How To Live In London Until Trump’s Impeachment
If you’re in tech and want to get an extended 5-year Visa for a fraction of the price
I. Setting the Stage
It’s old hat in the US to say things like, “If so and so gets elected, I’m moving to Canada.” These days, however, more people are actually considering it based on Trump’s discriminatory policies.
It’s no skin off our back. We live in a global world, connected 24x7 by the internet. Personally, I’ve spent at last a decade working with remote, global teams and over the last 3, doing a tech turnaround across five continents and even more time zones.
At this point, borders and governments don’t matter. Our company, Piksel, moved our global headquarters from the United States to the United Kingdom right before the election. Hasn’t changed a thing about how our employees work together and with our customers across the entire world.
If I’m reading the tea leaves, and this current US government keeps going down the same path, our most valuable companies might consider doing the same. It sounds weird, but it’s really pretty easy for an Apple, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon to move its HQ to a different country.
Apple, for instance, has most of their cash overseas (from the US HQ perspective). All of their products are manufactured overseas. And the majority of their customers are based overseas. The only problem is they stupidly built a big-ass spaceship that, get this, doesn’t go to space or even move for that matter, in California. Why? Because they decided to build a company locked to a local talent pool.
They based the majority of their high-value talent in Silicon Valley. Same with Facebook. Same with Google. Sure, they have offices overseas, but it’s not where their center of gravity is.
The company that will disrupt Apple is just being started now. They aren’t going to be “based” in a specific location with one of the highest costs of living in the world. They will be spread across major industrial centers globally and eventually, have an office in space.
The businesses of the future won’t have a “center of gravity”. They will have “cells”. One goes down due to a catastrophe, the business goes on. Redundancy is the first rule of reliability in the software industry, yet the “best” in the world seemed to miss this one lock, stock, and smoking barrel.
II. The Future of Citizenship
What does this mean for citizens of the United States, or any country for that matter? In the long-term it might mean the end of protectionist countries and instead begin an international citizenship where you pay taxes based on the amount of seconds spent within each country (based on the GPS data in your phone).
You are now free to move about the galaxy.
The “country” of the future will help its citizens live a global life, and in return these citizens will call that country their “home base”. Much like a luxury apartment complex, countries will begin marketing themselves to individuals about their “amenities” and in return citizens will pay a monthly subscription fee for global protection, priority access to global healthcare for a higher tier, easier travel arrangements, and a certain educational cirriculum while on the go for its children.
The future will be less about borders and more about removing them.
Which is why Trump’s vision for America is a step backwards, not a step forwards, on the roadmap of humanity towards an interstellar species.
So, if you’re like us, maybe you’re curious about your options to begin living this way today, even if the global sociopolitical system isn’t in place quite yet. We did a little digging into what it would take to get a Visa to the UK for folks who read Humanizing Tech.
And boy do we have some fun news for you.
III. Get a UK Visa, Lickity Split
Want to set up some redunancy in your own life? Worried about Trump enflaming zealots from other countries and having it impact your life? If you work for a company and its CEO starts behaving badly, you can just quit and get a better job with a better culture elsewhere. Not so easy when you’re physically located and financially tied to a specific country.
The first step is redundancy. You need to set up a bank account in a different country. You need to have a living situation defined in a different country. You need to have the paperwork ready in a different country.
You need to do all of this before you need it. Because if shit hits the fan, it’s already too late.
How do you do this?
You need to apply for a UK Visa.
The UK has a wonderful governmental policy for their short-term Visa program, where it’s cheaper and faster if you are an “exceptional talent”. They last updated the policy on December 19, 2016. Why would they do this? It’s a recruting tactic grounded in British common sense:
We offer this route for exceptionally talented individuals in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to enrich the United Kingdom’s knowledge economy and cultural life.
Doesn’t that sound just like the philosophies of Humanizing Tech? Sure does to us. You can stay for 5 years, well past Trump’s term of office, work anywhere you like and job hop if you like, and your kids can come with you.
The catch is they only allow 1,000 people to do it every year, starting in April:
But, if you get accepted, you get to stay years longer than a regular Visa holder, even if you’re an entrepreneur, and it costs about $1,000 less.
At this point, you’re likely curious if you quality. Beginning on page 19, it lists all of the disciplines that apply. There are a lot, so I’d suggest you click through to view each of them. Below are a few related specifically to tech, but it runs the gamut from bio to chem to physics to sociopolitical.
Basically if you’re in a professional technology job and you can prove you’ve been doing good work in that area, you qualify. Of course, the more success you’ve enjoyed, the better it is. And guess how they ask about your experience. They want to see your StackOverflow account, your Github profile, other things you’ve put out into the world to help others.
I’ve often found that many in the tech industry just sit back and hope that someone’s going to find their talent and magically offer them some crazy job. That’s not really how it works. And because many of the recruiters are just looking for any sort of programming skill wherever they can find it, there really isn’t much incentive to put your knowledge out there.
One of the reasons this exists is to help with that problem. Do good things because you like doing good things. You never know when it might come in handy.
IV. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
At this point, it begs the question of whether this writer is going to go through the application process. Considering we fall squarely into a few of the ‘high value’ workers bucket, which is separate from but more expansive than the ‘Exceptional Talent’ Visa, we’re thinking about it.
It never hurts to have a back-up plan. It only hurts if you didn’t set one up in the first place and then you wished you had one. In this case, filling out a few forms, paying a few hundred bucks, and then having the ability to come and go between the US and the UK over the next 5 years isn’t going to hurt me in the slightest.
I’ve already been back and forth between the two countries countless times over the past 3 years. So much so that border control keeps prodding me to apply so I can get through customs faster than that hour-long line.
I already have Global Entry, which makes returning to JFK from overseas as painless as possible. Instead of waiting in two massive lines for customs and baggage, I go to a kiosk, scan my passport, tap a few buttons, and bypass both lines. I’m off the plane and in a cab in 15 minutes, mostly spent just walking through the mile-long terminal.
If I can do the same thing on the other side of the pond, and bring my family with me at a moments notice, plus stay longer than 3 months at a time, call me curious.
I suppose the next question you’ll have is, “Should you do it?”
I think it depends on your level of frustration, but also mobility. If you’ve lived your entire life in a single city, hardly travel, and the government’s actions don’t affect your everyday life, it’s probably not for you.
If, however, you end up traveling often for work, find the digital nomad lifestyle intriguing, and find yourself worried about what a protectionist administration could mean for your professional and personal future, then by all means, dip that fountain pen in some ink.
Your Recommended Reading
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from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2krMpDu