International Jobs

We help lawyers to relocate into legal roles overseas as well as return to legal positions in Australia, and our consultants have worked on everything from single placements in Austria to large consulting and recruitment projects in Ireland, the UK and the Middle East. So if you are dreaming of working in New York, Shanghai, Singapore, or anywhere in between, our consultants are uniquely positioned to assist, with anything from job updates, through to relocation and salary advice.


Living and working in the UK has been a rite of passage for antipodean lawyers for many years. And although there is currently much uncertainty across the globe UK firms continue to rate Australian experience and work ethic highly.

We are seeing the main areas of demand in dispute resolution, banking and finance, information technology, and projects. There also continues to be residual demand in the UK magic circle for appropriately experienced M&A lawyers.


Visa Requirements for the UK

Unless you hold a recognised European Union passport you will need a visa to work in the UK. Common types include:

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa (T5) (previously Working Holiday Visa): Available for Australian citizens aged between 18 and 35 years of age; enables a stay of up to two years from the date of issue and now due to the Free Trade Agreement at the end of the two years you can apply for a one year extension.
UK Ancestry Visa: You may be eligible if you have a grandparent born in either the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland; enables a stay of up to five years
Highly Skilled Migrant Visa: Works on a points based system.
It is important that you consider the most up to date visa requirements before making a decision to move to the UK. The UK Border Agency website offers up to date information regarding visa options.

Am I qualified to work in the UK?

Firms will generally encourage re-qualification and will usually provide financial support and study leave, however it is not strictly necessary and you should be able to work as a foreign qualified lawyer in any of the big UK firms under supervision of a Senior UK practitioner. Whilst it was hoped that the UK & AUS Free Trade Agreement would result in mutual recognition of existing qualifications – this has not yet occurred. We will continue to update you when/if this changes.

Litigators looking to practise in London though will usually need to be admitted in England and Wales in order to have leave to appear in Court.

Working in-house in the UK

Many Australian lawyers have obtained amazing experience working in-house in the UK. Moving directly from Australia into one of these roles however is rare. It’s much more usual to first take a UK Private Practice role and then use this as a stepping-stone into the in-house area.

The Recruitment Process and Salary

The recruitment process remains unchanged in that it’ not uncommon for UK firms to discount up to two years’ of experience when considering the level of an Australian lawyer.

At present firms will hire remotely using video conferencing. It’ preferable if you have a visa lined up or ancestral working rights, although sponsorship still continues to be offered to suitable applicants.

The magic circle and major international players have also continued to demonstrate that they will pay top dollar to retain and attract top talent. Performance based bonuses are being used as an additional mechanism to acknowledge high performers at a more senior level.

Another consistent trend from last year is the remuneration disparity between US and UK law firms, with US firms generally offering higher remuneration packages.

Do I have the right experience for UK firms?

Generally speaking firms show a preference for candidates from the top tier in Australia with between 2 to 6 years’ practicing experience, although they will certainly consider appropriately experienced candidates from recognised boutiques. The common denominator is that you must have experience in Australia advising large listed corporates. Quality academics are also a must.

Proposed Fair Trade Agreement (FTA) between Aus and UK

The Australian-UK Free Trade Agreement came into effect on 31 May 2023, and whilst it was hoped that it would provide greater recognition of prior qualifications (reducing the requirements to re-qualify when moving from the UK) this has not yet occurred. It has established a Legal Services Regulatory Dialogue that, amongst other things, will consider enhancing the professional mobility of lawyers between Australia and the UK, but has not introduced mutual recognition arrangements that will immediately allow UK lawyers to be admitted as lawyers in Australia (or vice versa) without their having to undergoing the usual application for admission processes applicable in each Australian jurisdiction.

We will continue to provide you with updates on the above as it transpires – but once implemented we expect this to have huge impacts on both the Australian and UK markets.