Moving Abroad- Find information to make the move
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.