How to move abroad and which country to choose — a question that entails many more questions, as well as doubts and difficulties. In the article, we talk about everything related to moving for permanent residence in 2022: how to prepare for moving to a new country, what the process consists of, what the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular countries are, and how to stay abroad to study or work.
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Unless you urgently need to move to another country, you need to give at least a few months, and preferably a year, to prepare for the move. There are several reasons for this:
Getting a visa takes a long time. Depending on the country and the workload at the consulates, processing can take from 2-3 weeks to 3-4 months. At the same time, there is always a risk of being refused due to missing documents or an unsuccessful interview with the consul. Even a minor mistake in the form can become a reason for refusal, so it is worth seriously approaching the preparation — without panic and haste.
Each method of immigration has its own nuances and pitfalls in different countries. It is worth studying and working through them all. For example, to obtain a humanitarian visa to Canada, you cannot cross the borders of other “safe” countries before entering. For a work visa, you need a contract. For a student visa, you need enough money in your bank account to cover tuition and accommodation for a year. You can read more about immigration methods in this article.
You may be disappointed in the country, and there will be no opportunity to return. Even if you know everything about the country at the level of an encyclopedist, there are always hidden features. It may turn out that you will not be able to come to terms with some of them in the future.
How to prepare for moving abroad
So, nothing could stop you from moving abroad. You have already placed the cat in a carrier and gave away most of your belongings. What else needs to be done?
Of course, decide on the country. Even if you have already decided on everything a long time ago, there are subtle nuances in each country that can interfere with your adaptation. Study the legislation, tax policy, employment rate, and other features. In addition, work out the immigration method: it is easier to find a job and move on a work visa in some countries, while others have special conditions for repatriation or family reunification.
Prepare all of the required documents. It is better to contact and clarify the entire list by phone or at a personal consultation with the consul. They may require photographs, a certificate confirming a clear criminal record, a birth and marriage certificate, and a diploma. As a rule, all of these documents need translated copies and an apostille.
Confer a power of attorney to relatives for situations that cannot be resolved without your signature after departure.
Take care of your health. Medical services abroad may be more expensive than in your home country. In addition, you will most likely not be able to afford a doctor upon arrival. Not all visas and countries will provide you with health insurance.
Save up for a year. This is especially important if you do not have a stable source of income. The money must be in the currency of the country where you intend to live. In many countries, the presence of this amount in a bank account is one of the most important conditions for obtaining a visa. Usually, it ranges from 5,000 USD to 14,000 USD.
Improve your knowledge of the language. With the local language, you will be able to find work and make friends faster. If you are immigrating on a student or work visa, you will need a B2 language level. A great option is to enroll at a language school — you will not only speak with the locals, but also get to know this country better.
Review the entry requirements. Coronavirus restrictions are changing very quickly. Some countries are still under quarantine. You may need a foreign vaccine.
Are you confident in your decision and carefully prepared? Proceed to the following steps:
If you need a long-term visa, wait for an invitation. Depending on the method of immigration, it can be given by a university, grant fund, employer, or spouse.
Fill out an application at the consulate and bring copies of documents. Go to an interview if necessary.
Buy tickets a few weeks before departure and find accommodation in advance.
Congratulations, you are abroad. If you have not yet obtained citizenship, you have a few years left to live in the new country to be eligible to apply.
At the final stage, you receive citizenship. This stage usually involves submitting an application and passing tests on the language, culture, and laws of the country.
Where to move
The ideal country does not exist. The best option for moving depends on individual factors: your needs, budget, and goals. In this article, we describe 15 countries based on the popular requests of our readers.
Countries with a high standard of living
What criteria would you use to define a country with a high quality of life?
Salary and cost of living? Ecology and medicine? Probability of natural disasters and safety? Everyone will have their own answer. Therefore, we found a ranking of countries by quality of life, which takes into account all of the above criteria.
Quality of life indexAccording to Numbeo in 2022
Here are the pros and cons of the first five countries from the ranking:
Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most stable countries. According to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, four Swiss cities are in the top 20 in the world: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Bern. In addition, Switzerland is known for its high-quality healthcare system and affordable education at public universities — 1,072 USD/year.
However, it is very difficult for foreigners to get a job in Switzerland, as well as to immigrate on a work visa. Only an employer can apply for a work permit. However, not every one of them will be ready to go through the bureaucracy, unless you are a qualified specialist who cannot be replaced by a local worker.
In the list of the happiest countries, Denmark has consistently ranked 2nd after Finland from 2019 to 2022. It has a clean environment, a convenient location in the middle of European countries, and high standards of education and research.
Like other countries in this selection, the cost of living here is high — 1,786 USD/month. The average wage — 3,521 USD — compensates for the costs, but it is very difficult for a foreigner to find a job without knowing Danish. The average cost of education is 15,000 USD/year, but there are programs with free education for doctoral studies.
The Netherlands has the 18th largest economy in the world, which is surprising for a country of 17 million people. In addition, there is a low crime rate, few unemployed people, and high-quality medicine — 11% of the GDP is spent on health care. People choose this country primarily because of the hospitality to foreigners, tolerance, and multiculturalism. Here you can meet people of different nationalities, religions, and political beliefs.
However, hospitality to foreigners has a downside. Due to a large number of migrants in the country, the migration policy is being tightened every year, education prices are rising, and quotas are being introduced. As in Switzerland, only an employer can apply for a work permit, so it is easier to find a job with high qualifications. This does not apply to graduates of Dutch universities — upon graduation, they can obtain a year-long visa that removes restrictions for job searches.
According to the 2022 World Happiness Report, Finland is the happiest country. It often ranks high in other ratings: security, stability, prosperity, freedom of speech, and welfare. The country also has one of the best educational systems according to the OECD, and free education for those who know Finnish.
In terms of downfalls, it is worth noting the unemployment rate among young people — about 15%. This is not the highest figure (for example, it is much higher in Italy or Spain), but it is above the European average — 11.6%. Moreover, be prepared for a cold climate, long winter nights, a lack of sun, and even such a Finnish phenomenon as "seasonal depression".
Australia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world — with a high level of comfort, a clean environment, and a pleasantly warm climate. Australia is ranked sixth in the United Nations Human Development Indexon indicators such as life expectancy, completion of education, and per capita gross national income.
At the same time, living in Australia is very expensive. On average, students spend about 2,006 USD/month on housing, food, and other expenses. Education is also one of the most expensive in the world — 35,000 USD/year. However, local salaries should cover most of the expenses — an average of 3,858 USD/month. In addition, there are scholarships that cover full tuition — for example, Macquarie University International Scholarships (MUIS).
Countries for immigration on a budget
Low prices are not the only thing that you need to consider when choosing a country. And we are not even talking about salaries, although this is an important criterion. Pay attention to the availability of work for foreigners and the demand for your specialty in the country. Students will also find it useful to find out how much tuition costs and whether there are scholarships to cover said costs.
Vietnam is a favorite among freelancers from all over the world. The average cost of livingAccommodation + food is 711 USD/month. It has a warm climate, a sea, exotic forests, and numerous lakes. However, it can be difficult to find a job: there are few vacancies for foreigners and the salaries are not the highest.
Average salary: 441 USD/month
Cost of education: 2,000-3,000 USD/year
Employment areas for foreigners:IT, English teaching, customer service, tourism
Citizenship in Argentina can be obtained after three years of living in the country. In addition to this, Argentina has a low cost of living — 592 USD /monthAccommodation + food, and free education at public universities.
Average salary: 398 USD /month
Cost of education: free of charge (at state universities)
Employment areas for foreigners:IT, English teaching, customer service, tourism.
Bulgaria is a southern European country with a pleasant climate and low prices. Most of the vacancies here are offered in the field of tourism. For food and housing, you can expect to spend 714 USD/month.
Average salary: 666 USD/month
Cost of education: 2,000-3,000 USD/year
Areas of employment for foreigners:English teaching, tourism.
China is not a suitable immigration option for everyone: it has a difficult language, challenges with adaptation, and media censorship. On the other hand, it has a fast-growing, prosperous economy, affordable and high-quality education, and an inexpensive cost of living — 892 USD/monthAccommodation + food.
Average salary: 1,066 USD/month
Cost of education: 2,000-4,000 USD/year
Areas of employment for foreigners:IT, media, English teaching, marketing, tourism.
The presence of Korea in this selection may surprise many. It is a country with a popular culture around the world and a high standard of living. Korea’s GDP per capita surpasses even that of Japan. However, living here is not as expensive as it might seem. On average, you can expect to spend 1,500 USD/month on food and housing, and even less in cities far from the capital — 800-900 USD /month.
Average salary: 2,173 USD/month
Cost of education: 4,000-6,000 USD/year
Areas of employment for foreigners:English teaching, sales, marketing.
Countries for student immigration
The most reliable way to immigrate. After enrolling at a university, you will be sent an invitation on the basis of which the consulate will issue a long-term visa. Student visa denials are rare, and the process itself takes up to several weeks.
Another plus of student immigration is that after graduation, you can get a visa to look for work in many countries. It lasts for a year and removes most of the foreigner restrictions for finding employment.
Now for the complications. Applying to a university abroad is a time-consuming process. It usually includes passing a language exam, searching for a university and scholarships, taking entrance tests (interviews, motivation letters), and, sometimes, recommendations from teachers or supervisors are required.
In a separate article, we discuss student immigration in more detail.
In order to not get confused by terms, documents, and exams, you can contact UniPage. We know about every nuance in the admission process to the US, Germany, Great Britain, and dozens of other countries. Thus, we will help you choose an option that is best suited for student immigration based on your interests and capabilities.
Our specialists supervise the entire process — from selecting programs and writing a motivation letter to submitting an application and receiving an invitation from a university.
The United States attracts over one million international students annually. There are 4.5 thousand higher educational institutions, and 28 of them are in the top 100 best universities in the world according to QS. But American education is not cheap — it ranges from 30,000 USD to 60,000 USD per year.
You can only work on campus while studying, for up to 20 hours a week. But after the first year of study, you can pursue a paid practice (OPT) for up to 12 months (up to 36 months in STEM specialties). The practice can be completed both during and after your studies, which gives the right to stay in the country during the internship period.
The United Kingdom is the second most popular destination for international students. Studying in the UK is attractive due to the prestige and quality of education — 16 universities are in the top 100 in the QS ranking of the best universities. The cost of education is lower than in the US — 19,793-52,783 USD/year, but it is still difficult to call it affordable.
The duration of study in the UK is shorter and more intense than in other countries — bachelor's programs are completed in 3 years, and master's programs — 1 year.
Upon graduation, you can get a Graduate Visa for a period of 2 years to live in the country and look for work.
Foreign students choose to study in Germany for two reasons: free and high quality education — even in English-language programs. If the cost of living seems too high for you (1,437 USD/month), there are a large number of scholarships for living expenses from the DAAD or other government funds.
Upon graduation, you can apply for a residence permit for up to 1.5 years, and then replace it with a work visa. After 2 years of work in Germany, you can get permanent residence, and eventually citizenship.
Italy is another European country with budget-friendly and quality education. The average cost of education is 2,000-2,500 USD per year. Traditionally expensive medical programs are also relatively cheap — 3,000-4,000 USD per year. In addition, you can get a social scholarship from the state, which covers not only education, but also living expenses — 980 USD /month.
There are no fixed curricula at Italian universities. Students choose courses and lecturers themselves, avoiding "useless subjects" — although it forces them to carefully monitor the available courses and the number of credits earned.
Canada is one of the most popular destinations for migrants from all over the world. More than 600000 foreign students study here. The top 50 best universities in the world include three from Canada: University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, and McGill University. Canada ranks 4-5 after the US, Great Britain, and Australia in terms of the best countries to study, but the tuition prices are lower — from 11,813 USD to 35,439 USD per year.
Upon graduation, students can apply for a 3-year work permit — Post-Graduation Work Permit. To obtain citizenship in Canada, you need to live in the country from 3 to 5 years.
There are many ways to get a job abroad. We already mentioned one of them earlier: receive an education and stay to work in the country. In this case, you need to choose not only the country, but also the university, study program, and scholarships.
There are other options for labor immigration: relocation, startups, a Nomad Visa, or talent visa. In a separate article, we discuss these options in more detail — there you will find a selection of specific opportunities in various countries.
The United States, Canada, Australia, and many other countries with developed economies are also suitable for those with sought-after professions. Often, these countries offer special visa programs to make up for the personnel shortage.
It is very difficult to single out specific countries that are best suited for employment: there are pros and cons everywhere. Therefore, we made a table to simplify the selection process. Remember — whichever way you choose to move, it is important to consider not only the salary in the country, but also the unemployment rate and cost of living.