1. Finding a visa. Depending on where you are immigrating from and to, visas can be hard to come by, with some countries being easier to get into than others. Also, bare in mind, there may be more than one type of visa to get to the same country – find the route most applicable to you and your situation. Consider restrictions on and length of visa.
2. Culture. When choosing a country, consider what languages are spoken, what foods are eaten and if it is actually safe. Make sure you embrace their culture too. For example, in Canada, they tip almost double as much as they do in England. Not our favourite cultural difference!
3. Affordable living. This is a little hypocritical as we immigrated to the second least affordable city in the world but we have adapted accordingly. Compare the cost of living with the average wages in your desired industry – can you make it work financially? Also, consider the cost of regular outgoings like groceries and bills.
4. Job market. Do some research on what the job market is like in your chosen field. Is the pay liveable? Is there a demand for more workers? What qualifications or experience will you need? Are you open to trying different jobs?
5. What do you want from the experience? A very personal question. Consider whether you want to do a lot of travelling, be close to friends and family or progress further in your career. Think about how practical these are.
6. Transport. Not everywhere is accessible on public transport so you may need a car to get around. If you do, think about whether you want to buy one, lease one or just rent one as and when needed. We went back and forward on this issue but eventually decided renting a car every now and then worked out cheaper for us, particularly living downtown.
7. Climate. This will impact a lot of the above – it changes the job industries available, what you can do on your weekends and even your mood. Extra tip: if sun is important to you, avoid Canada!
8. Factor in the exchange rate. It didn’t help us when the exchange rate dropped dramatically weeks before we arrived, effectively costing us hundreds.
9. Have a plan before you leave. Plan all the important parts involved in setting yourself up – familiarise yourself with how banking works, phone plans, best neighbourhoods to live in and public transport.