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Dh has been offered a job in the US. dd is 2 this week. what do I need to think about?

(28 Posts)
somethingsticky Tue 05-Aug-08 20:43:20

I just can't get my head round the logistics! I know nothing about the US school system. dd and I aren't the healthiest of people so I'm panicking about healthcare, we know our house won't sell at the moment and I've been in my fab new job less than 3 weeks after a 2 year career break!!! The timing is terrible but its a good promotion and he's being headhunted for the first time and would be so squashed if we didn't take this opportunty.

So... his collegue from the US is coming round to the house tomorrow after work to talk to me about relocating (he is from the UK and moved last yr) What should I be asking?????????

ELR Tue 05-Aug-08 20:47:57

dont worry about schools yet if dd is only 2, health care will prob come with his job everything else is just fun stuff sorry not much help as would be thinking same as you but its got to be a laugh so why not!!

ilovemydog Tue 05-Aug-08 20:49:27

You need to ask:

1. What type of health cover is included in DH's job? Family included? Deductible? HMO or can you choose health provider.

2. How old are kids? Where is local school? Would they be assessed or put into year based on age? Are there any private schools? Would the company make a contribution, or pay fees?

3. How will DH be paid? Dollars or pounds?

4. What relocation fees are being paid? Will you rent your house out?

Hope this helps - will probably think of more!

Oh, and visa stuff - who will get this sorted?

howdoo Tue 05-Aug-08 20:54:09

Where would you be going and how long for? Children start school at age 5, and the school year is Jan to Dec (not Sept til Aug like in the UK) - from what you have said your DD won't go to school until 2011, so it may not be an issue for you.
Can you rent your house out? The US housing market is going through the same downward spiral as the UK one.
If your DH has a job, don't worry about healthcare - his job should sort it out for him and his family. If you do end up having to buy it for yourself, it is very expensive - just for me, I've been quoted about USD240 a month.
Visas - again, his new company should sort this out for him.
Culturally, I think it depends where you are!
Weather is brilliant - bizarrely I am beginning to miss English cloud and rain, it can be very hot and humid here.
TBH his colleague will probably be really happy to fill you in, so just ask him what he thinks you should be thinking about.
We moved to the US in April, but my DH is American, so we effectively "came home" and it is a permanent move - we have two DSs age 2 and 3 so wanted to come before they got to school age.

expatinscotland Tue 05-Aug-08 20:55:27

better you than me!

babyOcho Tue 05-Aug-08 20:57:09

Immediate questions about relocation that I would ask... this is asuming that its a fair sized company:

Is this an expat deal, with a return ticket? Or do you get a return ticket after x number of years?

Will you get return tickets home? How many trips will they give you each year, and what class of travel?

Will they assign someone to help with your relocation?

Will they provide a container to ship your stuff? Will they give some money up front for you to buy stuff?

Are they planning on providing corporate accomodation until you get somewhere sorted?

Who is responsible for the visas?

Will they pay for DD's education (I have know expats here where the company have paid for children's education).

Good luck, where in the US is it? Have you been there before? If not are they going to let you take a trip out there (on their money) before you commit?

somethingsticky Tue 05-Aug-08 23:09:35

Its nr Boulder CO. I did a years exchange at the uni there when I was an undergrad. The campus is so huge it was living in a complete bubble though so I don't know much about actually living there as a family.
Bizzarly we also went there on our honeymoon. it kind of feels like fate is drawing me back again....

Its a move within his existing company. the Boulder office want him but his boss here doesn't want him to go. not sure if it will help or hinder the t&c of the move should we do it...

The people who have gone out before have requested the transfer and have to my knowlege not had relocation packages. not sure if them wanting him will make a difference but they are a tight company so I doubt they will do much for us....

Apparently he will get his UK salary in dollars which is apparently a good deal. will really have to look into this... he also retains his UK hol entitlement which is twice what the americans get.

howdoo - I remember being really homesick for clouds at one point when I was out there! its the strangest things you miss....

MonkeyLover Tue 05-Aug-08 23:23:55

Ooh - this sounds familiar! DD 22 mo & DS 4 mo and DH has been offered a transfer to US with his company. We're reading through all the details just now. (Big company and pretty thorough relocation policy). Only thing I would add to the list is: will his company arrange a working visa for you? (although maybe you'll not need to/not fancy going back to work)

NorkyButNice Tue 05-Aug-08 23:28:19

When we moved out here we got (from each of our companies)

- moving company to do all the packing and unpacking
- shipping (by sea and air)
- a pre-move return flight to check out the area
- one way business class flights for the actual move
- a realtor to help us look for accommodation in NEw York
- accountants in the UK and US to handle our taxes for the year we moved
- a lump sum to help with buying new household goods (electronics and stuff)

Being paid in dollars was bad for us as the exchange rate went in the wrong direction. Having been here for over 2 years and had 2 pay-rises I'm still only a bit above what I was earning in the UK when I left.

We enjoyed our time but are moving back to the UK next month - luckily work are paying to move us back again!

LovelyDear Tue 05-Aug-08 23:31:30

boulder makes me think of mork and mindy and sleeveless puffa jackets. I'm envy!

somethingsticky Tue 05-Aug-08 23:32:00

I'm desperate to work but very specialsed and disabled so my chances of finding something suitable are slim to zero I will ask about visa though as I want to have the option.... its taken me 2 years to find a suitable job in yorkshire and I've done a total of 7 days and he drops this on me!

souds lIke you have a better company Monkeylover, we have nothing in writing yet! I hope they will formalise things soon as its playing on my mind to the point I can't sleep and I have to get up at 4:45 for work.

ilovemydog Tue 05-Aug-08 23:49:20

Why is getting his salary in dollars a good deal, unless it suddenly doubles? Look at exchange rate and cost of living....

Califrau Wed 06-Aug-08 00:10:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

somethingsticky Wed 13-Aug-08 21:53:00

sorry meant his UK salary converted into dollars.

will check out the thread if you guys are still there.

SqueakyPop Fri 15-Aug-08 07:32:22

One of the things you need to know is the visa that he would be going on?

If he's moving within the same company, he will be on a L visa, and that would give you the opportunity of applying for a work authorisation once you get there if you wanted it. The L visa is a relatively simple process, and the company's immigration lawyer should take care of most of the details.

The relocation expenses will be paid by the company, and they will be allocated to the receiving organisation rather your home organisation, so DH's boss can only put up so much of a fight.

On the money front, there are two things to look at - the actual relocation and repatriation, and the money you get while you are there (expatriate vs local basis).

For the relocation, you should of course get packing and shipping costs, flights and a couple of weeks of full business expenses, the services of a relocation consulatant. A bonus is if you can get a lump sum for getting your house in order (eg replacing small electricals, buying curtains etc.) and an interest free loan for cars, major appliances, TV etc., and a guaranteed resale value. They should also do your US and UK taxes for the years of your relocation and repatriation. It would be good to get a holiday allowance in your first year, allowing you to return to the UK to settle your affairs.

For ongoing salary - UK salary and holidays is good plus your UK child benefit amount, but a bonus is a paying for one of your houses. When we were expat, the company paid for our rental house, and we paid for our UK house. When our house was rented, we had to make a contribution to our rental, minus our agent fees. They paid an amount for our utility bills. We also got money to cover a trip back to the UK each year.

unclefluffy Fri 15-Aug-08 08:23:52

Everything said above is great advice and gives you a good idea of what you might want to ask. I'll also add that US culture seems more 'work oriented' than the UK (correct me if I'm wrong, folks - I was only there for 2.5 years, and only in one place!). My US friends work, even when they don't have to. I don't know what your field is, but it always seemed to me that US employers simply expect you to be able to do the job - and I can imagine that working in your favour as a disabled applicant. I never felt pre-judged when I applied for work, but I did have to make a case for my transferable skills.

It's also worth thinking about it in terms of where the risk lies. The expat deal that my other half got covered some of the financial risks we faced i.e. he was paid in a mixture of dollars and pounds to hedge a bit against currency changes, the company would have stumped up if we had been totally unable to rent out our house etc.

amidaiwish Fri 15-Aug-08 08:50:34

we had this option a few years back and didn't go in the end as we couldn't get the numbers to be worth it.

the one thing you really need to take into account is how much you will lose by going - selling cars etc etc. You will need to buy all those again in the US and i doubt you will be eligible for credit, so all in cash.
You'll need a big lump sum to set yourselves up.

SqueakyPop Fri 15-Aug-08 09:30:40


DH's salary was his UK salary converted into dollars, with a guaranteed minimum exchange rate. If the exchange rate was high, he could keep the money; if it dropped, he would not lose out. We also had a cost of living allowance.

Our package was generous and we managed to save quite a bit. Our accountant advised us to put half of our savings in dollars and repatriate the other half, as a way of dampening out any exchange rate fluctuations. The company paid a $25 allowance per month for transferring money to the UK.


It's a good point about rebuying stuff when you arrive in the US. It is extremely expensive to suddenly have to buy everything - it can easily come to $60k. It's not reasonable to fund this yourself in full. DH's company gave him a lump sum of 2-months salary for smaller stuff, and an interest-free five-year loan for larger stuff. They also guaranteed a minimum depreciation for everything that needed to be sold, including our UK cars, so we didn't lose out when moving back.

Arbuthnot Fri 15-Aug-08 09:38:09

Also check out the thread on here from the other day about making sure there is something in his contract in case the US office closes. Here.

Probably worth posting in Employment and Legal too.

sarah293 Fri 15-Aug-08 09:39:02

Message withdrawn

SqueakyPop Fri 15-Aug-08 09:40:24

If he is working for the same company, they will simply repatriate him. It will be a condition of the visa, and a legal obligation for the employer.

If a US job vanishes, the visa holder basically has a month to leave the US.

SqueakyPop Fri 15-Aug-08 09:45:51

The insurance should really be an expatriate policy. We had Cigna Expatriate. If not, it should be a local policy that does not penalise for any pre-existing conditions.

The idea is that you get at least the same entitlement as you would get with the NHS.

We had a 'hardship' payment of 5% salary, which made up for co-pays.

nooka Sat 16-Aug-08 02:37:21

Get your own immigration lawyer, and have them check everything. Do not go if you are not happy with the deal your dh is being offered. They don't actually have an obligation to provide anything except to pay for the visa costs (and that only for your dh). If you think the company might be tight on things my advice would be not to go as you have just got a job. Also will your dh get an L1a or a L1b, and will the company sponsor your dh for a Green Card (you want this in writing to initiate immediately). You will get a working visa, but bear in mind it will tae about three months to arrive, and that you have to pay about $300 for it (again check if the company will pay for this). Moving to the US can be very very expensive!

nooka Sat 16-Aug-08 02:41:29

It's not an obligation for the employer to repatriate you by the way, or a requirement of the visa to do so. You just have an obligation to leave (not immediately though - we've been told a month is normal but longer than that is not a problem if we can show a good reason). Insurance wise you want to try and get an extra allowance on your dh's salary for this, as it can be very expensive. Check who will manage your dh when he gets there, and who will pay for all the costs. We had big problems with this, again because dh's boss didn't want him to go.

alipiggie Sat 16-Aug-08 03:00:05

somethingsticky - email me alisonsmits at gmail dot com. As CF said I live and work in Boulder and have been over her for three years now. I'm a Green Card holder and have been through the whole visa, moving scenario. I am sure I can give you loads of advice. It is wonderful here for families. I'm a single working mum and the kids love it here. There are many great Pre-schools for children aged two - all private mind you, but my ds2 was only 2 when we moved here so in reality his now American. There's loads to do here for free. Drop me a line and let's take your questions offline. I can put you in touch with loads of people here. Whom is your DH going to work for? Let me help how I can.

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