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August 15, 2007 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Emigrating from the US: what would be the best countries to immigrate to?

What are the best and most feasible countries for an American to consider immigrating to and obtaining citizenship in?

Please consider projected conditions in the destination nation over the next thirty years, especially regarding quality of life, economics, demographics, and effects and second-order effects of global warming and peak oil (including possible resource conflicts over oil, potable water, land above sea level, arable land).

Please also strongly consider civil liberties (and those extended to non-citizens) and ease of achieving citizenship. (For this reason, the ubiquitous camera and ASBOs rule out the UK.)

Nations should be limited to liberal democracies with a generally liberal/socialist social outlook (rules out Australia, as do its impending water problems), and the availability of decent universal health care.

Of the countries meeting these criteria, which are the best destinations for an American who is mono-lingual in English but willing to attempt to learn an additional language, seeks employment as a software programmer, and is in his mid-thirties?
posted by orthogonality to Law & Government (36 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
I think you've set up some crazy limitations. For instance, for all its problems with ASBOs and ubiquitous cameras, the UK is a much "freer" place than much of the rest of Europe (let alone Asia, Africa or South or Central America) - at least the Europe where there are some opportunities in the long term. Software programmers are a dime a dozen in many places, and in the few rapidly developing countries which are experiencing growth in that area, opportunities for non-EU foreigners to live and work there in a meaningful way which might lead to citizenship will diminish for software programmers - and already are doing so. I'm seeing it happen with friends in Hungary and the Czech Republic, neither of which have the basic civil liberty safeguards of the UK. And most of those countries - I'm thinking of newer EU states - and have very low rates of pay. Ditto almost anywhere outside Europe, where a general rule of thumb is, the nicer the country in terms of "liberal/socialist outlook," the worse your chances of gaining citizenship or learning the language. One's mid-thirties is very late to start a new language without prior experience in any foreign language. Odds are, you'll never speak it really well (which has nothing to do with you per se, but how we learn and process new languages as we get old, especially without having kept this part of our brain "alive.")

You've already ruled out Australia. New Zealand, I fear, has a very rough outlook for many reasons. Most Scandinavian countries will not be interested in you at all, unless you manage to find a spouse with citizenship in one of those countries. Those languages will probably provide you with fewer problems than most, though - but they're among the toughest to get into.

Some countries will let you in if you bring enough cash and/or investment money . . . but you don't mention this as a possibility. (We're talking in the several hundreds of thousands as a typical minimum.) Most countries have "point" systems, where the amount of cash you have, the training you have (etc) all garner you points, and if you have enough points, voila! Software programmer isn't too high up the list (certain kinds of business expertise, medical training and that sort of thing are usually pretty high up there, but typically only in "brain drain" countries like New Zealand.)

Canada is the only country that comes to mind.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:39 AM on August 15, 2007

Norway, Denmark and Sweden have demographics that are a little bit better than the rest of western Europe. All countries are peak-oil aware (Sweden have some independent from fossils in 2020 plan for instance). Most people speak english very well.

The market for developers should be very good in all these countries.
posted by uandt at 12:42 AM on August 15, 2007

the UK is good enough for my stringent standards, ortho - I feel very free here, and up here in Scotland we really need some software developers so get your butt up here!
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:51 AM on August 15, 2007

I can tell you how it is here in Germany and maybe this will at least be a good basis of comparison. If you have German ancestry like me they might just give you a passport. Otherwise it looks like you need to demonstrate a source of income or just a heap of money that covers your basic costs and then you can live here. And once you've lived here for 8 years and speak a little German, you have to swear to honor their constitution and give up your former citizenship and then you're a German. There are "some exceptions" to giving up your old citizenship; I'm guessing they apply to Israelis and probably not to Americans. They might be more lax towards self-employed types when it comes to demonstrating your income to be able to live here.

It is definitely a liberal democracy with a generally liberal/socialist outlook and decent universal health care. You can visit all the doctors you want and once a quarter there's a copayment of 10 Euros. The insurance itself costs 50 a month for me because I still have student status. Not sure how much it costs otherwise, but if you fall on hard times it will be free for you provided you are a citizen.

Unless it is your desire to shout Nazi slogans, you have basically all the civil liberties you want here. Here in Berlin I can walk down the street smoking a joint and drinking a beer and no-one bothers me. Elsewhere in Germany you might get heckled by morally outraged senior citizens for jaywalking but you can tell them to go fuck themselves. Oh there are some restrictions on speech: I believe it's illegal to give someone the finger while driving, and although government bureaucrats are a Kafka-esque nightmare that make you want to hang yourself it is illegal to insult them.

Quality of life is high, the economy is basically still strong, public transportation is excellent, there's plenty of arable land (they grow lots of asparagus for example). The north is generally flat and I could imagine parts might be underwater in an apocalyptic future, but the south is mountainous.
posted by creasy boy at 12:58 AM on August 15, 2007

I can only speak to Canada, which generally checks out on your many criteria (civil liberties, political outlook, political outlook, health care). I can't answer immigration concerns directly, but check this thread, especially since you're also in a computer-related field.

The main problem I see with Canada over the next thirty years is economic. Currently my country's economy is tied to the U.S. as we're the U.S.'s largest trading partner and we do a lot of exporting to other countries (the markets see us pretty much as exporters of natural resources, say my American trader acquaintances). So if the U.S. economy tanks, you will be hit pretty hard as exports to the U.S. tank, while the widespread pain in the global economy will make our exports to other countries fall too. But right now the economy's doing great.

On a side note, Dee Xtrovert noted correctly that your list seems almost designed to eliminate most countries other than Canada.
posted by desiderandus at 1:07 AM on August 15, 2007

And I forgot to mention that, while some countries which might fit the bill in many ways *do* have some need for software developers (like Sweden), the EU rules seem to give total preference to members of other EU states, which makes sense if you think about it. Consequently, with the addition to the EU of many countries full of highly educated people living in desperate economies and job markets (like Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary), the chances for an American in Scandinavia are even slimmer than before.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:15 AM on August 15, 2007

Response by poster: To clarify, while the language issue may be a problem, I'm not ruling out the Scandinavian countries or the Low Countries. (But especially with the Low Countries, global warming and potentially water wars worry me.) Australia I expect will have an environmental crash in the next 20 years, so that's out. And despite Grace to the contrary, the UK is going to continue to crack down on Muslim immigrants in hopes of containing terrorism, trading freedom for spurious "security"; I'm not interested in being part of that Orwellian nightmare. desiderandus makes an important point about Canadian economic entanglement with the US. His other point, that a US economic crash will have world-wide repercussions is certainly right, but I don't see a way to avoid that short of becoming a farmer. (Realistically, if peak oil happens, I don't expect to survive the famines regardless of where I am.)

What I'm really looking for is comparison: e.g., "in the Netherlands, you'll get X and Y that you'll like, but have to put up with Z, while in Denmark, there's no Z but little Y".
posted by orthogonality at 1:27 AM on August 15, 2007

I did the programmer-in-Tokyo thing 1995-2000 (with a 2+ year prelude as an eikaiwa teacher looking for my break) . . . back then the whole dot-com entrepreneurial thing wasn't really present . . . employment was gated by the majors and software programming sucked as a rule.

But these days Web 2.0y stuff is spurring a revival; my off-the-cuff impression is that demographic pressures are favorable for a career transfer to Japan, if you're willing to work insane hours like a 20-year old at least.

As above commenters say, I wouldn't worry about BS concerns about rights etc. One of the luxuries of living as a guest in another culture is just focusing on what is in your circle of control.

My plan going forward is to try the shareware / adware / micropay route making small, useful stuff, funding my life where-ever I find myself.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 1:28 AM on August 15, 2007

Iceland without a doubt. The bad news is they won't take you.
posted by BostonJake at 1:29 AM on August 15, 2007

Compared to the US Australia is Socialist in outlook.

For instance, consider this Australian politician. This politician has introduced a new tax and raised taxes, increased legal immigration and introduced stricter gun laws.

This politician is John Howard, Australia's "Liberal" (that's the party name) Prime Minister. He is the head of our conservative party.

Or consider another. This politician spends his time campaigning for human rights, writing op-eds opposing the Iraq invasion and in favor of Asylum seekers.

This politician is the previous Australian conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

Also, don't worry about water here. Because of the recent drought Australian state governments are spending up on desalination plants and other methods for obtaining more drinking water.

Australia might not be a great choice for you because it is remote and real estate is expensive.

It is, however, very easy for Americans to settle in here and has a lot going for it. Great weather, excellent good, a developed economy and cool strange animals.

So perhaps you shouldn't rule it out.
posted by sien at 1:35 AM on August 15, 2007

Other questions on the emigration topic here.

The Irish economy has been roaring for a decade, Dublin's turned into one of the most expensive cities in the world, and if you've got a grandparent who was born in Ireland, you might already be a citizen. Irish citizenship gives you the right to live, work, and study in all 27 EU member states. English spoken widely, euros burning holes in your pockets, lots of water, friendly people, lots of immigrants from other parts of Europe, responsible diplomacy and foreign policy for the most part.

But realistically, emigration is a long process, so I'm going to be all crazy and suggest you try somewhere else first. Somewhere that previously made the average suburbanite blanch with fear...somewhere so insane, so crazy, that thousands of unstable, wild people are attracted there every year to see all manner of debauchery and excess. That exotic destination known as...

New York City.

It's probably the least "American" part of the US, in every category from personal car ownership to diversity in the arts to global connectedness. Delicious tap water. A huge, globally-significant local economy. And - surprise - unrivaled green credentials. According to Wikipedia:
The city's unique density, encouraged by much of it being surrounded by water, facilitates the highest rate of mass transit use in the United States. New York is one of the most energy efficient cities in the United States as a result. Gasoline consumption in New York is at the rate the national average was in the 1920s. The city's mass transit system, multifamily housing, mixed neighborhoods and the fact that developments no longer go up on virgin land make building in New York very energy efficient. While New York City has a larger population than all but eleven states, if it were granted statehood it would rank 51st in per-capita energy use. The average New Yorker consumes less than half of the electricity of someone who lives in San Francisco and nearly one-quarter the electricity consumed by someone who lives in Dallas.
New York's high rate of public transit use, 120,000 daily cyclists and many pedestrian commuters makes it the most energy-efficient major city in the United States. It is well positioned to endure an oil crisis with an extended gasoline price shock in the range of US$3 to US$8 per gallon. Walk and bicycle modes of travel account for 21% of all modes for trips in the city; nationally the rate for metro regions is about 8%.
Is it perfect? No. But it's a radically different place than the rest of the US, and as close as you're going to get to being abroad in the US. Healthcare is a challenge, but consider that a good job here in the States, combined with responsible health habits on your part (like all that city walking!) will dramatically lower your risk factors for more expensive problems later. And moving to NYC doesn't mean that you can't move on later; you could still pursue Irish citizenship, for example, and pick up and leave when the moment strikes you as opportune.

So New York City. I know, I know. But really.
posted by mdonley at 1:40 AM on August 15, 2007 [5 favorites]

Have you considered New Zealand? Their political situation is very progressive.

- They effectively backed out of a long-standing military alliance with the US to protest over their use of nuclear warships.

- While there is a long way to go, recognition of indigenous people is a lot more advanced than in other countries (such as Australia)

- Their military philosophy can be summarised by the fact The have effectively scrapped their own air force to spend more money in other areas

-They are very outspoken on environmental causes

I also should point out I am Australian and don't share orthogonality's view that we are on the verge of environmental collapse. So don't let that weigh on your decision.. our political situation is fairly benign, though not flawless.. and certainly not as progressive as it is in NZ
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:24 AM on August 15, 2007

and FWIW - It is looking increasingly likely that Australia's conservative government will be voted out by the end of the year.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 2:25 AM on August 15, 2007

Sorry, but I think Sien's not giving a full representation of Australia's government. This government bears little ressemblance to a 'socialist' or left-leaning government of the type that you indicate you favour.
posted by Lucie at 2:53 AM on August 15, 2007

the UK is going to continue to crack down on Muslim immigrants in hopes of containing terrorism, trading freedom for spurious "security"; I'm not interested in being part of that Orwellian nightmare.

...and you think this will be different in the Netherlands, or France, why exactly?

Unless you have a genuine love for and/or interest in the country you wish to emigrate to, I wouldn't recommend it. (I love the UK, in spite of the fact that it is equally as frustrating, and rewarding, as living at home.) Shopping for lifestyle is not a great basis on which to establish a life or friends wherever in the world you end up. Move anywhere with those attitudes, and you'll be a cultural tourist of the worst kind.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:03 AM on August 15, 2007

You are going to lose something on the exchange rate to Europe but if you can live with that you might want to consider some of the European countries with a cheaper standard of living. The Scandinavian countries are ridiculously expensive. Portugal is probably the best choice for reasonable costs. Lisbon should have some great opportunities. Spain is also good but costs are increasing somewhat, especially in the larger cities.

Citizenship won't be easy to acquire in any European country without some sort of sponsorship. If you court a potential company and have something useful to offer, it will make it easier.
posted by JJ86 at 5:47 AM on August 15, 2007

Shopping for lifestyle is not a great basis on which to establish a life or friends wherever in the world you end up.
I emigrated as a lifestyle shopper and I’m happy I did so. YMMV.
posted by Aidan Kehoe at 5:49 AM on August 15, 2007

I have a friend living an idyllic life in Thailand. He does a little freelance writing, maybe 20 hours a week, which is enough to cover all his expenses living in a very nice condo, doing a little traveling, eating the good local food, etc. If you can do your work long-distance, you might consider that and other "exotic" locations.
posted by beagle at 5:49 AM on August 15, 2007

I don't have any idea what "rough outlook" Dee Xtrovert is talking about for New Zealand. Without further details it really just smells like FUD, TBH.
posted by The Monkey at 6:33 AM on August 15, 2007

I don't have time for details, but I'd say New Zealand, Canada, or Ireland.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:51 AM on August 15, 2007

Thirty years ago, no one could have predicted how the world is today. Therefore it doesn't make much sense to rule out countries based on wild guesses like 'water wars' (which seem somewhat improbable in the first world). Remember Paul Ehrlich in the 1970's? If this was 1970 and you followed the prevailing wisdom at the time, that the population was going to explode and cause disaster, you'd have ended up making a terrible decision.

The reality is, nowhere in the world is interested enough in civil liberties to satisfy you. European countries, including Britain, don't protect free speech and the freedom of the press nearly as much as America does (and are better for it, IMHO, but I doubt you'll see it that way). Most European countries have no interest whatsoever in letting their citizens carry guns around. In Scandinavian countries, taxation is high and there is a large amount of state interference in everyday life (the state can stop you from naming your baby what you want, for instance).

I'm amazed to see people recommend Ireland: it's so socially conservative that abortion is constitutionally banned, getting a divorce was illegal until 1995 and being gay illegal until 1993. That seems to conflict with what you're looking for.

As far as I can see, the bottom line is that you need to re-evaluate your criteria and come up with a more practical plan.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:06 AM on August 15, 2007

I emigrated as a lifestyle shopper and I’m happy I did so. YMMV.

By "lifestyle shopper" I mean the attitude the OP is expressing: that he's not interested in the countries so much as what they can provide him in terms of matching his political ideas (as well as handing him a job and passport no questions asked). I find such motiviation very strange and likely to meet with disappointment.

If you found a country that satisfied that for you, well done. My suspicion is that living *anywhere* has its own problems, which usually only become obvious to the emigrant after years of settlement. There are things about, say, British political discourse I find weird and disturbing, but I doubt there is anywhere where political discourse isn't on some level weird and disturbing. But of course YMM also V.
posted by methylsalicylate at 8:02 AM on August 15, 2007

This is all a bit silly.

If you're actually dissatisfied with life in the US and want to emigrate, your answer is "Any other OECD country that will accept you." The hard part will not be choosing a country, it will be finding another OECD country that will take you, and marshalling the resources necessary to get into any country that seems willing to accept you as an immigrant. Non-family-based immigration is not easy, and it is emphatically not cheap.

Your restrictions are counterproductive. Ruling out the UK is goofy, because UK citizens are not required to live in the UK. If the UK will take you and Norway won't, move to Britain, convert your leave to remain into citizenship, and then move to Norway as is your right as an EU national. Likewise, if you want to move to New Zealand, which has famously stringent immigration laws, you might find it easier to gain admittance to Australia, live there for a few years until you gain citizenship, and then move to NZ, which IIRC allows Australian citizens unrestricted residence.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:04 AM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

move to Norway as is your right as an EU national

Norway isn't an EU member so an UK > Norway move isn't as simple as you make it sound. As stated before in this thread most, if not all countries in Europe will take you in as long as you have a job.
posted by uandt at 8:41 AM on August 15, 2007

Sorry Ortho but I think you need to do a lot more research on your assumptions. Living in Sydney Australia i can definitely say the assumption that people have of us going to run out of water is not really going to happen any time soon. Whilst we are in a bit of a drought its not as bad as what the media likes to negatively proclaim.

Its just that Aussies had to get over the fact they cant wastefully water their rose gardens at midday on a 35+ Degree Celsius day and throw water around like its a god given right. If you like to expend tap based water on big gardens or throwing it around outside during the day then Australia is no longer the place to indulge in that, as there are now strict laws as to when you can use tap water outdoors.

Also a lot of cities use water that is sourced from Dams, which means rainfall is essential to water supply hence the ongoing drought has affected us so much. Which on the upside means the water flowing from the tap doesn't come from a industrialized polluted river source full of heavy metals which would be the case in many other countries.

Whilst the State governments here were caught with their pants down with a lack of planning and infrastructure for this current cycle of drought they have lifted their act and started building infrastructure such as Desalination plants and implementing water recycling. (Water related issues are managed by State Authorities not Federally, and at the moment all State Govt's are funnily enough being run by the left leaning Labor party) Neither political side seem to be proactive about infrastructure issues thus we were in the situation of a last minute lack of water crisis.

Its only the farmers at the moment that have the short end of the stick with water so unless you want to come over and start farming i don't believe you should put serious weight on water issues here in Oz. Political issues are another story though...

ahhh one last thing to mention is we still have a bit of our 'populate or perish' mentality here so getting citizenship shouldn't be too hard if your educated and from a modern western country. Just don't be sailing on a rickety old boat coming from Indonesian waters as all bets are off in that situation.......
posted by ItsaMario at 8:45 AM on August 15, 2007

Norway isn't an EU member so an UK > Norway move isn't as simple as you make it sound.

But Norway is a member of the EEA which includes the free movement of persons as one of the fundamental freedoms.
posted by snownoid at 9:12 AM on August 15, 2007

Snownoid is right. As a EU national, you can work in any other EU country as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Some restrictions may apply:
"EU / EFTA nationals still require a residence permit and a work permit but have equal opportunities alongside Swiss jobseekers on the job market. Nationals of EU enlargement countries are subject to temporary provisions.".
posted by iviken at 10:11 AM on August 15, 2007

Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America provides exactly the kinds of country-to-country comparisons you're asking for.
posted by designbot at 10:32 AM on August 15, 2007

One thing I think that's preventing people being as helpful as they like is that you don't say why you want to leave the US. Your priorities seem to be natural resources and civil liberties, and for that combination, it's hard to beat the US. Few countries have a better balance of resources than the US. Canada probably has more oil and water, but the US beats it in fertile land in latitudes with long growing seasons. Russia does not have the economic or legal infrastructure to take advantage of its rich resources. Western Europe has a modern economy but very few resources at all. If you are imagining a future in which Australia is unable to feed itself because there isn't enough water for irrigation, then there's no way Europe is doing well. There are just too many people here in too small of a space.

That leaves Africa, South America, and Asia, and I don't know enough about those areas to advise. But hopefully you'll post again with more specifics.
posted by happyturtle at 10:39 AM on August 15, 2007

you would be happier than you think in the UK, as you would in most other western european countries. eastern europe (think cities like prague) are dirt cheap right now and should offer a growth-minded entrepreneur lots of opportunities but I would advise against living anywhere where you don't speak the language. moving between countries is hard enough.

as far as legal restrictions are concerned: sorry, that is difficult everywhere. it's tough as hell for europeans to get citizenship in the US and vice versa.

then there is of course the case of a certain fugitive who is currently living in namibia. his story demonstrates that this country is a lot more interesting as a place of residency than I had previously thought. nice weather, stable, english-speaking.

it is impossible to plan for thirty years in advance when an international move is in play. forget about it. also: no country is perfect. the grass may look greener from your vantage point but it's still grass. people have problems everywhere and people disagree everywhere.
posted by krautland at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2007

it's so socially conservative that abortion is constitutionally banned, getting a divorce was illegal until 1995 and being gay illegal until 1993

Ireland has changed enormously in the last 15 years. The numbers will tell you we're not mass-goers any more. Some Irish people are conservative, of course, and the government are nowhere approaching socialists, but as a nation I don't see Ireland as as conservative as America. Abortion has settled into the "Irish solution for an Irish problem" of being obtained across the water in the UK. I can't think of any Irish person I know (I'm a 30 year old from Dublin) who is homophobic or opposes divorce, and that includes my daily churchgoing grandmother.

A bigger reason to avoid it would be cost - recent reports suggest you pay 25% more than other European countries (same currency remember!) for grocery and electronics products, and of course house prices are obscene. I spend about a month a year at home, and find everything - taxis, restaurant food, clothing - very expensive compared to the US and Canada. Also people seem a little leery these days about whether the boom may be ending. No idea about immigration, but anecdotally I know citizenship applications (from inside Ireland) are taking forever.
posted by jamesonandwater at 11:32 AM on August 15, 2007

Canada. OP wants to EMIGRATE, not be a guest worker or something. Even the most conservative parts of Canada (eg Calgary, where I've lived the last seven years) are left of "moderate" by US standards. Alberta, the most stereotypically "conservative" province, was only the second jurisdiction in North America to allow same-sex-partner adoption and is second only to BC in secularism. This is what passes for "conservative" in this country... and the economy here is insanely good. Insanely.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:58 PM on August 15, 2007

The big issue for orthogonality in New Zealand is that we have a pretty small population with too many clever people in it as it is. In a world with less demand for specialists like programmers, orthogonality had best learn a low-tech trade.

I would also like to reprise my comments here and here. While they were tongue in cheek, and I assume that we are not talking about full collapse in ths thread, the fact is that there are no guarantees, and NZ may be as bad as anywhere else.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:06 PM on August 15, 2007

I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way.

I've spent seven months out of the past two years living in Europe (Madrid & Paris), and each time, I found that I appreciated the States a lot more, for a number of reasons that you mention above.

(For purposes of full disclosure: much of the time that I spent in the States in the same two years was in New York, so we're comparing urban areas here)

For one, your money goes considerably further here than in Western Europe. I don't mean the exchange rate; I mean that equivalent amounts of money simply purchase less in Western Europe (particularly in France & Switzerland, IMO). I found food to be extremely expensive, and I know gas is also.

Demographically speaking, Western Europe is struggling tremendously. Immigration is becoming an issue now in Spain, as it has been in France for some time. Combined with low birthrates in the ethnically European populations, the influx of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East has caused a number of tensions. In general, I found the anti-immigration rhetoric to be comparable to what is spouted by Lou Dobbs and his ilk, but taken more seriously by politicians.

In terms of civil liberties, I never felt more constrained in France than I did in the States, but the outlook there is extraordinarily different. Laicite dominates thinking in terms of free speech, such that you can't wear a cross, or a hijab, or a yarmulke, to public school; to me, that seems like an infringement on absolute free speech, as does the equal time that must be given to all politicians during a presidential election.

My laptop is low on battery, so I am going to cut this short. But suffice it to say that I have found that upon returning to America (and I speak as someone who has seriously considered leaving more than once), I have found that it meets my needs in these ways (and in others that I don't consider until they are no longer there).

Okay, done. And I do love Europe, I just find that I am resolutely American, for better or for worse.
posted by bijou at 11:24 PM on August 15, 2007

Austria's not bad. The economy here is booming - Austrian companies jumped into Eastern European markets early. The country's perfectly situated to profit from emerging economies. Universal healthcare, low crime, high wages and standard of living.

They've recently made immigration a bit harder, but as a programmer, you'll probably not have a very hard time finding a job here. I was a programmer when I arrived in 2000 with my backpack. I liked Vienna, and after searching for 2 weeks, I had had ~10 interviews and ~5 job offers. I took the best one and haven't looked back. My first employer helped me to get my residency and work permits sorted out. As an IT worker, you'll have an easier time doing that.

The level of English ability here is very high - higher than in Germany, in my experience.

I got my Daueraufenthaltstitel (Austrian Green Card) a couple of months ago. With it, I can live here the rest of my life (it renews automatically every 5 years). I don't need to transfer my citizenship.

I'm really happy with my choice to live here. I don't plan to ever return to the US to live.

Good luck finding a place you like.
posted by syzygy at 2:49 PM on August 16, 2007

Our CCTC cameras are too fuzy to id anyone from. ASBOs are only for chavs. So you should be okay here. On the other hand, we have plenty of Americans, software developers, and people in their thirties :)
posted by tomw at 6:51 AM on February 7, 2008

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