How to move to USA...?

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jacob
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by jacob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:10 am

thrifty++ wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:03 am
I like the idea of moving to the USA from a financial perspective. I definitely think its the best economically. Listening to USA based podcasts and reading USA based personal finance blogs I am regularly shocked at how high the pay is and how low living costs are, in particular housing.
The US is really good at "money", so US is certainly one of the best from an economic perspective, but I would take the "high salaries" with a tiny grain of salt. The US also has one of the highest if not the highest inequality of income distribution in the OECD. This is great if you're at the top---not remarkable (compared to the rest of OECD) if you're in the middle---and rather sucks if you're in the bottom.

If you read the internations survey (linked in my first response, there's one for each year which goes back to 2014), expats love the economic possibilities(*), but they don't like the high costs of health insurance/care and childcare/education which is something pretty much every American/resident has to worry about and that people in other developed countries generally don't. Since everybody pays "the same", this poses a particular problem for the median and low income groups. At the lowest rung of the ladder, living in the US does begin to resemble third world conditions complete with pop-up tent clinics.

See http://worldpopulationreview.com/countr ... y-country/

(*) And not just the potential for high salaries, but also the enormous variety of careers by virtue of living in a large and technologically and commercially advanced country.

Ahh.. perhaps it makes sense to talk about how US is better seen as bunch of different nations in that regard. For example, California is very different from, say, Indiana. Alabama is very different from Vermont. More different from each other than say England and Germany. Read this https://www.amazon.com/American-Nations ... 0143122029 and keep it in mind before choosing a state (or country).

It's also easy to think that the high salaries and the low cost of living exist in the same area. Again Silicon Valley is different from Humboldt county. Generally, they do not. E.g. a 1bd/1ba apartment in Menlo Park (Facebook HQ) where engineering incomes are in the six-fig range is about $2500/month. Whereas in the sticks, rent might be $400/month but the only jobs available pay $12/hr. However, one thing ERE can do is to find creative ways around that issue, but it might require living in an RV ;-)

jacob
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by jacob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 9:14 am

Recent changes to the health insurance issue:
viewtopic.php?p=198150#p198150

JuliusFC
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by JuliusFC » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:17 am

After clearing the hurdles Jacob brought up, social security and medicare taxes would also be a major drawback for a relocation under 10 years. You have to contribute a minimum of 10 years over your working lifetime to benefit from social security and medicare. Under 10 years, you contribute a lot of money over whatever number of years, without ever enjoying the benefits.
Not entirely true. The US has agreements with a number of countries. I worked in the US for almost 8 years and I will receive SS benefits via my Canadian benefits when the time comes.

WRT Canada, you can always do what some people do: Immigrate to Canada first because it's easier and after you get citizenship use the TN1 visa to move to the US, assuming that NAFTA option is still around when the time comes to use it.

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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by jacob » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:36 am

JuliusFC wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:17 am
Not entirely true. The US has agreements with a number of countries. I worked in the US for almost 8 years and I will receive SS benefits via my Canadian benefits when the time comes.
Yeah, there are 2-3 different kinds of treaties regarding pension payments between the US and various countries. For example, as a Danish citizen, I can collect US SS if and only if I live in the US or Denmark. And I've lived outside Denmark for long enough that I will never be able to collect any Danish SS---because it requires you to be a resident for X number of adult years and X>Retirement age - My age. Fair enough---it's not like I paid much into it. The kicker is that if I move to any other country, I will get nothing(*), though. IIRC, both Sweden and Norway have better deals---Denmark is one of the few countries on the worst/least flexible treaty.

(*) Technically, I think I earned a tiny payment from Switzerland due to my four years in grad school there. Dunno what their treaties are, but IIRC, I get less than $10/month anyway :-D

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Ego
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Ego » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:22 pm

jacob wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:10 am
...but I would take the "high salaries" with a tiny grain of salt. The US also has one of the highest if not the highest inequality of income distribution in the OECD. This is great if you're at the top---not remarkable (compared to the rest of OECD) if you're in the middle---and rather sucks if you're in the bottom.
I agree with the general idea of your post but if you were to show data for immigrants the story is somewhat different. And contrary to popular belief, it is true for poor immigrants as well as rich immigrants.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/28/upsh ... -poor.html

New research linking millions of fathers and sons dating to the 1880s shows that children of poor immigrants in America have had greater success climbing the economic ladder than children of similarly poor fathers born in the United States. That pattern has been remarkably stable for more than a century, even as immigration laws have shifted and as the countries most likely to send immigrants to the United States have changed.

Image

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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by RealPerson » Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:28 pm

JuliusFC wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:17 am
Not entirely true. The US has agreements with a number of countries. I worked in the US for almost 8 years and I will receive SS benefits via my Canadian benefits when the time comes.

WRT Canada, you can always do what some people do: Immigrate to Canada first because it's easier and after you get citizenship use the TN1 visa to move to the US, assuming that NAFTA option is still around when the time comes to use it.
Thanks for rectifying that. Another thing for OP to look into.

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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by sky » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:28 pm

The classic method is to marry a US citizen.

cimorene12
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:11 am

Thrifty++ you should check the cost of healthcare in the US.

George the original one
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by George the original one » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:08 pm

Newest of the Trump impediments to immigrating to the USA is a new health insurance rule taking effect Nov 3.
Then on Oct. 4 U.S. President Donald Trump changed the rules she and others had been complying with: Trump signed a proclamation requiring all prospective immigrants to prove they will have U.S. health insurance within 30 days of their arrival or enough money to pay for "reasonably foreseeable medical costs."
A State Department notice on Oct. 29 said consular officers will verbally ask immigrant visa applicants to identify a specific health insurance plan, the date coverage will begin, and "other information related to the insurance plan as the consular officer deems necessary," but gave the public only two days to comment on that plan instead of the usual several months.
https://news.yahoo.com/trump-rule-healt ... 48191.html

zocab
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by zocab » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:51 am

Nomini wrote:
Sat Oct 26, 2019 5:48 pm
- Salaries (I'm currently near enough as high as I can go in my career at ~60k USD per annum)
- Similar or better weather than the UK (more sun, less rain - obviously depends where in the States)
- The adventure of moving to the other side of the world (have previously lived in other European countries and loved being an expat)
- It still being an anglosphere country (been there, done that with foreign languages; don't mind it, but it's not my preference)
- Better value real estate (also, oviously depends where)
- The 'get up and go' vibe I feel far more when over in the States than here in Europe
You should consider Switzerland:
- Salaries are similar to big cities in the US.
-- And taxes are generally lower (total taxes are a similar level to US federal taxes, but most big locations in the US, i.e. California/NY/etc. have state tax on top).
- Weather is arguably not much better, but: summers are nice, and in winter you can get above the clouds by heading to the mountains. That said the south of Switzerland has good weather year-round, and you can always hop on the train for the weekend (2 hours these days, 2x trains per hour - you can drive instead but it takes longer and you'd have to be insane to do so).
- Perhaps less adventurous than the US. Also less likely to get shot by police or lunatics though...
- There are so many expats here you don't need to learn the language. And lots of jobs where English is sufficient.
- Yeah real estate isn't going to be cheap, but rents are reasonable with a local salary. As far as I can tell rents are cheaper than in London despite the higher salary.
- Can't really comment on the get up and go vibe. What I can say is that Switzerland is a lot less paternalistic than most European countries. Especially the UK.

- Did I mention: Switzerland is not in the EU, so you aren't subject to those PRIIPS investment restrictions that EU residents are subject to. That's only relevant if you invest in ETF's though.

The big advantage is the immigration system is much more sane, even after Brexit. (Pre-Brexit you can freely move into Switzerland if you find a job, Post-Brexit-if-it-happens your employer needs to prove that they can't find a local employee, but at least there's a separate quota for UK citizens once they demonstrate that you're needed. Either way, permanent residence requires five years residence and doesn't depend on your employer, unlike the US system.) US immigration is a terrible nightmare as others have said.

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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by chenda » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:37 pm

zocab wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:51 am
Can't really comment on the get up and go vibe. What I can say is that Switzerland is a lot less paternalistic than most European countries. Especially the UK.
It may seem that way to a foreigner, but Switzerland must be the most paternalistic country in Europe. It's a very strange place, a gilded cage of picturesque weirdness.

Although perhaps you could live in France or Italy and commute in ?

George the original one
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by George the original one » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:20 pm

Nov 3 Insurance rule temporarily stopped by court order.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/us-ju ... ar-AAJKqrE

Nomini
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Nomini » Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:05 am

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have been away from this thread for a while after posing the initial question. I'm pretty overwhelmed by quite how many responses there have been, so please forgive my rudeness in not replying to each and every one. I am grateful for all of your input, though, and genuinely - as you'll see in a moment - I have taken (some of) the advice.

I'll try to pick this up on a themes basis:

Theme 1: The difficulty of emigrating to US and the hostility of the US in some respects to migration

The difficulty was already at the forefront of my mind when I posed the initial question. I can certainly sympathise with the US immigration authorities in wanting to keep someone with my profile out, as I don't really have shortage skills right now, so would be competing for jobs the locals could already do. The overwhelming number of comments supporting my initial suspicion that it would be an uphill struggle has pretty much talked me out of trying to emigrate to the US for now, despite the myriad, unique qualities that the US has.

Theme 2: Alternative destinations

NZ - Hadn't particularly considered before, but for reasons mentioned by @thrifty++ amogst others, not particularly in contention

Switzerland - Have lived there before. Big love for Switzerland. Notwithstanding a degree of patriotism for the UK, best country in Europe imo. Will keep on considering and start to look actively at Swiss job openings.

Canada - Whilst a bit sceptical about the weather, I do like that idea a lot (and do also buy the "probably as good a place as any following major climate change" argument). I've signed up to take the French and English language tests, and have sent off my academic credentials for equivalency assessment, with a view to entering the Express Entry pool. Initial indication is that I should score well enough to hit the thresholds as they currently stand, but really depends on how my language tests go...!

Theme 3: The desirability of retraining into IT

I agree this would probably be desireable, upskilling as a side pursuit which does not interfere with the day job for now. I have taken a mild interest over the past few years, dabbling mostly with things like Free Code Camp. I haven't been very structured about my learning, though, as haven't very seriously considred it as a career. Would be very interested in some further thoughts from @cimorene12 on exactly what skills to learn - especially if any insight into what's most likely to be saleable in Canada in about 18 months' time and/or what skills are most evergreen.

I should also mention that I'm far enough along the FI journey that I could probably cover about 50% of expenses by renting out my house in the UK (more or less easily, depending on if GBP recovers closer to the historic average at some point) so as long as basic jobs like dishwashing or whatever are plentiful, I'm not too stressed about mere financial survival.


Thanks again all. I know most of the discussion has been around the US, as per my original question, but actually the main benefit of your comments has been to make me realise it's never been uniquely about the States and that there are less painful options which would tick quite a few of the boxes.

GandK
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by GandK » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:20 am

As a citizen, it really really bothers me that immigrants to the US who have carefully followed all the rules and laws our government laid out for them are having so many stumbling blocks thrown up in their way. It's beyond shameful.

(Sorry, not really germane.)

Could you get a position, still as a British citizen, in a British company that has an US branch or office?

cimorene12
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by cimorene12 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:17 am

Nomini wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:05 am
I know most of the discussion has been around the US, as per my original question, but actually the main benefit of your comments has been to make me realise it's never been uniquely about the States and that there are less painful options which would tick quite a few of the boxes.
Nomini wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:05 am
Canada - Whilst a bit sceptical about the weather, I do like that idea a lot (and do also buy the "probably as good a place as any following major climate change" argument). I've signed up to take the French and English language tests, and have sent off my academic credentials for equivalency assessment, with a view to entering the Express Entry pool. Initial indication is that I should score well enough to hit the thresholds as they currently stand, but really depends on how my language tests go...!
I'm delighted that you're taking action today towards a medium-term goal of moving to Canada. Tons of Americans grumble about moving to Canada around election times, and very few of them actually take action. If you get sick of the weather, you can fly to the US for vacation.
Nomini wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 6:05 am
I haven't been very structured about my learning, though, as haven't very seriously considred it as a career. Would be very interested in some further thoughts from @cimorene12 on exactly what skills to learn - especially if any insight into what's most likely to be saleable in Canada in about 18 months' time and/or what skills are most evergreen.

I should also mention that I'm far enough along the FI journey that I could probably cover about 50% of expenses by renting out my house in the UK (more or less easily, depending on if GBP recovers closer to the historic average at some point) so as long as basic jobs like dishwashing or whatever are plentiful, I'm not too stressed about mere financial survival.
The Canadian government wants to see that you can support yourself. I'm fairly certain most ERErs can figure out ways to land on their feet. It's just about demonstrating that you have the means to take care of yourself.

Re: evergreen skills, I'm not going to be able to address those because I think my key recommendation would be to be good at learning new things and using that knowledge... which is a key part of ERE anyhow.

Excerpt from Viktor K's journal:
Viktor K wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:00 pm
Professional
I’ve only been employed 3 months and have already had to pick up and use/build with Vue.js, Vuex, Bulma, Python, Flask, PostgresSql, SQLAlchemy, Docker, AWS and various dependencies I had never heard of before. And now I'm building something from scratch using C#, Azure, and .Net, authenticating with ADB2C, using application users in PowerApps, just got my Vue Router working today...etc.
I looked for mobile developer jobs in Canada. I don't know how important the weather is for you, so I literally opened my search to all jobs in Canada. For example, the cost of living in Vancouver vs. Waterloo would play a part in accepting a job with $X CAD salary. Then again, existing on MMM-levels of expenses in Vancouver is definitely feasible. A quick talk about living expenses from a couple living in Vancouver:
https://www.amazon.com/Incoming-Assets- ... 00K443IMY/

Vancouver has a much milder climate than the rest of Canada, but the cost of living is much higher since it's a more desirable area. I'd start building a portfolio now as you work through some of the steps to immigrate to Canada. Explaining how you thought through a problem and built a solution is pretty key for coding interviews. There are people who are much more intense about interview prep than I am; I'd say a resource is this reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquestions/ - not that everything that everyone says there is 100% right for you, but it's a place to start. I'm part of the CS Career Hackers Discord, which has been interesting.
https://www.reddit.com/r/cscareerquesti ... rd_server/

zocab
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by zocab » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:13 am

chenda wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:37 pm
It may seem that way to a foreigner, but Switzerland must be the most paternalistic country in Europe. It's a very strange place, a gilded cage of picturesque weirdness.

Although perhaps you could live in France or Italy and commute in ?
I've lived in many countries including Switzerland, and it was the least paternalistic of the bunch - less so than even the US in many cases - what do you think makes it paternalistic? While low paternalism has its downsides, like too many people smoking at bus stops because that hasn't been banned unlike other places (but at least they banned smoking at train stations, outside of limited areas), it has many upsides.

Living in France or Italy and commuting in is the worst possible plan: higher taxes, worse QOL, but perhaps lower living costs (but taxes will have the biggest effect if you're earning a good salary).

chenda
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by chenda » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:20 am

@zocab - It wasn't a criticism; I used to live in Geneva and I loved it. Clean, very safe, neat and tidy. No drunken louts. It can get a bit boring, and expensive, but you've got the whole of Europe on your doorstep.

There's probably an element of the 'grass is always greener...' but I'm a big fan of paternalistic countries which keep everything neat and ordered, despite Switzerland's bizzaire rules on mandatory nuclear bunkers and seemingly strict rules against Sunday opening and the like.

Seppia
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Re: How to move to USA...?

Post by Seppia » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:09 am

zocab wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:13 am
Living in France or Italy and commuting in is the worst possible plan: higher taxes, worse QOL, but perhaps lower living costs (but taxes will have the biggest effect if you're earning a good salary).
This is incorrect with regards to italy.
If you live in a border town (ie Como area) and commute daily to Switzerland, you are granted the status of "frontaliere" (translated roughly into"person who crosses borders"), which come with a huge tax advantage.
You end up paying even less taxes than in switzerland.
In Como, life is about half price (maybe a bit less) compared to Ticino area (italian Switzerland), healthcare is high quality and infinitely cheaper.
The only downside is the commute, which can be anywhere from 30min up each way

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