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One of my friends from the USA will be visiting the UK at some point using her visa free travel, she has previously been here before over the last few years.

At some point in the future, she wants to move and work here, and wanted to know the legalities about meeting with potential employers when visiting us, if that is not her main purpose for the visit.

She isn't planning on actively handing out CV's and applying for actual jobs, she is more so interested in if she meets with people from companies, to build up a rapport, so she could then pursue a job with them in the future. For example, having coffee with a studio manager, or visiting a workplace.

Would these things be seen as straight up job hunting (therefore violating the terms of her visit) or not?

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    As far as I know job hunting is generally fine. What you should not do is working. – Bakuriu May 22 at 19:20
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    Though note that an immigration officer may be concerned that they will actively seek work there and then, rather than potentially in the future. As such, the circumstances probably make it more important than normal to be able to show you have reason to go home. – gsnedders May 22 at 21:15
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    @Bakuriu agreed - this is "networking" – Criggie May 23 at 7:41
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This activity appears to be permitted in the UK, per Home Office Immigration Rule Appendix V, Visitors Appendix 3 Section 5 (a).

Business - general activities

5 A visitor may:

(a) attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;

(c) negotiate and sign deals and contracts;

(f) gather information for their employment overseas;

7

Be careful. One of the early episodes of UK Border Force featured an American?Canadian? Visitor who had a dozen copies of their CV in their suitcase. Obviously there were other factors; that's how they arrived at the luggage search; but the CVs were the last nail in the coffin.

She was a professional worker and none of the factors suggested that she didnlt intend to get the correct visa before actually working, they did not like that looking was part of the reason for her visit.

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    I tend to agree. UK border control can be very snooty. They once tried to deny me boarding to USA because I only had 300 dollars in my pocket for a week visit to my sister. Advise your friend to come "on holidays" and leave their cv online. – vikingsteve May 23 at 7:48
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    @vikingsteve - Your advice about leaving a CV at home/online is correct, in that the friend isn't actually intending to take employment. However your quoted purpose "on holidays" suggests that you are advising the OP to conceal their activities from the Immigration Officer. This is always bad advice. Never, ever lie to an IO. If you're ever found out, then not only will you be refused entry but you'll face a future ban from entering the country. – Chris Melville May 23 at 9:54
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    @vikingsteve How does the UK border force check you when leaving for the USA? Although exit checks were re-introduced in 2015, the airlines just report the exiting passengers to the offices using API. As gov.uk/government/publications/… says, "Most passengers will not notice any significant difference" to the situation before the exit checks and that has indeed been my experience so far. – Vladimir F May 23 at 12:26
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    @vikingsteve That was most likely not UK Immigration but a US agency. They do (and have done for years) pre-flight checking on passengers traveling to USA in many international airports. If I recall correctly countries whose citizens can travel to USA visa-free (like ESTA or Visa Waiver Program) must agree to those checks. – Tonny May 23 at 13:03
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    @Voo Good point. Those are staff from the airline (sometimes USCIS staff are present to assist or train). Airlines are obliged to check that you have the correct papers to enter a country. The airline must check your papers are in order before flying you, or the fine is nasty. (no fine if you merely botch your entry interview). Regardless, the airplane must fly you back ASAP, though they can try to bill you for that. So that's not an exit control, that's an entry prescreening. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 24 at 18:07

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