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Whom do you trust?

  • If you go onto the BE forum and ask for other people's opinions on whether or not you should emigrate to Australia or Canada or wherever, you are likely to receive a wide variety of responses. Adventurous people will advise you to be adventurous. Cautious people will advise you to be cautious.

  • It's certainly helpful to solicit opinions from others who have been down the same path before you. Indeed, the more the merrier.

  • But it's also wise to take with a pinch of salt the advice that you receive from laypeople who have not been trained to give advice.

  • You would do well to consider your family's circumstances, which may be different from the circumstances of the people who have shared their opinions with you on the forum. Advice that is appropriate for a young, single person may not be appropriate for a family with children. Advice for a family that has lots of money may not be appropriate for a family that has little money.

  • Another useful strategy is to read the forum that's related to the country to which you want to migrate (Australia, Canada, or whatever) and the Moving Back To The UK (MBTTUK) forum. The forums that are devoted to destination countries tend, on the whole, to be more complimentary towards those countries. The MBTTUK forum tends, on the whole, to be more critical towards destination countries. It's helpful to read a variety of opinions.

Factors to consider

  • What the adventurous posters often fail to acknowledge is that there are some very real risks associated with migration.

  • There is an extremely high likelihood that, if you emigrate permanently, your parents back in the UK will fall seriously ill and die while you’re abroad. Do you have funds available to make an emergency trip back to the UK to be with them, or attend their funeral?

  • Although the likelihood of this is small, your job could fall through. If you’re laid off from your job while you’re in Canada on a temporary work permit, it could place your family in a difficult situation. [Edited in July 2009] There have been many reports on this forum in the last few months of people on temporary work permits being laid off, especially in the trades. A person who is laid off is allowed to remain in Canada until the expiry date of their TWP. However, if their job is not on the LMO exempt list, they cannot work for another employer unless that employer also applies for an LMO. In the current economic climate there are many unemployed Canadians and it is very difficult to get an LMO approved. This will leave the family with no income (or only one income if the spouse was able to obtain an open work permit). It could be a very good idea to keep sufficient cash aside to fund a move back to the UK if you are relying on a TWP. It will also be wise to consider this risk before undertaking a financial commitment like buying a home with a mortgage.

  • Although this rarely happens, you could become very ill or disabled or even die in your destination country soon after you settle there.
    • Insurance for these events is available in Canada and many financial advisers would say that adequate life insurance is a minimum necessity for a family with minor children.
    • Even with insurance in place, surviving family members could be left to cope without the supporting network of friends and family they would rely on back home.
    • If you move to Canada on a temporary permit, it is possible that death or serious illness of a family member may mean that the remainder of the family does not qualify for permanent residence.
    • In some cases it would be possible to apply to the Minister for permanent residence on compassionate grounds (preferably with professional assistance).

  • Should you divorce or split up while on a temporary permit, spouses and children may become ineligible for permanent residence.
    • On the other hand if you divorce as a permanent resident, you may not have the right to bring the children back to the U.K. if the other parent objects. This would require permission from the Canadian family courts, even if the children are British citizens.

  • Now it must be admitted that some of these events, like a migrant’s dying in a foreign country while he/she has young children, seldom happen.

  • Still, in the unlikely event something like this was to happen, the consequences for your family could be severe.

  • However well planned, and however determined you are, sometimes emigration just does not work out for you and your familiy.
    • It costs a lot of money to up sticks and establish yourself in Canada. It costs almost as much to return to the UK.
    • It is quite possible that you will use up all your savings crossing the Atlantic twice. Do you have the resources to keep your family together if you return to the UK and have to start from scratch?

  • Ask yourself a series of “What if?” questions.
    • What if we die in our destination country while our children are still minors?
    • Who will be their guardians?
    • How will their living expenses be covered?
    • Do we have a will that is valid in Canada that ensures our wishes will be carried out?
    • What if ....... ?
    • What if ....... ?
    • What if ....... ?

  • Regardless of the opinions that other forum members express, it’s your responsibility to assess your family’s situation, judge whether or not you are in a fit state to emigrate, and put into place safeguards that will mitigate the negative effects of unwanted events that your family might experience once you are expats.

Analysis Paralysis

  • The other side of the coin is that, if you over-analyse the possibility of emigration, you might spend decades thinking about it and never doing it.

  • The day may come when it'll be too late for you to emigrate, and you may regret not having done it.

  • There is a happy medium somewhere.

  • If you're reckless and don't do adequate planning, your family may suffer unfortunate consequences.

  • If you go round and round in circles, you may never achieve your expat dream.

  • The solution seems to be to do your research (including a recce trip if at all possible), assess if migration will be feasible for your family, put safeguards into place, and, if you figure you can do it, do it.

Related Information

  • Business coach, Michael Cooper, has created a free questionnaire that he calls The Clean Sweep Program. It is a checklist of 100 items which, he says, give you complete personal freedom. These 100 items are distributed amongst four areas of life:
    • Physical Environment
    • Well-being
    • Money
    • Relationships

  • Cooper states, "These 4 areas are the cornerstone for a strong and healthy life and the program helps a person to clean up, restore and polish virtually every aspect of his/her life. The program takes between 6 - 24 months to complete."

  • Note that this questionnaire was not created with migration in mind.

  • Indeed, migration necessarily will disrupt your life. In the unlikely event that you'd scored 100 out of 100 before migration, you definitely will not be able to score 100 out of 100 during the migration process.

  • But it would be a good idea to try to get your life in order as soon as possible after migration.

  • It would be useful to complete the Clean Sweep questionnaire once in a while (perhaps once a quarter), to get feedback about where you are now and what progress you're making towards personal freedom.

  • Another information resource, which however does cost money, is the Migration Planner Workbook that migration and expat coach, Louise Green, offers.