Note: This article uses the term “visa” and “permit” interchangeably, as different countries around the world use either term exclusively, although sometimes interchangeably.
If you are moving abroad for work or study, chances are you would have to stay in the country as a temporary resident first on a work or study permit, unless you have permanent residency or citizenship in that country. Depending on the country, as a temporary resident, you might not possess the same rights and privileges that permanent residents and citizens do.
All countries around the world vary in terms of the rules they possess, and all information in this article is presented in a general manner for educational purposes only and does not constitute any personalized immigration, finance, or legal advice. Please feel free to consult the website or embassy of your country of interest to determine which pieces of information in this article apply to it specifically and which does not.
Here are some rights and privileges that you may not have as a temporary resident, and this is one amongst many considerations you should think about before making the decision to move abroad.
You might want to read: 6 Types of Temporary Visas
Arguably, one of the the biggest downsides of having temporary residency is that you have one less advantage when it comes to applying for jobs.
Depending on the type of visa you are on, you might require sponsorship from a prospective company to continue remaining in the country, but a company would be unlikely to want to go through with this process unless you bring a relevant but unique skillset that will benefit them compared to the rest of the local workforce.
Additionally, not all employers have the capacity to understand and allocate extra resources to adhere to immigration law, so even if you do not require sponsorships to legally work, employers may refrain from hiring you if they were to find out that you are neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. In some countries with employment laws that protect discrimination against nationality, this can potentially be argued as unlawful, but it can be challenging to prove unless a job offer is immediately rescinded due to the disclosure of residency status.
You can read more about this here: The Two Main Types of Visa to Work Abroad
If you are thinking of moving abroad because you are having issues with obtaining housing in your home country, let’s reconsider.
As a temporary resident in another country, you might not qualify for any government funding programs including any tax benefits or rebates to purchase your first home. You might also be assessed additional purchase, property, or ownership taxes that not typically levied to citizens or permanent residents.
If you have a valid temporary status, whether as a student or an employee, you will be allowed to open bank accounts in the country you are moving to. However, the difference comes in the types and limits of credit cards or loans you may be able to obtain. If you are considering to purchase a home, the types of mortgage you qualify for may be different from those that citizens and permanent residents can get. In some countries, it is also possible that you may not qualify for mortgages at all.
As a temporary resident, you will most likely not be able to participate in political activities such as voting. You might also not be able to receive government funding or loans. Additionally, there are some government-run programs that temporary residents might not qualify for, such as childcare, seniors, pension, and jobseeker programs that are only available for citizens and permanent residents.
Some countries such as Canada, Singapore, and Australia offer heavily subsidized education to their citizens and permanent residents, where they only pay a fraction of what international students have to pay. As a non-citizen or a non-permanent resident in countries like these, you may have to pay a relatively expensive education by comparison, and you would often not qualify for any local student loans. However, there are some countries in Europe and Latin America that do extend free or low-cost education to international students.
If you are thinking of heading to a country that provides free healthcare for its citizens and permanent residents, you have to keep in mind that you may or may not receive the same privilege as a temporary resident. It is possible you might obtain subsidized healthcare, but whether or not you will receive it for completely free will vary from places to places. For example, in the province of British Columbia in Canada, students who are not citizens or permanent residents still qualify for free healthcare in principle, but they do have to pay a health fee of CAD 75 per month to the provincial government (source).
More on the Cons of Moving Abroad
The following 6 chapters take on a slight naysayer approach, to counter the notorious social media narrative that moving to another country is always a "cool" thing to do. Moving abroad can be one of the best decisions you can make for yourself... But if you're not careful, it will derail your life.
- Becoming a Second-Class Citizen and Losing Stability Abroad
- Why It's Not Easy Getting a Job Abroad
- Is Dating Abroad Easy? Depends on the Country You’re From
- Growing Your Finances Without Long-Term Stability Abroad
- Getting Healthcare and Education in Another Country
- Moving Abroad vs. Moving to Another Part of Your Country