7 Things You Must Consider Before Relocating Abroad
Times are changing. No longer do people like to stay in the same city for their whole life. A lot of young couples are open to relocating to different parts of the world, in order to travel and explore. They are up for the challenges and perks of relocating and increasing connectivity has made relocation even easier. However, taking the decision of relocating to a particular country is one of the most crucial decisions of your life. Relocation is not the cup of tea it looks to an outsider and there are multiple factors you need to consider before relocating. In this article, I will shed light on factors which need to be considered before relocating to a country with your partner.
First and foremost, you need to consider the difference in financial earnings in your home country vs the country you are planning to relocate to. If you’re part of a couple, you need to look at your combined earnings after tax. It’s very likely that one of you might have got a transfer and the other one might work for a company who don’t have an office in that country.
In this case, it’s a good idea to make calculations using the worst case scenario, which is considering your partner doesn’t get a job in the country you relocate to. Once you have calculated your earnings, don’t forget to calculate your savings. Sometimes there may be a huge difference in earnings, however considering the difference in cost of living, travel, insurance premium etc. it might not end up being such a huge difference. You can find the cost of living in a particular country on sites by doing a bit of research online. Facebook also has country-specific expat groups, you can join those and post your queries to find information from fellow expats.
Career Considerations for the Trailing Spouse
First of all, if you are planning to relocate on a dependent visa, you need to find out if you are allowed to work in the country you are relocating to. Countries like the Netherlands allow the spouse of a highly skilled migrant to work on a dependent visa. Then, you can view the kinds of jobs available in the city and if they match your experience on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.
Don’t forget to check the language requirement for the jobs you find relevant. While English might be the predominant business language, some companies require you to know the local language as well. There are also employment reports by sector which are readily available on the internet. You can have a look at these to give you an idea about the availability of opportunities in your sector. If you find relevant opportunities, you can also have a look at the salary range of the position. Sites like Glassdoor or Payscale can help you with this. Then finally, you can calculate the best case scenario of your in-hand combined earnings and savings by assuming you get a job 4-6 months after relocation (This is the average amount of time which expats take to find a job in a new country).
Quality of Life
Once your finances are sorted, you need to consider the quality of life. Is the city you are moving to very polluted? Is it very crowded? Is it too silent for you? What is the crime rate in the city? How is the public transport, is it punctual? If you plan on buying a car, then what is the procedure for obtaining a driving license? (In some countries like the Netherlands, you can exchange your home country driving license for a Dutch driving license, if you are eligible for 30% ruling.) What is the procedure for visa application and how long does it take? How long is it valid for? On the basis of these factors and your likes and dislikes, you can decide whether you want to relocate.
Travel and Friends
If you are a passionate traveler like me, you might want to consider the connectivity of the city you are relocating to with major destinations you want to visit. This is especially true in the case of Europe. The countries in Europe are very well connected. On top of that, a Residence Permit for one country in the Schengen group gives you the right to travel to other countries in the group. This ensures hassle-free travel. If you love to socialize, you should also consider if any of your friends are already in the region. You can talk with them and get another view on life in the city. This will help you to validate your research.
If you are from countries like India, where it is very easy to get household help as well as people who cook for you, this is something you definitely want to consider. In the majority of western countries, domestic help is not as cheap and convenient as some of the eastern countries, so be ready to do the groceries, cleaning and cooking yourself. If both of you are working, talk with your partner about sharing the responsibility and work out a middle way. If both of you prefer having domestic help, then you might want to consider only countries where such an option is available.
While English is a common language internationally, in many countries the local language will be predominant. Check whether talking in the language you are fluent in will work in the country where you plan to relocate. If not, then it’s time to learn the local language. Apps like Duolingo will help you learn the language.
Tenure of Relocation
If you are relocating because one of you got transferred, then you will either have a short-term assignment or a long-term assignment. The duration of the assignment will vary. You need to take into consideration the relocation time vs the time you will spend in the new country. Generally, it takes a minimum of 3 months on average to plan a relocation (visa, shopping, packing, house hunting, etc). If you have a short-term assignment for 3-6 months in the new country, then you need to decide if you are willing to go through the entire process for such a small duration of time.
Well, these are the considerations if only you and your partner are relocating. Of course, if you have kids, you need to take into consideration schooling facilities available in the new city, day care facilities if required and so on. This post is limited to the considerations of relocating to a new country with just you and your partner! Hope you all had a great time reading the post and it helps you all in deciding if you want to relocate.