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Nationals of most European countries don’t need a permit to work in England, but everyone else does. If you’re a non-European and work is the main purpose of your visit, you must be sponsored by an English company.

Exceptions include most Commonwealth citizens with a UK-born parent; the ‘Right of Abode’ allows you to live and work in England and the rest of the UK. Most Commonwealth citizens under 31 are eligible for a Working Holidaymaker Visa. It’s valid for two years, you can work for a total of 12 months, and it must be obtained in advance, but you’re not allowed to establish a business or work as a professional athlete.

Once you’ve got permission to work, the next step is finding some. Many bars, restaurants and shops in London seem to be staffed by Australasians, so that gives a clue to one option – and it’s not restricted to London at all. Some visitors arrange work in small towns and villages in remote areas, and enjoy getting under the skin of a local community for a few months. Other options include teaching in language schools, nursing, nannying and general office temping. Obviously, you’ll need to appropriate qualifications and other paperwork for some of these jobs.

Useful websites are listed below. Also very useful is the The Long Haul – Living & Working Abroad thread on the Thorntree forum.

BUNAC (www.bunac.org)

Go Work Go Travel (www.goworkgotravel.com) Working holidays worldwide, including the UK.

UK Border Agency (www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk)

UK Employment & Recruitment Agencies (www.employmentrecruitment.co.uk)

Working Holiday Guru (www.workingholidayguru.com) Aimed mainly at Australians coming to Europe

Shops, banks & offices

Monday to Friday, most shops and post offices operate 9am to 5pm (possibly 5.30pm or 6pm in cities). Banks open at 9.30am. Saturday, shops open 9am to 5pm, and banks (main branches only) open 9.30am to 1pm. Post offices may open all or half-day Saturday. Sunday shopping hours are around 10am to 4pm or 11am to 5pm, but banks and post offices are closed.

London and other cities have 24/7 convenience stores, but in smaller towns shops often close at weekends and for lunch (normally 1pm to 2pm), and in country areas on Wednesday or Thursday afternoon too. In cities and large towns there’s usually ‘late-night’ shopping on Thursday – up to about 7pm or 8pm.

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