Posted December 10, 2014 by

Advice for Graduates Seeking Opportunities Overseas

Ready to success. Four college graduates standing in a row and smiling

Ready for success. Four college graduates standing in a row and smiling. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Finishing university sends people in a variety of different directions. Some people miss the academic setting they are leaving, but others yearn to begin their working lives. Fortunately, options for both types of people have increased dramatically as the world has become more connected. For some students, pursuing work or additional training abroad can lead to exciting opportunities that they might not have access to in their home countries. Before jumping on a plane, though, graduates should consider a few important issues.

An important consideration in any country you plan to live in is complying with immigration laws. Typically, tourists don’t have many hoops to jump through. The same doesn’t apply to people seeking extended stays for study or work. Visa types vary depending on a candidate’s skill set, education, country of origin and the host country itself. Do research early and often, as running afoul of immigration authorities will eventually derail an overseas stay or stop it before it begins.

Some countries offer a graduate visa (the requirements for Australia can be found here) to people who have completed their studies in that country and would like to remain longer to get work experience. Again, you will have to confirm that your degree and length of stay meet the requirements for this visa type. Usually, an employer has to offer you a contract for the period of stay before applying. As these requirements change often and differ by country, applicants should start looking into them well in advance of actually submitting an application.

In a similar fashion, governments attempt to attract people to work in certain industries in need of skilled workers. Sometimes called a skilled visa, this type of stay allows people with skills in high demand to stay for a certain period of time in a country. As a general rule, anything that a national of a country can do will not be open to foreign workers. Most countries have very specific lists of jobs that fall under this category, so research is essential.

For people who don’t fit in any of those categories, some countries have special dispensations for workers in their 20s and 30s. These often require a certain level of education, too. Also, this type of work exchange depends on agreements between governments. This means countries in the same free trade area or other international organization might qualify, while others will not. In other cases, countries strike bilateral agreements that allow for young graduates to work for a specific number of months or years in the partner country.

No one should overlook the importance of visas when considering a move overseas. Other issues also come into play, though. Graduates should carefully research the cost of living in their target country, as well as potential linguistic and cultural challenges. Still, with the right preparation and planning, a stay abroad can add a unique twist to your work history and even change your perspective on life. Those skills will come in handy whether you only do a short stint in another country or if you decide to make the leap and become a permanent expat.

Sarah is a small business owner, and is currently learning about marketing, using the internet. Aside from working on her own business, she likes to use social media, and read travel books.

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