Wednesday 7 December 2016

Plan ahead to make your great escape

Published 12/02/2012 | 05:00

THE NATIVES ARE FRIENDLIER THESE DAYS: 'The Death of
Captain Cook' by George Carter
THE NATIVES ARE FRIENDLIER THESE DAYS: 'The Death of Captain Cook' by George Carter

WITH Ireland's economic- growth forecast axed in half and eurozone mayhem raging on, things are not exactly looking peachy for the jobs market.

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The Greeks might be burning German flags and rioting in the streets, but many Irish people are making a more silent protest -- they're getting out of Dodge.

Over 40,000 Irish citizens emigrated last year, going all over the world but especially to Australia, the UK, the US, Canada and New Zealand.

Here are some expenses to factor for if you're thinking of heading away.

Australia

With €175bn worth of construction projects going ahead Down Under, demand for workers of all kinds is high.

An incredible 28,000 people headed to Australia to work last year, although many went on year-long working-holiday visas. By all accounts there is plenty of work to be had but County Bondi is crowded and Sydney is expensive.

Australia changed its visa-price arrangements in January 2012, so it's worth double-checking the details. A working-holiday visa costs about €101 and other types of work visa start at €1,709, plus other costs.

"Emigrating to Australia is not cheap," 33-year-old Garrett Finnegan in Sydney tells us. "Rent and other cost-of-living expenses in urban areas can be astronomical -- similar to Celtic Tiger-era Ireland.

"People who work in remote regional areas of Australia are making a fortune in wages and have lower financial outgoings."

Jobs with close to six-figure salaries are on offer, particularly in mining areas, in Western Australia.

Britain

Some 13,000 Irish people relocated across the pond last year in search of those streets paved with gold.

It's a pretty easy move, visa-free of course, but you need to be well-funded, particularly if you're moving to the capital.

Rents are high and you'll have to cough up for extras. Council tax varies from borough to borough, but in London it costs about €145 per household a month, and water charges are around €30 a month. A tube ticket will cost about €30 a week. On the plus side, health care and prescriptions are cheap or free.

UNITED STATES

A temporary work-visa fee starts at €85, plus a further potential €125 in other fees. Permanent-visa petitions (you'll need to be sponsored by an employer or have a relative vouching for you) start at €230, with hundreds more attached to processing and other costs.

The visa lottery scheme application fee is €330. The latest round is closed but you can get updates at www.travel.state.gov. Each round usually has about 55,000 visas come up for grabs and competition is, of course, fierce. Over 14,000 Irish workers headed to the US in 2010.

Hopes are high that a new two-year visa allowing 10,000 Irish to work in the US will soon be introduced.

It's worth noting that, aprt from Band Aids, any sort of health treatment is a shocker in the US -- don't go without insurance cover.

Canada

Visa application is online only, through the London embassy website. See canadainternational.gc.ca for details. Working-visa fees start at €115 per person or up to €345 for a family, but you'll need to show you have a decent five-figure sum as proof that you can support yourself.

Over 4,400 Irish people went to Canada in 2010.

New Zealand

NZ is green like Ireland, but much nicer in summer and has a bit of a construction boom going on: 4,500 people headed there between 2010 and 2011.

A three- to five-year temporary work-visa application fee costs €150. A permanent, skilled migrant-visa application fee costs €1,308. A working holiday visa is €90.

On top of a permanent- visa application, there may be costs for police certificates for any country you've previously lived in for the last five years, and for medical checks.

Insurance

In the initial stages, at least, while you get to grips with the local health system, travel insurance is useful.

Backpackertravelinsurance.ie covers you worldwide, except in the US, for office work or light manual work for a year for €165. Bar work, administrative work and fruit-picking are also covered.

If you forget to take out cover before leaving and your destination is Australia, Blue Insurances have opened an office in Australia and unlike other travel-insurance policies, they will insure you after you've arrived in Oz at multitrip.com.au

Shots

It's worth checking if you need any vaccinations several months before departing. The Travel Medical Bureau (tmb.ie) has centres around Ireland. It costs €60 for the doctor's fee plus the cost of each vaccination (tetanus is €20, hepatitis b is €35).

Avoid agencies

A slew of online companies offer to process visas and sort you with a bank account and a SIM card in your new home. Unless you want to pay up to double for your costs, do your own paperwork.

Moving money

Firms like Currencyfair.com, Transfermate.com and Worldfirst.com can transfer your moving money for less than the banks. Currency Fair says it charges 0.15 per cent, compared with four per cent plus and a €20-€30 transfer fee charged by banks.

Shipping

Several shipping companies will ship goods. Ireland-to- Sydney shipping costs are in the region of €385 per cubic metre and substantial weight is generally not an issue. It takes around six weeks.

A load of general provisions, not including furniture, for a family of three emigrating to China came in at around €3,000 with one provider.

Tax

If you're Australia-bound, bear in mind that a non-resident can reduce their tax liability quite a bit by availing of the Living Away From Home Allowance. However, rumours are rife that this will be abolished from July 1 this year.

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