Visas, accommodations, surviving--oh my! HELP

Hello all!

I am needing advice for an urgent situation.

Long story short, my husband (who is a USA citizen and Hong Kong resident) and I were planning to move to Hong Kong this summer, after I graduated with my law degree here in the US in May. Well, due to political turmoil, the job I had landed since February has since dissipated. It was in human rights. My husband is a veterinarian and had found a job, but we will not go somewhere unless both of us have something going (work, school, etc.).

I found the University of Essex's LLM in Human Rights recently, and I've been impressed with them thus far. They are still taking applications and I also qualify for a few scholarships.

The program starts in October, if I am accepted, and lasts for two semesters.

My questions are as follows:

1. How does a student visa work with a "dependent" husband who will be the primary breadwinner? How much detail do we have to provide about our financial situation? We are by no means rich.

2. He will have to work full-time as a veterinarian to be able to support us for the duration of the program. Is that possible with the dependent visa? Does he even have a shot getting a job for such a short duration?

3. Are there any living accommodations that are suited for individuals like us who will not be there for that long? Are they affordable? What is renting like in Essex? We have no idea.

4. What is the culture like in Essex? Will they be accepting of an interracial couple?

5. Are there any other ways beyond the traditional means to locate funds for school? I want to ease any burden on my husband as much as possible.

Any and all suggestions are so so so welcome.

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

The information related to Student visas can be found on the UK Gov website; this link will take you straight there.  Please read it thoroughly and all the links it provides; it's important you understand it.

To try and answer your specific questions:

1. For you to sponsor your "dependant", you will need to earn over a certain amount of money, or have a lot of savings; from what you've said, I suspect you will struggle to qualify.  I think you may find it easier if you do things the other way around; i.e. get him to find a job that earns enough for him to qualify for a work visa, you then accompany him and then apply for your course once you get over the immigration hurdle.

2. A vet is a regulated profession in the UK; your husband needs to check that his qualification(s) are recognised and if not, find out what he needs to do to sort that out.  I recommend he uses something like LinkedIn to reach out to other vets in the UK to find out who/if anybody is hiring and what the salaries are.

3. Universities normally have single accommodation (known as "halls" for students in their first year of study); when my daughter went it was a small single room with en-suite shower, that's it - they don't supply married accommodation, but I'm sure if you contact them directly they may know of alternatives - you won't be the first one asking these questions.

4. The US is not unique in its citizen's attitude to people of colour; you will find xenophobes everywhere.  That said, it's a university, there are people living and working there from all over the world, so I suspect the locals are tolerant.

5. The usual ways that students subsidise their incomes (bar work, fast food, restaurants) are pretty much closed because of COVID - you may want to delay your journey

If you have any further specific questions, then please come back to us.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

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