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Uk bound, eventually

 
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Tara2117



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: Gunma, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:52 pm    Post subject: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

Hi guys. I'm an American newly married to my English husband, and we currently live and work in Japan.

I'll be applying for my UK spouse visa in spring of next year. Once that enormous hurdle is cleared, we'll have to start our lives over from scratch. Oh, joy.

I'm pretty terrified, with no idea what kind of job I'll end up having to take, or if I can even find one at all. So I'm trying to do as much research and planning as I can.

I know ESL work is low-paying, but I'm honestly not qualified for anything else. I've been talking to a fellow American who is currently doing ELT work in the UK, and she recommended I get a CELTA. I can't do it in Japan, as the only center is 12 hours away, and runs the course on my work days.

So I was thinking of doing an intensive 4-week course once I finally arrive in England.

I know everything on this forum is always negative, but if anyone, especially Americans, has any UK ESL/ELT work experiences to share, I'd love to hear your stories and advice.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

Tara2117 wrote:
I know everything on this forum is always negative, but if anyone, especially Americans, has any UK ESL/ELT work experiences to share, I'd love to hear your stories and advice.


Always negative? Bit harsh. If I, as a Brit, wanted to embark on an ESL/ELT career in the USA, what response would I get? Anyway, I'm not American and I've no UK ESL/ELT work experience to share, but I'll reply anyway.

The UK spouse visa will be a very high hurdle indeed, a veritable pole vault perhaps, so concentrate on that side of things first. Posts in this section, mostly by Scot47, highlight the difficulties faced by UK spouse visa applicants. There will be a ton(ne) of paperwork and an £800+ fee which aren't insurmountable, but the minimum salary requirement could be. To risk sounding negative, the UK spouse visa will be a lot more than a very high hurdle.

A smarter option, which I took inadvertently, is to base yourself in another EU country for a year or more. If you and your husband base yourselves in somewhere like France, Spain or Germany for a year or so, which will offer visas and work permits far more easily than the UK, you both then pretty much have carte blanche to relocate anywhere else in the EU, including the UK. No £800+ fee, minimal paperwork (and waiting time) and no minimum salary requirement. Also, to be honest, you'll both enjoy TEFLing in mainland Europe and maybe want to stay there anyway.

Google "Surinder Singh". He took the UK government to the EU courts to successfully gain his UK visa, and his name is now like a brand for EU to UK visa applications. Scot47 hates it as does the UK government, but the law's the law. Sorry, Scot47.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a CELTA after you get to Europe - that's the easy part.
Hod seems to have more recent info than I, but a few years back, being married to an EU member citizen allowed a spouse to live in the EU country where his/her spouse worked, but was NOT any guarantee that the trailing spouse would be eligible for a work permit in that country.
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billbob



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

"I know ESL work is low-paying, but I'm honestly not qualified for anything else. "

If you're already involved in ESl and are thinking of getting onto a CELTA course, then you probably have tertiary education?

In that case, you could try out for clerical/admin work, etc. Maybe no better paid than ESL (which is not difficult to beat, pay wise!), but at least it would expand your possibilities.
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Tara2117



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: Gunma, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
Tara2117 wrote:
I know everything on this forum is always negative, but if anyone, especially Americans, has any UK ESL/ELT work experiences to share, I'd love to hear your stories and advice.


Always negative? Bit harsh. If I, as a Brit, wanted to embark on an ESL/ELT career in the USA, what response would I get? Anyway, I'm not American and I've no UK ESL/ELT work experience to share, but I'll reply anyway.

The UK spouse visa will be a very high hurdle indeed, a veritable pole vault perhaps, so concentrate on that side of things first. Posts in this section, mostly by Scot47, highlight the difficulties faced by UK spouse visa applicants. There will be a ton(ne) of paperwork and an £800+ fee which aren't insurmountable, but the minimum salary requirement could be. To risk sounding negative, the UK spouse visa will be a lot more than a very high hurdle.

A smarter option, which I took inadvertently, is to base yourself in another EU country for a year or more. If you and your husband base yourselves in somewhere like France, Spain or Germany for a year or so, which will offer visas and work permits far more easily than the UK, you both then pretty much have carte blanche to relocate anywhere else in the EU, including the UK. No £800+ fee, minimal paperwork (and waiting time) and no minimum salary requirement. Also, to be honest, you'll both enjoy TEFLing in mainland Europe and maybe want to stay there anyway.

Google "Surinder Singh". He took the UK government to the EU courts to successfully gain his UK visa, and his name is now like a brand for EU to UK visa applications. Scot47 hates it as does the UK government, but the law's the law. Sorry, Scot47.


Oh, I'm very, VERY aware of what is involved with the spouse visa. We should have the means to apply using savings to meet the financial requirement, and if my husband happens to find a job quickly so that we don't have to go the savings route, so much the better. We are very, VERY lucky to have the savings to fall back on. Many don't, as the requirement is so high.

After consulting with a lawyer/solicitor on the matter, we decided not to try the Surinder Singh route. While technically legal, we don't want to try anything that risky. The government is trying to close that loophole, so I hear. We are at the age where we want to settle down, so doing a year of work in another country with a new language and customs doesn't really appeal to us. We're too old for that shit, so to speak, ha ha. Plus there are family matters he needs to tend to in the UK.

About the negativity, I didn't mean to offend. I usually read the Japan forum, and it's 90% negative over there. A quick read through the most recent posts here showed me the same cynicism and snark. I was hoping for some personal stories and useful advice, without the snark. I know it's a low-paying field, and I don't know that I'll do it forever. I'm just looking into my options.
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Tara2117



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: Gunma, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

billbob wrote:
"I know ESL work is low-paying, but I'm honestly not qualified for anything else. "

If you're already involved in ESl and are thinking of getting onto a CELTA course, then you probably have tertiary education?

In that case, you could try out for clerical/admin work, etc. Maybe no better paid than ESL (which is not difficult to beat, pay wise!), but at least it would expand your possibilities.


I do plan to look into that, but as I have no experience in those kind of jobs, I figure it will be hard to get hired.
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Tara2117



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: Gunma, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Do a CELTA after you get to Europe - that's the easy part.
Hod seems to have more recent info than I, but a few years back, being married to an EU member citizen allowed a spouse to live in the EU country where his/her spouse worked, but was NOT any guarantee that the trailing spouse would be eligible for a work permit in that country.


People married to a UK citizen, once awarded a spouse visa, can legally work in the UK. Believe me, I regularly go through the current information with a fine-tooth comb. Wink
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11524
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, of course. Marriage to an EU member citizen guarantees work in the country of origin of your spouse. I was responding to the suggestions that you seek work in a different EU country first. There, your right to work wouldn't be guaranteed. Speaking of snark....
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Tara2117



Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 89
Location: Gunma, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Yes, of course. Marriage to an EU member citizen guarantees work in the country of origin of your spouse. I was responding to the suggestions that you seek work in a different EU country first. There, your right to work wouldn't be guaranteed. Speaking of snark....


Any snark was unintentional. Sorry if I misunderstood your comment. We're planning to settle in the UK, so us living in another EU country isn't really an option. Even for a year, we'd rather not.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

Tara2117 wrote:
Oh, I'm very, VERY aware of what is involved with the spouse visa. We should have the means to apply using savings to meet the financial requirement, and if my husband happens to find a job quickly so that we don't have to go the savings route, so much the better. We are very, VERY lucky to have the savings to fall back on. Many don't, as the requirement is so high.

After consulting with a lawyer/solicitor on the matter, we decided not to try the Surinder Singh route. While technically legal, we don't want to try anything that risky. The government is trying to close that loophole, so I hear. We are at the age where we want to settle down, so doing a year of work in another country with a new language and customs doesn't really appeal to us. We're too old for that shit, so to speak, ha ha. Plus there are family matters he needs to tend to in the UK.


Oops, there is indeed a savings option to further thwart Scot47's happy postings. It sounds like £62500 is enough to satisfy the UK authorities. If that's your plan, Tara2117, and your lawyer says that will suffice, then that's great. Good luck.

For others reading, the UK government can't legally close the Surinder Singh loophole, as Tara2117 describes it, as it is in effect across the EU. Bear in mind, immigration lawyers have to eat too.

If, for example, a German based in Paris wanted to move with his Vietnamese wife to Madrid, he could do so using the Surinder Singh route. As you would expect, not much the UK government can do about that as much as they would like to. Surinder Singh is actually a low-risk option which also legally gets priority over UK spouse visa applicants and is processed within six weeks or so.

Who told me about it? An immigration lawyer too, based in London. It cost me £150, which was a bargain considering the alternative.

Tara2117, fair enough, and I understand 100% if you didn't want to be based in mainland Europe, although this sounds a walk in the park in terms of language and customs compared to Japan, but keep Surinder Singh in mind if things get awkward.

Whichever option you both take, good luck.
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billbob



Joined: 19 Nov 2009
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: Uk bound, eventually Reply with quote

Tara2117 wrote:
billbob wrote:
"

In that case, you could try out for clerical/admin work, etc. Maybe no better paid than ESL (which is not difficult to beat, pay wise!), but at least it would expand your possibilities.


I do plan to look into that, but as I have no experience in those kind of jobs, I figure it will be hard to get hired.


I don't live in the UK anymore, but I think a lot will depend on where you're moving to. In my hometown, a decade ago, you shouldn't have had a problem getting hired in an entry-level position. That said, I would like to hope that ESL would pay better than an entry level paper pushing/data entry type McJob.

Last time I looked, not everywhere in the UK has an ESL industry. It's mainly focused in the bigger, established university towns and on the south coast (and the latter is highly seasonal).
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LH123



Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Posts: 61

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tara - this is perhaps a bit belated, but here is my appraisal of your situation/options:

- With a CELTA and no experience after it, your options will be limited. You'll need to take a position with any language school that will take you. The pay will suck, but with luck you'll find a place that will be friendly and fun - students in London are typically quite motivated. www.tefl.com - which you're probably already aware of - is as good a place to start as any. Good language schools exist (and ones with permanent contracts), but so do bad ones.

- The trick with ESL in the UK is to get out of the 'general English language-academy' thing as soon as you can. In the summer try to get a job on a pre-sessional course at a London university (http://www.jobs.ac.uk/search/?csrf=5ca000b34d9000c626ca87d49e9a9c1ca5c6f3b8&keywords=presessional&x=0&y=0, https://www.baleap.org/jobs/). With just a CELTA you won't be a preferred candidate, but in a pinch they'll take you.

- Get as qualified as you can, as quickly as you can. Finances allowing, get stuck in with a Masters asap - an MA or MEd, even in progress, will help you along. Birkbeck or the Open University are two options for part-time/distance study which you could do while working. Here is another one that might work for you: http://language-centre.sllf.qmul.ac.uk/ma-programmes

- Network. The British Council teaching seminars http://englishagenda.britishcouncil.org/seminars and University of Westminster CELT talks are places where ELT professionals go to drink free wine and hobnob in London.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15330

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiral says

"Marriage to an EU member citizen guarantees work in the country of origin of your spouse"

This is not the case. For example, marriage to a UK citizen does not guarantee entry to the UK, or the right to work here.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1364
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Spiral says

"Marriage to an EU member citizen guarantees work in the country of origin of your spouse"

This is not the case. For example, marriage to a UK citizen does not guarantee entry to the UK, or the right to work here.


Correct, not any more.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 1364
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long have you been out of the UK btw? It could make a big difference with the recent changes in legislation.
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