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Topic: British citizen moving back to the UK after living in the US for 27 years  (Read 901 times)

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I'm hoping some of you can provide some experience or knowledge.

My partner is 40 yo. He was born in the UK and moved to the US when he was 13. He is still a British citizen, not a US citizen. So went to school and graduated in the US.

We are going to be moving to the UK this year and he brings up now his concerns/worries. (sigh) He said his fear is "You'll already have a job when we move over but I will have to find one. I haven't lived in the UK for 27 years, I didn't go to school there, I didn't get my degrees there. So all I know they'll treat me like I didn't complete high school since and I don't know how hard it will be for me to find work."

I personally think these fears are unfounded because he is a British citizen moving back. I am guessing he won't have a problem finding a job just because he hasn't lived in the UK for 27 years.

So I turn to all of you. Do any of you know British citizens who lived outside the UK for extremely long periods of time and did they experience any issues getting jobs when returning or have to do anything "special"?

It annoys me that he's bringing this up NOW because I have interviews next week for a position in London with my company and there is a chance if I get it I'll be moving by June. We made the decision to move at the end of 2017 and I've been data gathering since then. I've gone TONS of work planning for all kinds of things and I feel he hasn't even looked into this for himself.

He also brings up not being a US citizen and if we decide to move back at some time, he thinks its going to be difficult. Last year I took him to talk to an immigration lawyer so we could get his citizenship but he decided against it saying "If we move over there, I'm sure we're going to stay." It's more I think that he's lazy and doesn't want to put in the effort to do it. But I'm not his mother and I"m not going to force him. Plus if we decide to move back, we're married so we can go that route but it would have been easier if he got his citizenship.

Sorry, just frustrated that he's bringing this up now when I'm about to interview and I honestly think he has nothing to worry about (in regards to him being able to move back and get a job after living in the US for 25+ years.)


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Is he looking for a job in a specific industry, or just whatever he can get? What sort of experience/degree does he have?


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I agree with him!

1.  He should absolutely get US citizenship before moving if he has the desire.  If he doesn't, he will lose his green card after a year and if you were to move back, he would have to start over with the immigration process all over again.  Considering he has lived there twice as long as he lived in the UK, I think this is a no brainer.  He's far more American than British at this point.

2.  Yes, he will likely have a tougher time finding work than you are anticipating.  The UK *loves* their qualifications.  As he has a US based education, this won't translate easily and he may find he has to take a more junior role than he has now.  It's not fair.  And it's not right.  But unfortunately it's what people without a UK based education and qualifications experience every day.  Of course his industry will definitely determine how easy or difficult it will be to get another job.  Not having UK experience will also count against him.


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I'm getting the vibe that the problem is not really about trouble getting a job or sorting citizenship, but general anxiety about moving.  Maybe he's not %100 on board yet. 

As has already been said, he is certainly going to have trouble finding a job.  And both of you will face tons of hurdles and troubles as you get settled.  If you are both working together and are a solid team, all of that can be overcome.  In fact, all of the good can outweigh the hassle.  If he's not really as keen about this as you, it's going to come to a head real soon. 


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I'm getting the vibe that the problem is not really about trouble getting a job or sorting citizenship, but general anxiety about moving.  Maybe he's not %100 on board yet. 

Was going to say exactly this! Either not 100% on-board yet or having second thoughts due to anxiety about the "new". It must be really hard for him as I imagine he might just feel he doesn't really know where he belongs as he's lived in the US for so long but isn't a USC and is returning back to the UK but may not actually feel he can identify with that life/culture as much as maybe he feels the pressure to do so tells him he should.

 I do think it will be harder to find a job than maybe you think (given he doesn't actually have UK work experience even though he's a UKC), but maybe not as difficult as the anxiety he feels is making it out to be...BUT it all kind of depends on what industry he's in. Definitely seconding the question about if there's a certain career path he has in mind or will he pretty much be happy to take anything that comes his way? What type of job does he do now?

Also completely agree that he should get his USC now while he still can (as it's easier - not that he can't, per se, later). I think it just might help relieve his anxiety because this will leave him with a backup plan for you both if it ends up being that you don't enjoy the UK as much as you've built it up in your heads. Even if you do like it, it's probably just nice for him to have that as a Plan B for whatever reason (like difficulty with jobs).

I can appreciate your frustration as well as his anxiety. He definitely should have voiced this sooner but I imagine he may have either not realised he'd feel this way until it became more real because of your interview being so close OR he didn't want to bum you out by voicing this to you if you were excited about this new move in live. Obviously his feelings are valid, but so are yours and you definitely have a right to feel frustrated, confused, nervous, and everything else because of this. All you can do is continue to try to communicate clearly about both of your feelings and try to work through some of his anxieties to mitigate them as much as possible. If I were you, I would definitely still go ahead with the job interview. Worse case scenario, you change your minds and don't move and you turn down a job. Best case scenario, he goes back and forth and eventually lands that he DOES definitely want to move and you've not missed an opportunity.
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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And I totally agree that this is likely nervousness around the "realness" of the move now.  I can't imagine how scary it would be to move without a job, as that's a big part of my identity.  And I've been away from the USA for nearly 10 years now... and that's scary too.

It's just a bit like cold feet before getting married.  Doesn't mean getting married isn't the right choice.  Just a big ole commitment.   ;D


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And I totally agree that this is likely nervousness around the "realness" of the move now.  I can't imagine how scary it would be to move without a job, as that's a big part of my identity.  And I've been away from the USA for nearly 10 years now... and that's scary too.


It has to be doubly scary as well when you're moving to a country where you're a citizen there but - in terms of career - are likely to be treated the same as any other person immigrating into the country because he wasn't there during the time of his life when he'd be gaining UK work experience. I can appreciate this fear completely (and when the "realness" kicks in, our brains don't always want to think logically).
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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Quote
So I turn to all of you. Do any of you know British citizens who lived outside the UK for extremely long periods of time and did they experience any issues getting jobs when returning or have to do anything "special"?
As far as getting a job that is going to really depend on a lot of things.

You asked for an example of someone in a similar position so here is my single data point:

Our son, dual USC/BSC, moved back to England in September 2017 and got a job within 6 weeks.  His situation is that he moved to the USA with us in 1987 when he was aged 4. All his education was in the USA, including a BSc in Computer Science from a university unheard of in the UK. (Louisiana Tech).

He was age 34 when he returned, with the previous 10 years working in IT Support at a Texas bank, and this is to the NE of England so not exactly a "jobs paradise".

I fully understand his concerns, so many variables at play.

Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


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Thank you all for replying. His education is in theatre, which he is not currently using. For work he  previously spent 10 years as a manager of a coffee shop and for the past year has been working for a tech startup on the phones working with customers. So its not like he is in a specialized field or using a degree. He will most likely be looking for just "normal" jobs.

Since my work will be in London, we'll be looking to live within an hours commute of London so around plenty of bigger towns.

I agree he should get his citizenship as well. Unfortunately I think he is lazy and just doesn't want to go through the steps to apply. I even offered to pay for a lawyer to help us. Not really much else I can do if he just doesn't want to put in the effort. (And I'm not saying this to paint him as a bad guy. I love him to death and he is an amazing person but I'm not going to mother anything to do something they have no motivation to do themselves).



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Thank you all for replying. His education is in theatre, which he is not currently using. For work he  previously spent 10 years as a manager of a coffee shop and for the past year has been working for a tech startup on the phones working with customers. So its not like he is in a specialized field or using a degree. He will most likely be looking for just "normal" jobs.

Since my work will be in London, we'll be looking to live within an hours commute of London so around plenty of bigger towns.

I agree he should get his citizenship as well. Unfortunately I think he is lazy and just doesn't want to go through the steps to apply. I even offered to pay for a lawyer to help us. Not really much else I can do if he just doesn't want to put in the effort. (And I'm not saying this to paint him as a bad guy. I love him to death and he is an amazing person but I'm not going to mother anything to do something they have no motivation to do themselves).

No judgement here. I am definitely lazy at times. Agree you can't really mother him here. He either wants it badly enough to do it or he doesn't. If he chooses not to and regrets it, it'll be a potentially costly lesson for the future for him.

RE the job, does he have anything he particularly wants to do or is this something he's not particularly bothered about outside of just having a job? If he's interested in a specific type of work, perhaps he can start doing training/certifications online (some free) that will help him out when you move. I think, if he's really not doing anything specialised and it's mostly just admin, he will likely suffer (unfortunately) when finding a job as there is a lot of competition for the less skilled labour. The good news, however, is that it means he's more open to take whatever comes his way and then sort of work his way up to building up his skills to be in a position he wants to be in. It's arguably harder when you're further up the ladder and have to try to find that same type of role in another country that may not pay out the same way you're expecting/wanting.
My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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Yeah job wise, its not like he's trying to find a similar role over there. He's even said "I could get a bartending job or something." I think he'd prefer an office job opposed to retail. I totally get it that the job market is tight.

I've even told him "We've budgeted to have rent covered for at least a year so we don't have to worry about that and my income will cover everything while he is finding something."

90% of this family is over in England (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. that he is extremely close with. His mom, dad, brother, sister, nieces and nephews are in Georgia, we're in Seattle). Again, I've told him we've budgeted to have an emergency fund if either of us have to get back to the States quickly for any reason.

I personally think he's struggling with the thought of change. He loves England and he talks about buying a cute traditional cottage and maybe doing a B&B somewhere down the line and he'd like to live in this area or that area. But I think now that I'm actually interviewing for a position, the reality has set in and he's scared it might actually happen. Whereas I've been sitting here since September 2017 (last time we were over and both said we would like to move back over) researching all the information we would need to move and coming on here and chatting with you all about different aspects and talking to him consistently about "Well these are areas I think we should look initially when we move over." So its been on my mind every.... single.... day since Sept 2017. He is less of a planner so for him its a "Well, lets wait and see." So its frustrating that we are now down to the 10th (maybe 9th) hour and he's bringing all this stuff up that we've talked about before.

The thing is, for the past 14 years, I've done loads of work to help him and his band. Investing money, tons of time and sweat, learning sound engineering, buying crap loads of equipment, giving up vacation time, etc. And I've loved it. I love supporting him and his dream and being able to share that with him. But I kind of feel now... this is my dream. This is finally something I want. I've supported your dream for the last 14 years. But.... I also know we are married and I have to take that into consideration. I've sat here and thought "If I accept this move, could it jeopardize our relationship? If I move over there first, getting things ready while he's supposed to be tying up things here... could he decide he doesn't want to me and here I am in the UK without him and he's decided to stay here."

(sigh) Sorry, I know I'm venting now and coming up with all kinds of What If's. I'm sure most of you had to deal with similar types of worries along the way too. I mostly just wanted to get a vibe for what you guys thought about a Brit citizen returning and getting a non-skilled job and you all have expressed that it could be a concern unless he's willing to take "anything" that comes up. I think I just need to remind him also that we have that 1 yr buffer of having rent paid up for a year so he won't have to immediately worry.  Of course, sometimes stress is a good motivator. So maybe I'll tell him 6 months. ;)


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Yeah job wise, its not like he's trying to find a similar role over there. He's even said "I could get a bartending job or something." I think he'd prefer an office job opposed to retail. I totally get it that the job market is tight.

I've even told him "We've budgeted to have rent covered for at least a year so we don't have to worry about that and my income will cover everything while he is finding something."

90% of this family is over in England (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. that he is extremely close with. His mom, dad, brother, sister, nieces and nephews are in Georgia, we're in Seattle). Again, I've told him we've budgeted to have an emergency fund if either of us have to get back to the States quickly for any reason.

I personally think he's struggling with the thought of change. He loves England and he talks about buying a cute traditional cottage and maybe doing a B&B somewhere down the line and he'd like to live in this area or that area. But I think now that I'm actually interviewing for a position, the reality has set in and he's scared it might actually happen. Whereas I've been sitting here since September 2017 (last time we were over and both said we would like to move back over) researching all the information we would need to move and coming on here and chatting with you all about different aspects and talking to him consistently about "Well these are areas I think we should look initially when we move over." So its been on my mind every.... single.... day since Sept 2017. He is less of a planner so for him its a "Well, lets wait and see." So its frustrating that we are now down to the 10th (maybe 9th) hour and he's bringing all this stuff up that we've talked about before.

The thing is, for the past 14 years, I've done loads of work to help him and his band. Investing money, tons of time and sweat, learning sound engineering, buying crap loads of equipment, giving up vacation time, etc. And I've loved it. I love supporting him and his dream and being able to share that with him. But I kind of feel now... this is my dream. This is finally something I want. I've supported your dream for the last 14 years. But.... I also know we are married and I have to take that into consideration. I've sat here and thought "If I accept this move, could it jeopardize our relationship? If I move over there first, getting things ready while he's supposed to be tying up things here... could he decide he doesn't want to me and here I am in the UK without him and he's decided to stay here."

(sigh) Sorry, I know I'm venting now and coming up with all kinds of What If's. I'm sure most of you had to deal with similar types of worries along the way too. I mostly just wanted to get a vibe for what you guys thought about a Brit citizen returning and getting a non-skilled job and you all have expressed that it could be a concern unless he's willing to take "anything" that comes up. I think I just need to remind him also that we have that 1 yr buffer of having rent paid up for a year so he won't have to immediately worry.  Of course, sometimes stress is a good motivator. So maybe I'll tell him 6 months. ;)

You should really talk to him.  Tell him you two need to have a serious discussion without any distractions, and schedule a time to sit down and talk.  Find out how he feels about moving over.  Not hypothetically some day in the future.  But specifically, soon, if you're offered a position when you come over to interview soon.

Then, based on what he says, explore your own feelings.  Because this move sounds like something you've been dreaming of for a long time, and you say you've supported his dream for many years and maybe feel like it's your turn (and that's totally valid!).  It's time to ask yourself, if he doesn't want to move, would you be willing to move without him?  If you had to choose between this opportunity and your life with him, which would you choose?  And if it's the opportunity, you need to let him know that, while you love him, you also have to love yourself, and this is what you want.

And, whatever happens, do "mother" him.  Help him sort out US citizenship if he wants it before he leaves the US.  It would be tragic if he came around to the idea of moving, and then you both decided it's not working out in the UK, but he couldn't easily move back to the US.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!
22/11/2018 - Citizenship (online, with NDRS+JCAP) -- approved!
14/12/2018 - I became a British citizen.  :)


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You should really talk to him.  Tell him you two need to have a serious discussion without any distractions, and schedule a time to sit down and talk.  Find out how he feels about moving over.  Not hypothetically some day in the future.  But specifically, soon, if you're offered a position when you come over to interview soon.

Then, based on what he says, explore your own feelings.  Because this move sounds like something you've been dreaming of for a long time, and you say you've supported his dream for many years and maybe feel like it's your turn (and that's totally valid!).  It's time to ask yourself, if he doesn't want to move, would you be willing to move without him?  If you had to choose between this opportunity and your life with him, which would you choose?  And if it's the opportunity, you need to let him know that, while you love him, you also have to love yourself, and this is what you want.

And, whatever happens, do "mother" him.  Help him sort out US citizenship if he wants it before he leaves the US.  It would be tragic if he came around to the idea of moving, and then you both decided it's not working out in the UK, but he couldn't easily move back to the US.

Completely agree with the whole first bit. Please please please have a serious discussion with him about the reality that this could be happening very soon and that you *need* him to be open and honest with you about it.

The only bit I would disagree with is the mothering. I would say to “selectively mother”. You can only nag and do so much before it will start either causing damage to your relationship or setting a precedent that he’s enabled to do very little because you’ll sort it all out in the end (which, ultimately, I’ll circle back around to causing damage to your relationship).


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My, how time flies....

* Married in the US and applied for first spousal visa August 2013
* Moved to the UK on said visa October 2013
* FLR(M) applied for  May 2016. Biometrics requested June 2016. Approval given July 2016.
* ILR applied for January 2019 (using priority processing). Approved February 2019.
* Citizenship applied for May  2019

**CITIZENSHIP APPROVED July 4, 2019! Formal ceremony on August 28, 2019!**

HEY MOM, I'M A BRIT NOW :D


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By "mother", I kind of meant get the ball rolling by starting the application process for him.  Or at least researching and creating a detailed list of what he needs to do.  Maybe he's overwhelmed by the enormity of the job so doesn't know where to even start.  But if you break it down for him, he'll happily (or grudgingly) follow instructions.  I would never encourage nagging, either by a spouse or an actual parent.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!
22/11/2018 - Citizenship (online, with NDRS+JCAP) -- approved!
14/12/2018 - I became a British citizen.  :)


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There are actually jobs in the UK if you are willing to work. I don't think the fact he's been away 27 years is going to be a huge issue, as long as he holds a UK passport. They may need to check references, but that's the only issue I can think of, really. But it takes most people several months to find work here, when they have lived here. I wouldn't bother sending applications from the states, though, they will probably go straight in the bin. Wait until you are here. Available to interview. If he's willing to do lower paid jobs, least for a while, he wont have a problem. Eg fast food, cashier, carer

And maybe he should be posting for advice somewhere, rather than yourself. Just a thought.  I would imagine it could be a bit humiliating for him if you are handling this. You are the one who will struggle more to find work when you come here.


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