The Big Five Destinations for Brits Moving Abroad

You're not alone. More and more people are taking the decision to move overseas and seek out a new life in the sun. Here, leading immigration consultancy looks at the 'big five' destinations for Brits moving abroad and examines the methods of getting there.

Where to look for jobs abroad

There's no real secret to finding jobs abroad it's just a matter of researching the job market to find what you're looking for. Newspapers would be a good place to start, and of course, advertises positions all over the world. For people who can offer specific skills to their destination country, it's worth remembering that you may need to register with the relevant professional body. In many cases this may mean taking additional exams.

Where to go?

As you might expect, where immigration is concerned, the world is your oyster. Immigration specialists such as Global Visas can help you to move almost anywhere in the world whether you choose to relocate to the USA, move to Canada, live and work in Australia, immigrate to South Africa or become a New Zealand permanent resident as a UK national.

Migrating to the USA

The United States has one of the most complex immigration structures in the world. You can migrate on a permanent basis by applying for a 'green card' or enter the country through one of the profusion of 'non-immigrant visas'. The list of USA visa services is a long one, but to summarise, an American Green Card can be obtained through one of two routes, either through an employment based application or via family ties to the country.

Applying for permanent residence in the US based on employment is possible through the five categories of 'EB' visas. EB-1 visas are for priority workers, and EB-2 visas for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability. EB-3 visas are intended for skilled or professional workers, EB-4 visas for special Immigrants and EB-5 visas are designed for those who can invest in the US economy and create job opportunities for at least 10 US citizens or residents. However this route isn't for the faint hearted with a minimum investment of $1000,000 USD.

Family immigration is another route to an American Green Card. Applicants need to be sponsored by a relative who is an American permanent resident or citizen. In the case of permanent residents, spouses or unmarried children can be sponsored. For US citizens, parents, brothers and sisters are also eligible.

The Greencard process is a lengthy one taking a number of years to complete; as a result, a common route is to enter the USA on a non-immigrant work visa then apply for permanent residency once in the country. Much like a UK work permit, US work visas require an offer of employment from a US employer. In America, visas for work are applied for by the employer on behalf of the candidate.

Relocating to Canada

Working in Canada without a job offer is possible if you can contribute skills which are in short supply. However, in most cases living and working in Canada will require a job offer and a work permit application

Several Canadian visa services are points based, such as the Federal Skilled Worker programme, the Quebec Skilled Worker programme and some Provincial Nomination routes in which applicants apply to reside in a specific Canadian province. For the Federal skilled programme Canada has a list of occupations which qualify. For Provincial immigration routes, the sought-after skills will depend on the individual province and are subject to change. All of the above can lead to lawful permanent residence after the three year residency requirement.

Canada also offers some immigration methods based on family connections, allowing permanent Canadian residents or citizens to sponsor their foreign national relatives for between 3 and 10 years. Any Canadian permanent resident of 18 years or more with sufficient qualifying income can sponsor a relative in this way. Sponsoring relatives is usually the quickest route to achieving permanent residency in Canada.

Like the United States an investment based route also exists, in this case the minimum investment required is $400,000 CDN.

Moving to Australia

A range of migration programmes allow foreign nationals to enter the country on a temporary or permanent basis. The points based General Skilled Migration Stream is one route to Oz along with a state or territory nomination, or a permanent job offer.

The General Skilled Migration stream awards points mainly on age, skills and English language ability. As with many countries Australia has a list of shortage occupations, which among others such as accountants and IT specialists, includes hairdressers. The Australian business skills stream and family migration routes also allow for permanent residence and are not subject to a points system. Australian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their partners and after 4 years of residence in Australia, candidates can apply for Australian citizenship. However, it's worth noting that a long waiting list means that this route can take time, unless you decide to apply for a contributory visa which will set you back around $30,000 AUS.

If you have managed to secure a job offer from an Australian company which has been unable to fill a position from within the domestic labour force, a temporary business (long stay) visa can be obtained for up to four years. Once again, this may also lead to permanent residence subject to the minimum residency duration requirements.

Living and Working in New Zealand:

New Zealand issues work permits to those applicants who have a firm offer of a job in the country, however, the job in question must feature on the Immediate Skill Shortage List and must not prevent an existing New Zealand resident from taking the job. Unlike work permits in the UK, the application is made by the candidate, not the company.

New Zealand also offers the Skilled Migrant Category which is points based, and takes into account your age, health, character and English language skills. The Work to Residence programme is an alternative which allows people with desirable skills to work towards qualifying for permanent residence after two years.

Family immigration is also permitted for your partner, dependent children, parents or siblings. In New Zealand, residence may be followed by citizenship after 5 years of residency.

Once more, entering the country based upon making a large investment is also an option. In New Zealand, you can gain permanent residence through establishing a business, as long as you have assets of at least $2000,000 NZ.

Permanent Residency in South Africa

South Africa grants various types of work permit from the general work permit which requires a job offer to the "quota system" of permits, and work permits granted on the grounds of exceptional ability. General work permits are applied for by an employer and function much like work permits in the other countries explored in this article. However, the quota system allows candidates in professions in short supply with a minimum of five years of relevant experience to apply for temporary residence without the need for a job offer. Finally, South African work permits can also be granted for those with "exceptional" skills.

It's also possible to relocate to South Africa through family ties. The Spouse or partner of a South African permanent resident or citizen may be sponsored to move to the country. Another popular option in South Africa is the retirement visa which requires proof of a minimum income of at least 20,000 Rand per month. Permanent residency is also possible for those who can establish a business employing at least five existing South African citizens or permanent residents and with an investment of at least 2.5 million rand. Citizenship may follow permanent residence after 5 years.

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