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01 May 2004 @ 08:19 pm
Excuse me while I have a Hermione moment.  
This has been brought on by the ongoing number of people who post the same things over and over and over again to the brits_americans community (crossposted), and I thought I'd share.

There are 4 main ways that you can move from one country to another, in general:
1. You are seeking political asylum
2. You get a job with an employer in that country
3. You attend a university in that country
4. You marry a person who is a citizen of that country

Seems pretty simple, right? Wrong.

We're going to dismiss #1 out of hand, because as much many people in the US can't stand Bush, he's not an excuse for needing protection in another country.

So, on to #2.
You can't just find a job. The main way to be allowed to get a job in the UK would be through a work permit. Work permit applications must be made by the employer, not you, and they happen through one of the following:

Business and Commercial. Work permits will normally only be issued for jobs that require high-level skills.
Sportspeople and Entertainers. Work permits are only issued for established entertainers, cultural artists, sportspeople and some technical/suppport people whose employment will not displace or exclude resident workers.
Training and Work Experience Scheme (TWES). TWES enables employers to provide Training for a Professional or Specialist Qualification, or Work Experience to a person from abroad who needs permission to work in England, Scotland and Wales. TWES permits are a specific type of work permit.

With all of these, you have to have some amazing skill that is desperately needed for jobs in the UK and you have to not take jobs from UK residents and most importantly, a company has to think enough of you to get you a work permit. As you might imagine, this isn't something that happens often.

Now, I did find a new offering: the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). This allows you to move to the UK and seek work without having a work permit first. Sounds promising, right? Not quite. To apply, you have to have at least 65 points in the following categories:
  • Educational qualifications
  • Work experience
  • Past earnings
  • Your achievement in your chosen field
  • Your husband's, wife's or unmarried partner's achievements

  • So, let's see how I would score for this...
    1) Education. I have a Master's degree, that gives me 25 points.
    2) Work experience. I can go with the first - minimum 5 years' graduate level work experience, that gives me another 25 points.
    3) Past earnings. To get any points here, I had to have made at least 40,000 pounds per year. Ooops. I get no points here.
    4) Achievement. This can be one of the following: Industry prize, Ownership intellectual property rights, Published work, Published testimonials/profile, Peer group reviews, Scholarship/research rewards, Academic reference, Press articles, Industry reference and Other. Hmmm. I might be able to get some sort of peer group review, but I'm not certain what they mean by that. No points here.
    5) Your partner's achievements. Your partner must also not already be settled (permanently resident) in the UK. So much for that. No points here.

    So my total points are 50 - not enough to apply. Not too surprised, really - they're looking for people who will make significant contributions to UK business (and likely make enough money to contribute to UK taxes!). So as you can see, the job thing is not an easy way to go. For more information, click here. On to #3...

    #3 - going on a student visa. I'm not going to say much on this one because it doesn't apply to me, and there is a lot of information for students who want to study abroad (often available from their US universities). For information on this, check out this site which talks about programs, financial aid, etc. You may also want to check out BUNAC, which has information about programs allowing current university students in the US to work in the UK for up to 6 months.

    #4 - marrying a UK citizen. These are the requirements that need to be met to complete the application for a fiancé(e) visa:
  • The sponsor is present and settled in the United Kingdom, or is to be admitted for settlement at the same time as the applicant arrives in the UK.
  • The parties to the proposed marriage have met (this one amuses me, I admit it).
  • Adequate maintenance and accommodation without recourse to public funds will be available for the applicant until the date of the marriage (because you can’t work in the UK until after you're married)
  • After the marriage there will be adequate accommodation for the parties and any dependents without recourse to public funds in accommodation which they own or occupy exclusively
  • After the marriage the parties will be able to maintain themselves and any dependents adequately without recourse to public funds.

  • You also have to prove that you have a place to live (a lease, a mortgage, etc) and a letter from the employer of the fiancé(e) in the UK stating how long they’ve been employed, their salary, etc. For more information on a fiancé(e) visa head to the British Embassy in the US.
    I feel: educational
    Teesside Snog Monster: otpjiggery_pokery on May 1st, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC)
    Thank you very much for doing the research - extremely interesting and very concisely explained.

    Damn, we make it difficult. Sorry about that. :-( #4 broadly seems like the most accessible route under most circumstances.

    With a couple of specific people in mind, would you agree with my interpretation of the under-28 scoring scheme for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme PDF document that a standard age bonus of 5 points from item 5.1, 25 points from a Masters (7.1.1) and 35 points from "At least 4 years’ full time graduate level work experience" (7.2.5) would be sufficient together to reach the magic 65?

    Fingers crossed that the rules don't change for the worse too soon...
    Vicki: Kate by Sophiehermorrine on May 1st, 2004 08:21 pm (UTC)
    It's much, MUCH harder to move to the US, although I think the reasons for that are pretty obvious. I'm actually glad Mark doesn't want to be the one to move. And another thing I didn't mention here is that the British government is cracking down on fradulent marriages that are just for citizenship, so things are gradually getting more difficult.

    As for that, it's possible. I didn't look at the under-28 rules for obvious reasons. The whole problem comes into what exactly they consider post-graduate level work experience (or achievement in your field, etc) - that is not explained anywhere that I've found. If they mean *any* work experience after earning a bachelor's degree, my number would go up significantly. I've counted the time since I've earned my master's degree only. So... I really don't know, and I'm not certain how to find out - perhaps contact the British Embassy here. It's going to be a while yet before I consider moving, though, so whenever the time comes I will of course find out more.
    meg: londonmeggitymeg on May 1st, 2004 08:56 pm (UTC)
    Well, now, that's just all incredibly depressing. :( Perhaps we will both flee to the tropics...

    Okay, now that the paper is in, I'll definitely be around more often on AIM and Y!M - we'll have to pick a time to meet up and chat! :D
    Vicki: Mark heart bearhermorrine on May 1st, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)
    I know it is... but at the same time you can understand why. And as I told Chris, it would be even harder for one of them to move here.

    Excellent - I look forward to talking to you soon then! >:D
    the creases and flecks in the maptropes on May 1st, 2004 09:22 pm (UTC)
    Well then. I'm sure as bloody fuck not marrying anyone without cohabitating first. Super. -_-
    Vicki: Cleavage is good.hermorrine on May 1st, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
    Mark and I feel similarly. Luckily, the fiancé(e) visa allows you to live in the UK for 6 months before the marriage actually takes place. Having the past experience that I do, I feel that's more than long enough - you may not agree, but it's better than nothing.
    the creases and flecks in the maptropes on May 2nd, 2004 08:06 am (UTC)
    Yeah, I'm not in any hurry to get hitched... I want to live together for at least a year, maybe two. Great. \:D/
    Alex: Igbytitanic_days on May 2nd, 2004 06:54 am (UTC)
    And I presume none of this applies to same-sex relationships.
    I am the man that makes the bhaji go away: malachitemalachan on May 2nd, 2004 08:56 am (UTC)

    I would imagine that same-sex couples will be in a similar situation to heterosexual couples once this legislation is enacted.
    Vicki: *SIGH*hermorrine on May 2nd, 2004 10:30 am (UTC)
    Actually, there are rules in place for same-sex couples, which impressed me a great deal. The unfortunate thing is that you have to show proof of cohabitation for at least 2 years. I find this really unfair, as obviously they don't require that for het couples getting married. :(
    Teesside Snog Monster: southparkjiggery_pokery on May 2nd, 2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
    I was impressed by that, too, but I find it difficult to work out how you're going to get to cohabit for two years first in order to qualify for this sort of visa. (Work visa? Student visa?) It also seems faintly second-class that same-sex couples are being treated the same as common-law marriage couples; fingers crossed that same-sex marriages are given the same status in law over here before long and this is reflected in our immigration system. Still, distinctly better than nothing, even if not really good enough yet.

    I'm very idly wondering whether it would be easier for both halves of a fandom couple to migrate to Australia, Canada or New Zealand. (Or, theoretically but considerably less temptingly, South Africa or India. Or...)
    Vicki: Handgrab!hermorrine on May 2nd, 2004 01:13 pm (UTC)
    From what I've seen, doubtful. I know that Australia's rules are even more stringent, for example. I guess if you wanted to move to a third-world country together, no one would stop you... but I don't think it would be worth it. You would be with the person you love, sure, but you'd both be fairly miserable, if not extremely so. I know that Mark and I at least could not manage without our modern convienences.
    wordplay on May 6th, 2004 04:55 am (UTC)
    Thanks for posting this; it was very interesting. We have started towards this move a couple of times, but life circumstances have intervened and screwed it all up. We are hoping to try again in a few years. There's a part of me that feels like we should try now, while these schemes are in place (we do qualify for the HSMP, or at least Marc does although I help by 10 points, go me!) but moving overseas with two young children scares the hell out of me.

    Reading over your LJ for the past few days, you seem to be encountering a hell of a lot of frustration recently. I hate it when that happens, when I feel like I'm working so hard and so diligently and the world is conspiring against me and nothing is working out properly. I hope that the skies open up and things start to happen for you soon. <3