Moving your family abroad could be an opportunity to seek out a better and more enriched life. Not only may you be able to access better career opportunities, but you could find that it’s a valuable learning experience for everyone.
Of course, any kind of long-distance move with family can have its challenges – especially a move to a new country. There could be a lot of costs to consider and a whole new culture to get to grips with. You need to be sure that it’s truly what your family wants and that you’re not forcing them to tag along reluctantly. Below are just some of the questions to ask yourself to determine whether your family should move abroad.
Temporary of permanent move?
Are you looking to move abroad for a few months to a year? Or are you planning a more permanent move? Both could have their own benefits and drawbacks.
A temporary move could be a chance to experience living in another country while keeping your roots back home. Perhaps you’ve been asked to work on a temporary project abroad – it could be a huge opportunity within your career and one you’ll never get again. Your family may not have to feel as if they’re saying goodbye to their home country. At the same time, you need to consider what the disruption may cost to your children’s education or your partner’s goals.
A permanent move is a chance to start a new life and as a result everyone should be fully on board. It could be less disrupting to everyone than a temporary move. That said, taking up full time residence could be more expensive and there may be stricter requirements.
What are the entry requirements?
Entry requirements are very important to look into. You may find that you’re not allowed access to some countries unless you practice a skilled trade, have family links, speak the language and have no criminal record. Other countries may be more relaxed, but there will still be an application process to complete.
Work out exactly which type of visa you need. For instance, America has an array of visas. An ESTA as detailed here at https://esta-america.com/ is largely a tourist visa – this could be suited to long-term travel, but not if you plan to settle down and work. There are separate visas for if you want to live in the country for more than 6 months or work. Seeking full time residence or citizenship meanwhile requires a much more stringent application process.
How much will it cost to move?
Moving abroad could cost a lot of money. Not only do you have to consider the cost of a visa, but also the cost of the move itself. If you’re planning a permanent move, you may have to consider shipping out all of your personal possessions. Items like a car can be very costly to move over.
It’s worth saving up some money in advance if you can. Alternatively, you may be able to save money by parting with your old possessions – by selling them, you can make some money to buy new items, which could work out cheaper than transporting items over.
What is the cost of living abroad?
The cost of living abroad could be relatively cheaper or relatively more expensive depending on where you move to. You should consider all the expenses that you’ll be paying including rent/mortgage, bills, food, transport and taxes. Do your research into how much all these things are likely to cost abroad and subtract this from your income – it’s important that you can reasonably afford all of these costs without having to significantly reduce your standard of living. Sites such as https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/ can help you to look into the cost of living.
You should consider the fact that the national welfare system may be different and that employer may offer less rights. Things like universal healthcare, state education, unemployment benefits, holiday pay and sick pay may not be offered in some countries.
Will you have to learn a new language?
English is spoken in most countries around the world. However, in countries where it is not the official language, you may find that many people do not speak English.
Learning the local language could be important for adjusting to the culture and getting work opportunities. Consider whether you and your family need to take language lessons before relocating. There are lots of ways to learn a new language as a family, which could be worth looking into.
How will your partner be affected?
You should consider how your family will be affected by the decision of moving abroad. It’s possible that your partner may be as enthusiastic as you are (or possibly even more enthusiastic). Alternatively, they may have their reservations about moving abroad, in which case you’ll have to convince them that it’s a good idea.
Your partner may not want to leave behind family, learn a new language or get another job. A move abroad could result in them having to give up all their interests and goals, which they are likely to not be happy about. In these cases, it is wrong to ask a partner to move abroad with you.
How will your children be affected?
Your children may be too young to make a decision as to whether they want to move. Nonetheless, you should consider how the move will affect them. You’ll have to find a new school for them and they’ll have to make new friends. They may have to learn a new language and an entirely new culture. It could have a major impact on their development.
If your kids and partner don’t want to move, you may have to weigh up whether you can still take a job abroad without them or whether this is too much of an ask. If it is just the kids that don’t want to move abroad, consider whether you can delay your plans to move abroad until they’ve moved out and found their feet.
Are you okay leaving family and friends behind?
One of the biggest challenges of moving abroad is leaving loved ones behind. While you’ll have your closest family with you, you’ll be leaving behind other friends and family. Consider how close your bonds are and whether you’re prepared to do this. You may still be able to communicate online and travel back occasionally.
It’s possible you may have family or friends who are living abroad. In some cases, a move abroad may even be a means of reuniting with friends and family. In such situations, a move could be beneficial for strengthening family bonds.