For many new immigrants, finding a job is one of the key steps of the entire emigration process. Not only will finding work before – or soon after – you arrive to live in your new homeland take away some of the financial burden associated with settling in a new country, but it will also give you an opportunity to start meeting people and begin expanding your social network. But how do you go about finding a job in a foreign country and is there anything you can do to make yourself more employable?
Study the area
simple though it sounds, before deciding to settle in a particular region of a new country, do your research to discover what the job opportunities in your particular field are like in that area. There is no point settling somewhere where jobs in your area of expertise are at a premium. The best way to do this, finances allowing, is to actually visit the area and look around first hand.
Make sure your qualifications are acceptable
While the qualifications and experience you have for your job may be acceptable in your home country, in another they may mean diddly-squat to an employer. If you can, seek out a foreign qualifications assessment body before you emigrate to get your skills assessed against the local equivalent. You will be more appealing to prospective employers if they can instantly recognise the qualifications and experience you hold. When emigrating to some countries as a skilled worker – including Australia and New Zealand – your skills will be assessed as part of the emigration process.
Format your CV
Just as your qualifications, a CV that is adequate in one country be totally unsuitable for another. For example, in the UK most employment experts recommend that a CV should be no longer than two pages long no matter what job you are applying for. In the United States and Canada, however, it is not unusual for CV’s – or resumes as they are often called – to run to three pages or more (depending on the job you are applying for and how much experience you have).
Speak the lingo
Again, it may seem obvious, but if you are moving to a country where your mother tongue is not the native language, then finding a job will be extremely tough if you are not fluent – or at least highly capable – in your new country’s language. Of course, you may be able to get by serving the expat community – for example I have spoken to tradesmen working in France who only serve English speaking expats – but this is risky and may not provide you with enough business on which to get by (depending where you are moving to, of course). Being bilingual could also make you more appealing to potential employers.
Depending on where you are emigrating to, you may find that having an offer of employment will be a key component of qualifying for a visa. However, finding a job prior to having a visa in place is not easy – many employers will want you to start work immediately, or within a short-term timeframe, and may not be prepared to wait for a whole visa application to be processed. It is becoming increasingly common in some countries – including Canada and Australia – for foreigners to head there on a temporary work permit so they can start working in the country, and then look to upgrade to permanent residence at a later date from within the country.
Prepare to retrain
Quite often, the country you are hoping to move to will be insistent on the type of workers it will offer visas to. Therefore, if your occupation isn’t included on a skills list then you may find you are not able to emigrate. Therefore, it may be worth looking at skills that are required in that particular country and retraining in one of those fields. Yes, this is a long-term option, but it is one that may be the difference between being able to emigrate and find work in your dream destination or not.
Take expert advice
Although you may be charged for their services, recruitment companies or councillors based in the country you are moving to may be worth contacting as they should be able to give you advice on all of the factors mentioned above – and more.