Moving. My gut reaction to hearing this word used, in the context of launching one’s self from one place to another with long term intentions, is dread. My stomach ties itself up into knots and I honestly start feeling a little lightheaded. After taking a deep breath (go on, take one now), I try to clear my head of the thousands of questions, concerns, and feelings that flooded my mind. Then, finally, I look at my to do list and get cracking. Time to get moving! Heh, puns are great.
So enough beating around the bush. For one reason or another, you’re curious about how moving to another country works. There are tons of ways for you to do this. However, in this series, I will specifically focus on how to achieve this goal via obtaining a job that offers a path to sponsorship. That doesn’t mean it’s the best, most optimal, or time efficient path. It’s just how I happened to make my international move happen and thus the only area where I have first hand knowledge. So why did I move anyways? Well, I’ve always wanted to work abroad, and after being in school for roughly 20 consecutive years, I was eager to enter the workforce. I also wanted to live with my partner but was not ready to commit to marriage (there was a partnership option, but we’ll get there in a later post). While I kept my options open by keeping my eyes peeled for internship opportunities, my goal was to land a job. With a lot of hard work and, honestly, equal parts luck, I finally got a job.
This was not an easy or straightforward process. Before moving I spent months researching the jobs landscape, learned what credentials I needed in order to practice, read up on policy, and more. I searched tirelessly online, through alumni records, faculty resources, and my personal network for advice on how to make such a move possible. What I found were scraps which I eventually pieced together into a solid framework. I took the idiom “no stone goes unturned” to heart during my search. From chatting with a study abroad friend, to sending out of the blue Linkedin requests, even reaching out to a friend of a co-worker of my mom’s. Every single lead I found or received, I went for it. If you only take one lesson away from this book, it’s to chase down every single lead possible.
There’re a few caveats I’d like to present before I proceed. This is very American and UK centric guide. I will try my best to provide general immigration advice. However, there’s a reason why there’re immigration lawyers that specialize in a single country! Everyone has their own laws and rules. There will be some overlap, but I highly recommend you go beyond this series with your research. The same goes for job hunting. Every industry is different and has their own way of assessing candidates. I’ll be writing from a social worker’s perspective who got a job in social work. Nonetheless, I believe reading about my experiences will be beneficial to you.
Finally, I fully acknowledge that my privilege, being a white cis female with financial stability and a well connected support network, played a huge role achieving my goals. Even with all of these privileges, it was a struggle obtaining work. Therefore, I cannot guarantee that after reading this and making a great effort that you will be successful.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you must be really determined to learn about immigrating and working abroad! Or, at the very least, you’re being charitable and indulging me. Either way, I hope you find this guide enlightening and enjoyable.