Considerations To Make When Moving Abroad

 

Have you ever visited somewhere on vacation and gone home dreaming you could live where you visited full time? It’s a fantasy many people have, but some brave souls aren’t content to leave it at wishing, and they take action to make their dream come true. Emigrating to a new country is far from simple, but you wouldn’t expect it to be considering how massive a change it will make to your life and the lives of the people you know and love. If you’ve been wondering about the possibility of starting a new life overseas, there are a few considerations you need to make first.

What should you check before applying to immigrate?

You need to familiarize yourself with every aspect of a new country before committing to moving because if you didn’t know about a crucial factor that could affect your new life, it’s going to be a major headache living with it or trying to find a way to return to your native land. Key factors to consider include:

  1. What language is spoken in your favored country? If you aren’t fluent in the main languages, you need to make an effort to learn them, not just because it will make life far easier for you if you move, but because you’ll need to be proficient in the official language if you wish to apply for permanent residency or citizenship.
  2. Cost of living: how much is it going to cost you just to live day to day in your new home? Groceries, gas, clothes; all your purchases could vary a great deal from what you’re used to paying, and some countries will be far more expensive to live in.
  3. Lifestyle tolerances: what are the legal and social attitudes to important aspects of your life such as religion, freedom of expression, sexuality, and gender identification? Make sure your new country is as tolerant or more so than your homeland.
  4. Weather: If you’ve only seen your dream location when the weather was warm and sunny, have you thought about what it might be like when there are bad or even extreme weather conditions? Do they have deep snow, or monsoons; floods, or droughts? Is the climate humid or dry, and are you able to cope with the prevailing conditions?
  5. Political climate: Is this a relatively stable country, and does it broadly follow your fundamental belief system? This may be a consideration you need to bear in mind before you do anything else in regards to moving.
  6. Laws and policing: Is there a robust legal system that protects you from harm at least as well as the system you’re leaving? What sort of powers does the police force have, and are there any problems with the criminal justice system – apart from those that are inherent in most systems?
  7. Healthcare: What arrangements are there for healthcare in your new country? If you’re moving from one of the few places that have free or subsidized healthcare for its citizens, you might get a shock when you see how much medical treatment costs in other countries. Also, what is the standard of care like? Will you have the same access to the best forms of treatment should you fall ill? This is another area that can be overlooked if you rush into things regarding your move.
  8. Schools and further education: If you have children or you intend to pursue a course of study, what are the school systems and educational facilities like? What choices do you have when it comes to education and further study?
  9. Lifestyle: What facilities are there, for example, broadband access, television channels, radio reception, shopping, sports, leisure facilities? Think about your interests and how you want to spend your time, and see if these match what’s available in the country you’re researching.
  10. Transport: What is the public transport provision like? Even if you don’t use it where you live now, it could be important in your new home. Are the road systems good, and what are prices like for fuel and servicing? Can you buy the kinds of vehicles you like? For instance, you might need to make sure you can buy a decent pickup in Scandinavia; a spacious family car in the UK; or if you prefer Japanese and Korean cars, view here to find out about buying a Kia or Hyundai in Spain. Getting around will be particularly essential for school runs or the commute to work. You should consider the best transport before you make your move, otherwise, you may end up without a car when you need it; this can be a nightmare to sort out later down the line.
  11. Work: are there opportunities in the sectors that you are skilled in, and does the country want to encourage people with your skill set to emigrate? You may have to consider retraining, or taking additional qualifications to enable you to qualify for work.

What does it mean to emigrate?

Emigrating means going to live in a country where you don’t currently reside, with the intention of it being long-term and most likely permanent. Sounds simple, but there are different ways in which you can stay in a foreign country for longer than a vacation period, all of which you need to be familiar with.

  1. Visas: a visa is a permit issued to you by the government of the country you’re visiting, that allows you to stay for a set time and specific reason. There are all sorts of reasons you might need a visa beyond being a tourist – it could be for studying or research, family related events like marriages and funerals, your work, or healthcare to name but a few. Some countries don’t require visas for tourists, but would for other purposes, or if you’re planning to stay for an extended period of time (which could be between 30 and 90 days, depending on your destination.)
  2. Permanent Resident Status: You may be granted permanent resident status if you fulfill certain criteria in your chosen country and plan to stay long-term to work or study. Typical requirements include passing a criminal record check, and being able to prove you can support yourself. You’d normally apply for permanent resident status once you’d been in a country on a visa for at least a year. You may also need to take a citizenship test to show you can integrate into the country’s society. Being a permanent resident isn’t the same as being a citizen, so you don’t have the right to vote for example, or hold public office. You can also have your status revoked if you fail to adhere to the stated requirements.
  3. Citizenship: Citizenship is a naturalization process, whereby you are awarded the same status as people who were born in the country in question. That means you’ll have a passport for your new country, and be able to vote and hold public office. You’ll be treated as a member of your new country’s society, with protection when traveling abroad, and full entitlement to services. To become a naturalized citizen usually requires passing a citizenship exam that demonstrates your familiarity with the language, history and culture of the country. You’d normally be required to have permanent residency status already, and you’ll need to take an oath of allegiance to your new country. Unless you’re eligible for dual citizenship, you’ll have to give up your rights as a citizen of your previous country.
  4. Dual citizenship: You may in some cases be eligible for dual nationality and thus retain your rights in your country of origin as well as having rights in your new country. Your eligibility depends on whether dual citizenship is recognized in your new country, which is an important factor to consider if you’re considering going down this route.

Where can you emigrate?

Theoretically there are many countries you could emigrate to, but a large proportion of them have strict immigration criteria that can be hard to meet. Countries that are politically stable tend to be consistent in their approach to immigration, but the process can be highly complicated, as well as being subject to change. Some countries have a good reputation for having clear expectations and a reasonably welcoming attitude to immigrants, providing they are able to support themselves and contribute to the country’s prosperity, including:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore

How do you increase your chances of being accepted?

There are going to be some specific requirements you need to fulfill, for every country; some will have more than others, some can be almost impossible to get into. You need to spend time researching your intended destination, so that you have a good grasp of the way the country operates, its history, culture, politics, economic status, stability, laws, and safety record. You should also consult the advisory services offered by your government on emigration, and if you know anyone who’s been through the experience, have a chat with them as well.

Deciding to transplant your entire life and your family’s too is one of the biggest changes you can make in your life. If you research thoroughly and plan carefully, it could also be one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences you ever have.

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