Digital nomadism, entrepreneurship, professional opportunities, and studying abroad are as many facets of post-COVID moving abroad plans. So, why should you move abroad in 2023, and how?
International mobility in the face of the economic crisis
For many, the equation seemed simple. Fewer expatriates meant more jobs for locals. Oman, Saudi Arabia and especially Kuwait are all undergoing the most ambitious job nationalization programs called Omanization, Saudiization and Kuwaitization of jobs, respectively. Paradoxically, the same countries remain in high demand for foreign labor, both in low-skilled and high-value-added jobs.
The truth, however, is that the world is in motion. The world needs exchanges to rebuild itself. Migration allows for the exchange of technologies, processes, and manufacturing methods. Silicon Valley giants have understood this and are fighting back to keep their best international talent. Despite the current crisis in the tech world, hiring will continue in 2023, because innovation will just keep thriving, regardless of the successive economic hiccups.
That’s a good point for foreign workers, as several studies show that they are more motivated and involved. They juggle several languages and cultures, are autonomous, and have team spirit. Besides, there is no war between locals and expatriates. In the field of international mobility, any dream is possible.
We could almost talk about global awakening. Since COVID, the “quest for a meaningful life” has become as important as the salary or the career itself. Today, moving abroad is about working in a job that is meaningful to oneself and to others. If we used to expatriate to improve our lifestyle, we now understand it in a broader sense. Increasing one’s salary is no longer the end game. Climate, living environment, or eco-responsibility are now just as important factors as salary.
The organization of work is changing. This transformation has accelerated since COVID and will continue in 2023. From France to South Korea, through the United States and Brazil, remote working has become a reality in companies and won’t stop developing (especially in the service sector). Today’s frequent travelers are contributing to this change. More than a simple career booster (which is already a lot), working abroad enriches both the individual and the community in which they evolve. It is a virtuous circle to be preserved from the calls for the “everyone at home” rhetoric that has emerged with the economic crisis.
Becoming your own boss abroad
This is another trending phenomenon since the health crisis, another quest for meaning, this time by creating one’s own business. There’s the urge for greater freedom (emphasized by COVID), the desire to fulfill a lifelong dream, or even the bet of taking up the ultimate challenge!
Abroad, the task is of a completely different nature as we often wonder if it is possible to create a business as a foreigner. If one respects the law of their host country (especially regarding visas), it is quite conceivable to establish their business abroad.
To ensure you have all the cards in hand, you are advised to work with a local professional on-site and/or to seek the advice of a lawyer. Even if you are fluently bilingual (the importance of learning the language of your host country cannot be stressed enough), the law being a complex science, seeking advice from professionals in the country of expatriation will ensure better handling of your project while avoiding or preventing possible legal hassles.
Becoming a digital nomad
Digital nomadism has been gaining momentum since the health crisis and continues to be the talk of the town. This new form of international mobility is now a well-entrenched practice across the world. Estonia, Cape Verde, Turkey, South Africa, Mauritius, Croatia, Brazil, Thailand, Spain, Costa Rica, Australia, Colombia, Germany, Antigua and Barbuda, Mexico, Norway, United Arab Emirates are just some of the countries offering digital nomad visas, and the list is growing. 2023 should be another step in this direction. This new type of workforce meets a double equation: it boosts tourism and contributes to the development of local businesses without weighing down the local economy.
In practice, digital nomads work for foreign clients. They normally already have a sustainable clients’ portfolio generating a sustainable income when moving abroad (this is even a prerequisite for obtaining a visa in some countries). They can thus support themselves for the duration of their stay abroad, and this comes as another condition required to obtain the visa. Digital nomads are also a new showcase for countries and governments. This new ultra-connected workforce will usually praise the merits of the foreign country on social media. These posts come as free publicity for the host countries. Some expats even turn their trial run into fruitful partnerships. Influencers have never been so solicited to act as ambassadors of international mobility.
More than just a fad, digital nomadism is the pure expression of the urge for greater freedom, the quest for meaningful lifestyles, and the desire to be elsewhere. Just like foreign workers and entrepreneurs, digital nomads are putting essential questions to modern societies. Is a new relationship to work possible? Can we combine well-being and work? What is happiness? How to be happy? These existential questions are becoming increasingly present in our consciousness and the public debate. For the future digital nomads, 2023 will be the year of all possibilities.
Going on a working holiday
2023 will also be the year of the Working Holiday Visa (WHV). Last year, several countries, including New Zealand and Canada, increased their quotas for WHVs. Others have signed new bilateral agreements, such as Ecuador with France, or Australia with Brazil. These new conventions between countries are a boon to the thousands of frequent travelers who go on expat adventures abroad.
The WHV is an excellent way to discover the world: the work, which is incidental, allows you to continue your trip. The WHV is also a great way to practice a foreign language and discover a foreign country’s labor market and work culture. It is also an excellent way to get to know the locals and expand your network.
Some people also use the WHV as a long test run (the visa lasts 1 year) to see if they can live abroad. Others take advantage of the various bilateral agreements to travel the world before the age limit (30 years old when they apply for the visa for most nationalities, 35 for others). Learning a language, discovering a culture, traveling, you name it, are the numerous things that a Work Holiday Permit can allow you to do in 2023.
Here is a visa that is popular with both young and old alike. Although we mostly think of young students when talking about studying abroad, older adults can also apply for a student visa. Unlike the WHV, the student visa does not impose any age limit. However, enrolling in an institution like a language school or university that will sponsor the visa is essential. The 2023 university programs are becoming more precise and give new travel ideas to students and future students.
Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to live in a foreign country. The supervised work schedule (generally 28 hours/week maximum) offers a significant additional income and a good opportunity to test the host country’s labor market. It also encourages exchanges with local people. Studying abroad allows you to increase your technical skills and knowledge. It also shows an ability to adapt, take initiatives, understand others, be a team player, question oneself, and other soft skills that are highly valued by international recruiters. Since the reopening of borders around the world, and although economies are still gasping off the successive crises, the lights are green to take advantage of international mobility in 2023 as a student.
Enjoy a well-deserved retirement
Retiring abroad is a dream for many. It has become a reality for more and more retired expatriates over th past years. For them, leaving is a new beginning. As life expectancy increases (with, of course, some disparities between countries), today’s retirees still have great days ahead. Depending on their previous occupation, they may be less affected by the arduousness of work and its consequences on health. Nevertheless, the latter plays an important role in their choice of host country. For these active retirees, it is a matter of meeting all the conditions for their “dream life abroad” to happen.
These late departures are often motivated by an old dream of travel that has never been realized. The beginning of a career, marriage and children often root you in a given place, and you only go on vacation when you can, not too far and not too long. In retirement, there are fewer constraints and more time to devote to yourself and others. Some young retirees move abroad to be with their families or to discover a new country. Others join forces to travel in a group to a foreign land. However, the final objective remains the same: to enjoy a good climate and a privileged living environment in good company. Learning the language (remember that you can learn at any age) is of course, essential to interact with the locals and better integrate into your host country.
Tips for moving abroad in 2023
International mobility starts well before you even set foot in a foreign country. Keep dreaming with your feet well into the ground. Take it step by step and trust yourself. Talk about your project with your loved ones, listen to differing opinions and take a stand.
Learn the local language! That is essential for a successful and exciting expat life.
Put your project down on paper to refine it and keep track of it. Some people have had the country of their dreams engraved in their heads for years. Others have been marked by a specific trip. Others have a very clear vision of their project but do not know which country to immigrate to. Write down everything, even your hesitations.
Be pragmatic. Do you have the financial means to carry out your project abroad? Does it require any particular qualifications? If not, are you willing to postpone your departure while you get the required training? Or would you prefer training in your host country? In that particular case, will you be able to pay for your studies?
Be organized. Make a list of all the administrative documents necessary for your visa application according to your future situation. Find out about the legislation of the foreign country, its labor laws, health facilities, retirement options, schooling, etc. Obviously, you won’t have to learn everything by heart, but you should master the basics like how to register at the town hall, open a bank account or subscribe to a telephone line.
Learn about trade unions or about changing jobs there.
Stay motivated and believe in yourself. 2023 could well be your year as an expat!
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