Moving to another country for work comes with its dose of pros and cons. You face the prospect of leaving your family behind and starting a new life in a country with different cultures and customs as your homeland. If you are an adventurous bird, there is no doubt you will embrace the opportunity to learn a new culture and meet new people with open arms. It gets even more exciting when you have a variety of countries to choose from.
So, what should you consider in order to choose a country that will not only benefit your career, but also enhance your social and personal life? Read on to find out:
1. Visa Conditions
Unless you read the fine print of all the visa regulations of the countries you wish to move to, you are likely to miss crucial information. If you are not an attorney, it is highly advisable to hire one, because some regulations may be written in a legal language. Here are important questions you should ask yourself regarding visa conditions?
- How often should I renew a visa? If a country requires foreign workers to renew their visa after a very short-time --maybe a year or two—it is safer to avoid it, because sooner or later you may receive the dreaded message, ‘Visa Denied’. As a general thumb of rule, don’t rely on visa renewals or extensions
- What job can I or can I not do? Some visas specify the kind of jobs you can do while in the host country. Such visas will deny you occupational flexibility, meaning you can’t change jobs or switch employers. Woe unto you if you get fired
- Should I have a confirmed job? Some countries will only accept your work visa application of you have a confirmed job, in which case you will also be required to provide an employment contract. Avoid such countries if you don’t already have a job offer.
2. Tax Rates
You don’t want to move to a country where a substantial amount of your earnings will be sliced by the taxman.
For your financial wellbeing, move to a country with the lowest taxes. According to Forbes, Belgium, Finland, Germany and Denmark are some of the countries with the thirstiest taxman, while the US, Canada, Switzerland and Australia are some of the most generous.
3. Political and Economic Stability
Unless you are a mercenary or war crimes investigator, you don’t want to move to a country with an unstable or unpredictable political system. You may be caught up in political turmoil that can negatively affect your career. Similarly, avoid countries that don’t have a stable economy. Consider how the country’s local currency holds up against the US dollar or British Pound before making up your mind. Generally, countries with competitive currencies are economically stable, and as a direct result, have higher employment rates.
4. Social and Cultural Factors
Your socio-cultural life or background has a direct impact on your career. For instance, if you are a staunch Christian, you will find it very difficult to work in an Islamic environment because of the sharp differences in Christian and Islamic religious practices. Socio-cultural conflicts or shocks that can harm your career.
Although you may also be looking to learn a new culture, evaluate how it will affect your work before reaching a decision. Will you have to learn a local language in order to start working? How long will it take you to learn this language? If you find that learning a new culture will in the long run derail your career, then move to a country with a similar culture as your native country.
Other things to consider include:
- National average wage index
- Number of foreign workers in the country - Countries with a few foreigners may not be welcoming
- Distance to your home country (in case you become home sick, or you need to get home real quick).
At this point, you’ll definitely have a clearer picture of what you need to consider before moving to another country for work. So choose wisely before accepting that diplomatic service job or making that decision to find greener pastures abroad.