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The Biggest Disadvantage of Moving Abroad

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Most people move abroad on a temporary visa first.

This can be a work visa, a student visa, a spousal visa, and so on.

The thing is, as a non-citizen in your destination country, you don't have the same rights as the citizens in that country do. You will face challenges in building your life, finances, career, and relationships for the long term.

The Biggest Disadvantage of Moving Abroad

If you are a citizen of a country with no intention of leaving it, you can plan your life for the long term, say 5, 10, 20 years down the road.

Your long-term goals may involve purchasing a house or a car, finding a job in a certain field, working on your ambition to move up in a company, getting married, having children, or starting and building a business.

Sure, anything can happen, and the long-term goals that you have may or may not be realized, but at the very least:

You can plan your life for the long term as a citizen in the country you are living in.

This is the advantage of having stability.

Nobody can kick you out of the country, so you can plan for the long term.

But... If you are moving somewhere on a temporary visa, you would need to put at least some of whatever long-term goals you have on hold until you can secure your permanent residency or citizenship.

Want to invest your money, buy a house or a car, or start a business abroad? Your visa expires in the next year or two. How are you going to make a long-term life decision when your stability in a country could be gone in the next few years?

Some countries and banking institutions restrict non-citizens and non-permanent residents from having mortgages or a business depending on their visa type, so they're probably not options that are available to you in the first place as a temporary visa holder. Some countries allow them, but the rest of the point still stands.

We haven't even talked about the challenges of finding a job as a foreign non-citizen. You may well be qualified for a job, but if you need a work visa sponsorship, that's often enough to make recruiters not want to touch your resume with a ten-foot pole. 

It doesn't matter if you intend to move abroad permanently while on a temporary visa, because you cannot guarantee that you will, until you are a permanent resident or a citizen.

There are stories of temporary visa holders being unable to extend their stay because of new rules and restrictions, missing paperwork with no chance of reapplying, convoluted bureaucracy, running out of money, being deported because of an illness, the list goes on...

Once you move abroad, you have to plan your life for the short term in the country you are now living in, and:

Your long-term goals will have to take the back seat until you become a permanent resident or a citizen.

If you happen to be unable to extend your temporary visa, you will be ripped apart from whatever it is that you have gathered and built for yourself in the country you have moved into.

And you won't have a say in it.

  • Your local work experience,
  • Your local industry connections,
  • Your local friends,
  • Your local romantic interests...


You'll have to start over again, in another country.

Are you ready to take on this risk?

You could have it easy. Maybe none of the above will happen.

But this is a realistic scenario, and it is something you have to think about before moving abroad.

If all of these risks are worth it, then by all means.

If you are able to manage your expectation that you might not get to live abroad forever, then by all means.

Want to Move Abroad?

Learn about the cons of moving abroad, and how to get a visa if you think moving is right for you. More about this here.