So here's another new user being shot down for daring to ask about au pair/student visas (welcome to Travel.SE!). The current consensus as defined by Ankur Banerjee in this answer is that the following are Allowed:

Business travel
Working holiday

And the following are Not Allowed:

Immigrant workers
Permanent residents

Which means we're telling the exchange student and the au pair to sod off, while simultaneously welcoming the fruit-picker on a one-year working holiday in Australia, and exploding in a puff of logic the next time somebody comes around to ask about working as an au pair on a working holiday visa. Wat.

I propose we redefine the bar simply:

  1. Going somewhere for up to a year? Welcome to Travel.SE.
  2. Going somewhere for over a year/permanently? Scoot off to Expatriates.

And for avoidance of doubt, 'permanent travelers' who stay on the road for >1y without intention of settling down are OK in my book.


  • I appreciate the effort to set a line, but just a thought - working holidays for Aussies in Canada, or Kiwis in the UK - are set at 2 years :/
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:20
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    And if it's just one year, we risk expats who only aim to live in a place for one year - there's really no diff between them and long-term expats - tax etc are all the same, and better off in expats (When it starts).
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:21
  • Considering it, I almost wonder about allowing working holidays. It seems to be the exception messing everything up - the only one where going there to live (short term) is permitted.
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:22
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    Also you'll note that the reasons are not just because it's considered off-topic for the question you're linking to, but because it's unclear what he's asking, which is one of the selected close reasons.
    – Mark Mayo
    Feb 12, 2014 at 6:27
  • Sure, but that's not what I'm asking about. Feb 12, 2014 at 9:45
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    @MarkMayo I don't think the way we treat WHV are “messing things up” as much as it reveals how complex and inconsistent this distinction really is.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 12, 2014 at 12:21
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    Also, we regularly react negatively to people who feel like expats but are really asking about travel. Usually, we realize it in time but that's quite revealing too.
    – Relaxed
    Feb 12, 2014 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


I expressed my discontent with the current state of affairs and the tendency to create many narrowly focused sites many times but it seems the expat site could be launched shortly. One approach could therefore be to see how it develops and act accordingly:

  • If working holidays or au pair stays are well covered there, we could tighten our rules and start migrating such questions when we get them.
  • If it turns out the expat site doesn't want these questions or doesn't address them properly, we could adopt the one-year threshold or something along these lines to make sure they don't fall through the cracks.
  • If the overlap is big and the expat site fails to gather enough activity, we could consider a merge and redefine the topic of this site a bit more broadly. The question would then be moot.

Why set a bar at all? Simply apply what has consistently been the favored option on Meta, namely:

Expats are often simply medium-term travelers; thus expat questions are on-topic here.

If you're planning to come back home, then you're a traveler. If you're making yourself a new home, you're an immigrant.

  • I totally agree, but you may have an even harder time selling this... Feb 13, 2014 at 5:29
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    If you're planning to come back home, then you're a traveler. If you're making yourself a new home, you're an immigrant - Can't say I agree. US H1 visa is 3 years long + 3 year extension. At the end you might have to go back home but you're not a traveler
    – Karlson
    Feb 21, 2014 at 21:29

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