Making an informed decision about leaving the country

For some people migration is just one of several possible opportunities to enhance their standards of living or career opportunities, while for others migration is the only way to escape war, famine, or other situations that make their stay in the area of origin almost impossible. Still, in both situations there is a certain level of decision making that is involved. During the preparation for this Toolbox we have come upon more than 100 stories, and the one thing that most of them have in common is this: there were a lot of aspects that the young migrants did not consider when they chose to move to another country.

 

Therefore, we have gathered important factors to consider before leaving. Here are some tips that the migrants we interviewed offered for the ones seeking a job abroad:

 

General aspects:

  • Knowing (quickly learning) the language (or at least English) is a very big help for finding a job
  • Being informed about the bureaucracy associated with working and living in that country, getting your residence, etc. This will increase a lot of your options, helping you not to jump for the first option.
  • Research the salaries and costs of living in the country. It is sometimes the case that even if the salary you are promised is much higher than in your country of origin, compared to the higher prices you will find it can mean you will have an even lower standard of living.
  • Search for a job before deciding to leave. This will help you evaluate your options without having the pressure of finding work for paying your expenses in the new country.

 

Cost of living:

  • Remember that a higher salary does not always mean that the life standard will be better – especially for services, the higher the average salary of a country is, the more expensive they are. It is also worth mentioning that on average, migrants often earn less than the locals.
  • There are several on-line tools that can help you to easily get an estimate of the costs of living in a country. For example, numbeo.com offers country to country comparison (https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/calculator.jsp).

 

Taxes, insurance, medical and other public services:

  • One of the first things to do is to register with the local authorities. This step allows you to further benefit from different services that are typically available to residents, but also to make sure you follow your legal obligations (for example paying your taxes to your place of residence).
  • Find out what medical services there are available in your area and what your social security covers and if there is a need for any private medical insurance.
  • Research further into local taxes, building regulations, education systems, and the public transport system, which will be a part of your everyday life.
  • There can be significant differences in public services between the countries, so do not be afraid to ask locals, other expats or information desks for more info. Never assume that you will do things a certain way just because this was the case in your home country.
  • For EU citizens moving to another EU country, the regulations state that by being residents they should have the right and obligations as the locals, no matter their citizenship.

 

Overall, each of these factors can have a significant influence in the overall decision of moving abroad. After thinking about it more thoroughly, one might consider that the decision is not right for him. Others might choose a different country of destination. Others might have the validation of the idea that migration is the solution and will be better prepared. But in any case, as confirmed by the ones we interviewed, making an informed decision about leaving the country is a must, a necessary step that can make the difference between a good and a bad experience.