The ‘special relationship’ between the USA and the UK no longer extends to giving us permission to live there!
In 2015 the UN released a ‘top ten’ of the most popular immigration countries in the world. The USA came in at No.1. Of the 232 million people who do not live in the country where they born, a staggering 45.8 million (that’s 20% of them) live in America. (Germany is home to 9.8 million of them and the UK to 7.8 million).
With all the positives, there are two very important negatives about emigrating to the USA:
The first is the cost of health insurance – a must have item – otherwise any health problems can bankrupt you. Americans pay out $3.4 trillion for it every year. In 2016 the average cost per person was $10,345. To put this in perspective, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that the median wage for US workers is $44,564, so we are looking at a health bill of a quarter of a typical annual income.
The second negative is residency itself. Let’s start with the ‘Green Card.’ How many visa forms are famous enough to have Hollywood movies made in their name? With a green card you can live in the U.S. indefinitely, work, enlist in the armed forces, or start a business. It won’t give you the right to vote, receive government benefits, and protection from deportation. Once you obtain a green card, you can apply for citizenship after 5 years. There are a number of ways to get a Green Card and if one of them works for you then count yourself lucky, but for many hopeful dwellers, none of them will.
The best way is to have close family who are USA citizens and who can sponsor you. This might be about to get much harder though as President Trump’s new proposal would only allow immigrants to sponsor spouses and minor children. If you don’t have US based family then get a job in the USA and get your employer to sponsor you. This works well if you are a Nobel prize winner who has found a cure for cancer. Otherwise you must obtain labor certification before applying for a green card. This certification is a Department of Labor official finding that there are no qualified Americans available to fill the position. 301.3 million people live in the USA and proving that not one of them can do your job might be tricky.
Next there is the annual Green Card Lottery in which 50,000 people are randomly chosen from 8 million applicants to receive a Green Card. If you think these odds aren’t very good, they’re worse than you think – at least if you’re a Brit. The idea of the lottery is to give people from under –represented countries the chance of residency, but Brits are already so well represented in USA through other ways, that they are not eligible to enter.
Otherwise, you’ll have to buy your residency and it’s not cheap. Your Investment options are:
An Investment of $500,000 (£385,594) in a targeted employment area (but watch out for scams) or a direct investment of $1 million (£771,188) in an American commercial enterprise. And, to be clear, buying property to live in does not count.
Maybe one of these routes works for you, but if you don’t have family, job or money, the USA doesn’t really want you.
And now, it has got much more difficult still:
“Brick by Brick, the administration is building an invisible wall against legal immigration,” according to the American Immigration lawyers Association. (Wow! an invisible wall. At least the Mexicans get to see their wall!)
Since April 2017 visa denials have risen by 41% – and in particular there is a steep decline in visas granted to Britons wanting skilled jobs.
It seems that the ‘special relationship’ no longer extends to giving us permission to live there!