You’ve always dreamed of moving to a foreign country or a sunny Caribbean island, and now you want to know how to make it happen. As someone who lived as an Expat, I have outlined my top advice below.
How will I find a job or can I start a company?
There are plenty of recruitment firms that help place job-seekers with overseas positions. Depending on your skill sets, you should search online for the right company to help you. If you want to explore on your own, local newspapers post job openings on their online sites. If you arrive in a foreign country with a visitor’s visa, and you hope to find a job while there, you might run into a problem depending on the country. Some nations strictly enforce the time limit on visitor visas to prevent this. My advice is, have a job lined up when you move.
Alternatively, if you are an entrepreneur you may wish to explore options on owning a business. Many countries dictate that you must have a local partner that owns a majority shareholding in the business. Weigh up the pros and cons and do your research before making a move and ensure you are versed on the laws of the country as far as businesses ownership. You may consider checking out Cayman Enterprise City which is a Special Economic Zone located in Grand Cayman. It was specifically set up to attract foreign investment and encourage international entrepreneurs and business owners to establish a physical presence in the Cayman Islands.
Companies setting up in the zone can undertake international business and do not need to have a local partner. They can own 100% of the business, set up within 3-4 weeks and get renewable 5 year work/residency visas in 5 working days, so it’s a great option to consider. Interested to know if your business qualifies? Click here.
Are you moving overseas alone or with a spouse and children?
Going off on an international adventure is easier when you are traveling alone, but if you have a family, you need to consider their needs and comfort. You should also think about schools, recreation, medical care and other things. Luckily we have outlined all these questions and more in our blog post section.
What about a work visa?
Make sure you understand what the visa requirements are when you apply for a job. Most countries have immigration laws that limit work permits or work visas for foreign nationals. Local job applicants are usually given preference for positions when they have the right qualifications. If you do find a job, then you will need to submit paperwork for the visa application, and this often includes a medical form and police clearance. We have a full stacked Client Experience team who is here to help you every step of the way.
What happens next?
After the initial excitement of the move, you settle into your new life and find out if being an expat is all you hoped it would be. Join the local expat community to make friends who can answer all your questions as you begin exploring your new home. Enjoy the commute to your new job. I can’t speak about large international city commutes, but I enjoyed my daily drive to work in the Cayman Islands, especially after years of dealing with terrible traffic in Houston. The views of the brilliant blue Caribbean Sea always took my breath away and reminded me daily why I had chosen to move to this island paradise. Don’t set yourself unrealistic expectations and be prepared for a few ‘challenges’ in your new home country.
Can I learn to fit into my new home?
Have respect for the local culture and people, and never forget that you are living in their country. All nations have their way of doing things, so try to appreciate local traditions and history, enjoy it as much as you can. I loved learning about the seafaring history of the Cayman Islands, especially from older Caymanians who shared their stories. The women told me about old-time island recipes using provisions available at the time: Bull Rush Plant Pudding, Christmas beef, Sorrel Drink, Turtle Stew and much more. I developed lasting admiration for the early settlers who hacked out a living on these remote coral islands when resources were scarce.
So you have something to think about as you look at your options and make up your mind about making a life change. Being an expat enriched my life greatly, and I'm so glad I took the chance.