Remittance: your guide to working abroad

At some point in their lives individuals might consider working abroad. For most, it goes no further than that, a whim that remains unfulfilled. However, for a significant number, the dream becomes a reality, perhaps in the form of a gap year between high school and university, a complete change of lifestyle, or as part of a career move while working for a multi-national company.

Where to go – Middle East and Singapore

For some, the decision on where to relocate may be, to at least some extent, made for them. Employees of multi-national corporations are often persuaded to move overseas by the promise of promotion and enhanced levels of remuneration. Even so, there is often a degree of choice; for example, for individuals employed in banking it might be between the Middle East and Singapore.

Singapore is regarded as one of the cleanest countries around, with virtually no crime. Educational standards are high, as is the cost of living. Only China offers better employment prospects, and the high salaries paid to skilled workers in Singapore more than offset the day-to-day living costs.

In the Middle East, Qatar is the place to be for anyone employed in petrochemicals, technology, tourism, and construction. Taxes are low and the country has the highest per capita income of anywhere in the world.

Where to go – Europe, Canada and Australia

For many, it is the thought of spending an extended period in places they have always wanted to explore or destinations that they have previously visited on vacation that attracts them. Europe, Canada, and Australia tend to be the most popular choices.

All these countries have strict immigration laws, so it will invariably be necessary to obtain a work permit. Australia operates a Skilled Occupations List (SOL), and in order to be considered for admission, the would-be applicant’s job must appear on it. In Europe, highly skilled professionals are in demand, and it is possible to obtain short-term seasonal work.

Canada is currently trying to attract expats to the country in order to jump-start its economy. One scheme, Canadian Experience Classic (CEC), hopes to bring in 15,000 permanent residents. It is aimed at people who have lived in the country for a minimum of one year. A second scheme, Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP), is designed to attract immigrants to the provinces rather than major cities.

Preparation

Having decided to work overseas, the first step is to start saving and to plan ahead. Think about where to live and work, where children will go to school, and whether any vaccinations will be required. Next, check out the immigration laws in the chosen destination. It can often take months to obtain a visa and any other documentation that may be required. Some individuals have been waiting for up to eight years for permission to enter Canada. Investigate local tax rates, the cost of education and healthcare, and then prepare a detailed budget.

Consider how to send and receive money to and from family and friends back home; online agencies such as Transfast.com are well worth investigating.

Finally, remember that working abroad is meant to be a great adventure, a way of experiencing a new country with different cultures and traditions. It should also be a way of making new friends and enhancing career prospects. Above all, it should be fun!

Simon OatesRemittance: your guide to working abroad

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