Tips and inspiration for those on short-term, temporary work/resident visas

Yes, there are short-term six and twelve month visas available for those that are looking to experience the world without the uber short term country hopping.  Australians applying for the under-30 visa in Ireland can work for up to 6 months over a 12 month span under the Irish Authorization.  If you are from the Czech Republic then you can only be a resident in Canada for 12 months under International Experience Canada.  These types of short-term visas are available as part of a youth bilateral agreement set up between two countries.

If you are the type eligible under the types of visas that I mentioned (and not just restricted to Ireland or Canada, we are talking about the youth bilateral agreements that have been set up) and you are interested in maximizing your time under these short-term visas, then read on!

Think and plan for the long-term

Even if you are on a short-term visa, you may have the opportunity to jump on board to other categories that will allow you to experience life in that country.  For example, if you can only be in Canada for one year under IEC, make sure to maximize that time spent by ensuring that it is full-time and under the National Occupation Code.  That way, it will help increase your chance of obtaining permanent residency by entering under the Canadian Experience Class stream where the requirements include one year’s experience.

Even if you are pretty sure that you are only there in a matter of months, it helps to sit down and spend a bit of time researching what the potential long-term options.  At least you won’t regret not being prepared if you do decide that you want to live in the country for a longer period.  It’s much better to have this option than to be without.

Find out what the options are for remote work – and then go on site

If your specialization is in areas like digital and online marketing, SEO, online copy writing, customer and technical support, web and front-end development, administration, copy writing, design, and product management then there are options to conduct remote work.

Since you are on a short-term visa, there may be the added difficulty of gaining a foot in the door for large companies and establishments.  In this case, you can look into start-ups, the creative industries, small businesses and sole-traders based in the target country to get your foot in the door.  That could be winning over contract or permanent work for them remotely followed by the option to be on site, interning but with the intention of obtaining a job offer before arriving on site, or providing some sort of arrangement that will allow you to be involved with their business before arriving on site.

The approach would be similar to a freelancer winning over new clients or someone new to the industry.  First, they may get you to do a short sample and if what you provide also helps with their business then there is the opportunity for more than followed up by being there on site.  This also goes for the business since they can do some of product trial where the product is what you can bring to the table for them.

Get involved with start-ups and creative projects

I see a plethora of start-up companies seeking out interns or volunteers.  The key item for you is figuring out a way to close the deal – going from being a remote intern or volunteer to going on site and being paid.

There is a chance of this being more of a gamble though. You will need to be upfront and you need to have a very clear exit strategy.  I had an Italian friend that went through the unfortunate situation of getting promises of an internship only to have the opportunity disappear when he arrived in London.  This benefits both parties as well since they need to be clear on what the forecast is in terms of hiring and recruitment.

Try to begin your introductions before you land 

Previously, I’ve written a couple of articles with tips on how you can prepare before landing – on preparing a CV for relocation and on applying for professional volunteerships.  You can also go through Eventbrite and Meetup calendars to see what events are occurring so that straight away, you can land on your feet and that you are networking straight away.

The main challenge is the time constraint of a 6 month or 12 month visa.  Relationships take time.  You do the introductions, arrange a face-to-face meeting, and so on.  Some have taken the liberty to travel as a visitor first but may be challenging if you don’t have the budget to make cross Atlantic flights…

There are online communities like LinkedIn and Slack where you can build up that rapport online.

Research what state and federal public resources are available to you

This is somewhat similar to my first point regarding finding out what the long-term opportunities are available to you.  There may be public resources that you have access to once you officially become a valid temporary resident.

Another item is that since much of these youth visas are due to bilateral agreements set up between two countries, find out what other bilateral agreements are also available in areas like the health care system.

Find ways to bring your work with you, wherever

While the temporary visas provides you with the opportunity to gain global experience with a local company (and to also experience the local work culture), it also provides you with the opportunity to live there for a longer term if your only other option are short stay types of visas.

Now you may not want to have to go through the motions of applying for a new job each year.  It’s stressful.  The other options include diversifying your income streams so that it’s not dependent on the one country, seeking out remote companies, freelancing and growing your own business, or seeking out opportunities with companies that contain multiple headquarters.

Being on your own in Sweden and communicating with a company based in Australia is not the same as experiencing life working and living in that country for a local company.  Maybe it works for some, and not for others.  I feel that it is always seriously worth a try deep-diving into that country’s culture as much as you can.

And last but not least.. be on the lookout for potential curveballs and mishaps

Taking six months or twelve months out of your home country can be a big move.  The time spent is so short that you may be overlooked for opportunities since there will be people who simply assume that you are only there as a stopover before moving on.  Not only that, but it usually takes months for someone to settle into a new role – and by the time you are settled it looks like you may be on your way.

Moving countries can be very exciting but it can put a bit of a shock on your system.  Even moreso if a curveball occurs.  When I first moved to the UK, I was a victim of fraud and came at the worst time ever – right before the Olympics when the rental market was about to be squeezed by the major event.  A friend had to seek out medical help, followed by a fight with his insurance company regarding their policies.  And you read articles on expats finding themselves on quicksand due to the Turkish coup, or people with long-term uncertainty due to the Brexit.  However, and I really don’t want to scare anyone away from doing this, preparation is always, always your friend in these case.

Have these tips helped you?  Do you have advice of your own to share?  Feel free to comment below!

Thanks for reading.  If you are looking for advice or have suggestions to offer for potential posts feel free to email me.

Please note that I am not a migration consultant.  If you have specific questions related to you only, please consult the relevant officiated resource, or find a registered migration consultant or seek out legal advice.

Reflection: Moving countries, moving industries, moving job roles and on 10 year plans.

Mid last year, I did the three toughest things that you can do as a job seeker – move countries, move industries and move job roles.

This whole process was incredibly difficult.  There were a number of times where I second-guessed myself, even wondering if some part of it is delusional.  However even if it was, I would consider it the entrepreneur kind of delusional where you just know that it’s going to happen in some way, shape or form.

Moving countries

After spending most of 2014 thinking that I’ll be landing in Sweden, I decided that the most practical step was Canada.  Not only was a temporary two-year work visa available for me, but the path to permanent residency also looked straight-forward.  It was an English-speaking country, and I already travelled in the country (for a few months).  I ended up spending a few months in Vancouver, going to two one week conferences/events that I had already planned to go months before and then moved to a bigger city, Toronto.

I found that while the job market in Vancouver was quiet good, the housing availability there was the downside.  As soon as I saw what the rental market was like in Toronto, I made the decision to move only two weeks later.

The decision to move to Toronto ended up validating.  Not only am I still here but I have also travelled a bit outside of Canada and to the east side of the US.  Not only that, but the flight and travel opportunity to Europe is better.

Moving industries

In the lead up to and during the move, I somehow managed to move industries, twice.  Once in private banking and wealth management and another in software.

Industries can only be classified as locations.  So while the former was mainly US and Europe, the latter was primarily US and Canada.

I experienced ‘industry culture shock’  for the first time when I moved from Australia to the UK.  I went from working within major events and festivals, was known as a founder for a creative industries startup … then the following year, I was working for a cause as online marketer for a medical education and global health charity organization and my startup was floundering.

The second time this time, I still got ‘industry culture’ shock but to a lesser degree.

Moving job roles

Again, I have done this twice in the lead up to the move and during.  Once as an Analyst to research and compose briefs (in the finance sector) another as Customer Success which was more into testing/QA/user support rather than the account management spectrum.

The former involved working with UK/European colleagues.  The latter was primarily Canada and the US.

The culture associated with the two industry and job role moves was as different as night-and-day.  Completely, unmistakably different.

In a short space of 1.5 years I have managed to move countries (once), move industries (twice) and move job roles (twice).

Where to now?

Other people, well at least my parents, probably think that I’m some sort of job-hopping, country-hopping career rabbit – of the Australian pest variety.  It is so difficult to hide who I really am.  Maybe I can hide it for a short while, but I’ve lasted a day or two before I realise that there really is no point.

This ‘chaos’ has been all planned out since I was 20.  Even years earlier than that.  I remember once, in the library, writing down my plans to freelance while travelling around Europe.

I have been implementing my plans to do this – to live and work around the world and with a time horizon spanning for 10 years.  From 2011 right through to 2021.

What would be your 10 year plan?  And are you actively implementing it?

I find that, once I get to the 5 year mark, then the 7 year mark, then the 10 year mark…who knows, maybe we can get up to 20 years or more.