I work in tech in business development so I'm not sure my skill set would be something that a U.S employer couldn't already get from a employing a local. I'm not interested in marrying a girl I've just met. Is it better to start a company (which may take years to take off) or is it a case of getting an international transfer through an L1 visa after working for a big company for a year?
I am a Canadian Immigration Consultant, and cannot advise you on USA Immigration matters. However, in terms of ethics, your path to legitimate immigration is not via a marriage of convenience. If you have the chops to make a start up work, that is legitimate. If you have a job offer and can proceed via the L1 visa, then this is likely your least complicated route. "Ethical" immigration is universal, and so I my answer is given to you in this vain. Marry for love, not a visa!
I am a US immigration attorney focused on corporate immigration. The fastest way to get into the US (and stay here long term) as a UK national is to open your own business in the US. You would need to create your own business and sink your own money into creating the business. If you do so, you will be eligible to come to the US and run your business. You will be able to stay in the US for two year periods but the visa is renewable indefinitely. I
If you come to the US on an L-1 or other employment based visa you will be able to work on setting up another company but you will not be able to actually be employed by the company you have created.
If you are only interested in finding employment here, working for a company that could transfer to the US would work. Employers also can apply for an H-1 visa on April 1st for employment commencing on October 1st.
If you would like to talk about the process for starting your own business in the US, I would be happy to talk with you.
You can submit to a green card lottery. You can get a job and thus a sponsor for a visa. You can get an education visa or join the armed forces.
As for tech, yes, the US tech market never really recovered after it burst in the 2001-2003 time frame and the jobs are still pouring out. Tech employees are in huge demand in Russia, India and China. Russia is obviously the most European of the 3 and visas are very easy to get if you are in the highly qualified specialist category (15 work days from being submitted by your employer and no quotas). Minimum salaries have to be 2 million rubles ($55k/yr) and health insurance. Moscow has a 0.6% unemployment rate, Russia a 5.8% rate.
India and China also require sponsors. Salaries are much lower than Russia's and India is not nearly as sanitary....big however....in India at least, your money will go much further than in Russia. Things are simply cheaper.