The reasons why people are moving abroad for work are as varied as there are individuals. The key ones however are normally, for travelling, while also advancing in their careers, learning new languages and improving their skills, and to look for better work opportunities than are available in their current home.
When it comes to each individual’s reasons for moving, they – and you! – each have 5 common things that should be carefully considered before taking the plunge:
Will you and anyone moving with you be safe in your new abode?
If you’re moving abroad, then likely the most important factor in your decision is your safety. This is especially so if you’re moving with your family, as you will then not only have yourself to look after, but also your loved ones and their security.
Are law enforcement efficient? How are crime rates? Is corruption rife? If you have to pay for personal protection, does this outweigh the benefits of a higher salary? These are all questions you will have to ask and research on before making a decision.
Of course, this doesn’t just include whether moving to a more dangerous location, but also the other way around. If your current country of residence is unsafe for you, then you may want to move to the safest country possible for you, in which case you will ask the same questions.
The first way to research this information is by finding out from your country’s foreign office what their travel recommendations are. Then do your own research online into crimes rates etc. of a possible new country of residence.
Check out our article on safety in Malta.
Will the lifestyle of the new country be easy to adjust to?
When moving, whether overseas or not, there is always a period of re-adjustment, where you need to acquaint yourself to surroundings, the people around you, and the new way of life and culture. Interestingly enough, this is one of the main reasons why cities develop ex-pat communities: because new arrivals find it much easier to adjust to a new culture if the people immediately around them speak the same language as them.
You should bear in mind however adjusting to the new company culture is also an issue. You will spend the majority of your waking time at the company and it is important you feel you are able to get things done in a new company culture. This won’t be as large an issue with multi-national companies, as they tend to create a company-wide culture that is normally based in western values, so will be fairly traditional, and similar to most English speaking countries. However, with smaller companies, this will be an issue, and particularly with certain cultures such as Islam, and Japanese business culture; certain things are done in very different ways.
Will the cost of living in this new culture be outweighed by the new salary?
Many countries such as Norway and New Zealand, and even cities, such as London and Hong Kong have very high costs of living, and while those in other countries may feel that salaries in those places are fantastic, they don’t always meet up with the added monthly expenditure to live in the new place. Those living in London will find the majority of their “fantastic” salaries going on rent, while those in Norway will find it being taxed by government. When moving, you have to make an informed decision about whether the benefits of a new salary will outweigh the new costs of living.
This will be especially complex if you are moving with your family and children. Costs suddenly snowball, and schooling can be a pitfall. In most western countries, such as the UK & US, you will likely be able to send your children to a public school, for a very small cost. However, in some countries, especially Islamic ones, this won’t be an option, and you will have to use an international school. These schools will often charge very high amounts to teach your children as they are in extremely high demand by expats.
Will you be able to take your family to your new country?
While deciding whether or not to move to a new country is easy when you’re young and single, the decision becomes much more difficult when you have a family. You then have more than just your own life and future to think about and responsibility bears hard.
This decision isn’t just based on finances. You have to discuss with your wife and children if they will be able to adapt to the cultural changes if you were to move to say, Saudi Arabia or Thailand, especially if this stops your wife from being able to work. The area you’re moving to may also not be suitable for families because of the activities of other expats around you, or weather.
The previously mentioned schooling issue will also be a big deal, will you be able to send your children to a good public school without paying high fees, or will an expensive international school be your only option?
After these considerations, you may also feel it’s best to keep your family in your original country and send them back money every month!
How will your healthcare be? One often overlooked, yet very important issue is healthcare in your new country. When moving abroad for work, will you have easy access to healthcare? Will it be free at the point of access? Will you have to pay for insurance? Will the healthcare system be adequate enough to deal with most common health problems? These are all issues you should think about, and also discuss with the company you are moving to, before making a decision.
If the country you are moving to doesn’t have a free at the point of access, or affordable healthcare system, it’s very important that your company is able to pay for your insurance costs, otherwise you may find yourself in a horrible position of being out of pocket at the same time as being in ill health.