shop at VP/director level from LDN to NYC further down the line whilst being the UK / EU national? I’m curious about both lateral hiring from IB to IB / PE to PE and recruiting for PE in NYC from IB London

 

Anecdotally it rarely happens, except when EU PE firms open up new offices in the US (e.g. Montagu, PAI) they will transfer some of their EU staff over to set up the team (but long-term hiring at those offices will still be skewed to Americans). But would be interested in hearing perspectives from people who have encountered something different.

 

I haven’t researched much about the immigration rules and complexities, but isn’t it easier for UK nationals to get work visa in the US? Form what I’ve gathered from friends and family is that it’s pretty straightforward to get the visa for the first 3 years of working, it’s past that point when the shit hits the fan? P.S. I’m not stating this as fact but rather sharing the bunch of speculations and personal stories from other people

 

Definitely recommend doing more research. Your options for working in the US long term are 1) get the L1 visa from an internal office transfer, 2) get lucky in the H1B draw or 3) get married to a US citizen. You can get up to 3 years using MBA OPT but if you don’t get picked for the H1B you will either have to move out of the US back to a foreign office or get asked to leave.

I have also seen people not get promoted on the basis of not having H1B at my firm fwiw. I am also a foreigner working in the US for the last 2 years and the cons are really outweighing the pros for me at this point.

 

All of our US offices (and also Canadian offices) are filled with local candidates. There are enough people available at all levels of seniority with local accents, languages (i.e. French), local degrees and a big/local network.

A professional from Europe wouldn't know a lot about how things are done locally and they also have no local network. They would start from zero.

It is rare to move people from Europe, although it does happen.

 
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Lateral moves to the U.S. are basically impossible unless you have a visa / greencard already in hand.  No firm will take a huge risk on applying for a visa on your behalf (there are limited options here anyway at the mid-level, different story if you were say a partner / key manager) when the local talent pool is as deep as it is.

If you are in London / Europe and your company has a presence in the U.S. / is opening a new office there you may have options.  I have seen people relocate from London to the U.S., either to help open a new office or to join an existing team.  Will depend entirely on your firm but typically you will need to spend a significant amount of time with that company, demonstrate you are a top performer, and get lucky with an opening that can't be filled from the local talent pool.  Sometimes firms will prefer to send someone over who can act as a bridge between London / U.S. so that could also play in your favour. 

I don't know how critical it is for you to get to the U.S., but you could consider getting an MBA (visa can be extended 12-24 months) or see if you qualify for an O-1 visa (exceptional abilities)... I think the only other option is to get married to a U.S. citizen. 

 

Thank you for such a comprehensive comment - I really appreciate it. My thinking about this was so different from the way it apparently functions. I’ll also read up on this a bit more. Can I ask a few follow up questions? I’m then wondering how international students in the US apply to FT roles?! Does it mean that only those who have American passport / green card get in? I doubt it is the case because it throws the diversity that American companies stand for these days out of the window?! Or do these students work full time on extended student visa? Is it okay in US? In the UK, you just can’t work whilst being a student on a full-time basis. If they can do so in the US, I understand why it’s best to hire someone from the US, but if not… what difference would it make to sponsor visa for someone coming from Europe and for someone who isn’t American but just studies at American uni?

Edit: I meant you can’t work full time whilst being a student in the UK, and not you not being able to work at all whilst being a full-time student.

 

F1 can work part time, and after graduation you have OPT for 12 months. extension available for STEM only.
During this time your sponsor may file for the H1b up to 3/4 times (depending on timing).

It is unlikely that most will get the H1b, it is oversubscribed.

The green card is easier if you are not from China, India, .. (EU nationals get it quicker), but it also has to be sponsored.

 

Many EU staff who end up moving to the US do it through the L visa, meaning they work for an international company and get transferred internally. The scrutiny re L visa is now a lot more strict than before, but it would be the only option in many cases. If your employers doesn't support internal moves, try finding a firm which does.

(in some cases the firm may also elect to file under the E visa, depending on citizenship of the company and employee and other regulations)

 

Your chances of moving to NY are better in IB/Consulting - seems to be much more common and I personally know quite a few people who have done this. Although there would be the usual requirements of needing to be a top performer, and a vacancy in the target office which can’t be filled by local candidates.

 

One thing to watch out for is entering the hellscape that is the US extra territorial tax system. If you want a roundabout route, come to Australia first, get citizenship here, then get a E-3 Visa.....

 

In theory, the Australia idea is a good one. But it is also assuming that there are enough finance jobs for OPs level of seniority, he'd then also need visa sponsorship in Australia first (not easy to get), get residency and then obtain citizenship. Then, after all of this, he would need to find another sponsor literally on the other side of the world who will sponsor the E3 visa.

Not impossible, just very unlikely.

 

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