1. Your Stay There as a Student Is Temporary
If you want to move abroad for good, your journey doesn't stop just by studying abroad.
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee you will be allowed to remain in your destination country indefinitely after finishing your studies, so plan early.
Remember that if you want to move abroad permanently, you need to be a permanent resident or a citizen in your destination country.
So work backwards from there. Think about what kind of jobs you need to get to qualify for permanent residency, and what kind of courses and programs you need to take so you would be in demand for those job positions when you complete your studies.
2. Moving Abroad Permanently Post-Study
Studying abroad on its own usually does not unlock permanent residency directly, however there are some countries that may offer permanent residency for new graduates in the following cases:
- Your study program is on a Masters or PhD level, in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject.
- Your study is completed in a remote community in the country and the education you gained is very valuable to the future local workforce.
This is to incentivize students to remain in the community and the country to contribute to its future development.
Note that this article is not meant to cover the laws and visa information for every single country, but rather as a starting point for your research to find a country that feels right for you.
3. Getting a Work Visa After Finishing Your Studies
It is quite uncommon that a new international graduate would be eligible to obtain permanent residency right after graduation. Most countries would require that they obtain a job first.
The good news is, a number of countries around the world such as Germany 🇩🇪, Canada 🇨🇦, Australia 🇦🇺, and New Zealand 🇳🇿 offer post-graduation work visas or job seeker visas for international students upon successful completion of their studies.
Post-graduation work visas can be completely open or occupation-restricted depending on the country. For example, Canada's 🇨🇦 post-graduation work permit is completely open, meaning new graduates can work for any employer and in any occupation they want. Check out this article to review the 3 main types of visa to work abroad.
Countries like Germany 🇩🇪 issue job-seeker visas for new graduates, during which time they have to secure a job in their field of study (and then convert their job-seeker visas into a work visa).
- These types of work visas can typically only be issued once, so use it wisely.
It's true that most countries around the world offer student visas, but not all of them offer post-graduation or job-seeker visas by default.
Some countries expect to you LEAVE pretty much soon after you complete your program, and you will not have a lot of extra time to search for a job to remain in the country.
So, if you intend on moving abroad for the longer term after getting an education, this is something you should keep in mind when doing your research.
If post-graduation or job-seeker visas for new graduates are not offered in your country of interest, it is still possible to obtain other open, restricted, and employer-sponsored work visas (but you have to act fast before your current visa expires!)
4. Getting Permanent Residency After Working Post-Graduation
After getting a job post-graduation as an international student, you may be able to apply for permanent residency.
For example, in countries like Australia 🇦🇺 that awards permanent residency using a points system, you can score a decent chunk of points by completing an eligible study or certification program, as well as by having one or a few years of work experience.
If you are seeking to obtain permanent residency, you need to be strategic with the occupation you seek while on a temporary post-graduation work visa.
Not all jobs are eligible for permanent residency.
Look into the employment requirements for permanent residency, and then work your way backwards from there.
What are the jobs you can do that will score extra points for your application?
If your goal is to apply for permanent residency after getting a job, make sure that your job position is eligible. You can usually look up this information in the immigration website of your destination country.
5. Studying Abroad Can Be Expensive, but It Doesn't Have to Be
In countries like Canada 🇨🇦, Singapore 🇸🇬, and Australia 🇦🇺, international students have to pay significantly higher tuition fees compared to local citizens and permanent residents.
If you are looking to move abroad via education but you want to avoid spending too much, check out countries in Europe or South America as there are options for free to low-cost education there for international students.
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.