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Exit the Brexit: Why Working Abroad Could be the Answer

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While unemployment in the UK is shrinking there is a chance it becomes a big issue. Would you move abroad for work? This is why you may need to do it.

After the effects of the recent financial crisis were felt around the world, lots of people thought that the UK could provide the answer to their employment needs. Over the last few years – even before the Brexit was an issue - a large number of young graduates coming from countries in the European Union left their homes in search of a better future. The freedom of movement that citizens of the EU enjoy allowed foreigners to enter and work in the UK. But, it also permitted the UK population to travel in the EU to find a job.

While the UK was better off than other countries such as Spain, Greece and Portugal during the financial crisis, unemployment was still high. According to the Office of National Statistics, the country hit the highest unemployment rate in November 2011 at 8.5 per cent and it is currently at 5.1  per cent, which is its lowest since 2008. Some of the causes for unemployment were structural changes in the economy and job market, geographical, frictional and youth unemployment (skills gap).

But even though things are beginning to look brighter for the UK, the result of the referendum to leave the EU – Brexit – could be limiting people's choices. The Independent even warns, it could increase the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent, which is equivalent to 500,000 lost jobs.

The referendum results were 52 to 48 per cent in favour of the UK leaving the EU, but nothing has really changed yet. Until Article 50 has been triggered and the UK starts the two-year long negotiation phase to leave the EU little is going to happen. Prime Minister Theresa May says she isn't going to do anything before the end of 2016, and Brexit Secretary David Davis suggested that the UK-EU relationship will be finalised by December 2018.

As long as the UK remains within the single market, there will be free movement rights to travel to countries that are part of the EU and vice versa, but if the government chooses to introduce work permit restrictions, this would mean that Britons would have to apply for visas to work in other countries.

Records show that more than 1.22 million Britons are already living and working in EU countries, and their decision to relocate has been seen as an effective measure for tackling unemployment on an individual level.

Relocate or Not?

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Unemployment encourages many people to leave a country and travel somewhere with the hope of finding work. However, relocating can give you – particularly young people – so much more. From this perspective, travelling abroad isn’t so much about running away from unemployment, but improving your career prospects in any way possible.


There are many benefits to relocating. Amongst others, here are some reasons why working abroad can be good for you:

  • Equips you with a unique and wonderful experience that boosts your self-confidence.
  • Exposes you to a new culture and traditional customs improving your cultural awareness.
  • Encourages you to learn a foreign language that can boost your employability.
  • Meet new and interesting people and expand your professional circle.
  • Helps you develop a range of employability skills that look good on your CV.

But that is just the basics. Relocating can also help you advance your career in many other ways. First of all, job opportunities are more accessible abroad as there is less competition for jobs and more vacancies available. Some countries may offer better working conditions like Germany, or Sweden that has recently introduced the six-hour work day.

It also might be better to work in another country where the work environment is better. What’s more, there is a chance you will be getting a higher salary if you are skilled and experienced in your field and can get better employee incentives such as health insurance, time off and bonuses.


But, this doesn’t make relocating easier and there are many things you need to think about before you are ready to take this big step.

Relocating can be difficult because it forces you to leave your home country and probably your family behind. While for the young population relocating for a job can be easier, it becomes more difficult when a family member decides to work or finds a job in another country. If this is the case, then the spouse and the children are required to go through this transition as well.

Even though technology has made it easy to keep in touch with computers and telephones, after spending a long time abroad, it can be a bit too much on anyone. Apart from the homesickness, you also have to think about the costs involved. These may include the flights from country to country and other important transportation expenses.

Important Steps

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Relocating requires that you to do lots of things simultaneously, like finding a new place to live, adjusting to the environment, finding a new job and building a support network of people you can count on. If you are considering of living abroad, here are some steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Choose where you want to live

The first step is choosing the country you want to live in. This might take some time because you want to make sure you are moving to a country that can offer you what you need, not only in terms of jobs but also cost of living and other important details.

If you are a UK resident, you have the option to move to Australia – which now seems to be Britons most preferred option, where the unemployment rate is slightly higher than the UK at 5.6 per cent. Alternative choices for those who wish to leave the country could be the Czech Republic, Malta and Germany, which have the lowest unemployment rates in contrast to other countries according to Statista.

Step 2: Search for a house

It’s often a good idea to start searching for a place to stay before you book your tickets and move out of the house. At this point, you need to think about whether it would be better for you to buy or rent a house. This will largely depend on how long you plan on living abroad.

Step 3: Search for a job

After you figured out where you want to live, the next step would be to search for a job around the area you choose. Alternatively, searching for a job can be done at the same time when you start searching for a house because you seek to work in an area or close to a city centre that offers plenty of job opportunities. You might also want to figure out what type of job you are hoping to get.

Step 4: Calculate the expenses involved

When you have everything settled, you need to calculate the expenses involved in the moving process. This will depend on the distance – how far your new job is and how much time you need to move your belongings to the new location. You might want to think about how much it will cost you to move and store your belongings and transportation costs. It might be a good idea to create a job relocation expenses checklist just like this one by Money-Zine.  

Leaving your home country – whether you come from the UK or elsewhere, and beginning a new life in another is a hard but often good choice. As long as this decision can work in your best interests and helps you become more employable or advance your career, you shouldn’t think about relocating twice. Just like Heraclitus said, ‘the only thing that is constant is change’ and not taking advantage of the opportunities presented to you can be a huge mistake.

Then again, if the costs are bigger than the rewards, you might want to hang in there for some time or look for alternative ways to battle unemployment. What do you say? Have you ever considered of relocating because of a lack of jobs? If yes, what did you do? Let us know in the comments section below…

See Also: Top 5 Traits You Need on Your CV to Work Abroad

The Guardian
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