I know we've been down this road a few times before, but the lack of a migration path has been really bothering me, because it provides an awful experience for people asking questions who wound up in the wrong place from a search engine. We arbitrarily close their questions instead of migrating them (unless one of our moderators catches it) simply because of SE's "beta" site policy.
I'm thinking of posting something like the below to meta.stackexchange, but wanted to bring it up here first and especially to hear from those more active at expats. I have no idea if the SE overlords would even consider establishing a migration path if we keep asking, but I wanted to see if it's something people here think we should pursue.
If we had a migration path, I think we'd all need to be careful to migrate only questions of reasonable quality, so we're not dumping junk on expats, but we get plenty of answerable questions that would be good candidates for automatic migration.
Longstanding policy is to not establish automatic migration paths to sites that are in beta. In the specific case of Travel and Expatriates (a beta site), I believe this situation serves users poorly and causes more trouble than it is worth, and would like to start a discussion on the pros and cons of establishing a migration path between the sites.
Travel receives a large number of immigration-related questions from new users who find the site via search engines. When those questions are about long-term or permanent moves, they are considered off-topic and closed with the message:
"Questions about immigration or moving for extended periods of time (studies or employment, among others) are off-topic. Our sister site, Expatriates Stack Exchange might be a better place to ask. See also the meta post Is it OK to ask questions about immigration?."
This is frustrating for these new users, who are looking for answers to their questions, not SE bureaucracy. We have a site that takes those questions, but they came to the wrong place. That's not their fault, and we should get their questions to the right place. Instead of migrating directly, we just close their question, leaving them to figure out what to do (and not infrequently, we end up providing specific directions on how to ask at Expatriates, or our hardworking moderators perform the migration themselves). This also poses problems when the off-topic question has already been answered, as it will sit closed on Travel (unless caught by a moderator and migrated) instead of remaining open in its proper place.
While I understand the intended reason for the policy is to avoid sending questions to a site that might not be "a permanent fixture" and to help the beta site grow on its own terms, I believe this logic doesn't entirely apply to Travel and Expatriates. Migrating a question to a non-permanent (though 4-year-old) site is still better for the user than having it sit closed and unanswered for being off-topic. And I don't see how it improves the quality of either site to refuse to migrate questions misplaced by inexperienced users.
In the spirit of Be Nice, we should fix this avoidable bad experience for askers and setup a migration path.