Your Primer for Post-Election Emigrating from the US
When it started to really look like Donald Trump might be moving to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the number of web searches for phrases like “Canada immigration” or “how to move to Canada?” skyrocketed. So much so that Canada’s immigration website crashed.
It’s up and running again and many of those who crashed the website have given up on the idea of fleeing the country. Yet if you’re still considering moving abroad, here’s what you should know.
The move itself is usually the most intimidating step when it comes to emigrating to a different country. You’ve got to consider what countries offer the best career opportunities, wages, chances for happiness and safety for expatriates and their families.
Where to Go
Back in March, when many weren’t taking Trump’s campaign seriously, Business Insider wrote about the best countries to move to if Trump were elected.
Here were Business Insider’s top five picks:
Canada – The country’s low crime rate and stable economy make it one of the best places to live. You’d be following many others as more than 20% of Canadians were foreign-born.
Mexico – For years, American expats have headed south, many of them retirees lured by warm weather. Despite narcotics related violence, the delicious food and beautiful beaches have made Mexico the home of more American expats than anywhere else in the world, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Svalbard – Technically part of Norway, this is a tiny archipelago north of the Arctic Circle. It’s probably the easiest place to immigrate to in the world, but the average winter temperature ranges from -12 to -16 Fahrenheit.
Sweden – Although there’s a high cost of living and high taxes, Sweden scores very high on expat quality of life rankings , possibly due to the educational system and environmentally friendly policies, along with their warm welcome for immigrants. The stable economy, childcare quality, and overall childcare cost make Sweden attractive for raising a family.
New Zealand – It’s beautiful (remember all that countryside in “Lord of the Rings”?) and due to skills shortages, you’ll probably have an easy time security a work residence visa in a number of industries.
Other countries you may want to consider:
Bahrain – “People are drawn to Bahrain for its exciting career prospects and laid-back lifestyle,” reports HSBC Bank. The culture is inclusive and welcoming to expats.
Singapore – “One of the cleanest and safest cities in the world, Singapore is a multicultural hub that’s worked hard to earn its place among… thriving Asian… economies,” says HSBC.
Germany – The country’s low crime rate and stable economy make it one of the best places to live. Germany is also ranked high when considering the best place to raise your kids.
Researching Your Move Abroad
There are lots of online tools you can use to research where you want to go and what it will take for you to get there.
Numbeo is a databse of user-contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, providing current information on world living conditions, including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution. Requirements differ from country to country. Expat Explorer, from HSBC, provides information from surveys of thousands of expats around the world.
Requirements for immigration to another country vary greatly so once you’ve decided where you want to go, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with those requirements.
In Canada, for example, a skilled worker can apply for Canada’s Express Entry program, but the fee is several hundred US dollars and your skill must be deemed “in demand” by the government.
To emigrate to New Zealand, you must be under 56 years of age and meet all health, character and English ability requirements. You must also pass an Expression of Interest test.
Preparing for Your Move Abroad
Depending on your destination, filing for immigration can be hugely overwhelming. If possible, it’s good to hire a lawyer to help you process your immigration. It can be expensive, costing upwards of $300 an hour depending on who you hire (and that’s before filing fees), but it’s money well spent considering you have lots of preparation to do on your own before moving.
Create a checklist and make sure you include large and small tasks alike. Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to get in order before moving to another country:
- Collect necessary paperwork (birth certificate, medical records, etc.)
- Make sure your passport is valid
- Cancel your phone plan and utilities
- Sell your home or cancel your lease
- Find an international shipping company
- Cancel memberships and subscriptions
- Re-route your mail
- Research taxes for expats
- See your doctors – make sure you have any necessary vaccinations and prescriptions
Cost of Living Abroad
So, let’s say you’ve decided to go for it, full steam ahead. One of the primary considerations is likely the cost of living where you’re headed. There are a handful of Cost of Living tools on the web that allow you to compare the cost of where you’re moving from to where you’re moving to. One of my favorites is https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living.
For instance, if you type in Singapore and Los Angeles, CA… you’ll see the markets are not too far off from one another:
So what if you’re selling your house here to move abroad? Will you be able to buy an equivalent home where you’re going? That all depends on where you’re going.
The median price of a single family home in California is a touch above $500,000. What could you buy for that price elsewhere?
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Vastra Gotaland, Sweden