Worried about moving abroad?
Moving home is considered to be one of the most stressful life-events that you will experience. Add to that a stretch of ocean, a new country and a new culture to embrace, and the worry can multiply exponentially!
To help you reduce the anxiety and risk associated with the migration process, we’ve compiled these top tips:
1: Give yourself time
No matter how excited you are about starting your new life, giving yourself an unrealistic deadline for moving adds time pressure to the melting pot of things to worry about. It’s important to take the migration process in your stride, tackling each part of it methodically, step-by-step.
There is a logical journey to migration that goes something like this:
18 months before you go: Research visa eligibility; locations; job opportunities; property prices; cost of living, culture, lifestyle, education and healthcare systems.
Question to ask: Is this really for you?
1 year before you go: Apply for visas; renew passports if required; have your property valued; organise and evaluate your finances; discuss plans with family and friends.
Question to ask: Are you financially ready and able to make this move?
6 months before you go: Planning goes up a gear and there’s lots to do:
- De-clutter your home
- Put property on the market
- Book international removals firm
- Tell employer of relocation plans
- Open bank account in new country
- Register with foreign exchange company
- Research property or temporary accommodation for your arrival
- Research job opportunities
- Register for new schools
- Ensure finances, insurance and legal matters are in order
- Research/book flights and routes to your new country
Question to ask: Have you tied up all the loose ends?
1 month before you go: The final four weeks is still very busy:
- Sell your car (unless you have shipped it)
- Provide a forwarding address to anyone who might need it
- Arrange for your mail to be redirected
- Gather personal records and paperwork into a travel file
- Pay bills and cancel subscriptions
- Organise health and migration insurance
- Book temporary accommodation/car rental for when you arrive
Question to ask: Is your new life ready and waiting for you?
2 weeks before you go: The last few jobs need ticking off:
- Finish packing
- See all your friends and family
- Organise money or travellers checks in your new currency
Question to ask: Have you packed all the necessities?
1 week before you go: You’re nearly there; this is getting real:
- Sort out transport to the airport
- Pack on board luggage
- Remember activities to keep the children busy
Question to ask: Have you got everything you need for the flight?
2: Inspire your kids
When you move overseas with a family, it’s essential to prepare your children so that they know what is happening and are mentally and emotionally ready for the huge change ahead.
You may get a mixed response from your children when you share the news that you are all moving to another country. They could be overwhelmed with excitement, or they may dig their heels in and declare that they are “not going” no matter what.
Whatever their reaction to the idea of moving abroad, it’s important to empathise and prepare them psychologically for starting a new life. If leaving their friends behind is a major cause for concern, then reassure them that there are lots of ways to stay in touch.
If they are old enough, provide a smart phone or tablet to enable them to Skype or share their pictures through social media. Get them excited about including their friends at home in their new adventure.
Focus too on the rewards of the move – the opportunities they will be able to grasp, the climate, the landscape, the sports they can pursue, the lifestyle you will be able to experience together.
Educate them about the reasons you are going, include them in all conversations, give them choices and an opportunity to be part of every step of your migration process.
3: Reassure your family
The family and friends you are leaving behind may have a tough time adjusting to the idea of the distance between you.
Thousands of miles, an expanse of ocean, and time zone differences may seem like a huge hiatus in your relationship. It’s up to you to reassure them that it isn’t the big problem that they imagine.
Share your game plan for staying in touch – Skype calls, emails, letters, social media, visits back home, opportunities for them to visit you. Make sure they feel that you have given them some thought.
You could consider starting a blog to include written posts about your new life, as well as videos and pictures. This can be a great way of including family and friends back home in your daily life.
Let them know that you can get back to them if you need to. This will be made easier and cheaper if you have invested in migration insurance.
4: Minimise the risks and fears
When you migrate, you file away ‘life as you know it’ and stage a complete overhaul of your location, career, lifestyle and future prospects. It’s a brave life moment that can be fraught with worries – about your financial security, your kids’ prospects for education and jobs, and the people you leave behind.
What you need is a safety net, which is not too easy to come by historically. But now, with the launch of a new insurance product especially for skilled migrants, you can start your new life with fewer worries.
Migration Cover covers policyholders for a temporary or permanent return in a range of circumstances, including their own injury or illness, or that of a family member back home. Travel back to their country of embarkation is covered up to a limit and, if necessary, temporary accommodation provided.
It also provides a fall back for those facing involuntary redundancy in their host country. They get access to employment advice, visa advice and recruitment specialists and more, to give them every chance of sticking with their new life. Or, if re-employment is not possible, their costs for returning permanently to their home country are covered.
Skilled migrants setting up home in Australia and New Zealand are the first group to be able to try this innovative insurance product. There are plans to roll it out out to include further destinations over the coming months.
5: Get expert help
The migration process is complex to say the least. To minimise stress, assemble a team to ensure that you get specialist advice about visas, jobs, property, tax, education, removals, insurance, finances, banking, pensions… the list goes on.
It is not necessary to go it alone when there are immigration advisors and a host of other experts who can take the weight off your shoulders.
Eyes on the prize
When stress starts to take hold, as it probably will despite the best of intentions, keep a clear focus on your reasons for immigrating. With a vice-like grip on all the benefits you and your family are looking forward to experiencing, you will be able to shake off worries and carry on.
Sponsored article by Migration Cover