One of the questions that we are frequently asked is whether you actually need an SIA Close Protection License to work in companies based outside of the United Kingdom.
This is a legitimate question which will concern many of our students as well as our graduates who are actively seeking jobs with their SIA certification.
The short answer to the question above is NO.
To further get into the meat of this, we need to go into the exact definitions of why the SIA was formed, and its intentions.
The Security Industry Authority, a branch of the UK Home Office, was formed in the mid-2000s to regulate the security industry under these areas: -
1. Door Supervision
2. Security Guarding
4. CCTV Operations
5. Close Protection
6. Cash and Valuables in Transit
7. Immobilisation, Restriction and Removal of vehicles
It is important to note that these activities are only regulated within the United Kingdom for individuals who currently hold a right to work within the United Kingdom.
What does this mean?
Right to work is held under a number of immigration conditions.
If you are a UK citizen, you automatically gain the unconditional right to work within the United Kingdom.
This means that no restrictions are placed on where you work, what you work as, and how long you work for, provided that you hold the relevant qualifications for the job.
I know that we’re under the quagmire of Brexit at the moment, but at this point in time, EU citizens maintain the right to work within the United Kingdom.
You may also gain the right to work by form of a work permit or part-time as a student at one the UK’s licensed educational institutions.
Now, here’s the clincher, if you weren't paying attention above.
YOU DO NOT NEED AN SIA LICENSE TO WORK OVERSEAS
“Why?” I hear you ask.
And more importantly,
“Why do most companies in the Middle-East request for a SIA-recognised Qualification?”
The answer is clear.
The SIA Qualification/Certification is one of the only known certifications which is formally recognised by a First-World “Federal” government. It differs from individual licensing by different states in the United States, as well as the Cert 1, 2 and 3 in Australia, just to set a few examples.
British companies operating in these regions will want to know that the people that they’re hiring, whether ex-military or civilian, have the minimum standards of knowledge on how to actually work as a CP officer.
No matter how many years you’ve spent in the military (with the exception of the Royal Military Police’s Close Protection Unit), you must know that military experience is very different to actual close protection duties.
We receive requests all the time on how to actually apply for the SIA license from some of our graduates/students who do not hold the right to work in the United Kingdom.
Good news for everyone – if you want to work in hostile environments or within Southeast Asia as a private contractor for a fixed period of time (2-3 months), you will not need the SIA License.
Please note that you will still be subject to the visa requirements of the individual countries you wish to work in, although if you are a citizen of one of the Southeast Asian countries, you enjoy visa-free entry into any of the ASEAN countries within the region.
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