Question for our non-US dopers re: immigration.

ASsuming my wife and I wanted to move to a foreign country, what are the requirements?

Do we have to have jobs beforehand? Certain skills? Speak the language?

I think you’ll need to be more specific in regards to the destination country. The requirements for each country vary.

For information about Australia you could start here, the website of the Department of Immigration.

There are some countries where you can simply buy land or contribute, like, $20,000 US and they’ll give your whole family passports. I believe Dominica and Grenada in the Caribbean did that in the past.

Not surprisingly, German law on this is pretty complicated.

In short, for an ordinary (i. e. non-refugee) residence permit (which can eventually lead to a settlement permit and naturalization) you do need a professional qualification and a job, but you are not required to speak the language. Later on, you have to have “sufficient knowledge of German” to get the settlement permit, but exceptions are made for highly qualified persons.

See the Manual by the German Government Representative for Migration, Refugees and Integration for details.

Wow, 2 members of the SDSAB. I feel so special.

Thanks folks! I was actually thinking of English speaking countries, such as Ireland, Australia, and maybe a few non-English, such as Japan or Korea.

Off to peruse the Aussie immigration manual… is the starting point for information about Britain

Why not Germany? Don’t let jtnewsom fool you, most of us do bathe daily. Really.

If you don’t want to go quite as far, check out . We really are a separate country from the US, believe it or not. :smiley:

Tris: As a 'merkin increasingly interested in emigrating to a more sensible English-speaking country I did some similar research 6-ish months ago.

Most Commonwealth countries had broadly similar rules: If you were under about age 45 and had a good white-collar skill it appeared you qualified for a permanent worker visa. One item which wasn’t made clear on any of their websites was how many worker visas they gave out versus the demand. Just because it’s easy to apply & you fit all the criteria don’t mean spit if they have 1000 applicants per slot.

If you were older than the cutoff age, you needed to make a multi-million dollar purchase of low-rate gov’t bonds and then they’d give you an indefinite stay visa, and/or a permanent worker visa.

It apeared either of those routes could lead to citizenship eventually if you went through all the hoops.

Buying real estate in the new country was going to be challenging as well.

I’m older than the cutoff age for all the countries I’m interested in, so I didn’t dig deeper into how hard it really is to get one of the worker visas. What really bummed me out was the idea that as a late-40’s successful-but-not-crazy-rich person with another 20 years of fairly high-end work ahead of me, they’d already decided I was more of a drag than a benefit to them. The door was already slammed pretty thoroughly in my face. Seems a shame.
If you are blue collar, have a criminal record, or are simply middle-class+, approaching retirement age and thinking about someplace more genteel to retire, forget it. The Commonwealth countries (rightly enough) fear the US baby boom choosing en masse to come sponge off their Social Security-equivalent while ours founders. Americans outnumber Aussies about 15 to 1, New Zealanders 75 to 1, British 5 to 1, and Canadians 9 to 1. It wouldn’t take much for us to swamp any of them.
If you are well-off, but not rich, there is one retirement scenario which I think might work. It’s the one I’m eying now …

It appeared pretty easy to get a multi-use tourist visa which was good for several months at a time, but which prohibited you from working or participating in their social programs while there. So if one was retired, one could do something like retain US citizenship, spend 5 months in Australia, 1 in the US, 5 in NZ and 1 in the US. Repeat until dead.

A challenge for the elderly almost-permanent visitor is that some Commonwealth countries, notably Canada, have pretty thoroughly socialized / governmentalized their medical system. If you’re not allowed to use that system, it can be hard to buy the services you need. Private providers and private insurance really don’t exist, and US insurance isn’t real useful either. Emergency services are available, but routine stuff & support for all the challenges of age & infirmity seem not to be.

My personal take on it is that I’d retreat to the US when I got to the point that Dr.'s visits were my primary hobby. With luck I’d be dead before I got that decrepit. in my personal case that’s also 30+ years in the future & the whole situation with medical care & paying for it willbe utterly different by then.

To come to Japan, one of you would need a work visa. The easiest to
obtain is an English teacher, but you can get a visa as a professional, manager or researcher, for example, but this would take a company sponsering you. There are no language requirements. Most of these visa require college degrees, and are for either one or three years, but are renewable.

Permenent residence is more difficult. You need to have lived in the country for a number of years (offically 10, but unoffically 10 or so) and show more signs of intent to make Japan you permenent home. While Japanese language ability isn’t a strict requirement, it is a plus.

In most of western europe (particulary Britain)just turn up without any paperwork,claim to be from the third world country of your choice and give some tissue thin ,cock and bull story about being an asylum seeker (without even having to explain why you ve just travelled through half a dozen "safe" western countries with less generous welfare systems to get to Britain ) and it wont be long before youll be given a place to live (yes I did say given),a t.v. ,various grants and college courses for free and then you can get your self a little ,illegal non taxpaying ,work to raise your income to a quite healthy level. If any one dares to accuse you of defrauding the welfare system ,let alone of not being a genuine asylum seeker!you`ll be supplied with a top flight lawyer and team at tax payers expense so that you can get a nice little payout from suing someone or some organisation because their critiscism of you was actually racist and NOT based on fraud,dishonesty or ethics!The money you win will of course go some of the way (but by no means all !) to healing the traumatically hurt feelings you suffered at their accusations ,but the grovelling public apologies the individual or company will make if they know whats good for them ,will help ease the pain that little bit more !

Funny, i thought discussions about fiction and paranoid fantasy were meant to be held in Cafe Society. In GQ, factual answers, or at least reasonable approximations thereof, are usually preferred.

Moderator Note. If you would like to add to the discussion with factual information, that is always appreciated. The way to give such information is by linking to cites when possible. Be specific with details. Don’t just rant. That’s what the Pit is for.


Each country varies, but if you don’t have a criminal record; you speak the language at least well enough to buy groceries, go to a ballgame and take each other out to dinner; and you have college degrees and/or specialized training of some sort (especially professional certification); you’ll probably be pretty well off. Beware, though–some countries recognize college degrees differently, and you might have to repeat some of your education. Call that nation’s embassy and someone there will probably be able to help you figure out your specific situation; and if there are college degree problems, call your college and see if there’s some sort of “sister school” program. A Doper told me once that she could have earned an MIT degree during her enrollment at a Spanish university without having to go through the MIT admissions process. It may be too late for you in that case, but then again it may not.

You may not need a job–I seem to recall that Australia is happy to take you in if you can pass an Australian certification test in your field–but if you work for a big corporation, you might be able to get assigned over there if you show whoever’s in charge of that at your company that you speak the language and you know which forms to fill out. And as TokyoPlayer mentioned, you can go somewhere as an English teacher–and to take that further, you can go there on a temporary visa that way and figure out whether or not you want to live there permanently.