Thursday, 24 January 2008

Thinking about migrating?

Not that I am an expert, but some of my friends had asked me what makes me able (or may be prefer) to move from one country to another. If you think is the "money" thing which make me able to do so, that is just 9% right. There is more to migrating than just money. Of course you need to commit some extra fund before migrating, especially when you migrating to more "expensive" country with stronger currency.
I've only move from one country to another twice. Just wanted to quickly share what I've learned so far.

1. Do it while you are young
Most people know, the older we are, we tend to be more resistant to change around us. I mean, look at our parent. No matter how you convince them to migrate, if they are already 50 over. I bet they won't like to migrate anywhere.
The easy example is my parent. They only have 2 children, me and my sister. My sister is in Australia, and me in UK. We thought it's nice if they can spend their retirement in either country, but not in Indonesia. I mean look at what it has offers : political instability, high crime rate, high terrorist attack, poor medical service, outgrowing bribery, flood every year. But I guess they are "so" used to it that they think it's not of a problem.
Another thing that makes a good reason why you should migrate while you are young is financial commitment. Imagine if you have to move with 1 wife and 3 kids, compare when you only have to move yourself there?

2. Don't delay, start planning TODAY
After you think about migrating, try to explore the possibility further. Your plan may be a possible or an impossible plan. There is 2 kind of plan, a good one and a bad one. A good one is the one that perhaps will work out fine even when you decide you don't want to return to your country of origin, a bad plan is like... getting into the other country as illegal immigrant.
Migrating to other country is a serious affair. Some people are so hesitant that they had never really "start" doing anything serious. It reminded me that we had ever did the same mistake. We thought of migrating to UK or US, but had never yet start executing the plan. My husband delaying taking his SAT test, and then causing another delay applying for scholarship... and the list goes on...

3. Looking at entry "option"
Obviously migrating is not just like fly... and land... and that's it. You need to think of how would you "stay" legally at certain country. Employment may be one of the way, but when getting the job across the continent before you make your jump is highly impossible, as in UK you can try to apply HSMP (High Skilled Migrant Permit) to enter UK with your own sponsorship. But there is a lot of catch with that as you need to prove that you earn quite significantly on your previous job and your ability to get another one as you arrive in UK.
The most economical in short term and less of a stress is becoming a student and try to get employment at the end of it.

4. Thinking how to survive
It's not easy to survive when you are thousands miles away from relatives and friends, surrounded by weird culture and unknow law. Make sure you are mentally prepared, and equipped yourself with knowledge about the country soon will you call it as "home". As I said, the easiest way to survive is as a student, as you won't be deported until your course complete (except of course, if you do some illegal stuff) and in many country, as graduate or undergraduate are allowed to work within 15-20 hour a week. This can help you a littlebit with your own expenses... plus gaining experience.
Things will be different if you have spouse or kids with you. As for my case, lucky enough that student dependant are allowed into fulltime employment in UK. So make sure you check the work permit situation before applying for visa.

5. Ask around
You can go to forum, or perhaps friends who already migrated earlier. It's always worth to find out from people who had gone through it before. Like me, I advise my friend Alice on tips looking for renting apartment in UK. It's obviously not as straight forward as in Singapore, and sometimes you may feel that the property agent are really siding at the owner's benefit. A worse story is when you try to buy a property. I should say getting a mortgage in UK when you quite new with the country (like less than 1 year) is trully a hassle. You may find yourself have to pay somewhat like 7.8% mortgage interested for 30 years!!!

6. Stop being PARANOID
Lack of planning is bad when it's come to migrating to other country, but being paranoid is worse. I've knew some people who's been complaing for ages that they don't like the place where they currently stay and looking for opportunity to migrate. But when I share with them what to do, they simply say... "that's to risky! No... I don't think I dare enough to put myself into that. Mm... may be I'll try next year". It's take TWO side to move to other continent... first is opportunity, another one is courage. Many of the time, the window of opportunity is there, such is taking master degree, or working holiday maker, or investment which lead to permanent residency. You may need to dig your own pocket, but sometimes the reward can be more than what you spend. Let's face it, there is RISK involve in every big decision. There is a risk that you won't find a job, there is a risk that you don't quite like the new environment, there is a risk you'll be deported if you are under company sponsorship and they make you redundant. But, is that mean you shouldn't at least try?

7. Determination
Yes, you have to be determine when it's come to migrating. Trust me, the first year won't be too brilliant for most of people. You'll miss friends and family, feeling home sick, missed the channel that once you always watch, missed the food you always eat... and many other. Enough the stress when you can't find the job, but I like the idea of setting a TARGET rather than a LIMIT. It's important that you set up a target and aim for it, remind yourself again and again not to give up.

8. Welcome to your new home!
Finally, I would like to welcome you to your new home and congratulation for making such an accomplishment! There is a tips to make your stay pleasant in foreign country, that is to make it your "home". Don't try to look for food you used to eat, or comparing the weather, or people's habit, or the television channel, but rather learn to explore new food, new exciting place, make new friends, and try to understand their culture.
And you'll be like me, I am loving UK to the bits!!!

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