I successfully applied through this process last year and am now living in the UK. The whole process cost about $3k and a month of paperwork, but it was totally worth it.
If anyone has questions about it feel free to email me at the address in my profile.
(Ah, the byzantine system: page 7 has three options, "Inside the UK", "Outside the UK", and "Croatia")
I wouldn't move to the UK for a job, but it could be a great place to live as a freelancer.
You can also get a work permit in Thailand via Iglu . They take 30% of the income that you bring into Thailand, with a minimum of $2,500 per month.
There is a UK “freelance visa” IIRC but it has a £60k capital requirement which can be furnished either by yourself or by investors.
TL;DR: Canada, Germany, Chile, Spain, Thailand
Something tells me that this year the acceptance rate is going to be much lower...
Also I think they doubled it to 400 this year.
Is this a successor to, and similar to, the HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) that the UK had some years ago?
- American citizen (double taxes, etc)
- Self-employed software consultant working remotely for US clients
- Not living in London
- Live in a small town near Cambridge, where I commute via train to work in a coworking office
A lot of the "good parts" are not specific to the UK, but to the lifestyle of a software consultant. So I'll leave those out.
Also, it's worth noting that I've traveled and lived in many countries and cities. I've lived 3+ months in SF, NYC, Taipei, Seattle, Houston, and the UK. I've lived 1+ month in Budapest, Belgrade, Zagreb, and probably some others I'm forgetting. In the end, every place is really the same. Yes there are subtle differences, but you're still the same person with (hopefully) the same routine, etc. Especially when the language is the same, there are little to no major differences. Still, there are some subtleties so I will try to flesh some of those out.
THE GOOD PARTS of living in the UK:
- My girlfriend lives here (obviously the #1 benefit!)
- The GBP/USD exchange rate has been trashed the last two years. Since I work primarily with US clients and receive payments in USD, this is good for me when transferring. Although it's been climbing back up.
- I'm not surrounded by US politics everywhere I go, although it's still hard to avoid.
- My US rates give me a lot of relative spending power in the UK (but also see cons)
- UK.gov is actually a surprisingly helpful resource and really smoothens interactions with the government. Local government websites are another story.
- English breakfasts
- Banking is simpler than in the US, but regulations can be a pain, and often times it seems like something is "for your security" but it's just poorly thought out and implemented.
- The trains are great, but also pretty expensive.
- Cheap and fast mobile data plans. Reliable broadband.
THE BAD PARTS of living in the UK:
- The weather, except for 3-4 months in the summer. At least winters are mild, though.
- Missing my friends, family etc. Missing New York.
- Terrible, terrible wages in tech, typically half of US salaries even after adjustments. This isn't too much of a problem for me since I'm self-employed, but it does effectively take the option of employment off the table. Note that as a founder, this could be a benefit.
- Council taxes, TV licensing, needing a license for tons of things, and generally over-bureaucratic systems in banking and government that cause more problems than they attempt to solve. Sometimes it feels like you need a full background check just to walk down the street. The amount of private data I had to give to landlords is astounding.
- Massive surveillance, both online and offline, and especially on the motor ways. Few protections on freedom of speech.
- Groceries and restaurants are typically more expensive than in the US. In general the cost of living is higher, but this is somewhat offset by my living in a small town.
- No Chipotle. :(
- Classism, racism and sexism amongst the ruling/elite class. This doesn't affect me directly but I've seen it second-hand for sure.
- Very poor, uneducated population with astoundingly high rates of addiction to gambling, cigarettes and alcohol. [EDIT: Ok, this point is a bit unfair and hypocritical of me to paint with such a broad stroke. This criticism certainly does not apply to the entire population. However, where I live, in a rural area dominated by the horse racing industry, it definitely holds true. And I say this as someone who is friends with many people who fit this description. If I were a UK politician, I would eliminate gambling, raise the drinking and smoking age to 21 and require students to stay in school until age 18. This would solve a lot of problems IMO.]
- Extremely narrow, dangerous roads.
- Double taxation (this is a US issue and really not that big a deal, just more paperwork)
- Antiquated drug laws akin to 1980-2000 in the USA.
Interesting you say that, I find UK roads to be pretty safe, and US I find worse than most of Europe, particularly freeways.  indicates that the fatality rate in the US is almost twice what it is in the UK.
British weather is obviously a cliche, but having lived in a few other places I like the temperate nature (but then I would - I'm British). I spent a while in Arlington VA, and was extremely cold in the winter (-10 degC and snowing for multiple weeks), and very hot and humid in the summer. The more temperate climate here means you don't get extremes, and you can't beat the good parts of UK spring.
It's even worse in towns on high street where people just park on the street, effectively turning roads into temporary one-way streets while people yield to cars in the opposite direction.
As for the weather, I tend to agree with you. I'll take temperate over extreme any day. But the constant rain can definitely get depressing.
> - Extremely narrow, dangerous roads.
Roads are much safer in the UK than the US. 
UK Road Fatalities Per Year: 2.9 per 100,000
US Road Fatalities Per Year: 10.6 per 100,000
Look at the per km column. It's still almost 2x higher in the US.
But what are you having to get a licence for? A television, but then what else? Guns?
And what do people have against the weather anyway? Because it rains? What's wrong with rain?
The reason I put it in the cons is because a lot of it seems systemic; there is really no reason for legalized gambling, it's draining society. Kids shouldn't be able to opt out of school at 16. This is purely anecdotal, but in general I feel like there is a lack of ambition or desire to improve one’s standing in life. I attribute this to the social safety net and a long history of class immobility. In the US, there is very little safety net, and you’re on your own. This causes a lot of problems but also “lights a fire under your ass,” so to speak. You are only responsible for yourself and there is something romantic about that. In the UK there is nothing akin to the “American dream,” and that’s a shame.
To be fair, the US has many of these same problems, and some much worse. Also, I never said the UK was “significantly more” racist or uneducated than other places, and I don’t think it is. To be honest I'm a bit of a nihilist and rather cynical about the human condition sometimes. \_-_-_/
Re: licensing, it’s not so much a practical problem as a philosophical one. A lot of official processes just feel really invasive compared to what I’m used to in the US (as a citizen, at least — I’m sure the US processes feel quite invasive to foreigners.) It’s more of a feeling than something that can be logically explained. And certainly it’s not a huge problem nor a reason to avoid the country.
Re: weather. I actually kind of like the weather here, just because the temperate climate means the temperature range is much narrower than in the northeastern US where I’m from. That said, it would be nice to feel some heat now and then. And yeah, the rain isn’t that bad, it rarely even lasts longer than 20 minutes. But weather can be “bad” or “depressing” even when there is no rain. Gray skies have a real effect on psyche. Sometimes there will be weeks of gray, cloudy skies. It just wears on you after a while. This is probably why Britons like holidays so much. It’s nice to see the sun.
Overall I do like it here.
Amen. Speaking as a disabled UK citizen, I've received welfare benefits since I was a small child, (young enough that the bank gave me toys when I went to open an account). Throughout school, I was probably the only student there receiving a guaranteed mid-three-figure sum of cash every single month without fail, other than the other disabled kids. At university I got additional allowances on top of student lones and grants, and when I inevitably didn't get a job after uni my benefits doubled as a result of being an unemployed adult. The government also paid my parents for caring for a disabled child.
I'm in my mid 20s now. Over the last few years since I left university I've had some consulting experience, presented at conferences and released some software projects of my own. But in the last month or so I've been waking up to the fact that I'm genuinely lazy and unprepared to take opportunities when they come my way. I do one consulting gig, and then because the fees are so high compared to my usual benefit-based income, I take a break. Meanwhile I don't tell the government I've been paid because heck, if I do, despite having only done a few jobs here and there and being nowhere near running a stable business, they'll cut my benefits off because for one week I was earning more than minimum wage.
I don't really write this as a complaint and I hope that's not how it comes across. My benefits have allowed me to see parts of the world and have experiences other people have to save up for, both in money and holiday time at work. But I'm now going through a period whereby I legitimately think that the only way to fully take advantage of my skills is to cut the safety net, be it entirely or in-part.
I thought you wouldn't have mentioned it as a con unless it was significant compared to other places. Otherwise this is a list of cons of humanity!
They can't any more, they have to go on to an apprenticeship, training or stay at school until 18.
That's kind of to be expected when you consider the history of European society in general. The rulers of Europe spent the better part of a millennium trying to get people to take for granted that if you're born a serf you're a serf for life and not going to climb the ladder very much. Social mobility is a new concept compared to social immobility. Change takes time.
> Each property is assigned one of eight bands (A to H) based on property value, and the tax is set as a fixed amount for each band. Some property is exempt from the tax, some people are exempt from the tax, while some get a discount.
The problem is that the bands are updated
every couple of decades and are not aligned with rental prices. Two properties renting in the same price range could be in different council tax bands.
This pricing mechanism separates what should be a bidirectional market (tenant and owner) into a tridirectional market (tenant, owner and government). An extra entity means more transaction costs which result in friction. Friction in a market has bad downstream effects, so you don’t want to introduce friction into the real estate market.
Either the tenant should pay a tax based on the rental price, and/or the owner should pay a tax based on the property value. I just don’t see why it makes sense to have the tenant pay a tax based on the property value, in which he has no stake.
I'm from the UK but moved to Spain and used to live in Germany. I think the trains are better on the Mainland.
>Terrible, terrible wages in tech
This is true for the whole of Europe :(
I agree with you about the racism and uneducated population though - given I now have a foreign non-white SO it's part of the reason I wouldn't want to move back.
Kids will have to stay in school until 18 soon, the law has already passed but I doubt it'll help much if they don't want to be there.
- Weather: Really? I mean, it's not as cold as NYC nor you get hurricanes or huge storms like you get there. The weather is mild and the rain is hardly an annoyance. It's not LA or Barcelona, but if you're in England below Midlands you're in a pretty good place weather-wise. Also, climate change can only make it better ;-)
- Wages: Really? It's not SF where you can get $400k/year, but senior technical roles (not to mention VPs or CTOs and CISOs) can bag £90k-£100k. Also the daily rates for senior contracts go for £500-£700 per day.
- Council tax sure, it's expensive. TV licensing sure. What else?
- Surveillance on the motor ways: You mean speed cameras? Heck, I'll take a hundred speed cameras before a trigger-happy road cop. At least I know I won't get shot by the boys in blue for speeding.
- Groceries and restaurants are more expensive, yep. Many things are imported from other countries.
- Classism / racism is actually not as rampant as in... any other EU country. Trust me.
- Poor/Uneducated population: I'd rather see stats for those than base my opinion on the people around me. I live in the south east, so for me it's quite the opposite really. I'll skip commenting on your solutions to stop gambling and drinking, but there does seem to be a problem with binge drinking indeed - however that problem doesn't go away after people are become 21 years old.
- Narrow roads: There are veeeery old roads and veeeeery old things next to the roads that you can't just demolish. I find this problem to be more common in towns, where it's pretty usual to have two-directions streets where cars parked only leave room for one more car.
- Antiquated drug laws: I guess this is a reference to some US states decriminalizing weed? I can give you that, but come on, the UK does not have the stupid numbers of people in jail for smoking a joint that the US have :)
- I also would like to mention one of your good things that's BAD for me: The trains are awful, dirty (diesel! wtf?!) and often go late. They are also incredibly expensive, like 40x the price I was used to pay for better (and electric!) trains somewhere else in the EU.
Now I'll give some GOOD things from my own:
- London feels like the center of the world.
- You have direct flights from London to anywhere.
- Flights to Europe are stupidly cheap.
- You can get any food you want.
- It's a very multicultural country.
- Their culture, from literature to cinema and music is just astounding.
- The country has so much history behind every corner...
- The countryside and even some urban parks (so to speak) are F*CKING BEAUTIFUL.
- When it's sunny it's the most beautiful country on earth.
- The Premier League.
- The healthcare should go without mention. The NHS is, sadly, not what it used to be; but I'll take it any day instead of agonizingly dying because I can't afford insulin or some drug at 1000x its price.
- Sunday Roast.
- Guns are banned, so my kids don't have to learn nursery rhymes about school shootings.
- The people are mostly brilliant.
Now if you swap UK with London, a lot of these cons go out of the window as your neighbour is probably also a migrant. You still get very high cost of living, very bad car traffic, but relatively decent public transport.
Wages, given the cost of rent are not that impressive and the weather in London is a bit better than the rest of the UK, but could be better, of course.
- I have friends with guns - they have licenses. Many farmers have shotguns.
- You don't get arrested for acceptable self-defence - a pensioner killed a home-invader on his property recently and has not only not been arrested, has in fact been under police protection against retribution.
- ID required to buy a knife? Sure, if you look like you're under 18 or a nutter.
- Cities require ID to use use the internet? Wut?
- Surveillance cameras... so? Do you think there are a pair of eyes on each one, beadily analysing every citizen's movements... or do you think they're more used in retrospect, to pick apart unwanted activity, after the event? Most CCTV is actually privately-owned - my local corner shop has an array of about 12 in there. Bulks up the average.
- Oppressionist? Wut?
Most such laws in this country aren't absolutist - they're generally guidance to live within - common sense writ in black and white for people who need that sort of thing. Most of us don't.
Stop talking out of your arse.
Complete nonsense; aside from cities in the UK not having any powers to control a thing like that (they are no way near as devolved as big cities in the US, for example) there is no legal obligation to provide ID to access the internet. I think you might be referring to a recent proposal to legislate online activity through access cards; but that was a proposal that has no backing at the moment.
Source: I'm writing this from an internet connection for which I have not shown any ID or registered in any way, and I live in a major UK city
There is no national ID system, although non-Brits have to have biometric residence permits.
I would imagine that many people on HN can frame their experience to fit the criteria, as I was able to do.
Also, if I were looking for full time employment and had the choice between UK and US, I would not come to the UK. I imagine this drives away a lot of non-self-employed or non-entrepreneurial applicants (though the visa isn’t really targeting them anyway, since at that point your employer should just sponsor you).
After brexit takes place, any EU citizen I wish to employ will have to go through the Tier 2 visa route. There are 3 major issues with this. 1. It's capped at 20k people per year. 2. We do not have the deep pockets and the legal/HR team to navigate the home office to procure such a visa 3. It does not provide sufficient guarantees for bringing and settling down a family
On top of that, we also have to contend with many structural issues that makes the UK (London in particular) a less appealing place to attract talent:
- High cost and low quality of living in London
- Poor transport infrastructure (it's cheaper to eurostar London-Amsterdam than train London-Manchester)
- UK politicians and media do not stand up for the benefits of immigration and is willing to allow blanket demonisation of immigrants to go unanswered
- All the negative externalities associated with an overcrowded city (overcrowded public transport, knife crime, NOX pollution in excess of legally permissible levels)
How do you know that?
It's obviously not a certainty that that will be the case, but so far most signs point to it.
Not my understanding. Care to place a wager?
Out of interest what are you expecting to see?
I don't see how that's a problem? Perhaps if you were evaluating Manchester as a location, but not when evaluating London.
Realistically, no one's going to commute from Manchester to London. If you have to meet people in Manchester, that's going to be an issue wherever you set up.
- London to Manchester (2h26): travel tomorrow: GBP148; travel in August: GBP64
- Amsterdam to Maastricht (2h25): travel tomorrow: EUR25 = GBP22; travel in August: EUR25
Dutch rail prices are simple and predictable. Essentially a fixed rate per km, with an optional 40% off for offpeak travel after 9:30am. The UK apparently has 55 million different fare combinations. Totally bewildering. Not to mention the condition of the trains and the reliability of the service are much worse.
UK rail prices are so bad it is almost always cheaper to fly than go by train. Consequently, my partner and I take 10 European holidays by air for every UK holiday by train. That's a massive loss for the UK tourist industry.
Though as I understand it, it's still subsidized just not to the same extent as in the Netherlands. Rail is just a very expensive mode of transport to operate.
Small correction: there are 65.6 million, one for every person. They are reviewed monthly based on births and deaths and adjusted accordingly.
However the absurd cost of low quality rail travel (often standing room only, less frequent trains following new time table, poor customer service) is real. Right now I'm paying £3.5k a year for an annual rail pass to take me into work (for instance). The alternative would be to move further into London and pay double in rent for the same accommodation / standard of living
What do you mean by tight market, and what makes EU citizens an attractive hire?
When businesses discuss problems with finding good people, I find it somewhat incomplete if salaries aren't mentioned.
There's only so many talented British developers. Hiking salaries won't turn non-talented people into talented people.
Over time a shortage and higher wages will increase the supply - all those cute triplets with triple A levels that the papers like to picture jumping in the air on results day( a common uk trope) will go into engineering instead of the law, medicine or other higher paid and higher status jobs
the exact opposite is the basis of capitalism
> Lowering salaries will turn talented people into non-talented people.
Am I doing capitalism right? :o)
Why attribute that to an overcrowded city rather than UK specific politics?
I suspect you want to have your cake and eat it.
On the other hand, New Zealand has a entrepreneur visa that only requires NZ$100,000 (US$70k) of capital, as well as the Global Impact Visa through the Edmund Hillary Fellowship , which requires no capital at all beyond living costs for 1 year.
We have government ministers privately talking about “a meltdown” and Tory donors shorting the economy. Too many people under 30 are poor and heavily in debt.
Business confidence is low and investment is disappearing.
It feels as if Brexit is the UK’s closing down sale. The question is whether the meltdown will be an extended depression, or a Zimbabwe-style total collapse.
I don’t think the former is unrealistic, and latter hardly seems impossible.
For example, the amount of money you can raise is often a lot less after here, with rounds being on the low side compared to the millions possible in the US. That means companies needing a decent amount of funding probably shouldn't be looking for investment in the UK, and should probably reconsider anyone in Europe in general.
They're also most hesitant to fund 'consumer' focused businesses over here compared to the US too. I remember asking where you could get investment for something like Facebook or Uber in the UK (after seeing that most entrepreneurs applying and accepted were running b2b companies), and basically being told that Techstars was probably the only viable option there. Seems like US accelerators and VCs are more likely to fund consumer focused businesses dependent on numbers and ad revenue compared to those in the UK, who prefer more of the Atlassian/Moz type approach (selling services to small companies).
But yeah, it's nice the route has been announced, just feels like we need more viable ways to raise money as well.
Since the Brexit vote net-migration for the UK is over half a million people, your native Poland is still suffering huge negative net-migration. "Despite Brexit" the UK attracts top talent from across the EU due to well paid jobs, culture and a business friendly environment.
Look at immigrant attitude surveys across the EU to see how much they value the UK compared to many EU countries. Italy, Poland, Hungary, Austria etc are hardly trending in the direction you may desire.
> whose grandfather fought for the freedoms in WWII alongside British pilots
The British have a huge amount of respect and gratitude for the Polish pilots and honour them annually.
Not seen much sign of the Poles being acknowledged as Polish when being honoured as Spitfire pilots — heck, I didn’t even know many of the pilots were Polish until recently, and I’ve been living in the UK for my whole life… well, except for six months or so of post-Brexit looking for somewhere else before coming back because of family medical issues.
That image of Poland as an unattractive place everyone wants to get away from is not really true anymore.
Poland -0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
> That image of Poland as an unattractive place everyone wants to get away from is not really true anymore.
I agree, Poland has made huge improvements and is becoming more attractive.