By Kate Halim
Many Nigerians are relocating abroad in search of greener pastures. While some people are going about leaving the country the right way, others have fallen victims to scammers.
Saturday Sun spoke to an immigration officer, Mr. Kevin Ogunsanmi who also listed some of the things Nigerians should consider before relocating abroad.
Consider visa requirements
It’s easy to want to move abroad, but you first need to check if it’s possible. In most countries, you must apply for your visa in your country of residence before arriving. So, this should be the first thing you do. Visas can be expensive and there are often hidden costs.
Also, there are different types of visas, such as work visas, talent visas, and family visas. It’s imperative to check which type of visa best suits your needs. More often than not you can’t transfer between visas without having to return to your home country. So, it is important to be aware of your options before applying.
Apply for the visa
This is one of the most important things to do before moving to another country. This will take a long time, so give yourself plenty of time. Get ready to fill out some forms and don’t relax because someone else can fill out the forms for you.
You need to do it to avoid mistakes because there is no way around the bureaucratic red tape that varies from country to country. Your application will ask you for personal details, how you plan to fund your stay, and any travel and housing arrangements you might have made so far.
Research your destination thoroughly
You have your visa and your plane ticket to your destination. But what do you know about where you are going? Have you researched where you will be living, working and socializing when you leave Nigeria? Do you know about their culture, way of life and how they resolve certain issues? Now is the time to research and make a list of things to do once you are settled and also how to adapt to life over there.
Maybe you have been shouting from the rooftops that you are so excited to move overseas and you just can’t wait. That’s great, but did you tell your bank? They are probably one of the first you should inform, just so you can figure out their overseas transaction fees, or if they need to be kept informed about where you are. This way, they can prevent fraud on your account, and you can potentially shop around for a new account with lower international fees, if necessary. Now is also the time to get a foreign transaction fee credit card for use abroad, and this can take a little bit of time to get, so you have to plan well in advance.
If you have young children, you might need to consider who should look after them when you relocate. Generally, the cost of quality childcare for age groups 0 – 2 years is almost equivalent to taking out a mortgage abroad and money is not easy to come by even over there.
In most developed countries, parenting isn’t the sole responsibility of the woman because both parents play complementary roles in raising children. Have you decided with your spouse who is going to stay home to take care of the kids and who is going to work to bring home money?
Nigerians who are keen on relocating abroad should be ready to experience culture shock. A lot of things might come as a surprise. For instance, men staying home taking care of the children while their wives are the breadwinners.
Knowing how you can support yourself financially in a foreign country is not as simple as getting a job. There are several things you need to consider.
First, many countries have high unemployment rates. The chances of finding work in these countries are lower. So, while it might seem great to live in a beautiful place, you might not be able to find a job.
Secondly, many countries in the European Union (EU) have a right-to-work law. This is a legal requirement for anyone looking to work in the EU. It means that you only have the right to work in an EU country if you are a citizen of the European Economic Area. It can be expensive and time-consuming to hire someone who does not have the right to work. So, companies will often make this a requirement before even applying.
Finally, remember that your skills and experiences are not guaranteed to transfer. In many countries, you will need to re-do your degree or get additional certification. This is especially true for law and medical degrees. And you will need to do this in the national language.
Understanding how to pay taxes in a foreign country is never easy. Every country collects taxes differently, and you will want to know how to pay your taxes before you arrive. You will want to know your tax obligations for your home country while you are living abroad.
Renting an apartment in a foreign country can be complicated. It’s even more so if you try to secure something before arriving. It is essential to verify the requirements for owning property in a foreign country. In fact, many countries don’t allow foreigners on temporary visas to take out loans.
Healthcare is different in every country. In some places, it is provided by private companies while in others there is national healthcare. Be aware that national healthcare does not mean free healthcare. It’s paid for by taxes. You should know how to get healthcare if it’s private or national, and the cost.
You will need to know how to get around. If public transportation is not available, you will need to buy or lease a car. You will also need to exchange your driving licence. And, for most countries, you will need to exchange your driving licence within your first year.
Building a strong support network of friends and family will help you deal with the stress of adjusting to life in a new country. Connecting with other people can also help because they face similar difficulties, and it’s reassuring to share your experience.
It is easy to forget the value of a support network, but it’s one of the most important things to consider when moving abroad. This is because adjusting to life in a foreign country is one of the biggest challenges one can encounter.
In the beginning, you will feel lonely and miss your friends and family back home. So, it’s important to find stability and stay grounded. Finding an activity that positively impacts your life is a good place to start. .
As you prepare to move abroad, be patient with yourself and be ready for the change. Remember to give yourself time to settle in and adapt.
It might be difficult in the beginning, but moving abroad has several advantages. From learning a new language to self-discovery, it’s a journey that you will be glad you did.
A lawyer, Mr. Tosin Ayo told Saturday Sun that relocating abroad is not as easy as some people make it look. He outlined some of the factors one should consider before relocating abroad.
Don’t relocate simply because it is trending
Avoid the bandwagon effect. Don’t relocate because other people are doing it. You should relocate because you want it, you have conducted your independent research, and you are ultimately convinced that your life and that of your family will be compositely better than it currently is when you do so.
Be absolutely sure your career progression pays better in your country of destination
Don’t leave your professional job here to become an untrained peasant in a foreign land. Research extensively on breaking into the mainstream profession of your intending country or better still, obtain the requisite certifications here before making the move.
Don’t sell off all your property without a concrete plan
Don’t sell off everything you laboured all your life to gather in your own country to relocate only to discover too late on arrival that the grass is not truly green on the other side.
Most visa-free countries are not economically viable nations
The harder the process to get into a country, the more likely it is to succeed in it. Similarly, the stiffer the hurdle to relocate to a country, the stiffer the indication of strife and challenges. If you find it easy to get in, check well, people there are not really doing well. Most visa-free countries are not economically viable nations.
Before you relocate, have a long-term plan
Are you going just for a season to come back sometimes or a final relocation? Do you plan to only visit Nigeria at Christmas once in a decade for family reunion parties? Ensure the reason for your relocation is directly connected to your purpose in life. This is important and will guide your sense of investment in your visiting country and home country.
Make viable money plans
Endeavour to invest or do business in your home country, but save in hard currencies because of the value of naira. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, you will at least have something to fall back on.
Seek counsel from people living where you wish to relocate to
Endeavour to have a heart-to-heart talk with sincere people already living, studying and working in that country of interest you want to emigrate to.
Pray about your plan to relocate
Talk to God, your Maker, before you leave. Your success in life and career is as important as your environment. Abraham had to leave his father’s house on God’s instructions to become the father of nations. Your location often determines your allocation. Pray to God and ask for his guidance.