"Four years ago I relocated for the purpose of work - I haven't looked back since. My work is going better than ever, and I love my new home". This quote from Jonathan, a young man who left life in England to make a fresh start in a country thousands of miles away, typically describes the kind of people who have relocated for work. Of course, it's not always as smooth as this. Some people, admittedly, have bad experiences of relocating, and find that they quickly become homesick or realise how much they were attached to certain things in their previous location. Hopefully this article will help to make your relocation a success.
Relocating for work means that you move wholesale to a new location. The location doesn't necessarily have to take you abroad - even moving within the same county can be a daunting process. People normally relocate for one of two reasons; either their employer is changing location, or the decision to move is personal and the relocation is being taken independently.
Relocating with your employer
If you are relocating because your employer is moving premises you can reasonably expect some advance notice of the move. Use this time to weigh up the pros and cons of moving, and make sure it is something you want to do. If you find the idea of leaving your home, friends, familiar places and even family too difficult then you would be wise to consider other options which would allow you to remain in the same location.
Are employers legally able to force you to relocate? On the Direct.gov.uk website, it says that if your contract includes a ‘mobility clause' then you are expected to relocate with the company within reasonable boundaries. However, if you decide not to move, you can expect a redundancy package to compensate you.
Of course, relocating with your employer has certain advantages over making the move independently. For one thing, you have a guaranteed job lined up. Furthermore, your employer may offer some financial and practical assistance when it comes to making the move. Talk to your employer about these issues and find out what you can expect in terms of help if you do decide to move, or the consequences of not moving. You can also request a trial period in your new location to ensure that things work out.
Relocating on your own
If you are relocating independently of your employer then the move is somewhat more complicated. First of all, consider where you want to move. This involves not just daydreaming, but researching locations, house prices, the job market, and other practical things that will affect your day-to-day life. It's also wise to discuss these things with family and friends. Use your network to find out about potential jobs in your area of choice, and to find out about such things as the cost of living, transport, entertainment, schools and hospitals. Securing a job before you move is very important. Not only will your new job give you some sense of stability, but also your new colleagues will be able to inform you about the area and perhaps show you around. Search the jobs.ac.uk website for jobs in you preferred location - you will find vacancies in universities and institutions in the UK and abroad.
If the reason for relocating is that you have already been offered a job in a new location, then your task is made a little easier. It would be wise to research things such as house prices and cost of living - even if your new job will mean a significant salary increase, it is only relative to the cost of living. Your employer should offer some advice in this regard, as well as some legal assistance with visa and banking/mortgage issues if you are moving abroad.
Whatever your reason for relocating for work, it's not a decision to be taken lightly. Potentially you can find your ideal lifestyle, and at the very least it will be a new experience for you. "While I did have some concerns at first", continues Jonathan quoted earlier, "relocating abroad really worked out for me. I quickly settled into the lifestyle here, and I have made friends that I otherwise would never have known. Although there are certain things that I miss from my hometown, the benefits of my relocation have been exceeding".
If you are in the throes of deciding whether to relocate for work, you might find these articles of use: