Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How To Live in a Foreign Country

Sources close to Nessie say she is planning a meet and greet for late July.

One of my biggest dreams is to live in a foreign country. In fact, it's #2 on my bucket list, just after taking a picture of the Loch Ness Monster. Since the chances of old Nessie showing herself are slim, I figure I might as well concentrate on making #2 a reality.

Who knows, if I play my cards right, I might be able to live in Scotland on the shores of Loch Ness. That way I'd always be ready if the camera-shy creature should make an appearance. But I digress.

In order to kill two birds with one stone, I've decided to focus my efforts on figuring out how to live in the United Kingdom. After conducting hours of diligent research, I've determined that the most likely way for 'Mericans like me to live in the UK is through a work visa. Getting a work visa is sort of like trying to get into a club on South Beach. If you're not dressed right, or you don't have the right people with you, good luck. The bouncers at the UK Border Agency aren't letting in just any old riff raff.

I guess you could always try tipping the bouncer, but I'm pretty sure bribing a public official is a crime.

So here's the important stuff: there are different categories of workers who are eligible for a work visa. The two categories I want to focus on are high-value migrants and skilled workers.

To get a work visa as a high-value migrant, you need to pass a points-based system. To put it in Sobe club terms, you've got to be rich or important, and you better make sure you show up in the right outfit. There are currently four types of high-value migrants that are open to new applicants. Here's a break-down of each type:

         1. Exceptional Talent (important): This category is "for people who are recognised or have the potential to be recognised as leaders in the fields of science and the arts."

         2. Entrepreneur (important and rich): This is for people who want to run a business in the UK.

         3. Investor (rich): This is "for people who want make a substantial financial investment in the UK." Like I said, rich. This is like the guy who buys a $200 bottle of vodka in order to get into the club.

         4.  General (important): This is for highly skilled workers who are more highly skilled than the workers in the skilled workers category.

So if you're not important or rich, how do you get in? It's all about connections.

To fit into the second category, the skilled worker, you need to have already been offered a job in the UK by an employer willing to sponsor you. This is sort of like a guy who's not rich enough or important enough to get into the club on his own. He needs a group of good-looking women with him. The skilled worker is the not rich/important guy and the sponsoring employer is the good-looking woman. The sponsoring employer could also be the club promoter who put the not rich/important guy on his list at the door. Either way this guy needs a little help getting in.

There are a few other categories of workers who are eligible for a work visa. To find out more about getting a work visa in the UK, visit the UK Border Agency's website at

Don't forget, just like in South Beach, if you can't get in at one place, you can always go down the street and try France.

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