Over 1 in 10 Britons want to migrate in the near future, according to a recent survey. For every 10 of your family, friends or colleagues, one of them is unhappy with the quality of life, the cost of living and the weather. Immigration is an even more appealing prospect for the younger generation in a climate where property prices, job competition and unemployment after graduation are realities for thousands of overqualified and underpaid students. If you think this trend is new, think again. Anyone heading to warmer climes this year will be joining a population of over 5 million Brits spread across the globe, the largest number since the decline of the British empire. In fact, the number of young, talented workers leaving the UK is becoming an issue for the British workforce, and is currently under scrutiny by the government. Having said that, if immigration appeals as an easy way out or golden future, think twice.
There are no ‘easy’ countries to emigrate to. The best countries to head to are the ones actively looking for people. Remember, these countries also have their own population fighting for accommodation and jobs in an increasingly crowded world. Those that are looking for people want only the best of the best. If you do not have a professional qualification to your name, i.e. doctor or teacher, or you have just graduated without experience in a particular vocation, it might be worth reconsidering your attempts to move abroad until you have more experience or a title to your name, unless the idea of heading off on an ‘extended holiday’ and working in a dodgy bar appeals to you. Still, there are a few countries out there which operate welcoming policies – so long as you’re right for the job of being a beneficial citizen.
If you don’t know where this is, you need to get out more.
Australia is currently actively looking for British citizens with skillsets, in particular the areas of skilled labour and tradesmen, which the country seems to perennially lack. The big plus when moving to Australia is the continual proliferation of affordable housing – one thing the country does not lack is wide open spaces. Couple this with an excellent education and transport system, the fact that English is the native language and the glorious weather, and the country seems an ever more attractive proposition. Be warned though: although Australia is looking for people, it will only take the people it wants, and it has quarantine rules all of its own that are worth checking before taking the plunge.
Canada. If that water looks fake, it’s time to move.
Heading to Canada will see you joining a population where one out of five people is an immigrant. The majority head across from East and South Asia. The reason why? The country is short on labour. One out of seven Canadians are eligible for their pension. As a result, partly through desperation, Canada has some of the most relaxed immigration laws in the world, and takes on nearly a quarter of a million ‘new’ citizens each year. As with Australia, Canada is a massive country with plenty of affordable property (it has one of the lowest population densities in the world). Although things have got tougher since 9/11 due to perceived yet so far non-existent threats on national security, Canada should still be near the top of the list if ease of immigration is a priority.
New Zealand: a bit different from Runcorn.
Getting into New Zealand is very much like having a job interview. Applying will result in you being given an ‘occupational ability’ score based on your capabilities and value to the economy and workforce. Those scoring above the required threshold are granted access to the country. Sounds a bit mercenary? New Zealand’s immigration minister has publicly stated that the country is only looking for the very best talent, so as mentioned previously, unless you have some kind of formal, professional qualification, it might be worth reconsidering. If you can get in, the rewards are handsome. One sixth of New Zealand’s population are immigrants, and in a country recently deemed safest in the world by the Global Peace Index, it’s a popular choice. The cost of living is very affordable and crime rates are incredibly low for a population of New Zealand’s size. The climate is mild, annual holiday for workers is extraordinarily generous, tax rates are the right side of excellent, and working hours are generally very acceptable. Forewarning: New Zealand is rapidly becoming one of the best places to live in the world, so competition is going to be fierce.
Working in Spain. What a bummer, eh.
Since the late 1990s, Spain has operated an incredibly open immigration policy. As a result, over 10% of the population are now immigrants, with an influx of over three million in just two decades, most of them from North Africa and Latin America, which has coincided with the country becoming one of the best performing economies in Europe, thanks partly to immigrants occupying low-pay agriculture and service jobs, plus the growth of its construction sector. In 2005, Spain declared an amnesty on illegal immigration, cementing its reputation as one of the most accepting countries in the world. Despite this, there has still been controversy about the treatment of immigrants, though most of these are on unwanted state-dependent migrants, and those seeking to live a self-sufficient lifestyle are unlikely to encounter any problems. The biggest barrier to any Brit looking to move abroad is going to be the language barrier, and when considering whether to emigrate to Spain, learning the language is an absolute necessity. The process of moving and emigrating can potentially be carried out with help from others, but living day to day in Spain will require a degree of fluency. Finally, most of the jobs open to immigrants are in the aforementioned construction, agriculture and service jobs, so if these sectors do not appeal, it might be worth looking elsewhere first. If none of these factors sound off-putting, then Spain is one of the best places in the world to emigrate to.