So, You’ve Decided to Move. How to Mindfully Choose a Country for Relocation?

Moving to a new country is a big step. Remember that immigration is not tourism. Move where you want to live, not where it’s easier. This will help you adapt more easily and feel at home.

When choosing a country, it’s important to consider your preferences. But we suggest starting with three main criteria that are essential. First, choose several (up to 10) cities or countries where you would like to live. Then, evaluate and compare them based on the main criteria. Next, choose the additional criteria that are most important to you and compare the countries based on these points.

Main Criteria:

Immigration Requirements

Immigration programs and requirements show how easy or difficult it will be to move and legalize in the new country. This includes entry, residence, work, obtaining residence permits, permanent residency, and citizenship.

What to Check:

  • Learn about visa requirements. Do you need a visa to enter and what types of visas are available?
  • Check the conditions for obtaining residence permits and permanent residency. Find out about timelines and requirements.
  • Learn about the options for obtaining citizenship. Find out about timelines and requirements.
  • Check if your family members can move with you and what rights they will have in the new country—for example, if your spouse will have the right to work and if your children can attend local schools.

Sources: Look for information on the official websites of embassies and immigration services. For example, you can check available programs for EU countries here.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is a key factor affecting comfort and the ability to save. This includes housing, food, transportation, and other daily expenses. It determines whether you can live comfortably and provide for yourself in the country.

What to Check:

  • Compare the cost of rent, food, transportation, and other daily expenses in different cities and countries.
  • Check housing prices for rent and purchase in the city/country you are interested in.
  • Find out in detail about the taxes you will have to pay. Sometimes there are tax benefits for immigrants.

Sources: Use websites like Numbeo, Expatistan, and Nomadlist to compare the cost of living between different cities and countries. You can find information about taxes in different countries here.

Job, Career, and Business Opportunities

One of the most significant criteria. Your career prospects and earning opportunities significantly affect your quality of life in the new country.

What to Check:

  • Can you work in the local market?
  • How in-demand is your profession, and are there suitable job openings?
  • What is the average salary level in your field?
  • Which international companies have offices or branches in the country, potentially opening career opportunities?
  • If you work remotely, is this option suitable for your employer?
  • If you are interested in starting your own business, check how developed the startup culture is and what state or private support programs for entrepreneurs are available.

Sources: Find labor market information on LinkedIn. You can look at average salary levels in IT across different cities and countries here and here.

Additional Criteria:

These criteria will help you evaluate a country more deeply and in detail. Choose the ones that are particularly important to you and use them to compare potential countries or cities for relocation.

Additional Criteria for Choosing a Country:

  • Quality of Life
    • Safety level
    • Quality and availability of healthcare services
    • Ecology and general infrastructure
  • Economy
    • Economic stability and level of development
    • Unemployment rate
    • Average wages and career opportunities
  • Politics
    • Political regime
    • Level of political stability and safety
    • Legislation regarding foreigners, including visa policies
    • Level of corruption
  • Climate and Geography
    • Climate
    • Geographical location
  • Healthcare
    • Quality and availability of healthcare
    • Cost of healthcare
  • Education
    • Quality and availability of educational institutions
    • Cost of education
  • Cultural Adaptation and Language Barrier
    • Main language of the country and necessity of learning it
    • Cultural features and differences
    • Openness to immigrants
    • Availability of communities and compatriot networks
    • Religious and cultural traditions

Most of the data for these criteria can be found on Numbeo.

What Else Can Help with Your Choice?

If possible, visit the city or country you plan to move to for a few days. This way, you can personally evaluate the place and see if it suits you. It’s also helpful to talk to people who already live there and watch vlogs about life in that place.

What criteria do you consider key when choosing a country for relocation and why?

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