Thursday, February 24, 2011

What makes Classroom Canada unique? Our assistance with banking, flights and visas

Another area where Classroom Canada stands out among other recruiting agencies is that all of our recruiters have spent time teaching in London or Europe as well as living in the UK. As a result, we are able to offer first-rate assistance and advice about obtaining bank accounts, flights and visas. And for questions we are unable to answer, we have special arrangement with experts in the field who will be able to help you with what can sometimes be very complicated processes.

See below for more information about visas, banking and travel arrangements to London!

One of the advantages about knowing experts in the field is that they often have special offers for our Classroom Canada teachers. Currently (but for a limited time only), Lloyd's bank is offering to give our Canadian teachers 100 pounds in the bank just for opening a UK bank account!

Details are in our February 7, 2011 blog, but feel free to also contact Michael Gallagher at the Canadian representative office (+1 416 642 5613 or for more information about this offer and setting up accounts in general. He will always be happy to see how he can make the Premier International Account available for you!

We definitely recommend establishing your bank account before arriving in London. It is easier this way, as you will not be able to get into our housing without first having a UK bank account.

Laura Buchan is Classroom Canada's Flight Centre Agent and she always manages to get us great inexpensive flights. She offers at least $25 off for any of our teachers with Classroom Canada. Call her and say "Classroom Canada" - 1 866 552 4050.

That sense of relief when your visa finally arrives in the post and you can officially book your flights & prepare for the journey to the UK is amazing. Currently, there are a few different options for visas to work in the UK. Please be aware, though, that the British High Commission has the final say for visa eligibility and requirements. Please contact them directly for visa applications and any specific questions you may have.

We generally recommend that you apply for your visas between 2-3 months before your intended arrival date and here is an idea of what kind of visa you might be eligible for:
  1. UK Ancestry Visa - If you are a commonwealth citizen and are lucky enough to have a grandparent born in the UK, this is the visa for you. It gives you 5 years in the UK and you have to jump through a few hoops to get the correct paperwork, but it is by far the best visa for Canadians to get. No, it can't be a great-grandparent, and yes, it can be a parent. Although if your parent was born in the UK, you should just go for a UK passport. It takes a few months, mostly just for you to get your paperwork in order.
  2. Youth Mobility Visa aka Tier 5 and formally known as the Working Holiday Maker Visa - Again for commonwealth citizens, but this time with a few restrictions. You have to be under 31 years old when you apply and have 1600 GBP in your bank account. It gives you 2 years in the UK. This visa can take a few months to get, but most of our teachers & teaching assistants find they get their visas in hand within about 2 weeks of applying. This is the visa that most of our teachers end up getting. As a result,
  3. Sponsorship (aka Work Permit) - If you can't get a Visa, then you can try to get sponsored by a school. Be warned though - it's near impossible these days & if you're not in the UK, the schools are highly unlikely to even look at your CV, let alone sponsor you. If they do, I would make the assumption that they can not get any of the thousands of teachers already in the UK to take the job. Read between the lines and then decide if that's the kind of school you want to work in.
If you have an EU passport, you don't need a visa. Lucky you!

Next week, I'll be talking about more about what you might expect when you join the Classroom Canada team in terms of the great schools we work in and the professional development opportunities we offer to our newly recruited teachers!

If you'd like to become part of the Classroom Canada team, please sign up for our newsletters & apply through our website.

Be sure to read the
Guide to Teaching in London: A Survival Guide for Canadians to help you understand everything you need to know about teaching in London.

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Thanks for sharing your two pence!


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