Migrating isn’t that difficult
Posted on February 8, 2015
Migrating abroad for a better quality of life, job opportunitiesand money is a common goal. Many refrain from making the effort because it seems like a dream that is too distant.
Shifting to another country, however, is not so arduous. Especially for those below 50 (the chances are even better if below 35), well educated, proficient in English and with relevant work experience. There is a good chance that Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, for instance, might be looking for someone like you to fill their talent shortage. “The person needs to have a budget of Rs 12-15 lakh. This would include various fees that country charges, visa cost, flight tickets, consultant bill and three-month expenditure the family will incur after going abroad,” said Ajay Sharma, founder and principal consultant, Abhinav, a migrationconsultancy agency.
Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Denmark have a points-based system. They allot points for each criterion, such as age, education and work experience. Some give additional points for spouse’s qualification and language ability, and for children below 18 years of age. After adding points in each of these categories, the person should meet a minimum score specified by each country.
Many Indians also migrate to Germany and America, which have a different process. A person can get a job seeker’s visa for Germany and then look for a job. For the US, an applicant can migrate after obtaining a visa linked to investments or work permit. Singapore and Britain have stopped migration programmes. A person can only settle in these nations if a company sponsors a visa or if wanting to set up a business there.
As soon as you decide to migrate abroad, consult your family members, as it impacts lives. Start preparations once everyone is comfortable about the idea. “Most people are unable to migrate mainly because of responsibility towards parents,” said a Nagpur-based consultant.
Once the decision is made, check each country’s immigration website for occupations in demand. Every year, nations release a list of professions and skills they need. For example, if Australia is looking for finance professionals, they spell out whether the requirement is for accountants (general), taxation accountants, external auditor, internal auditor and so on. This list changes every programme year. Professions such as information technology, finance and medicine are in demand in most developed countries.
The next step is to see if you meet the education requirements. Most countries need at least a three-year bachelor’s degree. A master’s can fetch you higher points and a PhD even more. There can be additional points if your spouse or you have studied in the country where you are applying. In Denmark, of the qualifying points totalling 100, if the applicant is a PhD, he or she gets 80 points right away.
English proficiency is mandatory. To evaluate, you need to take the language tests specified by them – IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or OET. The higher a person scores, the more the points. “Once you decide to apply abroad, it makes sense if you start learning languages that are relevant in that country,” said Usha Rajesh, territory manager, Y-Axis. She gives an example of people planning to go to Canada. Quebec, a French-speaking province, has its own evaluation system and proficiency in that language can earn you more points.
Once you meet the criteria specified, the application goes to a pool. This has applicants from all over the world. Many countries rank applicants and when looking for people in particular occupation, the highest ranked candidate is made an offer. That’s when you need to apply for a visa.The fees differ from country to country for each person in the family. For example, Australia charges approximately 3,520 Australian dollars (around Rs 1.70 lakh) and Canada charges 1,040 Canadian dollars (around Rs 50,835) for the main applicant. Currently, the exchange rate for Australian dollar is Rs 48.27, while for Canadian dollar it is Rs 48.88. Visa charges for dependents can be lower, depending on the destination. If selected, you get a permanent residency (PR) permit in Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Denmark awards a Green Card, equivalent to a PR. However, the period to become a citizen does vary. For example, you can apply for Canadian citizenship after 1,095 days of stay as a PR. For New Zealand, it’s after five years.
Typically, from evaluation to application a person spends Rs 2-3 lakh, depending on the country. However, you don’t need to spend all of it at one go. An applicant needs to spend money stagewise. While migrating to Canada, you need to spend 550 Canadian dollars as visa fee for applicant and spouse each; once the visa is stamped, there’s a landing fee of 490 Canadian dollars for each person. All countries require the candidate to have untouched funds in the bank for a specified period. For example, Australia demands the applicant have Rs 15 lakh in a bank or fixed deposits.
Migration consultants can make life easier because of the years of expertise they have. Immigration offices of many countries (for example, MARA in Australia and ICCRC in Canada) give accreditation to such consultants. Before selecting the agency, applicants need to do their own research, by visiting the official immigration websites of the target countries. Opt for an agency with a track record and a national presence. It will help if the same agency has accreditation from several countries.
Immigration rules keep changing. The entire process takes up to two years. That’s why if you have decided on moving abroad, do not delay. For example, Singapore used to give a job seeker’s visa, called The Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate. It has been discontinued, according to
Y-Axis. Britain has scrapped its High Skilled Migration Programme. “Candidates need to be ready with their application. As soon as there’s an opportunity, their case should be at the top for consideration,” said Usha Rajesh.