Hoping to immigrate after Scotland visit

Nov 6th, 2004, 08:34 PM
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Hoping to immigrate after Scotland visit

I know this may be a bit off topic, but I have sought advice from this board before and it has never let me down. I spent a summer in Scotland last year and fell in love. I would LOVE to live there. I am planning on getting married in a year or so, and we want to move as soon as his contract here (US) is done, two years from now.
I am trying to find information on how to begin the immigration process (or how to even begin thinking about it). Does anyone know any good websites, or any starting places? The government websites have taken me in circles and I am so confused now!
I appreciate all of your help! Thanks!
deannagld is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 09:04 PM
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Seems to me that your first stop would be with an imigration attorney. I wish you the best of luck.
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 09:13 PM
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Your best bet is the British consolate in Washington DC , Unless either of you have British Grandparents or Proffesional skills , you will have a long wait. There are a lot of problems with illegal immigrants so the goverment is really ristricting visas , I am from U K now in U S ,I suggest you go for a longer time before making your mind up. I have lived in several counties & still think USA is the best in the world.
jean4165 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2004, 11:44 PM
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The UK government, far from restricting visas, is actively promoting the UK as a place to settle in. There is a problem with illegal immigration, so the processes for legal immigration can be long-winded.

If you're simply planning to come as a spouse of a UK (or any other EU) citizen, you'll probably find www.americanexpats.co.uk a good place to start. Spouse immigration is massively abused, so there's a web of procedures you have to go through, and that site is good on how to avoid getting tangled up by it. You might get some help from www.iasuk.org, though it's mainly aimed at real victims of poverty and persecution ("I voted for Kerry" is not grounds for seeking political asylum). But there are links to getting professional advice, should you need it.

But it's the job of British public servants abroad to help British citizens bring their spouses home, if that's your position, and not to hinder them. Staff in our consulates and embassies are obliged, therefore, to explain how all this works and help you do it painlessly. So your nearest British dipomatic mission really should be the place to start.

If you're not marrying an EU citizen, you can come into Britain and work freely if:
- you've a British parent.
- you've a British grandparent and are yourself a Commonwealth citizen.
- you've citizenship of the other 24 EU member states - or, in practice, of the other EEA members. Having an Irish or Italian grandparent probably does this for you.
- you're a Commonwealth citizen under 30 (though this only gives you two years here).
- you qualify under one of the many other schemes at:
The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme is specifically aimed at giving free access to bright people. Download the form and you'll see that almost any university graduate with normal managerial and salary development qualifies. There is a delay in processing these applications though. Alternatively work for any company that operates multinationally and get yourself transferred (not just UK businesses with significant US operations like BP or GSK, but truly international US companies liike Citibank).

There are around a quarter of a million Americans living in London alone. The process really can't be that difficult.

flanneruk is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 12:27 AM
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I AM an immigration lawyer (and I suspect flanner may be too

Hi advice is sound. If you have none of the connections he listed check the work permits page on the Home Office web site and see if you fall into any of the shortage occupations, then get someone who is prepared to offer you a job to do so. If you don't fall into a shortage occupation, then find a job where you have skills which are unique or unusual- making the bridge between what you do now and what you might do for an employer here.

Remember that a work permit is applied for aby the employer and is not transferrable.
sheila is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 12:53 AM
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I am an American who just received my UK residency visa as a "Settlement Wife" (to the amusement and slight derision of American friends: "What the heck is a Settlement Wife? Are you a mail order bride on the Mars frontier?" etc. etc.). My husband is not British; he is a Canadian with UK Right of Abode (thanking his Geordie mum for that). There are a lot of hoops to jump through even if you fit one of the "easy" immigration categories (like spouse). But the consular staff were helpful--as everyone knows, good Settlement Wives are hard to find and worth hanging on to ;-)
The book Living and Working in Britain by David Hampshire is worth a look, even though it contains some inaccurate (based on our experience) and confusing information.
FYI, it's a lot easier to get a spouse visa is you've been married longer than 4 years--newly married couples are viewed with a slightly jaundiced eye.
We used an attorney and it was helpful to have someone else sort out the paperwork for us. Good luck!
BTilke is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 01:42 AM
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to add to flanner's advice, if you are in any medical discipline, you will probably find it much easier.

The NHS is desparate for staff of just about all kinds and the more rural areas and less popular cities are particularly short as they are less popular with yound medical staff who come to the UK for a couple of years to earn some sterling.
walkinaround is online now  
Nov 7th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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On a personal note and not meant to sound as I was prying, I wonder why you wish to emigrate.

Sheila, one of our most valued and sensible voices from abroad, can always be relied upon for good advice. Right now, I wonder what the weather, for example, is. During my wartime service in Scotland (Greenock, Scapa Flow, and northward), I recall days -- almost weeks -- without sunshine. Biting dampness. Ceaseless wind. And the roughest seas this side of the Straits of Magellan.
USNR is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 04:24 AM
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Bad example, USNR. Today it's bright sunshine, after rain yesterday. Beautiful blue skies and the last of the autumn leaves. A day to make you immigrate here.

Winter can be miserable but it can be fine, too. And we're masters at making the best of it

sheila is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 05:49 AM
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Point taken, Sheila. But this is early November. Wait until the real winter storms strike. Wait until those days (and weeks) without sunshine come along.

But my primary question remains: WHY emigrate? Vacation is one thing; long-term living is another.
USNR is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 10:53 AM
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Don't even THINK about emigrating to Scotland until you've spent a winter there. I was there for a Junior Year Abroad program, and the weather was beyond depressing. Damp, wet, overcast for weeks and months.

Summer was on a Tuesday that year.
Robespierre is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 11:05 AM
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Hey, hey, ca' canny, there. It may not e Florida, but we don't get tornados either.

It was a gorgeous day today. Admittedly it was pitch dark by 5pm, but, you know, the world would be boring if it was all the same.
sheila is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 11:56 AM
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I feel exactly as USNR has pointed out but from a Scottish perspective. Visited the USA a number of times and it was fantastic for a vacation but I just wouldn't care to live there long term. I'll happily accept the long, wet and dark winters here, thank you very much.

It's good though that we all have our own expectations and preferences.

Wha's like us? gie few an' they're aw deid!
billbarr is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Och, aye. But I didn't say NO ONE should live in bonny Scotland - only those who are unprepared for it.

But - turn about's fair play. In July '02, a contingent of Scottish boy scouts came to Arizona, and last summer, our boys went camping in the Highlands. I don't know which group was more disoriented.

Will ye no come back again?
Robespierre is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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flanner already listed this website: www.americanexpats.co.uk

It's a valuable site with lots of information, both on the immigration side of things and on other topics like the challenges settling in to a new country.

The site became fee-based earlier this year. Think it's US$15 for a year. To me, it's well worth it, and it would be for you if you're serious about making this move. It's a forum, so you can post questions.
Ann41 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 04:26 PM
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I suggest you check out how much a place to live will cost you.
Given the deflated, and still deflating dollar, you can prepare to pay a lot unless you want to live in a crofter's hut on the moor.
brookwood is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Touche, Sheila! I DO live in Florida, and believe me, after four hurricanes in two months, I was ready to move to Scotland! I'm actually heading your way in March, so I'll be able to decide then which is worse... constant hurricanes or pitch darkness at 5:00 pm
beachy1 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 11:31 AM
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Ah, but in summer, you can play golf well past midnight!
Robespierre is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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You're STILL trying to put them off, Robespierre!
sheila is offline  

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