The Main Barriers to Relocation – And How to Get Around Them (Part Two)
In the first half of this article we referred to the five main barriers to relocation, as listed in a recent major survey. These included: being offered an insufficient relocation package, having difficulties with visas/work permits, concerns regarding the economic climate, insufficient job opportunities and family considerations.
In Part One we took a closer look at the first two points, and suggested ways in which the issues might be combated.
In Part Two we’ll be looking at the last three points, starting with…
The Economic Climate
Since the global economic crisis struck in 2008 it feels like recessions have taken over the world, and that no nation will ever emerge unscathed from the turmoil.
And over the years there have been numerous horror stories regarding expats who moved overseas (for retirement as well as work) only to be so financially worse off that they had to return home – so is it any wonder that the economic climate is putting people off making such a huge emotional/financial commitment?
However, don’t just automatically assume that the economic climate has put an overseas relocation beyond your reach.
Countries have been affected by the financial crisis to different degrees, and while some have floundered others have risen to the challenge. Do some thorough research into the nations you’ve been considering moving to. Look into their cost of living, property market, employment opportunities and growth prospects, and compare with your home country – the grass may actually be greener abroad then you think.
And if it isn’t? Well you may still find that you can afford to move overseas as long as you budget comprehensively and are realistic about the style of living you’ll be able to adopt.
But do bear in mind how much the process of emigrating will cost you. In order to plan effectively you’ll need to answer these questions: Are you buying or renting an overseas property? Will you have to furnish the property yourself or will have your own things shipped over? What will you do with your current property? Have you got a job lined up? If not, have you got enough saved to tide you over for at least several months? Have you looked into health insurance? Have you discovered which method of transferring your funds overseas is most financially viable?
Once you’ve answered these questions you may find that now isn’t the right time for you to move abroad… or you might find that the current economic climate makes now exactly the right time for such an exciting transition!
Insufficient Job Opportunities
According to the survey mentioned above a large proportion of individuals aged 21-30 reported a lack of job opportunities in their sector as the main thing deterring them from a move overseas.
As some countries require you to have a job lined up beforeyou move (meaning that you can’t be issued with a visa without the backing of an employer) it’s understandable that a perceived lack of relevant positions might be off-putting.
But when it comes to looking for work overseas it can pay to think outside the box a little, and enter your job search with a completely open mind.
If you’re hoping to begin a new career abroad you may need to accept that (to begin with) you won’t be able to get employment at the level you’ve worked your way up to at home.
Many people find that in order to support themselves overseas they have to accept taking a pay cut or lower-level position, retrain, or else apply for positions that they might never have considered before.
This might be disheartening, and even a little daunting, but if you really have your heart set on working overseas don’t let it put you off, and don’t dismiss a seemingly irrelevant job opportunity at first glance. This also doesn’t mean you’re taking a step backwards career-wise, as the experience you’ll gain from your overseas posting may prove invaluable and it could make you more attractive to future perspective employers.
Before you start applying for positions see which skills are most in-demand in the nation you’ve got your eye on, which sectors offer the most employment opportunities, and which jobs appeal to you/seem achievable. Then look at your own skills and qualifications. After first checking that they are transferable, ask yourself if they can be differently applied or whether you have skills you don’t use in your current job which could be utilised.
For example, just because you were a Marketing Director at home doesn’t mean that’s all you can be abroad. Someone with marketing qualifications/experience is likely to be an attractive applicant for a huge range of positions in PR, Advertising, Media, and Communications. Someone with this kind of background may also want to consider fundraising positions, agency work and analytics posts.
The results of the survey showed family considerations to be far and away the main barrier to relocation – so it seems that while living with them might be annoying and difficult at times, it’s preferable to living without them.
Many people are put off the idea of moving abroad because they don’t know how they’ll cope without the support which comes from having regular interaction with family and friends. Others are put off moving because they are concerned about how their loved ones will feel about the change or because they don’t want to be weighed down by guilt for leaving them behind.
But while it’s important to think seriously about how being away from your friends and family will affect both you and them it’s essential to look at the bigger picture.
Is a move overseas best for you in the long run? Do you think it will make you more financially secure, more professionally challenged or more personally content?
If the answer to these questions is yes then you owe it to yourself to give relocating a shot, even if only on a temporary basis. Your family might not like the idea of you leaving, but once they can see you happy and settled they’re bound to come round to the idea. Furthermore, if you turn down a good opportunity just to please them, long-term resentment could cause some serious damage to your family harmony.
If it’s your own concerns standing in the way you might find it useful to look into how much flights home would cost, and realistically calculate how many trips back you would be able to afford to make each year. If you’re going to be based a short-haul flight away you may find that you’ll be able to afford a brief trip home every month, or every other month.
Of course, things aren’t so simple if the nation you have your heart set on is a 12 hour flight away. If you don’t think you could handle only getting to go home once or twice a year, maybe think about relocating to a closer overseas nation, or talk to your work about the possibility of including flights home in your relocation package.
If you’re moving overseas with your family, it may be the case that some members are more excited about the transition than the rest. If that’s the case, you should all get together and have a frank conversation while you’re still in the early planning stages – and encourage everyone to be honest about how they feel about the move. If family members have concerns try and work on a solution, but if no real solution can be found ask them if they honestly think they can live with the issue. If the answer isn’t 100% positive moving overseas may not be right for your family right now.