10 reasons to work abroad

Working abroad is a big decision. It means being far away from friends and family, completely removing yourself from home comforts, and turning your day-to-day life upside down. But big changes mean big opportunities. As a working expat, little else will open so many doors, personally or professionally. Here are 10 great reasons to take a job overseas:

1. Improving your CV

Overseas work experience will help your CV stand out from the crowd. Companies will recognise the that you take initiative and are willing to step outside your comfort zone.

2. Learning another language

The best way to learn a foreign language is to live abroad, and doing so will open new doors in your personal and professional life.

3. Discovering another culture

Much like learning the language, the best way to understand another culture is to live in it. Each day will be a new opportunity to learn something about your host country.

4. New skills

Chances are your new employer has a different way of working than their UK equivalent. A new company culture means news skills to be learned, which in turn will open up more opportunities for your career.

5. A global perspective on your industry

Your host country will likely have a distinct way of working in your chosen industry; learn from their approach. When you return to the UK, your newfound international wisdom will help you stand out in the local job market.

6. Motivation

Such a big change will give you a new lease on life, at work and at home. Channelling this enthusiasm into your work will lead to a happier, more rewarding experience.

7. Prioritisation

Changing your environment helps you re-evaluate what’s important. What belongings, places, experiences or people will you miss, and what will you be glad to leave behind? Will you use your earnings to take trips back home, or take the opportunity to travel?

8. Personal growth

Similarly, navigating your host country’s culture, both in and outside work,  will challenge your way of thinking. This new perspective on life will encouraging you to grow as a person.

9. New friends

Whether you connect with other expats or befriend the locals, working abroad provides ample opportunity to meet new people and establish lifelong friendships.

10. Travel opportunities

Working abroad means you can make like a tourist during your time off. You can stay local and explore the inner city landmarks, or journey to your host country’s far flung natural sites.

Found your dream job abroad? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

The most visa-friendly careers in New Zealand

One of the most popular destinations for UK expats, New Zealand offers a spectacular scenery, a high quality of living and a wealth of employment opportunities in key industries. We’ve listed New Zealand’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether this beautiful island nation holds the key to your next career move.


Auckland’s population surge and the ongoing recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch and Canterbury after the 2010-2012 earthquakes have led to enormous growth for New Zealand’s construction industry.

Roles in demand:

  • Quantity surveyors
  • Designers
  • Foremen
  • Site managers


New Zealand’s government has invested heavily in infrastructure, creating great employment opportunities for the engineering industry. This includes a long-term national plan covering transport, telecommunications, energy and water.

Engineers are sought in the following areas: civil, construction, electrical, electronics, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, instrument and electrical, materials, mechanical, mining, petroleum, production, structural and transport specialities.

Health and social services

Population growth and an ageing population has increased the need for trained healthcare professionals. Among the targets are 380 extra specialists every year through to 2021 and an additional 25,000 nurses by 2030.

Virtually every discipline in health and social services requires offshore talent in both the public and private sector.

IT, electronics and telecommunications

ICT is one of New Zealand’s largest industries with over 10,000 businesses in the sector. Increased digitisation, particularly in business, means the industry is now growing at over 9% a year.

This has led to employment growth across the sector, in particular for the following roles:

  • Software engineering
  • Software development
  • Project management
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Administration
  • Business analysis


Home to several research institutions of international renown, New Zealand competes globally in agricultural biotechnology, genomics, biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics and nutraceuticals.

Scientists are needed to support New Zealand’s primary industries, such as agriculture and forestry, particularly in research and development. Growth in oil exploration has also created demand for geologists studying oil and gas.

With partner offices in 12 key cities, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to New Zealand every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

Top tips for buying property abroad


Looking for a new home overseas? While navigating foreign real estate can be a daunting prospect, the best advice for buying a home can be applied to most international property markets. Read on to discover how to secure the best overseas property, whatever your destination.

Investigate building your home from scratch

Surprisingly, it can be more cost effective to purchase and build a home on empty land rather than buying an existing property. It’s normal to agree a price with a contractor upfront, sometimes as part of a land and property purchase deal. This way, even if the land price increases during construction, your costs stay the same.

Consider the location of the land

Another benefit of building your overseas property yourself is the potential for increasing its value. Look for land near water or in developing residential areas; you should get a good deal with either. Then, once built, your home will likely increase in value due to its great location.

Research neighbourhood property prices

If you do opt for buying an existing property abroad, investigate house prices in the surrounding area. If the local market has reached its high point, steer clear to avoid losing money on the property over time.

Know your property inside out

Estate agents won’t tell you about the dodgy plumbing or leaky roof. For any prospective overseas property, make sure the appropriate surveys are undertaken so you are aware of any building work required before or after purchase. Survey results will also help in price negotiations if any issues are identified.

Learn about the local area

Decide what you need out of your new neighbourhood and check your list against each prospective property or area of land. This could include:

  • Local amenities
  • Good international schools
  • Low crime rates
  • Access to public transport
  • No planned developments that could impact house prices

Discover property hotspots

Research  in property magazines or online to discover where house prices are predicted or starting to rise in your destination country. As developed cities expand outwards, many suburbs are undergoing rapid development. Invest now, and, market permitting, expect to sell at a profit when you repatriate.

Found your dream property abroad? Contact Pickfords for expert international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

What are the biggest job sectors in Australia?

Boasting good wages and a high standard of living, Australia offers a wide range of employment opportunities for millions of expats. We’ve listed the country’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether the UK’s most popular expat destination holds the key to your next career move.


While not the mammoth industry it used to be, manufacturing is still Australia’s leading source of employment. The biggest Australian industries within manufacturing are:

  • Food, beverages and tobacco
  • Metal products
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Petroleum, coal and chemical products

The food and beverage manufacturing industry is the largest in Australia, with meat, beverage and malt manufacturing providing the most opportunities, followed by dairy, sugar and confectionery.


While mining is another industry in decline, Australia nonetheless remains the world’s leading exporter of coal, mined primarily in Queensland, News South Wales and Victoria. It is also one of the world’s largest producers of aluminium, copper, gold, iron, mineral sands and zinc. Australia’s mining industry employs over 187,000 people directly and nearly 600,000 in support industries.


Farmers and graziers own nearly 135,000 farms covering over 60% of Australia’s landmass. Farming contributes 93% of the domestic food supply, including meat, vegetables, fruit and grains. Including related sectors – manufacturing and processing, distribution and retail – agriculture provides employment for over 1.6 million people.


Australia’s four major banks – Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ – are among the world’s largest and most profitable. The financial services sector employs 450,000 people, primarily in Sydney and Melbourne.


It should come as no surprise that the country’s seven million annual visitors, and enormous domestic tourism market, create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Australia. Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in particular provide a wide range of tourism-related job opportunities.

With partner offices in 39 Australian cities, including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Pickfords relocates thousands of expats to Australia every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, request a callback or contact us on 0800 019 8557.

Moving to the USA: what you need to know

The US is a land of opportunity for many British expats, with commercial centres such as New York and San Francisco offering careers in a diverse range of industries, while sunny states like Florida draw in thousands of retirees in search of the quiet life. So whatever your reason for emigrating, what do you need to get to the US, and what can you expect on arrival?

Entry requirements

British citizens can apply for the Visa Waiver Programme for stays of up to 90 days, otherwise you will need a visa from the US Embassy. Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. For more information on US entry requirements, visit GOV.UK.


The US has a resident population of over 324 million, making it the third highest populated country in the world. Over 73% of the population is White American, 13% African American, 5% Asian and 1% American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.


There is no official language of the US, although 80% of the population speak only (American) English at home. Spanish is the second most spoken dialect, with 45 million speaking it as a first or second language.

The differences between British and American English can occasionally cause confusion; some examples of British words and their American equivalents can be found here.


Differences in latitude and geographic features mean that climate varies considerably among (and within) major expat destinations; for example:

  • New York City and Austin, Texas undergo large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters
  • Seattle’s climate is oceanic, with cool, wet winters and mild, fairly dry summers
  • North and central Florida have hot-to-humid summers and mild-to-cool winters, while South Florida enjoys a tropical climate
  • San Francisco has a moderate climate: moist, mild winters and dry summers

Quality of life

According to InterNations, expats feel warmly welcomed in the US, and report high satisfaction with their careers and leisure opportunities. While many believe childcare, education and healthcare are expensive, most agree that the quality of these services is high.

With partner offices in 10 key US cities, including New York, LA and Chicago, Pickfords relocates thousands of expats the the US every year; to find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, request a callback or contact us on 0800 019 8557.

Moving to China: what you need to know

One of the world’s largest economies, the People’s Republic of China is a popular destination for experienced professionals across a number of industries, including manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals, technology and finance. Many are also drawn in by the country’s rich history and a fascinating culture that offers a stark contrast to typical Western sensibilities.

So if you’re looking for a new opportunity coupled with a unique cultural experience, what’s required to emigrate to the PRC, and what can you expect once posted there?

Entry requirements

You will need a visa to enter China. Make sure you don’t overstay, as the authorities conduct regular checks. For stays longer than six months, you must produce a health certificate, including an HIV blood test, and you may need to apply for a Residence Permit. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date of your visa application.

You must register your place of residence with the local Public Security Bureau within 24 hours of arrival.


At 1.381 billion, China is the highest populated country in the world, though population density varies considerably between the western and northern part and the highly populated eastern region. Overall density is far lower than much of the world due to the country’s relatively large land mass.

Over 91% of the population is Han Chinese, and although the government is officially atheist and most consider themselves irreligious, historically Confucianism, Taoism and Chinese Buddhism have a significant role in shaping the culture.


Mandarin, China’s official language, is spoken by around 70% of the population, while the remainder speak one of the country’s nearly 300 living languages. While there is growing interest in the English language, it is not yet widely spoken across mainland China. English speakers can get by in the business world, but navigating shops, restaurants, etc is far easier with at least a working knowledge of Mandarin


Winters are typically cold and dry, while summers are warm and moist, although the country’s complex topography means the climate can differ significantly region to region.

Quality of life

According to InterNations, expats rate the quality of work opportunities and salaries highly, although this is countered by the growing cost of living and increased working hours. Healthcare is considered poor, primarily due to high pollution levels, while childcare, public transport and personal safety are all viewed favourably.

With key partner offices in seven key locations across China, including Shanghai and Beijing, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to China every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, request a callback or contact us on 0800 019 8557.

New Australian customs regulations for vehicle shipping

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service have recently published new rules for importing motor vehicles. For any vehicle being imported into Australia, Customs now requires a declaration completed stating that it does not contain any asbestos.

Most UK market vehicles manufactured since 1999 should comply if serviced solely through an authorised main dealer. However, owners must be absolutely sure that their vehicle is asbestos free and their declaration is completely correct, as very significant fines can apply to incorrect declarations. If you are unsure of the service or parts history, you should not ship the vehicle.

To be certain your vehicle will comply, you may wish to arrange a test through an ILAC asbestos testing facility.

For more information about shipping motor vehicles or household belongings to Australia, contact Pickfords free 0800 019 8556 or request a call back.

The top 10 expat destinations for 2017

Looking to further your career in 2017? While the UK offers many great opportunities, expanding your horizons overseas may just help you land the perfect role. We reveal our customers’ top international destinations of last year: 10 bustling global cities offering expat careers in a diverse range of industries. Read on: your next job just might be in…


The cultural, political and economic hub of Sweden, Stockholm has seen significant growth in high technology, finance and entrepreneurship in recent years, and is home to many international companies. The city is well known for its innovation and competitiveness within the European marketplace, as well as one of the continent’s greenest and most liveable cities.

New Delhi

There is high demand for experienced professionals in India’s capital, especially in the growing industries of IT and telecommunications. The city’s diverse economy also offers many roles in retail, manufacturing, media, tourism, engineering and design for experienced expatriates.


With high wages, low unemployment and excellent working conditions, Singapore has long been an attractive destination for job-seeking expats. The city-state also has six universities, including Asia’s top ranking higher education facility, the National University of Singapore.

New York

Known as the cultural and financial capital of the world, New York is well known as a centre for commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, technology, education and entertainment, and is home to over 120 colleges and universities, some ranking among the best in the world.


Australia’s fastest growing state capital for employment offers a wide range of opportunities in the public and private sectors. Over half the city’s total employment is found in the construction, education, government, health and retail sectors, while finance, business services, manufacturing, mining, and transport also offer many opportunities for expats.


The biggest and most populated city of New Zealand is well known as a great place to do business, and is home to some of the country’s most prestigious schools. World-leading, innovative technology companies in Auckland make up over a third of New Zealand’s paid employment, while many other opportunities can be found in manufacturing, health, hospitality, food and beverages, construction and engineering and business services.


Manufacturing and the professional, scientific and technology fields are Melbourne’s biggest employers, followed by retail, food and beverages, finance, telecommunications and construction. The education and engineering sectors in particular offer many opportunities for expats.


This global city and business hub of the Middle East provides a wealth of opportunities in construction, tourism and financial services. Dubai is especially enticing for expats given the options available to both buy property and own land there.


Western Australia’s capital is a hub for mining and related industries, including engineering and R&D. Healthcare workers and artisans are also in high demand. The relaxed and egalitarian workplace culture in Perth is a big pull expats from across the world.


Expats in Australia’s most populous city find careers in property, business services, retail, manufacturing, health and community services. Other growing sectors include information, media and technology, tourism and creative and performing arts.

If you’re moving towards a new overseas opportunity in 2017, contact Pickfords for expert international (and local and national) packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

How to navigate Japan as an expat

With a small but growing UK expat population, Japan’s low crime rate, great hospitality, incredible technology, and wealth of career opportunities in language teaching, technology and international business, makes the East Asian island an increasingly attractive destination for Western expatriates.

Facing a unique culture, how can foreigners effectively navigate expat life on this incredible island country?

Budget carefully

Japan is renowned for being an expensive place to live, especially Tokyo and Osaka. Maintaining your standard of living in Japan requires a large budget.

Housing and utilities are unavoidably expensive, but you could significantly lower your expenses by living outside the main cities. Shopping at local supermarkets, rather than paying a premium for western delicacies, can also keep costs down.

Learn the language

Much of Japan, especially the larger cities, is fluent in English, but learning basic written and verbal Japanese will help you navigate daily life, especially at work, and attempts to speak it will be appreciated by the locals.

Learn the customs

As a unique culture, adopting Japanese customs can be tricky for expats. Here’s a few of the basics:

  • Learn to bow properly, keeping your back straight and arms at your sides
  • When entering someone’s home, remove your shoes
  • Don’t tip! This is seen as an insult
  • Try learning to use chopsticks; some restaurants don’t offer an alternative

Listen to the robots!

Instructional technology abounds in Japan, and it can be easy to get caught out. Android-esque robots direct traffic in major cities, many sushi restaurants are entirely automated, and your own apartment might advise you if you’re using too much electricity!

Be punctual

Punctuality is incredibly important to the Japanese. Make sure you’re on time for any appointments, and move quickly to get on trains and lifts, as the doors shut rather quickly!

Get ready to for close encounters

Something you’ll notice very quickly in Japan: People. Are. Everywhere! You’ll often find yourself with little personal space on public transport, in shops, restaurants, and even walking down the street.

Leave plenty of time to travel and pay attention to your surroundings. Another aspect of the punctuality culture is that all these swathes of people are typically in a great rush, so you need your whits about you to stay upright when travelling on foot.

Be prepared for a warm welcome

Forget British reserve; most locals are incredibly friendly. Shop clerks will normally welcome you to the store, and you may soon find yourself invited to colleagues’ homes. Both are a great chance to practice your bowing technique and Japanese lingo.

With partner offices in Tokyo and Kobe, Pickfords has relocated hundreds of expats to the bustling island of Japan. Click here find out more, or request a quote online.

Rio customs strike affecting clearance

Brazilian customs strikes are expected to impact goods clearance until the conclusion of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Customs clearance and delivery of household goods services will be affected within the city and ports of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s remaining 26 states, including primary business centre Sao Paula, will not be affected.

Customs at the Rio airport and sea port are undergoing a partial strike over a wage dispute, currently working just two days per week. Customers emigrating to the capital can expect delayed customs clearance until well beyond the official end of the Olympics on Sunday 21 August.

Road traffic within Rio is also seeing significant challenges as athletes, delegations and country dignitaries arrive ahead of the Games. For security reasons, some road closures will not be announced in advance.

If you have concerns about customs clearance and emigration into Rio de Janerio, please contact your Move Manager or call 0800 019 8557.