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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife & I, having previously lived in the UK for 3 years (2006-2009), are keen to move back.

The way I see it, we have two possible avenues:

1) My wife works as a Data Architect, in the IT Industry. However, I understand Tier 2 (General) visas are hard to come by these days.

2) Our ultimate goal is to start our own business in the UK: an aquarium shop that specialises in selling disease free saltwater fish. For that, we would need a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa. If I'm understanding correctly, to even be considered for that we would need £200,000.

Is this all correct?

I would prefer for my wife to get a job as a Data Architect as I'm starting the aquarium business, so we have some income until the business gets up & running. However, my understanding is you can't work for a third party under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa.

Also, does anyone know if the visa application fee (plus healthcare surcharge) is refundable if you are denied for any reason? Because when you add it all up, it comes up to almost £4000 just to apply (including healthcare surcharge).
 

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Are you both US citizens? Generally, it's quite difficult to get a visa that enables you to work or run a business in UK (just as it is for British citizen in US). With UK's EU membership, employer has to jump through hoops to sponsor someone from outside for Tier 2 General. Unless your partner is highly skilled in specialism which is in great demand, finding a sponsor will prove difficult.
Entrepreneur visa has a high threshold with detailed requirements, including creation of two local jobs. Many people go through specialist advisor for their visa.
You get your IHS refunded but not your visa fees for a failed application.
 

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Are you both US citizens? Generally, it's quite difficult to get a visa that enables you to work or run a business in UK (just as it is for British citizen in US). With UK's EU membership, employer has to jump through hoops to sponsor someone from outside for Tier 2 General. Unless your partner is highly skilled in specialism which is in great demand, finding a sponsor will prove difficult.
Entrepreneur visa has a high threshold with detailed requirements, including creation of two local jobs. Many people go through specialist advisor for their visa.
You get your IHS refunded but not your visa fees for a failed application.
Wow, so in my particular case they would get to keep £2360 even if they say, "Sorry, no thank you" for wanting to start a business in the UK. Yeah, that avenue is pretty much a no-go then. Wife & I are both American citizens, so I guess she'll just have to keep applying for jobs online/hoping for Tier 2 General. Nothing to lose but our time, right? ;) She's a Data Architect working for a telecom over here.

Moving forward, can you recommend other EU countries we could expand our search to include? As mentioned previously, ideally we would like it if my wife could be working while I get the business up & running. We've saved up quite a bit for this but our funds are still limited. So it would be nice to devote just our savings to the business and not have to live off that money too in the very beginning.

The UK is where our heart is, but it just seems like that opportunity may no longer be within our reach. If my business model takes off like I think it will, then we might be able to expand to the UK in the future. Thank you for all of your help.
 

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Wow, so in my particular case they would get to keep £2360 even if they say, "Sorry, no thank you" for wanting to start a business in the UK. Yeah, that avenue is pretty much a no-go then. Wife & I are both American citizens, so I guess she'll just have to keep applying for jobs online/hoping for Tier 2 General. Nothing to lose but our time, right? ;) She's a Data Architect working for a telecom over here.

Moving forward, can you recommend other EU countries we could expand our search to include? As mentioned previously, ideally we would like it if my wife could be working while I get the business up & running. We've saved up quite a bit for this but our funds are still limited. So it would be nice to devote just our savings to the business and not have to live off that money too in the very beginning.

The UK is where our heart is, but it just seems like that opportunity may no longer be within our reach. If my business model takes off like I think it will, then we might be able to expand to the UK in the future. Thank you for all of your help.


Can you and your business function in a non-English speaking environment?

Germans are quite keen on aquariums but that also means that there are already businesses selling both fresh and saltwater fish. You'd have to convince the local authorities that it is in the economic interest of the region to let you open a business.

Germany is generally quite welcoming to North Americans.

Your wife could probably get sponsored, although it would help a lot if she'd have basic German language skills.

In general, US citizens can go to Germany on the visa waiver and then apply directly for a self-employment visa, which costs a maximum of € 110.00 in fees:

https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/305249/en/

Personally, I would not just go over and hope that the local Alien Department will like my business plan, I'd contact the nearest Embassy and have them at the very least review my plans.

Even if you apply for some form of business visa before going to Germany, it will not cost more than $ 70.00.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ALKB - Thank you very much for the info. After doing a ton of research today, I told my wife I think it's time to forget about the UK (for now) and focus on someplace like Germany. We actually bought Rosetta Stone awhile back to learn German... time to put it to good use.

Wife will start looking for jobs (online) in Germany. As you pointed out, her chances of success will probably increase once she can demonstrate a basic understanding of the German language.

As for myself, I have spent the last couple of years developing an "all inclusive" concoction of medications that I can use to eradicate just about any & all diseases in saltwater fish. As you might be aware, the price of saltwater fish has gotten ridiculously expensive and losing fish to disease is what drives most people out of the hobby. So, I'd like to implement my quarantine protocol into a business model of some sort. I now need to see if I'm able to obtain the chemicals I use to treat these fish in Germany, as easily as I could in the UK. That might be a sticking point.
 

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Have a look at the EU Blue Card program, as it might be helpful to you wife in finding a job in Germany:

EU Blue Card Network
 
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