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Out Of Country Flight Crews  
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

Reading trip reports and from personal interest, I have come across some that are about airlines like EK and Jet and Etihad that have expatriate pilots. Some trip reports have mentioned how the captain is American or the FA is Korean and I know that airlines like them and CX and JAL have many pilots that are from other countries who fly because they have an arrangement where they don't need working permits or something like that due to a shortage of pilots from the home country. I have always been interested in working for an foreign airline (foreign from the US) and these seem like feasible jobs that I could obtain.

However, my old flight instructor told me how one of his friends works for CO but he lives in the Ile de France. And, he commutes to EWR from CDG. So, is this possible? I know if I wanted to work for a European airline I could just become a citizen or get a green card or whatever, but do a lot of pilots work for airlines out of their country of residence and just commute internationally for every flight? Can anybody share from personal experience?

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3733 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2477 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
but do a lot of pilots work for airlines out of their country of residence and just commute internationally for every flight?

An airline will generally not hire a pilot to work in their country of operation unless they can provide them with a proper license and residency permit. Meaning that if you are hired by CX, for instance, then they will facilitate a visa and resident permit for you to live in HK, as well as an HK license conversion.

However, many airlines have foreign pilot bases, and regularly hire local pilots (as well as cabin crews and others) from those bases to work for them from that location. Those pilots do not need to be residents or posses a work permit for the airline's country, and the company paying their salary is usually an offshore fully owned subsidiary of the airline.

However, even if you are hired by a foreign carrier and do not have the option to be based in your home country, then you can decide to 'commute' from your country to the airline's country to go to work. Many pilots do this, but then the commuting cost is your own, and it is your responsibility to show up for work on time no matter what. It is mostly only doable when you fly long haul flights with many days off in between, and still quite stressful as you have to arrange your own travel to and back from work, usually on standby tickets, and loose some of that time off travelling some more.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 2, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2411 times:

AFKLMAFLX

...works for CO but he lives in the Ile de France....commutes to EWR from CDG. So, is this possible?...

I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't be, other than an individual airline's own rules.

So long as the pilot concerned is prepared to put up with the long commute, and is properly rested before his duty, I can't see any objection.


...I know if I wanted to work for a European airline I could just become a citizen or get a green card or whatever...

Much easier said than done, in both directions, in my experience.


...do a lot of pilots work for airlines out of their country of residence and just commute internationally for every flight?...

Yes, in my airline, a lot do. They tend to be mainly on the longhaul fleets, and they mostly bid for long trips, which cuts the number of reports at LHR down to three or four times a month. Also, several are part-time pilots which also cuts down on the number of commutes.

Most live in Europe somewhere, France being the favourite, but others live much further away, some as far away as Asia and Australia. Provided they make sensible arrangements to be fully rested before duty, my airline doesn't object.

There is quite a lot of difference between living in a foreign country and working for an airline out of your home country ( which tends to be relatively easy) and living in your home country and working out of a foreign base for a foreign airline (tends to be more difficult).

In the latter case, you may well get involved with work permits, temporary visas, green cards etc. As long as the foreign airline wants you, these things somehow seem to be easily arranged. When they don't want you any longer, or if you upset someone important, somehow these visas and permits become very difficult to obtain or renew!

Best advice while working in a foreign country, for a foreign employer, is to keep a low profile and don't make waves unnecessarily.


Best regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineLevent From France, joined Sep 2004, 1718 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2391 times:



Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 2):
I know if I wanted to work for a European airline I could just become a citizen...

You make that sound very easy but I am pretty sure that the opposite is true...

In my previous and current company, actually most pilots commute between their home base and the location of the aircraft. I say location of the aircraft because the planes are almost never at their home base themselves.

I know of two or three pilots who lived in the US and commuted to Europe for their duty. They always had to arrange their own transatlantic travel. My company only paid for the leg within Europe.

I suppose it also really depends on your personal situation. If you are single and untied, it's easy to pack your bags and move somewhere else. But if you have a family, with kids going to school, this might prove more difficult.


User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2360 times:



Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 2):

Most live in Europe somewhere, France being the favourite

Well this doesn't really count as it is almost like working for CO out of EWR and living in MSP as both countries are in the EU. The UK not being part of the Schengen might prove to be an annoyance, but I remember when I was flying AF from JFK-CDG, they mentioned that some of the flight crew are from Portugal, Italy, Germany, Netherlands ect.

It is actually so funny that I posted this because later that day, my father told me about how he opporated on somebody who was an airline pilot for CO until he had to retire and that now he is working for some Indian airline. I immedietly knew it had to be Jet as he flys T7's and I don't think AI hires int'l pilots. Does Jet have an arrangement where you are based out of EWR, JFK or BRU?


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2352 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
I know if I wanted to work for a European airline I could just become a citizen or get a green card or whatever, but do a lot of pilots work for airlines out of their country of residence and just commute internationally for every flight?

Be sure to check the licensing requirements. The JAA license is not cheap to obtain, and you get little credit for experience in the US. You will need it in hand before anyone will give you the time of day. Not sure how things are in Eastern Europe at the moment, but I hear Ukraine is nice and the cost of living is reasonable. Australia and New Zealand seem to reciprocate a little more.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Thread starter):
However, my old flight instructor told me how one of his friends works for CO but he lives in the Ile de France. And, he commutes to EWR from CDG. So, is this possible?

It is possible, but not easy, especially when you are junior. You just travel on you pass privileges. Most US companies couldn't care less where you live, just show up to work on time. Several guys work with live in Canada, and some others are scattered around Asia, South America, and Europe. Be advised, while you may be able to commute to your ideal place to live, the longer the commute, the fewer days you will have there to enjoy it.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2337 times:



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 5):
It is possible, but not easy, especially when you are junior. You just travel on you pass privileges. Most US companies couldn't care less where you live, just show up to work on time. Several guys work with live in Canada, and some others are scattered around Asia, South America, and Europe. Be advised, while you may be able to commute to your ideal place to live, the longer the commute, the fewer days you will have there to enjoy it.

See, I am wondering this just for curiosity and more knowledge. Now, I am very far away from any serious paths to take to become an airline pilot. I do have many aspirations and desires, but for now, I can only get my license and enjoy airlines as a hobby, which I love doing. See, I would love to work for an airline in the EU, but I just know how hard it is to get jobs with them. But, seriously speaking, is it not too impossible to work for CX or Jet or EK and just move and emigrate to those bases? I have little intension of staying in the US so the commute will not be a problem for me, I was just wondering. Mentioned above, the guy who works for Jet lives right in the Northern NJ suburbs and I really don't know how Jet works with commuting or if you can start working from EWR or JFK. So, my question really isn't relevant to myself, it is more just an interest. Does anybody think that in 10-15 years or less from now, will it still be pretty easy to get a job for one of those airlines and just live in that country? I would love to work for KL or LH, but it seems that EK and CX want new pilots and although I love EU airlines, living in Dubai or Hong Kong would be amazing, and I would have no problem doing it. They treat you very well and they really retain the classyness pilots are supposed to have. The CX and EK crews look amazing! Oh, and I saw the Finnar crew walking to the gate in HKG last week, striking as well!


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2334 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
is it not too impossible to work for CX or Jet or EK and just move and emigrate to those bases

Cathay and Emirates pilot groups are almost exclusively expat. Getting hired takes care of most of the residency and visa issues. I would not recommend working for them unless it is your intention to live at your base. They are not commuter friendly. If I were single, and had parents in good health, I would go.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
Jet

Other than seeing the aircraft around and hearing them on the radio, I know nothing about them.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
Does anybody think that in 10-15 years or less from now, will it still be pretty easy to get a job for one of those airlines and just live in that country?

No one knows, and anyone who claims to is trying to sell you something. I used to think I had a good handle on industry trends, now I am just trying to hang on.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
but it seems that EK and CX want new pilots

Your typical US expat new hire is going to have 3000 to 4000 or more hours with significant turbine time and either military experience or air carrier experience, or both. You don't know it all at that point, but you are not exactly green either. Some will get on with less, but they might have some other outstanding feature or an inside recommendation.

If you want to get your feet wet in a hurry, check out Air Serv International. http://www.airserv.org/ Its not Europe, Hong Kong, or Dubai, but it will get you out of the country and get you some unique experience. I have met a few folks who worked there and they enjoyed it. Dynamic Aviation is another company that might interest you. These are entry level jobs, but if your personal situation allows for it, they beat slogging it out in the NE corridor in an RJ for 6 legs a day. If I could, I wouldn't mind working for Ken Borek Air for a while, just for the experience.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16991 posts, RR: 67
Reply 8, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2329 times:

I think if you want to work abroad you need to start working towards it today. I have many friends who used to say things like "I'd love to work abroad a few years." Then, when they had an opportunity, they say "it's not a good time because [fill in the excuse]". They're still at home and my wife and I are in HK living a great life (after the UK and the US). In fact my wife and I met during an expat assignment in California. Yes, it is inconvenient and somewhat frightening to move abroad. But if you say no you might never get the chance again.

Also, when you get the chance, it might not be exactly according to your dream specs. Things never are. If you hate it, you can always move home or move on after a couple of years. That's life. The experience will still be a good thing in your resume. In other words, don't wait for the "perfect" opportunity. Things can always change and open up once you're there.


Moving to the US (for non-Americans) or to Europe (for non-EU citizens) are perhaps the trickiest things you can attempt unless you work in investment banking or someother highly paid specialist industry. But don't give up. That might still happen. Try moving somewhere "easier" first like the Middle East of the Far East. Once you have experience and you are already an expat, offers for more expat work are easier to come by. That is, once a company knows you can hack the expat thing, they see you as a lower risk. My wife and I don't know where we will "end up". In some ways the ride is the important thing. However we do know that when we decide where we want to "end up" getting to that place will be much easier since we are already "professional" expats.

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 6):
But, seriously speaking, is it not too impossible to work for CX or Jet or EK and just move and emigrate to those bases?

Much easier since these countries (ok HK is not a country but has many of the same characteristics) have a history of hiring expats for quite a few industries. Compared to getting a US working visa or green card, moving to HK was child's play.

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 7):
Cathay and Emirates pilot groups are almost exclusively expat. Getting hired takes care of most of the residency and visa issues. I would not recommend working for them unless it is your intention to live at your base. They are not commuter friendly

Nothing wrong with living in Hong Kong! In many ways the perfect city to be an expat in. Much easier than a European or US city in that regard. I'll show you around.  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2316 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 8):
I think if you want to work abroad you need to start working towards it today

I am a freshman in high school, and most other classmates are too lathargic to even think about anything besides sports and video games so I think I am pretty on-track as my knowledge in many areas is quite impeccable. The only thing I don't have is the age. I physically cannot seriously look into moving on a paperwork and logistic level as I still am a minor, but there is never a day when I don't spend time learning about other countries, airlines, cities, vacations, politics ect. So, I am more interested on a hobby level for right now. But I do intend on moving out the US. My preference would be Europe but I really like anywhere. HKG is a great city.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 8):
In many ways the perfect city to be an expat in. Much easier than a European or US city in that regard. I'll show you around. Wink

Well, it is, but I would live in a handful of other places over it. Not many people speak English well, and Cantonese is not a realistic language which I plan on learning. Also, just on an actual city basis, HKG isn't my favorite. I have only been to a couple of European cities and HKG and a plethora of places in North America, but just to say for example, I knew just as much about HKG before I went compared to when I left. However, there is no denying that the best way to know a city is by going there.

Oh, and by the way, I know HKG very well. One of the appeals is that it is a pretty easy city to navigate around. Overall, it was amazing being there and just like I said to everybody who asked, HKG prooves that you don't need tourist sites to make a great trip. It is all about being there.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2313 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 8):
Nothing wrong with living in Hong Kong!

I didn't mean to imply that there was. I have been there repeatedly and mostly enjoy it. I was just trying to stress the point that, if you work for Cathay, you should plan on being in Hong Kong.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineAFKLMLHLX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2310 times:



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 10):
I didn't mean to imply that there was. I have been there repeatedly and mostly enjoy it. I was just trying to stress the point that, if you work for Cathay, you should plan on being in Hong Kong.

And I would want to be in HKG. HKG is litterally the perfect place for an expat pilot, very free, economically friendly, first world, great culture, atmosphere, people, buildings, and it is basically in China! Still wish I went to Shenzhen...


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2306 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 11):
HKG is litterally the perfect place for an expat pilot,

If that is what you want, by all means, go for it. I don't work for Cathay, but I do know a little about them. I can't say what they will be like in 10 or 20 years, but I do know that they currently stress a very high degree of technical knowledge in their interview. You should be well versed in high speed aerodynamics, aircraft certification and design, and meteorology before the interview. Company history and current events are also fair game. I would have a degree in a field other than aviation, but be conversant in all of the above. In another year or so, I might be sending them an application myself. Good luck, I hope you make it.



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User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3733 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2292 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 11):
And I would want to be in HKG. HKG is litterally the perfect place for an expat pilot,



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 12):
I might be sending them an application myself. Good luck, I hope you make it.

Just as a note to you guys, if you're interested in working for CX, they are seeking USA based (USA residents) First Officers for the freighter fleet (744/748). The terms aren't as good as the pax fleet in HK and more similar to what other US carriers offer, but it allows you to work and live in the US. You also have an option to join the pax fleet and move to HK later.

You need the minimum requirements to apply as an F/O (basically jet experience). I've seen quite a few regional jets pilots join 'direct entry' on the 744 freighter on US bases lately.

Anyway, you can look into it if you're interested. No harm in sending applications early as if you don't have the requirements they'll hold it for you to update it. You can PM me and I can try to dig up more info for you.



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16991 posts, RR: 67
Reply 14, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2285 times:



Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 9):
Well, it is, but I would live in a handful of other places over it. Not many people speak English well, and Cantonese is not a realistic language which I plan on learning.

I find that quite enough people speak English, especially in technical fields. If you want to converse with street vendors, that's one thing. But if you are going to be a pilot, English should do fine.

Also, if you're here, you may as well learn at least a little Cantonese. Just the essential twenty words so you can tell the cab driver where to take you and so forth.  Wink

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 11):
Still wish I went to Shenzhen..

Hehe. No you don't.  Wink

Quoting Francoflier (Reply 13):
Just as a note to you guys, if you're interested in working for CX, they are seeking USA based (USA residents) First Officers for the freighter fleet (744/748). The terms aren't as good as the pax fleet in HK and more similar to what other US carriers offer, but it allows you to work and live in the US. You also have an option to join the pax fleet and move to HK later.

This illustrates a bit of my "take the job, then find something better" mentality. It's not perfect, but it opens the door.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 15, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2284 times:

Levent

Quoting AFKLMLHLX (Reply 4):
Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 2):

I know if I wanted to work for a European airline I could just become a citizen...

You make that sound very easy but I am pretty sure that the opposite is true...

You appear not to realise that I didn't say that. I quoted another poster as saying it, and then commented on it.

And I agree, it most likely won't be easy!

Best regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineCosmicCruiser From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2255 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2256 times:

]They treat you very well and they really retain the classyness pilots are supposed to have. The CX and EK crews look amazing! Oh, and I saw the Finnar crew walking to the gate in HKG last week, striking as well![/quote]

I think your opinion is based on how they look and nothin else. You may be surprised about treatment. I'm not saying anyone's MIStreated it just is probably a lot different than you may think.


User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3733 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2239 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
This illustrates a bit of my "take the job, then find something better" mentality.

If you did, you wouldn't be the first one. Whatever works, it's all fair game in this job.  Wink



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16991 posts, RR: 67
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2235 times:



Quoting Francoflier (Reply 17):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 14):
This illustrates a bit of my "take the job, then find something better" mentality.

If you did, you wouldn't be the first one. Whatever works, it's all fair game in this job.

Heh. I hardly invented that. Big grin



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
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