How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby Systematiker » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:06 pm

Xenops wrote:
Systematiker wrote:
Even if you're in-demand, check out the points system for Canada, other stuff makes a difference. My wife and I looked at it, we'd have to pass the French test. We're not going, though (well, unless this election changes my wife's mind :lol: )...

Ultimately we left due to the age-stratification of the society. I simply wasn't old enough to be taken seriously in my field (I shaved a few years off, and US Americans started earlier than Germans comparable to my situation). So wherever you're headed, look at how the work culture will be and how you will compare to your peers of similar education and experience, that may be a big factor for your satisfaction as well as your viability on the job market.


Thank you for reminding me about the points system. I remember looking at that in the past, Australia's in particular, I think. Good point that they will prefer their own countrymen for hiring; even if you qualified, do you think you could have gotten a job?

I will be in my early 30's by the time I can move abroad: is this still considered too young?



Well, I could probably pass the French test, knowing I was going to be taking it. My reading pulls up my overall level, and a few months of serious focus would probably do the job. My wife could pass it now. With preferential employment, well, in the EU I no longer have that problem, and if we were to go to Canada (again, super unlikely), remember, I'm in one of two very specialized fields. If I got on at a uni somewhere, that sort of work doesn't fall under the preferential employment laws. Heck, even if I couldn't pass the French test, I could get a religious work visa.

As for the age: that all depends on country and how you compare. I just told my story from Germany as an anecdote. I was 28 when I finished my doctorate (I'm 31 now), and at the time, people around the same age as I were still in their university studies (there have been many changes in German law, obligatory service and then optional civil service, shortened periods, and now the G8 for school, so many people I knew hadn't been able to start uni until 22 or so, for a degree that's 5 years in the best case). It was just a situation for me and for academia, where the new norm is to do a couple of postdocs (and it's getting that way in the States, as well); I was competing against people who were a few years older who had just finished, but also people who had a 2 or 3 year postdoc under their belts and were right around 35. And that was for a spot for a habilitation. 40 is the sweet spot for tenure in Germany. I didn't want to do almost a decade of postdocs just to get my habil done.

I told the story to illustrate what you should compare: If you will be in your early 30s with 1-2 years of experience, how old are people in your field with 1-2 years experience? Would you be a lot older or a lot younger? Either one can make things tough on you.

Oh, and zenmonkey's comment about grad school is really true, it's often not only a lower hurdle, many places have laws in place that allow you to stick around and look for a job for a certain amount of time after finishing.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby whatiftheblog » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:27 pm

I'll second the suggestion of using the post-secondary education route - this is the one I'm planning to use for France, where I'll be applying to a specialized (2nd) master's program. I should specify that I'm not looking to move to France just for the sake of moving to France, my primary goal is to attend a specific school, which is made specific by the fact that it happens to be located in France... if that makes sense. And then build up my career on the basis of that.

I will say that this route works best when you genuinely want to do the studying it would involve. What type of degree will you get once you finish school? Can/should you do a postgraduate degree? Take a look at what that involve in the countries you're considering, and consider things like financing, work permit regulations, special licenses to work in particular industries, etc. For example, foreign students on visas can work in France, but only a certain number of hours, but that changes if you're offered a specific type of contract. I know the UK has different restrictions, while some countries have none at all. In my case, I hope the status/network of the school carries me into the type of job I want, which should not be difficult to formalize paperwork for.

I would also advise really familiarizing yourself with the pros and cons of each place you're considering in terms of the things that matter most to you. Do you care about living in a particular climate or topography? Do you care about starting a family, and if so, what does that look like in whichever country you're thinking about? Will you need to learn a language, of course, but also will you enjoy it? How much are professionals in your field paid, where do they live, how much does that cost, do you care about urban/rural spaces, etc etc etc. Searching through local lodging sites is pretty interesting, actually - I learned that I could rent a penthouse loft in my target city in France for what I pay in DC for a shoebox. That said, check regulations as well, because I know it'll be difficult for me to rent through a rental agency (they require French guarantors and such), so I'll probably end up doing Airbnb at first.

We Americans are lucky in the sense that pretty much any other country will be easier for us to immigrate to than vice versa. Nobody makes it more difficult than the U.S. for reasons I truly cannot comprehend. We make it damn near impossible for foreign graduates of U.S. schools to stay unless they get married, get a nonprofit job, or get a scholarship to continue their studies, which makes absolutely 0 sense because we're depriving ourselves of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. Instead of launching a startup or going to work for some fancy tech or finance company, where we could even impose special new tax brackets for foreign workers and the absolute majority would stay and pay, these poor kids either a) take up a publicly funded PhD spot, which is 6 years of slogging and barely any income; or b) pad the pockets of divorce attorneys when that Tinder fling goes awry. It's insanity!
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby Systematiker » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:38 pm

Oh, one more thing about the education route:

Don't do a doctorate anywhere that you're going to have to pay out of pocket for unless you are 1000% sure that it will increase your earnings outside of academia. Period. No exceptions. Get funding or don't do it. And don't do one period if your only plan is academia. It's brutal out there.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby Xenops » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:39 pm

zenmonkey wrote:
Second, one of the easiest way to move abroad is as a student, getting a upper level degree abroad will simplify the paperwork as well as finding a job. Think about how you might get a masters degree after your current one in a university in your target country. Remember EU schools are cheaper and may have funding sources.


This is an interesting point. Some years ago I was looking at doing medical school overseas, and I was under the impression that as soon as you finish school, the country wants you out. They wouldn't consider taking you for an internship. I suppose that this is limited to medical school, and if you go to school for another profession, you'll have an easier time?

zenmonkey wrote:
This can be a long conversation ... where do you want to go? Remember that it is highly important that you are moving TOWARDS a country and NOT just leaving something behind. If you are just escaping (and we have those expats here) then you'll likely not be happier landing somewhere else - we call those "short-timers" or "broken toys"...

If you are focusing on migrating I'd suggest you stop dabbling in lots of languages and really focus on one until you get it to at least a solid, certifiable B1 level - if you can do that before any thought of migration really occurring, it will be a big plus. As a student, you actually have more time than a person working full time. Get it done.


With the limited knowledge I have, Ireland takes precedence as the country I would want to move to. It sounds like the people are friendly, conservative, the weather's on the cool side but manageable, there's lots of history that interests me, there's lots of diversity, and it's really close to other places I want to visit. A bonus is, I already speak the language.

Again, with the limited knowledge I have, Quebec in Canada sounds interesting. I've heard stories of how when the provincial government tries to hike the gasoline tax, everyone just stops driving. I love their no-nonsense approach to government: the government is for the people, not the other-way-around. But I would have to be fluent in French.

I've also heard good things about Scandinavian countries. The quality of life seems to equal that of the U.S., or even better. My Norwegian side of the family has traced the genealogy back to the 1500's. There are other things I need to consider about these, though, like the taxes I'm not used to.

That's why I begin this thread: what should I consider when I move abroad? How should I start planning? I was thinking of you in particular when I started this thread, zenmonkey, and you gave me some direction that I wanted. Thank you.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Oct 30, 2016 12:33 am

Xenops wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:
Second, one of the easiest way to move abroad is as a student, getting a upper level degree abroad will simplify the paperwork as well as finding a job. Think about how you might get a masters degree after your current one in a university in your target country. Remember EU schools are cheaper and may have funding sources.


This is an interesting point. Some years ago I was looking at doing medical school overseas, and I was under the impression that as soon as you finish school, the country wants you out. They wouldn't consider taking you for an internship. I suppose that this is limited to medical school, and if you go to school for another profession, you'll have an easier time?


Depends on the country and degree. A upper level degree may be a way of getting residency in several countries (It helped me to stay in France with my DEA - a post Master's degree.) Or it allows for a few years to find work (mobility schemes like in the UK and EU). You will also have an easier time finding a job through certain schools, even as a transitional job for a permit, while there as a student. Be aware that often the visas used for certain degrees are not exchangeable or transferable - people taking classes in "art schools" or "hair cutting schools" will find it hard to convert a student visa into a temp residence visa.

Xenops wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:This can be a long conversation ... where do you want to go? Remember that it is highly important that you are moving TOWARDS a country and NOT just leaving something behind. If you are just escaping (and we have those expats here) then you'll likely not be happier landing somewhere else - we call those "short-timers" or "broken toys"...

If you are focusing on migrating I'd suggest you stop dabbling in lots of languages and really focus on one until you get it to at least a solid, certifiable B1 level - if you can do that before any thought of migration really occurring, it will be a big plus. As a student, you actually have more time than a person working full time. Get it done.


With the limited knowledge I have, Ireland takes precedence as the country I would want to move to. It sounds like the people are friendly, conservative, the weather's on the cool side but manageable, there's lots of history that interests me, there's lots of diversity, and it's really close to other places I want to visit. A bonus is, I already speak the language.

Again, with the limited knowledge I have, Quebec in Canada sounds interesting. I've heard stories of how when the provincial government tries to hike the gasoline tax, everyone just stops driving. I love their no-nonsense approach to government: the government is for the people, not the other-way-around. But I would have to be fluent in French.

I've also heard good things about Scandinavian countries. The quality of life seems to equal that of the U.S., or even better. My Norwegian side of the family has traced the genealogy back to the 1500's. There are other things I need to consider about these, though, like the taxes I'm not used to.

That's why I begin this thread: what should I consider when I move abroad? How should I start planning? I was thinking of you in particular when I started this thread, zenmonkey, and you gave me some direction that I wanted. Thank you.


Time to open three folders :) - one for each country and you can start collecting guides, paperwork, requirements and what not... all three are possible. Canada is a pro-immigration country, particularly if you have health care skills.

Go to each countries government sites and look at the immigration processes - Canada's is quite detailed and even outlines the entire point system on age, language, skills and the steps one needs to do to validate your degree there. Sites exist for Norway (UDI), etc...

For Norway and Ireland in particular - consider that these countries have strong national board requirements for a med. lab. scientist if you are working in a hospital and that you will need to get those before you can apply - so basically block in time as a student there with that goal. You won't be able to work directly in the medical field without that. Personally I went into the private sector early (pharma and stayed there). med lab scientists are currently certainly with openings in private companies in most EU country. Especially in those target countries.

Stay away from sites that promise easy immigration or help. There are huge scams.

Do go to expat forums but please do not ask the basic questions "how do I get a job" the forums are tired of that. Look around, get the pulse of the place, read massively on the voice and attitude because some of these can have very caustic interactions for newbies that come in unprepared. But they are also a mine of good contacts and info.

Do look at the target country universities that you might attend, they also explain funding, visa programs, requirements and language support.

Do talk to your current school and see what programs abroad exist or what exchanges exists. Take advantage of those. There is probably an office dedicated to that.

Do talk to family and firends about history and links and your interest in seeing the old country. You can probably get a first taste in a vacation - and if done right, you might even have your board covered if you stay with relatives. Definitely use the low cost travel opportunities that a student might have to go a little further than "Spring Break in Florida".

Do not underestimate that talking about your dreams and ideas about moving will be helpful - create opportunities by letting people know what you want to do, asking them what they think and how they can help. People love to help. As an introvert you might think you don't want or know how to do this. You do. You did it here. Talk and create opportunities.

Minor and possibly later, start conversations with some of the firms that might are headquartered in the EU or CA that might be large and possible employers - a few of these have phone numbers dedicated to young students looking for internships that can then lead to jobs and moves.

Language And get that Norwegian or French under your belt - because not only will it make easier but you also become a more interesting hire in the EU with multiple languages, especially as an American.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby Marais » Sun Oct 30, 2016 7:34 am

zenmonkey wrote:
Marais wrote:
Systematiker wrote:From what I know, moving to the UK is a nightmare for everyone. I have a friend who had terrible issues (and who later moved to NZ, interestingly). I actually didn't take a spot in the UK because I didn't want to deal with what it would have taken to go there (it was a term thing, not permanent, my wife would have had trouble, too, and I didn't want to quarantine my dogs).

Only if you're from outside the EU. Within the EU it's very easy to move to the UK. Same as it was for me moving to France. I literally upped and moved. You don't even really have to let anyone know.


Well, that is likely to change in the 2019 for the UK and in several countries you are required to register if you move. For example, even as an EU citizen you need to register where you live in Germany. If you stay in Germany for longer than two months, you must register with your local municipality within two weeks of moving into a property.

No, there's a difference between what the official rules state and what in reality you can actually do. You 'must' register, and if you don't absolutely nothing happens. My wife's brother experienced this in Germany. You 'must' register here in France too but if you go and tell them you live here they don't note anything down and don't really care. I've done it three times. Each time nobody wrote anything down. As long as the post lady knows you it's all gravy. To me that's a bit like the people who say you 'can't install a wood burning stove in the UK without a qualified HETAS engineer' as if not getting one will physically stop you from installing a fire.

The UK obviously will be affected once this Brexit thing happens.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby zenmonkey » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:41 am

Marais wrote:
zenmonkey wrote:
Marais wrote:
Systematiker wrote:From what I know, moving to the UK is a nightmare for everyone. I have a friend who had terrible issues (and who later moved to NZ, interestingly). I actually didn't take a spot in the UK because I didn't want to deal with what it would have taken to go there (it was a term thing, not permanent, my wife would have had trouble, too, and I didn't want to quarantine my dogs).

Only if you're from outside the EU. Within the EU it's very easy to move to the UK. Same as it was for me moving to France. I literally upped and moved. You don't even really have to let anyone know.


Well, that is likely to change in the 2019 for the UK and in several countries you are required to register if you move. For example, even as an EU citizen you need to register where you live in Germany. If you stay in Germany for longer than two months, you must register with your local municipality within two weeks of moving into a property.

No, there's a difference between what the official rules state and what in reality you can actually do. You 'must' register, and if you don't absolutely nothing happens. My wife's brother experienced this in Germany. You 'must' register here in France too but if you go and tell them you live here they don't note anything down and don't really care. I've done it three times. Each time nobody wrote anything down. As long as the post lady knows you it's all gravy. To me that's a bit like the people who say you 'can't install a wood burning stove in the UK without a qualified HETAS engineer' as if not getting one will physically stop you from installing a fire.

The UK obviously will be affected once this Brexit thing happens.


Actually, if you aren't registered in Germany and then try to get a tax number - say as an independent worker - then they won't give you one. There are a bunch of other situations were showing your registration is required. Bank loans, etc. But sure it is possible to walk a fine line and not do it, getting caught may or may not have consequences or administrative delays.

As a foreigner in France, it is more flexible if you are a UK citizen. For now. As a not EU (which the OP is) registration is non-optional.
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby PeterMollenburg » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:56 am

zenmonkey is offering a lot of good advice here.

Xenops- Your comments regarding Scandanavian countries I believe it was, or perhaps Norway more specifically having a possibly even a better quality of life than the U.S. came across slightly naive to me. And I mean no disrespect to yourself or the United States, but I can assure you there are many other countries with a better quality of life than the U.S. This link below ranks the U.S. as tenth. Still, a list like this has a certain manner of carrying out their analysis, and what they analyse may not be relevant to you. For example they may take into account crime, health care, weather as decisive factors affecting a country's overall score/ranking. However if weather means nothing to you, or conversely means a lot more than how much this analysis weighs it in, then you either need to see the breakdown of such listings into the respective columns or come up with your own pros and cons list coupled with a points ranking system as well perhaps. Norway for the record, is ranked below the US on this list. I am Australian and have friends who have just moved back to Norway after being here for a while and claim the quality of life is better there- and they came from Melbourne, which has topped a handful of lists in recent years as the best city in the world to live in. Thus, such data is useful to a certain extent, but then you must add your own subjective input into such lists to modify to your own personality/wants etc, or create your own.

https://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/rankings_by_country.jsp

On another note, emmigrating can be complicated. You need to make some kind of an assessment imo as above to come up with your short-list of countries, then figure out which one country you want to go for and, well, go for it! Btw I have heard that education for foreign university students in Norway can be free to attract foreign students. Why? What's so bad about Norway? It's expensive! (if you're not working there). Whether this hearsay is true, I cannot confirm. If you're interested in European languages, get into one EU country, tick all the boxes, do the time, enough to get a passport, then the rest of the EU is your oyster! Good luck!
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby verdastelo » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:56 am

Exciting! My girlfriend and I finished talking this subject a minute ago. Then I landed on this forum and voilà! Immigration is in vogue.

She is from Russia and I've spent my entire life here in India. Neither of us knows much about immigration; the idea was inconceivable before we met. Here is the plan of two novices who had never had much of a chance of dealing with administration (I didn't have a license and a passport until a few months ago) and who want to avoid it for as long as possible.

I'll visit her for a month sometime in summer next year and she will be here for a month when it's winter in India. And then, we will either divide our time between our countries--summers in Russia and winters in India--as tourists or we'll work for a few more months to have the money for the official fees and chai pani for a more stable arrangement.

To avoid any issues originating from an impossibly complex (an assumption! ;-)) labour legislation, we're learning how to program. The idea is that this particular skill will enable us to work remotely. So I can work for Indians and she can work for Russians without either of us running foul of the law.

If you have other suggestions, you can share them. It'll be a yuuuge help!
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Re: How Difficult Is It to Immigrate?

Postby Ogrim » Sun Oct 30, 2016 1:49 pm

Xenops wrote:I've also heard good things about Scandinavian countries. The quality of life seems to equal that of the U.S., or even better. My Norwegian side of the family has traced the genealogy back to the 1500's. There are other things I need to consider about these, though, like the taxes I'm not used to.

PeterMollenburg wrote:Btw I have heard that education for foreign university students in Norway can be free to attract foreign students. Why? What's so bad about Norway? It's expensive! (if you're not working there). Whether this hearsay is true, I cannot confirm. If you're interested in European languages, get into one EU country, tick all the boxes, do the time, enough to get a passport, then the rest of the EU is your oyster! Good luck!


In Norway you do not pay any tuition fees at all at state-run universities, only a fee of about 80 USD per semester which goes to finance the university's student welfare organisation. This applies to Norwegian and foreign students alike. So basically university education is free.

However, life in Norway is expensive, so you need a decent amount of money to pay a rent, buy food etc. I know there exist various grant possibilities for students from abroad, so maybe worth checking out if you are really intersted.

Why does Norway want to attract foreign students? This article from University World News gives an interesting overview of what is happening in the Nordic countries and partially answers that question. Another factor which the article does not mention is that Norwegian universities are not exactly at the top of the world university ranking. Oslo University is ranked as 132nd, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim is 251st.

Norway is not a member of the EU, but is part of the European Economic Area, so the freedom of movement for workers in the EU applies to Norway as well. However, immigration rules for non-EU citizens are quite strict. To live and work in Norway you normally need a job offer before moving to Norway, as you have to apply from your country. Check out the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration if you want to learn more.
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