What not to do when planning your expatriation

What not to do when planning your expatriation

What not to do when planning your expatriation

If you’re looking to emigrating to an unfamiliar overseas destination and don’t have time to fully research the location online, what’s the best way to collect the necessary information for a rational decision?

The majority of expats new to this fascinating lifestyle game invariably head for online reviews placed by companies listing expat destinations based on their merits as rated by those who’ve been there and done that. However, for those to whom this is all new, ratings aren’t the best way to decide on a location as they’re normally not sector-specific as regards actual jobs and even less reliably informative if retirement is the reason for expatriation. Expat forums can give useful information posted by those at the sharp end of their experiences, but replies by other expats often go out of focus and lose their relevance.

Another seemingly helpful source could be local company websites providing services for would-be or newly-arrived expatriates, but these are often click-bait for their sales and should be considered as advertorials rather than unbiased advice hubs. One of the most essential aspects of emigration is visas, whether they’re for employment along with a work permit, for retirement purposes of even for marriage with a local partner. The first step is to approach your preferred country’s Embassy website and check out the financial and personal requirements and their costs, as well as the possibility of getting permanent residency.

What you’ll learn is the law of the country, although some visa agents may suggest this, that or the other can be bypassed, usually by a payment of some sort. At this point, you’re best advised to find another visa agent or go through the entire process yourself. The same rule applies to helpful locals, especially where specific housing is a requirement, and checking your right to own a house, its land or even an apartment is essential in order to avoid making an expensive mistake. Visiting your preferred location several times is a must, and joining up with a local expats’ club before your move can be a good start as regards getting unbiased, truly helpful advice, even although some are slanted towards one nationality and may not immediately seem to have pertinent answers for your needs.

Lastly, there are a number of dedicated websites advertising a complete relocation service including removals, finding a suitable property, introducing the region to new arrivals, arranging visas and even providing financial services offering investments and savings plans. This last should be avoided at all costs, as many new arrivals in foreign lands have lost all or most of their life savings due to so-called IFAs working illegally and living well on commissions for introducing unsuitable and occasionally disastrous investments sold to unsuspecting newcomers.

As with every other life-changing lifestyle choice, common sense and a healthy dose of suspicion are your best friends, and trusting your instincts will save you from the wrong decision at the wrong time. For every one of those who wished they’d done things differently, there are thousands of happy expats who’ve found their perfect home from home and are living their new lives comfortably as a result.

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