Many of us love the idea of working abroad, but only a few of us ever take the plunge. The prospect of working in another country can be daunting - a bit of a leap of faith - but if you like the idea of living in another country, finding work overseas can be easier than you might think.
There are plenty of positives to living and working abroad; high standards of living, financial benefits, and great career opportunities.
It’s a good idea to think about which aspects of working life are important to you when planning your move; each country has its own way of doing things which is reflected in its economic culture.
If you are looking for a place to make a career and enjoy benefits like expenses and travel reimbursement, attractive remuneration and low living costs, you might consider China as a destination, whereas if you’re hoping for a relaxed environment, a good work / life balance and the chance to enjoy outdoor life after work, New Zealand could be the place for you.
If you're looking to move overseas to start a career it’s worth thinking about which aspects of your working life are important to you when planning your move. Different countries offer different benefits.
New Zealand is ranked as having the best work/life balance in the world. Companies here tend to be much smaller in size than other countries - a huge number of businesses average under 14 employees. This can mean you’ll be able to get involved in more areas of the business because of this which is great for personal development. A positive attitude is a must if you’re planning on working in New Zealand, and independent working is encouraged so expect to use your initiative! The open spaces and outdoor activities available make it a great place to enjoy your time outside of work too.
If you are looking for an enriching, truly cosmopolitan experience then the UAE could be for you; up to 85% of the workforce here are non-nationals so you’ll be sure to meet an eclectic mix of people whilst working here. One of the major draws to this country is the lack of income tax; the wages are already better than average which is a great combination for those hoping for extra funds for spending or saving.
Singapore ranks as the easiest country to do business with, and it seems that moving there for work is also really simple. Singapore’s small population is declining in size, so employers are keen to hire foreigners to live, work and boost the economy. Getting hold of a working visa is a quick process and depending on your monthly earnings it can be just as easy to obtain a residency pass for partners and children. For budding entrepreneurs looking to start their own venture Singapore should be a consideration; it takes just 3 days to start a business here, and it can all be done online!
Industry is currently booming in China which is generating a lot of jobs for local and foreign workers. Your best bet for finding work in China would be to gain employment with an international company and try for a transfer abroad, as there is a lot of competition for skilled work here. The cost of living in China is low; you can go out to eat in the evening and spend the equivalent of as little as £1.30 on a good meal and the rent for a modern two-bedroom apartment is upwards of just £450 per month. You could eat out every night, live in a nice area whilst enjoying an active social life and still be able to save some money. There’s a lot to do in your free time too, China is steeped in history and offers hundreds of famous landmarks to visit like the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army and the Forbidden City in Beijing, to name but a few.
Switzerland is known for having extremely low taxes and high wages, Zurich and Geneva ranked as the two top cities for wages. The health, education and public transportation services have also been ranked as some of the best in the world in which may be the reason its ranked as the 2nd happiest country on earth in the 2016 update of the World Happiness Report.
Sweden is a country that takes equality and workers’ rights very seriously, the strength of the employee unions shows in the benefits of those working; 18 months paid parental leave and job security on your return to work, flexible sickness policies and very rigorous health and safety systems shows that the welfare of employees is paramount. The Good Country Index also places Sweden top for health & Wellbeing and Prosperity & Equality. Swedish companies are also known for being at the forefront of sustainable working which shows their ability to constantly innovate.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular destinations for expats. If you’re looking high wages Australia is a good option with some of the highest average salaries available. The cost of living here is also high, but even with the additional expenditure you could still find yourself taking home a healthy wage. Unemployment is low in Australia; there are too many jobs for the number of skilled workers available which bodes well for someone looking to find work. For those looking for a temporary stay, you can apply for a ‘working holiday’ visa which lasts up to a year.
Canadians are known for being some of the most polite people on the planet, which is an important part of their culture – if you decide to move here remember your Ps and Qs! The standard of living is good with comparatively high wages and free healthcare offered for those working. If you’re looking to move abroad with family, Canada allows your spouse to work, and your children to go to school for free whilst you hold a valid working visa. If you have a specific skill under your belt you could take advantage of the Express Entry Immigration system. This was set up by the Canadian Government in 2015 and includes a number of industries with a shortage of skilled workers for the jobs available. Providing you meet the criteria set out by the system you can be considered for permanent residency and the application can be done online – it only takes 1-2 business days to find out if you’ve been successful.
Ireland is known as one of the friendliest country in the world, what more reason could you need to move somewhere?! As well as that, since the global financial crisis in 2007 Ireland has shown its resilience, in 2015 the economy was reported to have surpassed growth levels seen before the crash. A number of international companies have moved their operations to Ireland since this date and as a result of this a lot of jobs have been generated, particularly in sectors such as IT, science, engineering and finance.
Thailand often appears on lists such as these, and you may wonder why as there aren’t as many opportunities for earning high wages as elsewhere. The attraction with Thailand seems to be the fact that you don’t have to earn a lot of money to live comfortably. In the North of Thailand, it can cost as little as the equivalent of £140 per month for an apartment outside of the city centre, with prices increasing as you go further. There are jobs to be found within the larger companies in Bangkok which is more commercial than rural areas, and there has been an influx of remote workers in the recent years which offers the best of both worlds; international work and wages with low living costs.
There are certain industries that foreigners are not allowed to work in to protect the employment of nationals so you’ll need to check on this before deciding on Thailand as your destination; there’s some helpful information on the Thai Embassy website here. Medical, engineering, finance and ICT industries are amongst those open to foreign workers and qualifications earned in the UK are widely recognised in Thailand.
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