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To repatriate... or not? Going round in circles.

(4 Posts)
cheeseismydownfall Fri 10-Nov-17 19:20:46

Brief history - moved to USA nearly 2 years ago for DH's job, on L1/L2 visas, with DC now aged 9, 7 and 5. It was sold to us as a three year assignment, but since being out here and meeting other families on the same programme it has become clear that it is much less clear cut than that (hollow laugh).

My plan was always that we would go back to the UK in time for my eldest to start secondary (he is currently in 4th grade, so Y5 in the UK). Local schools back in the UK are oversubscribed, so we would need to be back in the UK by next October so as to be in catchment for secondary applications. But there is no guarantee that a good role will be available for my DH in the UK in that timeframe. The expectation is that you move back when the right role becomes available, and goodness knows when that will be. Several other expat families in the same position have ended up being asked to stay long term and now have green cards.

I just don't know what to do for the best. We have a good life here in the US (in many ways our quality of life is much better than it would be in the UK). But if we stay longer then it will get increasingly hard to move the children back (there is no British school here, so the curriculum will be an problem, on top of the general issues of moving older kids). Also, there is a risk that we stay longer and don't get sponsored for green cards after all, so are forced back with young teenagers in to whatever school places we can find. And if we do stay long term, then ultimately our children will in all likelihood make the US their home, and so we will also be tied here if we want to stay close to them as they grow older with families of their own.

I'm not sure what I'm asking really... I'd just be really interested to hear from other people who are facing or have faced a similar dilemma.

mumisnotmyname Fri 10-Nov-17 19:42:00

Can you start the green card process? We have just started a 3 year move but they had started talking to us about green cards before we even moved out. They will apply for us if we would like, to give us future flexibility. Our DC are in a British school so moving them later will hopefully be less of an issue. Could you do IB in us and then uk?

realhousewife44 Fri 10-Nov-17 20:58:49

I can't offer much advice with regards to the kids schooling but we are currently in a similar situation so I totally sympathize. We have to decide in the next couple of months whether to return to UK in around 18 months or bite the bullet and start the green card process for a longer stay. Like you, we are very much going round in circles, talking ourselves in and out of the difference scenarios on a daily basis. It's torture!

We also feel that we have a nicer quality of life here; great weather, lovely big house, we live in a nice area (although not my ideal location) so there are many positives although it's by no means all sunshine and roses. However, the thought of returning to the UK doesn't fill us with dread either. I'm sure we could make a nice life for ourselves back there as well. You feel under such pressure to make the right decision that's going to make everyone happy and have a nice life and it can feel like such a burden not to mess it up. We keep saying that in a way we've got too much flexibility and choice and it would be nice if someone just made the decision for us and we'd just live with it. My DH's employer is pretty relaxed about the whole thing, they'll support a green card if that's what we want to do but similarly, they'd be happy to have DH back in the UK office.

One thing we keep coming back to is that moving back is definitely the easier option. We're doing all our research into the green card process at the moment and it doesn't exactly look like a walk in the park so we're definitely weighing up whether we're ready for the stress that will bring. Plus of course, there's always the issue of whether you're actually going to get it. We reckon we could pack up our life and go back to the UK relatively easily and slip right back into our old life. But that's not to say the easy option is always the right option. I think ultimately we just have to weigh up the pros and cons on all sides and make a somewhat practical, somewhat gut decision. Maybe there is no right answer and we can make it work whatever we decide.

I'll follow your thread with interest.

Grillpaneddy Sun 19-Nov-17 21:27:20

This could be us in a few years, but we are in Europe. I can see that the long we're away the harder it would be to go back. We'd be more settled, the kids would feel more at home here, schools could be problematic, work a bit trickier too.

For the time being we can't imagine going back. But we're on a local contract, so no time constraints as such. Maybe everything is a bit rose-tinted (we've not even been away yet) so I guess time will tell...

Good luck with your decision!

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