With the economic situation in Zimbabwe becoming more and more challenging, a lot of people are looking for an escape. Many cross the border into neighboring South Africa, while others are more ambitious and choose Western destinations. Not to say that South Africa is not ambitious. It is difficult to leave home, even if it is to go to South Africa, for starters, you need to get a passport. When I made my first move, I was clueless, all I had was my suitcase and my dreams. I wish I knew what I know now, but no one ever told me.
Many people always ask me, how I get jobs and how I end up in all sorts of different places, so I am about to dish out some information about moving abroad. Most people suffer from lack of information, and don’t know where to start. The biggest trick with moving abroad is to pick a career that is mobile and in high demand. Many careers are mobile and are shortage areas worldwide, so it will be easy to get a job anywhere in the world. Check out my post on In Demand Jobs Abroad.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
I was chatting to a young man last week and he was telling me of his desire to go and study in the UK. He started asking me some questions and I obliged him with answers. He asked me what the possible salary would be if he got a job as a waiter. I explained to him, that if he was paid the minimum wage, which is about £6, 50 and he was working the required 20 hours allowable as a student, he would earn around £130, 00 a week. The smile on his face was so captivating. I could see the dollar signs and his brain going ka- ching, ka- ching! Then I began explaining to him the costs he would have to pay.
Gas- Electic- Included in Rent
Mobile Phone- £5-10
TOTAL – £150- 180
So, maybe you can skimp around and find cheaper accommodation, or you will be fortunate to find a high paying job. Put there are NO FREE LUNCHES, even if you are living with family. What he had done is, he had converted the £130 to naira, (giving him almost 35 000 naira which is probably his monthly salary) and started to use naira expenses to see how much money he would be making. Unfortunately, when you live in ENGLAND, you pay bills in POUNDS and not in naira or kwacha or rupees.
As is Zimbabwean culture, people always withhold information, or they gloss over the finer details. They always think that you should find out for yourself, they had to, so why should they give it to you on a silver platter. Never mind, the expat blogs are a very useful source of information. They also provide a great deal of interaction with people who have walked ahead of you and those walking the same road as you.
Refer to websites and expat blogs for information whether you are planning to go to study or to work and even if you are just going on holiday. I have lived in many countries and every time I go somewhere new, I always read the expat blogs. It prepares you for what to expect and the resources available there are so valuable. Even if I am going to Zambia or Mozambique, I want to know what to expect. Forewarned is forearmed.
Below are some forums:
British Expat Forum
I always encourage people to plan ahead and have things in place before going to a far away land. It is not enough to say I have friends or relatives in the country. People have a habit of letting you down, once you get there. Zimbabweans in South Africa have a habit of switching off their phones once you arrive at Park Station. Read my post on the art of war- developing a good strategy. It is hard enough living abroad, without having to face the challenges of being an illegal immigrant. Do not set yourself up to become an illegal immigrant.
This route is one of the most common methods of relocating. Most countries will extend permits after graduation allowing you to gain experience in your field. This will also give you the opportunity to apply for Permanent Residency in the country. Choose a course that will give you prospects after you finish and something you will enjoy. If you are planning to work in Zimbabwe after you finish, some programs don’t work like astronomy.
Many countries require skilled workers as their own population cannot supply enough skilled people. From South Africa, all the way to the United States, skilled people are in demand. That is why it is important to choose a course wisely. Teachers(especially science and maths), nurses, doctors, engineers, accountants are all in demand.
Some countries like Australia and Canada have opportunities to apply to become permanent Residents of their countries if you satisfy certain conditions.The criteria often depends on age, education, English language competency, career and so on. There are opportunities for those wishing to start businesses, and have a certain amount of money to invest.
I often get asked about whether it is a good idea to seek asylum. In my view, if you are not at threat, then do not it. Integrity is something that has no value on it. It is priceless. The end does not justify the means. I am not sure if it is still possible to apply for asylum, since there isn’t so much risk in Zimbabwe, so it may not be a wise thing to go for this route. This route, will always keep you guessing as to when you will have to go home. If the policy changes, then you are on your way back home.
I shall continue to expound on how to go about moving, the kind of visas available and so on.
If you’re thinking about a move overseas you might have considered careers such as doctor, engineer or nurse, but what about bee keeper or wine maker? Jobs that are seemingly undervalued in Zimbabwe and Africa in general, tend to be the jobs that are the mobile internationally. Motor Mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, boilermakers and bricklayers (builders) for example are in high demand in Australia and Canada.
With so many skilled people roaming the streets in Zimbabwe it is a shame that they do not realise how valuable their skills are. Others are furthering their education, getting qualifications that give them very little leverage and very little room to find jobs elsewhere. While most people like the concept of dressing smart for work, I find that it is the trades and skilled workers that are highly mobile in today’s world. As they say, we now live in a global village, so it is a plan to tailor your skills to suit the global environment.
As a skilled trades-person myself, I encourage the youth to learn a trade. It is easy to make a living on your own, should you not find employment. It is also easy to migrate, because skills are in short supply worldwide. So choose your career carefully, if you still have the chance to.
In my experience, I may be wrong, but I have found that legal personnel to be the least globally mobile. For one, the law is different in every country and needs some form of conversion before one can practice. Think about it, if you are to get a job abroad, for your employer to get you a work Permit, they must justify that they cannot fill the position locally. Some jobs are hard to justify, for instance sales jobs, unless you are extremely good.
A few tips for building an international career
DO YOUR TIME
Most countries require people with experience. Even if you work for free, once you have experience under your belt, it is easy to move to greener pastures. It is not advisable to relocate soon after graduation unless you have an offer at hand or you are going to further your studies. Most countries will allow you to extend your visa so that you can gain some experience.
While you are getting experience, it is also wise to increase your network. Go to trade shows, training events so as to meet others in your field. Most jobs are not advertised, they are handed over by word of mouth.Get onto LinkedIn and similar social media platforms. Write and comment in discussions to show you are an expert in your field. Be forward thinking. I know many people who swear never to go onto social media, but this is how the world is moving, so its best to get onto that wagon.
BE THE BEST
It goes without saying that if you become a master of your trade, you ‘gift will make room for you.’ When you are good at what you do, you will get headhunted and that makes life just a a little bit sweeter and the move a little bit better. Be the best and you are sure to get headhunted.
Based on data gathered from Robinsons’ 15,000 international relocations completed in the last 12 months, it has cross referenced its most popular emigration destinations – Australia, America, Canada, New Zealand and Spain – with the most sought-after jobs in each country.
And while medics, engineers and the professional services are wanted across the board, there are also a few surprises, with New Zealand needing bee keepers and wine makers, Canada in short supply of chefs, and Australia wanting map makers.
The most unusual jobs across the five destinations were:
For those considering Australia, the most in-demand sectors are currently medical (including doctors, sonographers, nurses, dentists) the professional services (accountants, lawyers), engineering and construction (architects, project managers, surveyors), as well as teaching, telecoms and IT, and skilled-trades.
However, there are also some more unusual roles making the list, including cartographer (a map maker), locksmith, shipwright (specialist ship builder), lift mechanic, forester and stallion master (horse trainer). And with the average Australian wage currently around $72,000 (£42,700), it’s a lot more appealing than the UK equivalent of £28,000. Find out more about working in Australia.
It’s worth checking out the latest government guidelines for the most ‘in-demand’ skills and of course, going through the correct visa procedures
•Tier 1 General visa: for highly skilled migrants seeking employment in the UK, self employed immigrants or immigrants setting up a business,
•Tier 1 Investor visa: designed for those investing large sums of money in the UK,
•Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa: ideal for those setting up or taking over the running of businesses,
•Tier 1 Post-study visa: if you are studying now or have studied in the past in the UK this route is suitable for you.
USA and Canada
Meanwhile, in America, its pharmacists that are the most marketable and they can expect to earn an average of $113,000. However, software engineers are also in demand, commanding a median annual income of $90,530, while physical therapy and speech language pathology also make the list. Discover what it’s like to work in the USA.
Heading further north to Canada, the most in-demand roles are for restaurant and food service managers, medical professionals, skilled and trades people, engineers, construction workers in a variety of sectors, and chefs or cooks. Get advice on the job market in Canada.
The furthest-away destination on the list, New Zealand, is geared towards agricultural roles, as well as construction, nursing and engineering. However, it is also after a more niche skill-set, including Apiray (bee keeping), Arborary (tree surgeon), beef and chicken cattle farmers, and wine makers. Find out about visas, work experience and what it’s like to work in New Zealand.
Spain is currently after professionals with engineering, customer service, IT, finance, online marketing, skilled trades, and language teaching experience. Discover where to look for vacancies and get more information on working in Spain.
Ian Brown, head of international moving at Robinsons Relocation, said, ‘Last year, more than 153,000 people emigrated from the UK, many of who were pursuing careers overseas. Whatever you’re planning on doing for work, it’s worth checking out the latest government guidelines for the most ‘in-demand’ skills and of course, going through the correct visa procedures.
1. Electrical Technician
3. Pipe Fitter
5. Steel Fixer
8. Quality Control/Assurance Inspector
9. Light Duty Driver
12. Service Crew
13. Aluminum Technician
16. Design Engineer
17. Machine Operator
18. Iron Worker
19. Industrial Electricians
20. Tig Welder
22. Mechanical Design Engineer
24. Baker, and
25. Room Attendant.