chatmasta a year ago

Anyone looking to move to the UK, I highly recommend the Exceptional Talent visa. It’s a true hidden gem: tier 1, valid 5 years, no work restrictions, no investment required. There are only 200 slots available per year for digital technology, but the dirty secret is the 70% acceptance rate.

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.

  • nathan_f77 a year ago

    Wow, thanks for your comment! I can't believe I've never heard of this visa before. I've been researching different investor and freelancer visas for the last few years. I've never seen a 5 year visa with almost no restrictions, and where you can bring your family. That's really awesome!

    I wouldn't move to the UK for a job, but it could be a great place to live as a freelancer.

    • madeofpalk a year ago

      What freelancer visa options are available? I’m over in the U.K. at the moment on a Tier 5 and and I looked at staying longer as a freelancer/contractor, my impression was the closest option I had was the investor visas.

      • nathan_f77 a year ago

        Germany has a freelancer visa that is pretty straightforward (albeit lots of paperwork.) Berlin is the easiest place to get that visa, but it can be done in other cities. I've also heard about Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France, Bulgaria, and Poland.

        You can also get a work permit in Thailand via Iglu [1]. They take 30% of the income that you bring into Thailand, with a minimum of $2,500 per month.


        • madeofpalk a year ago

          Appreciated, but I’m in the UK now, so really I’m only interested I’m options that let me stay in the UK.

      • postsantum a year ago

        Estonia is launching a digital nomad visa next year. Also a bunch of countries offer permanent residency for retirees where you don't have to be an actual retiree, just prove you have enough income from abroad (Chile for example).

      • chatmasta a year ago

        Exceptional talent would cover freelancer if you frame it properly to emphasize the more entrepreneurial aspects of the business. For example, instead of calling yourself a freelancer, call yourself a director of a software consultancy.

        There is a UK “freelance visa” IIRC but it has a £60k capital requirement which can be furnished either by yourself or by investors.

  • ummonk a year ago

    >There are only 200 slots available per year for digital technology, but the dirty secret is the 70% acceptance rate.

    Something tells me that this year the acceptance rate is going to be much lower...

    • chatmasta a year ago

      That’s why I never wrote this comment on similar topics while I was applying...

      Also I think they doubled it to 400 this year.

  • vram22 a year ago

    >the Exceptional Talent visa. It’s a true hidden gem: tier 1, valid 5 years, no work restrictions

    Is this a successor to, and similar to, the HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) that the UK had some years ago?

  • retrac98 a year ago

    What's good/bad about living in the UK, from your perspective?

    • chatmasta a year ago

      First, my (relatively privileged) perspective:

      - 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)

      - 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.

      • rkangel a year ago

        > Extremely narrow, dangerous roads.

        Interesting you say that, I find UK roads to be pretty safe, and US I find worse than most of Europe, particularly freeways. [1] 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.


        • chatmasta a year ago

          Fair enough, I will say the motorways in the UK are very good. What I don't like is the dual-carriage ways and the roads out in the country. There is no margin for error, no breakdown lane, and roughly 1 meter of margin including both sides. Often the middle line will simply disappear for a few km, and there are no street lamps at night. I'm shocked more people don't find this dangerous.

          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.

      • adamjc a year ago

        I agree mostly with what you've said, however:

        > - Extremely narrow, dangerous roads.

        Roads are much safer in the UK than the US. [1]

        UK Road Fatalities Per Year: 2.9 per 100,000

        US Road Fatalities Per Year: 10.6 per 100,000


        • ed_balls a year ago

          That's not a good statistic. It should take distance driven in to the account. US is a big place, so it would be better to compare yourself to someone similar that drives in a similar place in US and wears the seatbelt.

          • chrisseaton a year ago

            > That's not a good statistic. It should take distance driven in to the account.

            Look at the per km column. It's still almost 2x higher in the US.

        • oh_sigh a year ago

          That isn't a particularly useful stat. Americans may just drive a higher percentage of their drives on highways, where one is most likely to kill oneself in a car. And saying something is 'dangerous' doesn't imply that it is 'deadly'. You may be much more likely to be in a small accident on a narrow, back-country English road than in a wide, back-country US road.

      • chrisseaton a year ago

        Wow it sounds like you really do not like the UK. I'm surprised and sad that you find us significantly less educated and more racist than in the US and other places.

        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?

        • chatmasta a year ago

          I live in a rural area so that definitely slants the racism in a bad direction. Sorry if it sounded harsh -- I've definitely met lots of nice, intelligent people here. But at the same time there are some really awful people as well.

          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.

          • UK_Throwaway a year ago

            > in general I feel like there is a lack of ambition or desire to improve one’s standing in life.

            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.

          • chrisseaton a year ago

            > I never said the UK was “significantly more”

            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!

          • dsfyu404ed a year ago

            >but in general I feel like there is a lack of ambition or desire to improve one’s standing in life

            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.

      • walshemj a year ago

        Property taxes (aka council tax) in the uk are trivial compared to the states a >£10 mill house on Ambassadors row pays a tiny amount of tax.

        • chatmasta a year ago

          Yes, the closest thing the US has to council tax is property tax. However, the MAJOR difference is that in the US, the owner of the property pays the tax. In the UK, the resident of the property (i.e. the tenant) pays the tax. My problem with it is more philosophical than anything, as it seems like a regressive tax that only inhibits rate of home ownership (something UK politicians ostensibly want to increase).

          • walshemj a year ago

            And your point is? the US landlord just increases the rent to pay for their property tax.

            • chatmasta a year ago

              But the tax is based on the value of the property, not the price of rent. So the incentives are misaligned with council tax because the government sets the price of the tax, on the value of the property the owner owns, but then the tenant pays the tax.

              • blibble a year ago

                ... council tax is based on the value of the property (with a rather low cap)


                > 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.

                • chatmasta a year ago

                  I know that. I was talking about council tax, not property tax. So we said the same thing. Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

                  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.

      • alexgmcm a year ago

        >The trains are great, but also pretty expensive.

        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.

      • ForHackernews a year ago

        There is Chipotle in London now. I don't know about Cambridge.

        • ben_w a year ago

          Not yet. Looking at Wikipedia’s description of Chipotle, I think the closest thing Cambridge has is two Nanna Mexico places.

          • Xophmeister a year ago

            I’ve never been to Chipotle, but I can vouch for Nanna Mexico if you like burritos. Also, there are three of them in Cambridge, now.

      • CloudNetworking a year ago

        I believe you have quite a narrow view of the UK, as probably we all have :) Let me comment on some of those "bad parts of living in the UK" as another immigrant in the UK:

        - 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.

        • chrisseaton a year ago

          I don't understand why everyone wants sunshine. I love walking in the black mountains or Yorkshire moors in the fog and rain. Nothing wrong with a bit of drizzle!

      • throwaway426079 a year ago

        Several Chipotle outlets on London. Do you miss them enough to make the trip?

    • xchaotic a year ago

      it's not too hard to see the cons - poor, rainy weather, which can be depressing in itself. Old, mouldy houses with poor thermal insulation and generally high cost of living. Traffic in towns and cities. Uptight, insular, class based society that is not exactly welcoming to foreigners.

      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.

      • joering2 a year ago

        Entire UK has very limited freedom and they do not stop to finding new ways to it even more.

        Guns are totally banned, only criminals have them. You also cannot and should not defend yourself because you can go to jail for hurting your oppressor.

        There is blanket ban on carrying knifes, and recently they pass a law that buying knives you need to show ID. Next on the list if you buy baseball bats or corkscrew, you also will need to have ID.

        Most cities require you to show ID to use internet.

        Don't have to mention biggest number of surveillance cameras per square inch and per capita.

        You really don't want to live or rise your children in such oppressionist country, trust me.

        Source: few friends living in UK for way too long.

        • detritus a year ago

          It's rare that I ever want to downvote someone on HN, and can't anyway as I'm too n00b, but your post here? I'd love to.

          - 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.

        • coffeedoughnuts a year ago

          > Most cities require you to show ID to use internet.

          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

          • simonbyrne a year ago

            You technically don't even need to have your licence on you when driving (though you can be required to show it within 7 days).

        • pwm a year ago

          I, for one, am perfectly fine with people not carrying weapons here. I’ve been living in the UK for 13 years and as long as i’m here i’d like the weapon situation to stay as-is.

        • pjc50 a year ago

          Guns are banned, which is a benefit, yet I was taught to shoot at school. The few cases of people being jailed for attacking their attackers have generally involved pursuing them, or otherwise continuing to attack when not actually in danger.

          There is no national ID system, although non-Brits have to have biometric residence permits.

        • SmellyGeekBoy a year ago

          Your points have been thoroughly debunked in sibling comments so no need to go over them again, I'm just wondering why your friends have chosen to live here "way too long" if the situation is as dire as you say it is?

      • sandworm101 a year ago

        And, London = pollution. Things like weather and even an insular society can be circumvented or avoided. Nobody can escape unhealthy air. London isn't unique in this regard, but pollution is a factor when picking any of the larger European cities.

  • walshemj a year ago

    Not many people are going to fit those criteria. Its like BT's former performance management system to get a cat 1 (top level) you had similar criteria.

    • chatmasta a year ago

      The secret to application processes like this is that criteria are more guidelines than requirements. There is a 70% acceptance rate because of a dearth of applicants, probably because people read the criteria and think they don’t qualify.

      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).

      • walshemj a year ago

        In the current UK climate where British citizens are being deported (Windrush Scandal) I can see the home office seeing strictly enforcing the rules to the letter as an easy win.

reqres a year ago

This is welcome move by the new Home Secretary, but the thing that terrifies me the most is the end of free movement when we leave the EU. As the director of a software development business, I have to contend with a very tight market for good developers.

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)

  • easytiger a year ago

    > After brexit takes place, any EU citizen I wish to employ will have to go through the Tier 2 visa route.

    How do you know that?

    • jackweirdy a year ago

      Politically, the Prime Minister is standing firmly behind the "End Freedom of Movement" crowd. There's been no discussion of any alternative immigration process besides the existing visa process.

      It's obviously not a certainty that that will be the case, but so far most signs point to it.

      • easytiger a year ago

        > 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?

        • jackweirdy a year ago

          I’m not betting on anything now we’ve entered the math.random timeline.

          Out of interest what are you expecting to see?

    • pjc50 a year ago

      Nobody knows for sure yet, and we might still get the EEA with free movement; but anti-immigration hostility was a big driver for the Brexit vote so some sections of the Tory party may not agree to this.

    • yardie a year ago

      Because one of the primary goals for the Brexit campaign was restricting freedom of movement from the EU.

  • beojan a year ago

    > Poor transport infrastructure (it's cheaper to eurostar London-Amsterdam than train London-Manchester)

    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.

    • stevesimmons a year ago

      UK rail pricing is insane, 3 to 7 times more than in the Netherlands, to make a comparison I know well. Totally unaffordable for spur-of-the-moment trips unless a company is paying. Here are two comparable length journeys.

      - 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.

      • beojan a year ago

        That's what happens when you privatize the rail system.

        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.

      • switch007 a year ago

        > The UK apparently has 55 million different fare combinations.

        Small correction: there are 65.6 million, one for every person. They are reviewed monthly based on births and deaths and adjusted accordingly.

    • reqres a year ago

      That's fair, the London-Manchester issue is specific to our particular client base.

      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

  • switch007 a year ago

    > I have to contend with a very tight market for good developers.

    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.

    • walshemj a year ago

      Former Warsaw pact member states have well trained young people with degrees and horrific employment levels - so employers in the UK can get cheaper staff.

      • CloudNetworking a year ago

        It's not that they can get cheaper staff, it's that they can get reliable and talented staff.

        There's only so many talented British developers. Hiking salaries won't turn non-talented people into talented people.

        • walshemj a year ago

          I think you mean there are "only so many talented British / English developers" who will work for what you want to pay.

          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

          • CloudNetworking a year ago

            Good point, there are other local talent pools that choose more attractive careers, but that is also a limited resource in a 60M country.

        • blibble a year ago

          > Hiking salaries won't turn non-talented people into talented people.

          the exact opposite is the basis of capitalism

          • CloudNetworking a year ago

            If I negate everything in my sentence this is what I get:

            > Lowering salaries will turn talented people into non-talented people.

            Am I doing capitalism right? :o)

  • snthd a year ago

    >All the negative externalities associated with an overcrowded city (overcrowded public transport, knife crime, NOX pollution in excess of legally permissible levels)

    Why attribute that to an overcrowded city rather than UK specific politics?

  • briandear a year ago

    You are in software development. So learn how to manage remote teams and all of those issues become irrelevant. You will have some new issues for sure, but higher quality remote talent is better than mediocre on site talent.

    • walshemj a year ago

      But finding high quality remote talent is had as if they where any good they would have left in most cases.

      I suspect you want to have your cake and eat it.

davidhyde a year ago

I used to live with someone who started a fashion B2B in London. To get her visa she had to sell her £250,000 (equivalent) flat in Korea to use as capital for the business. One thing the article does not mention is how much capital you need to invest in the UK to get this visa. It is a lot higher than you think. Anyway, her company had been up and running for 3 years and doing well when her visa renewal came up. The crazy thing was that a renewal required a new capital cash injection into the business. Now, who keeps spare capital lying around when you want to make your business a success? You usually put everything you have into the business. She had to hire a good lawyer and produce kilograms of documentation in extreme detail to get her renewal. Very stressful for her and detracted from her business. I think it's reasonable to expect to hand over company accounts, bank statements and such to prove that it is a proper business but they go way too far. It is far too arduous and stressful. The stress is the main part. You never know if your paperwork is going to land on a grumpy persons Monday morning desk.

  • toomanybeersies a year ago

    It would appear that for Australia you currently require at least AU$1.5 million (US$1.1mm) for an investment visa, and there's no other type of business startup visa you can get.

    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 [1], which requires no capital at all beyond living costs for 1 year.


foobarbazetc a year ago

I’d launch my startup in the UK after Brexit because...?

  • pbhjpbhj a year ago

    Your market is only the UK and you don't want to import any materials, and the UK has all the talent you want, and you're wealthy enough that increased cost of living isn't going to be a huge negative. Otherwise I'd steer well clear.

    • TheOtherHobbes a year ago

      A lot of talent is leaving the UK. Some of it is moving to Europe.

      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.

startupdiscuss a year ago

A real startup visa gives you a pathway to permanent residence. No one wants to start a company and worry that they will have to leave everything there after 3 years if something does or does not happen.

pjc50 a year ago

No details, and the proposed start date is after the proposed Brexit day: "The expanded route will launch in Spring 2019, further details will be announced in due course."

CM30 a year ago

It's an interesting idea, but I think the main issue is whether a startup could get funded in the UK (or to be honest, most of Europe) the same way they can in Silicon Valley.

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.

xchaotic a year ago

As a EU Citizen, whose grandfather fought for the freedoms in WWII alongside British pilots, those freedoms, including Schengen area freedom of movement that UK never bother to adopt, are being thrown away and they dare ask people to apply for a visa now? Good luck with that.

  • alva a year ago

    > Good luck with that.

    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.

    • ben_w a year ago

      > 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.

    • tormeh a year ago

      There's net migration into Poland. Lots of poles are leaving for Western Europe, but even more Romanians etc. are going to Poland. Poland has been booming for quite some time. It's four times richer than it was before it joined the EU if memory serves.

      That image of Poland as an unattractive place everyone wants to get away from is not really true anymore.

      • alva a year ago

        > There's net migration into Poland


        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.

  • Milner08 a year ago

    What are you talking about? WW2 was not about freedom of movement. The Schengen zone did not come about until way later. And as you your self said they never adopted it. Your statement doesn't make much sense. Sure Brexit sucks but we still don't really know what Brexit means. We can make guesses but until its all ironed out there are so many possibilities for the future of the UK-EU relationship. Yes they want you to apply for a visa, its still a great place to live and a good market to enter.

  • nd308 a year ago

    That's a stupid comment, even if you do agree with brexit. None of that has any bearing on what ultimately lead to the result. Further, I suggest you read into the history of the eu. It's present shape only came into being and into name wirh the Maastricht treaty of 1992.

petercooper a year ago

What's the latest for the US? Did any of the ideas of making the US more accessible for foreign tech entrepreneurs I've seen in recent years come to pass?

  • kevin_thibedeau a year ago

    You can buy a green card for $500K. Sort of a better deal since it eliminates the uncertainty of visa renewal.

Oras a year ago

If it is the same old entrepreneur visa, then one of the requirements is having £200K in the bank which means its not for early startups rather for well established or well-funded ones.

  • s_dev a year ago

    or more accurately serial founders with a history of success and not for newcomers to the startup scene.

mtgx a year ago

Meanwhile, the UK also wants to ID people before they are allowed to use the internet:

  • Milner08 a year ago

    Dont conflict one ministers opinion with the whole of the UK. Its not even something that is being debated, it would never get anywhere near a law (Even though I am sure Ms May would love it to).