A scouting mission will soften your landing on the chicken run
MANY people are seriously considering emigrating. If you are one of them, before you make one of the most important decisions of your life, do consider the following aspects:
A move to another country, where you will invariably be starting lower on the career ladder, and without the intangible capital of background knowledge and network of personal contacts, means you will be a lot worse-off, at least for some years, and perhaps permanently.
It's always a good policy to leave yourself the option of one day returning permanently to South Africa should your new country fail your expectations.
So find out as much as possible about the climate, lifestyles, living standards and taxes of your proposed new home before finally committing yourself.
Choosing the country to go to is probably the most important decision you will have to make after the initial decision to emigrate has been taken. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.
Because of increasing resistance to Third World people flooding into the advanced countries of North America, Europe and the Pacific, and sluggish growth in job opportunities for the existing populations of those countries, emigration is becoming difficult - and is likely to be even harder in future.
But don't regard your South African passport as a millstone. Immigrants are accepted or rejected only on their personal qualifications, not nationality.
To conclude, I cannot stress enough the importance of a thorough pre-departure reconnaissance. Try to devote at least six weeks to this exercise, as the time invested in this way will prove invaluable once you take the big plunge.
In my experience, most South Africans settle happily into their new countries after a difficult period of adaptation of (say) two years - without ever fully adjusting to much inferior weather! ¥ Martin Spring is editor of Personal Finance Newsletter Top of page