Sometimes you just have to get away and start life anew. It’s good for anyone to break out of the mold and experience different ways of life, struggles, and triumphs. Immigration can be quite difficult, though, with every country having different laws about who can become a resident and what they can do while there.
Most of us, unless specifically looking to retire, will want to work in our new country. We’re not going to lie, it’s not always easy to find a job outside of your home country. However, some places make it much easier than others. We’ve got some solid choices here for people who are looking to establish a new life as an expat as quickly and easily as possible.
1. The Netherlands
We all know the Netherlands is totally cool, with its flowers, windmills, and museums as well as friendly, laid back locals. But did you know that the Netherlands is the healthiest country in the world in terms of diet? Probably not coincidentally, Dutch men are also the tallest in the world on average. That’s not to say the Dutch don’t indulge, but the food is of good quality, nutritious and affordable.
The easiest way to work in the Netherlands is to be an entrepreneur. The county is on the hunt for foreign innovators and scientists to settle in and create jobs for locals. Armed with a start-up idea, you are eligible to apply for a one-year residency in the Netherlands. In yet another example of the Netherlands’ awesomeness, you’ll be able to work with a local mentor to get your business off the ground once you arrive. In 12 months, apply for a standard self-employed work permit to keep the good times going.
Panama is really nice place to live. It’s got diverse landscapes, including luxurious beaches, rolling mountains, and deep rainforests. The weather is temperate enough to be out in nature all year long, but don’t forget the enticements of the capital, Panama City. For Americans, this is an especially easy move as the US dollar is the official currency.
If you want to work in Panama long term, there are several flexible options to explore. People who hail from one of 50 “Friendly Nations” can pretty much go and get right to work (provided they can find someone to hire them). There are other pathways to a Panamanian work visa that are largely skills based, and it’s an extensive enough program that you are likely to find a way to qualify.
Many countries offer a Working Holiday visa that allows for a year-long stay with work included. This is not a direct pathway to citizenship, but provides a solid amount of time in which to make contacts and complete the kind of paperwork that is necessary to get a permanent job offer as a foreign national. Working Holiday visas are usually designed to attract young people, however, so there are age restrictions – eligibility typically ends at 30-35 years old.
In the case of Ireland, there are no age restrictions on a Working Holiday Authorization, but there is still a catch. You will need to be either currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program or have graduated within the past year. As long as you can satisfy those requirements, it doesn’t matter how old you were when you went to university. If you don’t qualify, it’s still possible to get work in Ireland, but you’ll need to match up with one of the country’s current skill shortages.
Canada is known as one of the friendliest nations in the world, with a pleasant combination of fun urban centers and wide open vistas. Though it is the second largest country in the world, it has a low population density, and is a great choice if you want a little land around you. Canada takes care of its residents with universal healthcare and the people welcome multi-cultural communities. Perhaps that is why Canada always comes in near the top in worldwide quality of life.
As a truly first world country, Canada does have standards in regard to awarding work visas. But if you have experience in an industry that’s booming in Canada, you can take advantage of an express entry program that makes short work of immigrating. To see if you qualify, fill out the online form that awards points for education level, professional experience, and whether or not you speak French. If you have family in Canada or have studied there at any point, that also goes a long way.
Here is a place, a territory rather than a country, where you can stay for as long as you want as long as you can find a job. No one from any country needs a visa, but you must be prepared to hack the extreme frigid temperatures. A territory of Norway, Svalbard is located near the North Pole and gets so cold that homelessness is outlawed because no one could survive it. You’ll also need to carry a gun in case you get confronted by a wandering polar bear.
Most of the housing on Svalbard is owned by employers and provided to their employees. So if you can find a job – mining is the chief industry – you’re in. However, the governor has the right to deny entrance if you show up completely unprepared to handle the conditions. It’s such a small place that newcomers stick out like a sore thumb.
The Seychelles is actually a group of 115 gorgeous islands in the western Indian Ocean, so you have a lot of choices in terms of size and environment. Nearly half of the total landmass of the Seychelles is protected as a national park or reserve, but there is still plenty of room for you. A place of cultural diversity and the relaxed beach life, work on the islands centers around tourism, fishing, and plantations.
The only requirement to take up residence in the Seychelles is a passport. You won’t need a visa. If you ultimately decide to go for citizenship, you’ll need to have lived there for five straight years and have no criminal record. If you happen to be sitting on $1 million USD, you can pay up and skip the five year wait.
Cambodia represents one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, and is very popular with expats because the government isn’t too concerned with the type of work you’ll do. You may want to choose Cambodia if you are looking for a true revolution in your lifestyle. The customs in Cambodia will seem strange at first – people don’t celebrate their birthdays, and many adults don’t even know how old they are. Fast food is not very popular, and you’ll do the bulk of your travelling on a moped.
If you want to run a little business in Cambodia, you can easily get a long-term business visa and renew it indefinitely. In order to work for a Cambodian company, you need to have a work permit. Employers are said to be pretty relaxed about the paperwork, though, and have few hurdles to clear in terms of hiring foreign workers.
It may actually be easier than you think to start over in a new country, especially the ones on our list. If you have an innovative business idea, if your experience matches up with a shortage in the country of your choice, or if you are a young person just itching to work your way through an extended vacation, there’s very little stopping you from taking the leap. With a little creativity and flexibility, you can support yourself comfortably in a new country.