The emigration checklist – important questions to ask
Why are you moving?
Firstly (and most importantly), why are you planning on emigrating? It’s the most crucial question to ask before embarking on your new adventure.
Which country will you move to?
Once you’ve decided to move abroad, the second question (of course), is where you want to ship off to? Do you have family and friends waiting for you on foreign shores? Do you already have an idea of a new home in your head? Are you already sure where you will fit in? Although many people decide on a place to move to before choosing to emigrate, quite a few people aren’t sure yet which country will suit them best.
Will you qualify for immigration?
It’s important you check the visa and immigration rules before quitting that job and upsetting the whole family. Thing is, you need to consider your age, your qualifications, your health and that of your family – do you already have a job lined up? Is someone sponsoring your move? Do you have family you plan on bringing over at a later stage – if so, will they qualify for immigration to your new country? Many people don’t consider the rules and regulations with regards to immigration, so it’s important you consider this before moving.
Is your family emotionally and mentally prepared?
Now that you’ve made up your mind, it’s important you try to gauge, objectively, how your family will fair with your move? Will they cope with the move – will your own stress levels and coping mechanisms assist with this major life change or will you aggravate their problems? Consider the different ways in which each of you cope with change and how you react to each other’s stress and trauma. Some people want to fix things, some want to talk, some want to run away, some become obsessive and compulsive in an attempt to manage the situation, and others become aggressive or apathetic. Thing is, as each of you will be dealing with the situation in your own way, you will need to plan ahead and prepare yourself and those around you. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a therapist, at least for the short term, to assist you with the big move.
Will your loved ones staying behind cope with the loss?
Have you considered the impact of your move on those friends and family members left behind?
Will you ship your possessions or buy new?
One of the questions asked most frequently on expat forums is whether or not to ship your possessions abroad or buy new things when reaching your new home?
Are you renting or buying?
The same rule applies for accommodation that applies for your furniture and appliances – research, research, research. There may be several factors pushing you out of South Africa, but the fact remains that South Africans are, in actual fact, used to a far lower cost of living than other countries. Accommodation, for instance, is something which costs much less and is more readily available than other countries (for instance, New Zealand, Australia, the UK).
What will happen to your pets?
Ah, to some of us they are very much our ‘second’ children. We’re talking about your pets of course.
Do you plan on staying, moving again or returning to South Africa?
For many people, emigration is a temporary thing – they want to see the world, make some money, and move on again when the time is right.
Are you financially stable enough to pull through the initial financial drawbacks?
Emigration is a costly affair, no doubt about that. We’ve already discussed your pets, possessions and accommodation – so ask yourself whether you will be able to live on the minimum for a while as you sort your life out?
Are your finances in South Africa sorted?
South Africans who are planning on moving abroad or who have already emigrated aren’t always too concerned with their finances back home. But there are important things to consider when moving abroad. For instance – did you know that you are not allowed to use a South African credit card if you have relocated abroad (and that your bank will probably not tell you about it)?
Are you prepared for the cultural and linguistic changes?
Irrespective of where you move to, your new country will not be like South Africa. First off, unless you are relocating within Southern Africa, chances are people will not be speaking your home or secondary language.