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Archive for the ‘migrating’ Category

5 reasons to make the move now

If you subscribed to our email newsletter, chances are you’re seriously considering packing up your life and moving, working, living and playing in Australia, Canada or New Zealand.

But you haven’t done it quite yet.

So this month, we’re telling you why you need to make the move – now.

1. Winter is coming

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If you’re in the northern hemisphere, winter is coming. Unlike Game of Thrones, it doesn’t mean murder, mayhem and naughty stuff but, as a lot of Working Inners can attest to (being British expats ourselves), winter isn’t a desperately fun time. Short days, an abundance of darkness, and bad weather inevitably leads to a six-month long hibernation. Not fun. However over in Australia, Canada and New Zealand…

2. An enviable lifestyle

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As spring blooms in the southern hemisphere, its enviable lifestyle comes to the fore. Now, for the next six months, Aussies and Kiwis are making the most of the long, hot, sunny days – whether that’s surfing, hiking, BBQ-ing, beaching, ocean swimming… the list goes on. It may also be coming into winter in Canada, but Canada does winter really well. With its blankets of snow, it’s a winter wonderland – no more hopping on a plane to reach the slopes for skiing and snowboarding, it’s on your doorstep. If you’ve ever wanted the picture perfect Christmas day, now’s the time to get over to Canada.

3. The opportunities are booming

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New Zealand came through the global financial crisis pretty unscathed, reflected in its “rock star” economy. Now there are plenty of exciting opportunities abounding – from helping to rebuild Christchurch, to citywide rail electrification projects, and multi-million dollar infrastructure investment. Australia is continuing to climb out of its downturn and more and more jobs are coming to the market, while Canada’s economy remains strong and, more importantly, continues to grow.

4. Chart-topping success

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Every single year, scores of surveys are released – the world’s best cities, the happiest places to live, the world’s best countries… and every single year, Australia, Canada and New Zealand feature highly. This is especially true for Canada – it’s got one of the world’s best reputation’s internationally [see page 17] as a place to do business and live, with Australia and New Zealand not far behind. The countries’ cities rank highly for liveability (8 out of 10 cities in the 2014 Economist Intelligence Unit’s world’s most liveable cities were in Australia, Canada and New Zealand). All three countries feature highly in the latest world happiness report. Whereas British expats reckon they’re healthiest and wealthiest in… yep, you’ve guessed it. Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Go on, you deserve to be happy and wealthy too – make the move.

5. It’s never a good time

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So why move now, rather than next year or beyond? Because, frankly, it’s never a good time to move – you’ll always be waiting for your cousin’s wedding or for your little one to start school. Like having a baby, there is never an ideal time to move country.

So you might as well to do it now.

Convinced? Start searching for your new job and life in Australia, Canada or New Zealand.

What expats miss the most

Firstly, let’s get something cleared up. This could seem like quite a scary article. If you’re beginning to plan your move overseas, you’re probably in the hugely excited stage when you’re thinking about all the new things you’re going to discover and experience – rather than thinking about what you’ll miss.

So, a quick straw poll of Working Inners (most of us whom are migrants ourselves) about what we missed the most from our home countries, revealed that the overwhelming response was… food based. Yep, it turns out we’re creatures of habit and associate happy memories of home countries with tucking into local delicacies:

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Now that we’ve established this is really not scary at all, here are the top five things expats miss:

Number one: family and friends

Friends and familyAn obvious choice and probably something you’ve already considered, whether you’re moving to the same hemisphere or an entirely different time zone.

What you can do

Technology is the expat’s best friend. Now you can still literally see your nearest and dearest thanks to Skype via regular catch-ups over the internet – and it won’t even cost you.

Emails will allow you to send pretty instant communications as often as you like so mum won’t feel like she’s missing out on your everyday life.

Living overseas means you can embrace one of the best ways to communicate – personal handwritten letters. Rediscover the thrill of an actual letter in your mailbox, rather than a bill or advertising flyer.

If you’re missing an important event – a wedding, christening, birthday – you can still feel involved. Send a card, a parcel or record a video message.

Make sure you plan your next visit back home and when your family will visit you in your new home so that you have something to look forward to.

Number two: your old salary

SalaryIf you’ve researched your equivalent job or already been offered a job and your salary doesn’t match what you’re used to, don’t despair.

What you can do

Remember why you’re relocating – better job opportunities, better career progression, better and bigger projects, better lifestyle, better weather… all of which are, literally, priceless.

Number three: food

FoodAs we’ve already established – especially around the Working In team – you could find yourself craving local tastes that you just can’t get your hands on in your new home.

What you can do

Plenty!

  • Rope mum and dad, family or friends to send you care parcels stuffed full of the food you’re missing.
  • Check out whether there are any suppliers in your new home town. For example, New Zealand has plenty of British grocery shops available throughout the country that stock all the British favourites.
  • Leave a bit of space in your suitcase when planning a trip back to your home country and bring some goodies back with you.
  • Order your favourite treats online – there’s bound to be websites available that will ship you what you’re missing.

Or, even better, you can embrace change (come on, you’ve emigrated – you’re ok with change) and try the local alternative or equivalent. You never know, it may even be better than you’re used to.

Number four: shopping

ShoppingIf you’re used to popping out to a crowded high street and picking up the latest fashion at a wallet-friendly price, it can be a shock to wave goodbye to your favourite labels – whether it’s trusty M&S undies or Topshop threads.

What you can do

Hop on the internet – a lot of major retailers will ship internationally, and some will even do free international delivery.

If you’re more of a browse the racks and try on plenty of stuff type of shopper, it’s time to explore local suppliers and find new favourites.

Number five: weather

WeatherSounds weird but there’s a phenomenon called the bouncing Pom where Brits migrate to perpetually hot and sunny climes only to return to rainy Britain because they miss the occasionally bad weather.

So if you’re used to rain, you may find endless sunny days a bit wearing. If you’re used to plenty of sunshine, different seasons could be a shock.

What you can do

Again it’s about remembering why you made the move and embracing your new lifestyle – come rain or shine. Take the opportunity to be out in the sunshine as much as possible or to rug up against the seasonal chills and rain.

It’s also the chance for a new wardrobe. Donate your old unsuitably seasonal stuff and buy the local alternatives. Once you’re dressed like a native and appropriately for whatever the weather is doing, you’ll feel a lot more settled in your new life. Now’s the time to finally buy a rain jacket, polar fleece or numerous pairs of flip flops, even if you’ve never owned any before.

In conclusion

Yes, there are going to be things you miss but you also know now how to combat your feelings of longing for these commonly missed things.

Plus in the grand scheme of things, they’re all pretty miniscule. If we made a list of what you wouldn’t miss about your home country, we’re betting it’d be quite a bit bigger – traffic jams, rain, people not speaking to you on public transport, queues…

Been there, done that?

What do you miss the most about your home country and how do you deal with it? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Fight or flight: what to expect when you arrive in a new country

You’ve been excitedly planning your move for months but now you’ve landed and you’re not feeling so sure. Don’t worry – these feelings are absolutely normal and part of what’s known as the settlement curve.

In fact, there are six distinct stages most people go through as they settle in a new country – here’s what to expect over your first 18 months to two years.

The settlement curve

 

Diagram source: Immigration New Zealand Settlement Services.

Stage one: forethought

This stage is all about the excitement of planning with lots of positivity about your move to your new country. It’s important to have realistic expectations about your new home country, however, so now’s the time to look into jobs, get an idea of cost of living and research where you’re going to settle.

Stage two: fun

You’ve arrived and it’s brilliant fun. New people, new places and new experiences mean you’re feeling really positive about your new home.

Stage three: fright

Uh-oh. Something’s happened. It might be something major (a family member has fallen ill) or something small (you’re stuck in traffic for the fifth day in a row) – whatever it is, it’ll make you feel frustrated which in turn makes you feel unhappy.

Stage four: flight

Ok, something has happened – and you don’t have a strong network of friends or family to call on yet in your new home country. This is the point that you may decide to move on or return to your country of origin.

Stage five: fight

Time to embrace your inner Rocky. This is your turning point – you become realistic about what it’s like to live in your new country and make a conscious decision to stay and build your life here.

Stage six: fit

Welcome to everyday life. By this stage, your challenges are more about the usual day to day stuff people think about, rather than being about living in a new country. You’ve now decided to stay which helps you to feel like you ‘fit’ in. Congratulations – you’ve made it!

Dealing with the six stages

First off, remember that everyone who has ever been in your position will have experienced these emotions at some point. Understand that it’s completely normal and natural and try some of these tips to help you deal with your emotions:

  • Keep talking – to your other half, your family or your employer. Sharing your fears will help you deal with them.
  • Get out and about – the couch may be calling but that’s not going to help you feel more settled. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, make the most of that new lifestyle you were after. Remind yourself why you wanted to move.
  • Get involved – join your colleagues at the next social gathering, sign up to a gym, research local clubs – anything that gets you mingling with people and involved with your new life. Say yes to every offer that comes your way.
  • Research settlement services – there’s organisations dedicated to helping new migrants feel happy in their new homes. Check out Settlement Support New Zealand, find settlement services in Australia or search for immigration services in Canada.

Have you made the move? Did you experience a rollercoaster journey through the settlement curve? What helped you?

Moving across the world – in five weeks

At Working In, we like to practise what we preach – so a lot of our team have made the move overseas themselves. Like our Web & Marketing Writer Sarah who moved from the UK to New Zealand back in 2010. This is her story.

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One of the first looks at our new home, Auckland

“I got the job”. Nothing too remarkable about those four words. Until you consider that “the job” is 12,500 miles from where you’ve lived for 26 years of your life. And you’re expected there in five weeks.

That’s exactly what happened to my husband and I back in April 2010. Almost four great years had passed in Leeds (Yorkshire, England) but we were yearning for more. More adventure, more challenges, more opportunities and maybe even more sunshine.

For a few weeks, my husband had been keeping an eye on his professional publications (he’s a civil engineer) for job opportunities. There it was – a bridge engineer vacancy based in Auckland, New Zealand. A country we’d never visited, had no friends or family in and somewhere I’d struggle to pick out on a map.

Yet we knew people that had been there and had absolutely fallen in love with it. We wanted a new adventure – well, here it was. He applied for the job and enjoyed a late night Skype interview while I slept. That very night I was woken up by a shell-shocked husband telling me he’d got the job and we were moving to New Zealand.

The morning after, the countdown began. Five weeks to go until we’d land in our new home in a brand new country – and start our brand new life.

Suddenly, life was a whirlwind of lists and endless phone calls as we tried to pack up our UK lives and prepare for a New Zealand one.

There was our flat that needed to be rented out. Banks and utility companies to inform. Tax arrangements and student loans to discuss. Jobs to resign from. Flights to book, visas to sort and shipping to organise. Then the hardest bit: friends and family to say goodbye to.

At no point during these five weeks did our feet touch the ground. There was no time for tears, doubts or wobbles – just endless lists and admin.

Standing in our now empty hallway, our possessions in a few meagre cardboard boxes that we’d next see in three months’ time on the other side of a world, and the rest packed off to storage for the foreseeable future, we knew we weren’t saying goodbye.

We were just saying hello to the adventure of a lifetime.

That’s exactly what I felt as we flew into Auckland for the first time and our first glimpses of Aotearoa filled the airplane windows. Three years on, we have no regrets about our life-changing five weeks – it was the best decision we’ve ever made and we haven’t looked back since.

Have you packed up your life and moved to a new country? Share your story!

And the relaxed summer way of life too

Embracing the relaxed summer way of life 

Embracing the Kiwi adventurous way of life

And the Kiwi adventurous way of life too

Canada prepares to open its doors again

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Could you meet the moose in Canada?

Earlier this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced a temporary pause to its Federal Skilled Worker program while they reviewed the selection criteria to ensure a faster, more efficient immigration system.

Since then, they’ve been busy running consultations with the public, businesses and local stakeholders to get their input into proposed changes.
Finally, on 17 August, Citizenship and Immigration Canada unveiled their proposed changes, designed to allow Canada to better select workers who can “hit the ground running” upon arrival.

So what’s changed?*

Applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program are assessed against a points grid which awards a maximum of 100 points. The pass mark is 67 points. The following changes to the points grid are proposed:

Language

Language is now the most important factor on the grid – the weight of the first official language would be significantly increased from 16 to 24 points while the weight of the second official language would be reduced from eight to four points.

Age

The proposal will favour younger applicants by awarding a maximum of 12 points (currently the maximum is 10 points) for applicants aged 18 to 35, but reducing one point for every year after 35.

Work experience

The total number of points for work experience will decrease from 21 to 15, yet to achieve full points for work experience, they’ve increased the years of experience required. Previously it was four years, it will now be six years.

Education

Education points will be awarded based on an assessment of foreign education credentials and what the Canadian equivalent would be. CIC will not accept credentials that don’t exist in Canada or ones that aren’t comparable to a completed Canadian credential. The maximum points available will remain at 25.

Adaptability

The proposal will change the adaptability criteria to emphasise factors that are shown to have positive impacts on an immigrant’s economic and social integration. This includes points being awarded for spousal language ability and previous Canadian work experience.

Next steps

Final publication of the new (and hopefully improved) Federal Skilled Worker Program is scheduled for late 2012 while the new FSWP points grid is due to take effect in January 2013. Applications are expected to be accepted again in early 2013. You can read the whole text of the proposed changes at the Canada Gazette.

*Bear in mind that this is just a proposal and may be still subject to change.

Top five tips to tailor your CV for Australia

Close up of a fountain pen nib against a white backgroundAs with any job search anywhere in the world, the vital thing is to write your CV in the style and format of the market you are applying to – not the market you’ve come from. Here are five things you need to watch out for:

1. Don’t forget your contact details

Name, phone number, postal and email address. You would be amazed how often these details are overlooked.

2. Keep it concise and to the point

Ask yourself – what do I do for a living? If you’re an engineer, for example, that should be the first thing on your CV. Aussies are a straightforward bunch and they like to know what you do and if you will be a good fit for the job they are advertising. A great way to construct your CV is to look at the advertisement and address some of its requirements up front. If they are looking for someone with a qualification and 5+ years experience, make sure your length of experience and qualification are on the first page of your CV and not buried further on.

3. Watch the length – about four pages is the norm

The broadly accepted UK standard is two pages, no more, while a typical South African CV can be anything up to 30 pages long and include a wealth of detailed information. The general rule down under is somewhere in between. Generally, we would not expect to see more than four pages, but as long as you are including concise and relevant information, it does not matter how long it is (within reason).

4. Keep it simple

Try and remember that while a flashing yellow border might be right up your alley, it may not be the personal preference of those reading your CV. Steer clear of fancy fonts and pictures (unless it is relevant to your application – all you aspiring models out there!).

5. Check the spelling and have a friend proofread it

Check, double check and then get someone else to check your spelling, punctuation and grammar. It can be very off-putting to read a CV with easily fixable spelling mistakes. Microsoft Word automatically picks up on spelling errors, which stand out like a beacon. Keeping your CV objective and relevant can be quite tricky. If you have someone able to give you honest, constructive feedback, use them. It is better to hear from a friend that something is not relevant or does not make sense than from a potential hiring manager.

Happy writing!

Dads down under & other differences between the UK, NZ, Oz & Canada

This weekend, dads around New Zealand and Australia are preparing to be spoilt – Kiwis and Aussies celebrate Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September (might be a bit of a problem if your UK-based dad is used to getting Father’s Day love on the third Sunday in June).

So, what other things might you have to get used to if you swap a home in the UK for life in New Zealand, Australia and Canada?

Public holidays

You can wave goodbye to your UK spring and summer bank holidays – but move to New Zealand and you gain Waitangi Day, Anzac Day and Labour Day while certain areas of Australia enjoy Labour Day and Melbourne Cup Day too. Not forgetting that New Zealand and Australia are patriotic too – they even get Queen’s Birthday as a public holiday. Canada doesn’t do badly either with Canada Day, Labour Day and Thanksgiving Day.

‘isms’

By that we mean the little dialect differences between the countries. In the UK and Canada, every summer you drag out your flip-flops. In Australia, it’s your thongs (conjuring up all kinds of potentially embarrassing situations) and in NZ it’s your jandals. Should someone compliment you on your pants in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, they haven’t suddenly developed x-ray vision and you haven’t had an acute attack of forgetfulness – that’s their equivalent of trousers. While we’re on it, pack your gum boots for life down under (Wellington boots) and your runners for Canada (trainers). A pair of orange flip flops stuck into a beach

The seasons

Luckily, Canada’s in the northern hemisphere too so it’s easy to adjust to summer in June-August and winter in November-February. However, head down under and prepare to get Christmas on the beach and when you’d traditionally be enjoying some summer sunshine in the UK, to be embracing winter sports in Australia and New Zealand instead.

Time difference – or how not to annoy your mum

Judging by the phone in your pocket, bag or lovingly placed on the table in-front of you, you like to be connected. But catching your first midday wave in Oz or trying your first eggs bene brekkie in NZ is not the time to call your nearest and dearest back in the UK – unless you fancy rousing them from their slumber that is. However, if you come across your first moose in Canada you don’t have to wait too long to let your mum know – it’s only a four or five hour time difference.

Over to you

If you moved overseas, what do you reckon you’d miss most about home?

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