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7 Key Criteria to Consider When Choosing a New Country

7 Key Criteria to Consider When Choosing a New Country

Whether you’re actively thinking about relocation, or you’re just dreaming about moving abroad, you’re almost bound to have come across reports online about the cheapest countries to live in, the best places to retire overseas and even the best places to work or earn a higher salary abroad. However, what none of these reports do is highlight all of the key criteria that you need to consider when choosing a new country to live in.

Whether you’re actively thinking about relocation, or you’re just dreaming about moving abroad, you’re almost bound to have come across reports online about the cheapest countries to live in, the best places to retire overseas and even the best places to work or earn a higher salary abroad.

However, what none of these reports do is highlight all of the key criteria that you need to consider when choosing a new country to live in.  Whilst affordability and employment options are of course critical, they are not the only decisive factors you should have in mind when planning where you would be better off residing overseas.

Whilst everyone will have some of their own essential factors to bear in mind when honing in on their ultimate country choice, there are 7 universal key criteria that everyone should factor in when doing their country-based research.

1) Visa rules and your rights.

British expats are spoiled because the British passport is so well received in so many nations making international travel quite easy.  However, when it comes to your right to reside, work or retire in another nation, you need to be absolutely sure about visa requirements and any time or rule-based restrictions placed upon you.  For example, if you want to live in Australia you need a visa.  If you want to retire to the Dominican Republic you need to have a certain amount of verified monthly income.  If you want to work in Dubai you need to be sponsored by an employer”¦”¨

Ensure you’re acutely au fait with the visa rules and regulations in your chosen nation before you set your heart on relocation.  Note: this extends to members of your family who you want to accompany you, and even your pets!”¨

2) Accessibility.

Consider how you will get around your new nation and travel beyond its borders, think about how you will afford to go “˜home’ to visit friends and family, and bear in mind how accessible your new nation is in terms of logistically and affordably for anyone who will want to come and see you once you move abroad.

If you’re relocating to a cheap flight destination, what happens if the cheap airlines leave?  If you’re moving to the other side of the world, how will you afford to stay in close touch with your family?  This is a consideration many forget to factor in until they have moved and discovered their effective isolation.”¨

3) Safety.

This is a broad factor and it covers everything from the actual safety of the nation in terms of crime and government stability for example, to how good medical facilities are in the event that you or a member of your family falls ill for example.

Life is full of risk of course, in fact, isn’t risk just another way of describing adventure!  But you need to assess your new nation from the point of view of risk and ensure that you and your family will be safe enough to alleviate any of your own personal concerns. “¨

4) The future.

Young people are especially bad at future-proofing their life!  From failing to save for retirement to failing to consider the long-term impact that too much partying can have on their health!  But would-be expats planning a long-term or lifetime relocation really need to future proof their plans.

Is your new nation a place where you’re allowed to retire?  Is it somewhere you will want to live when you have a family?  Will your children get a decent education in your new nation?  Are the healthcare standards good enough for an ageing person to rely upon?  Think about your new nation today and how it may suit you – but also ensure it’s the right place for you and your family to live for the longer-term.”¨

5) Money matters.

This is an incredibly broad topic and it needs to cover everything from the cost of living and real estate, to the currency, stability of the nation’s banking environment and what social structures are in place to support you should you one day require State financial input.  Don’t forget to factor in taxation, laws relating to remitting or removing monies to/from the nation and the amount you can realistically earn if you plan on working in your new nation.”¨

6) Religion and culture.

One of the best things about travelling and living abroad is experiencing new worlds and meeting new people.  However, some countries’ religions, languages, cultures, laws and expectations can jar and clash with the way some of us choose to live.  Ensure you will be entirely comfortable adapting to your new nation.”¨

7) Your family and friends.

Whether you’re close to your family or you’re estranged, whether you have 10 children or you plan to live life alone, you need to remember that “˜no man is an island’ and whilst you may be totally committed to your move abroad, what about the people around you who love you, care about you or who are dependent upon you.

Yes, we should never let anyone hold us back from achieving our dreams, but it is far, far easier and better to get everyone onside with a little careful planning and even compromise than it is to go totally against the flow and upset everyone and everything by moving abroad and either abandoning people or dragging reluctant and unhappy people along for your ride.  Talk and listen to those you care about and who care about you.

Rhiannon Davies writes for Shelter Offshore