How can I speed up my move to the UK?
April 21, 2006 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I am an American citizen working in a company in the US that has its main outpost in the UK. I've been wanting my company to transfer me there for over two years, and have only really begun to vigorously pursue my aim last November. Currently, all bosses and middle management know about my desire to move, and they support it, but it still seems to be a process that is just dragging along. I've been told that HR in the UK now needs to speak to HR in the US, and that once that happens, I'll know more. This just sounds like it's going to take forever. Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? Would it be wise to contact HR myself?
posted by Lillitatiana to Travel & Transportation around United Kingdom (3 answers total)
In your position I would be scanning the job openings that your company has in the UK. When I saw one that matched my skills, I would be on the phone with HR immediately to apply for it.

Unless there is a solid business reason for moving your current position to the UK, your request will be pretty low on everyone's priority list.
posted by tkolar at 9:27 AM on April 21, 2006

The people I know who have been relocated to an office in another country (because they wanted the move) got the position because they were well respected and the company would do what it could to keep them. The company knew that if they didn't transfer them, they would likely lose them.

I'm not suggesting you threaten to leave, but it's a big deal to move someone to another country (work visas, moving expenses, open spots on the other end, etc.). You may have a better change telling them that you are moving to the UK (on your own) and would like the company to sponsor your visa and give you a position in the UK office.

Otherwise, I think tkolar makes a good suggestion in looking for the opportunity first and then showing your interest.

Another opportunity that you might suggest is a job share - basically switch positions with someone else in the UK for, ostensibly, better communication, cultural exchange, blah blah blah... The point is that they may find value in a program that gives UK employees experience in the US and vice versa.
posted by qwip at 3:43 PM on April 21, 2006

You need a sponsor in the UK that will effectively own the business case supporting your transfer and HR isn't it. As qwip stated above, most companies will do what it takes to retain a top performing employee.

I have engineered transfers for myself four times in my career (so far). Once between US cities, the other three to Switzerland, Japan and now Australia. The fastest it's ever gone from when I first spoke to my then current management was 3 weeks. Slowest, 3 years. But in each case, it was something I planned for and built relationships with the sponsor / potential manager at other end such that they actively wanted me there.
posted by michswiss at 3:24 PM on April 22, 2006

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