Should we visit Ireland as tourists before we move? When?
This is a good idea, but if you’ve travelled in Europe a bit then you’ll have a rough idea of what living in Ireland could be like. That said, living somewhere and holidaying somewhere are two quite different things. How could you know if you want to live somewhere by holidaying there?
So… I answered a question with another question, but one of the reasons you’ll probably be moving is to see if you like living in Ireland or not.
Will I need a visa to visit the country?
No visa is required if you’re planning to come to Ireland for a holiday if you have a South African passport. If you hold a different passport, you might need a visa or if you’re looking at another European country, you might need a Schengen visa.
How will I get a job? Will my spouse be able to work?
If you’re in IT, I recommend contacting a recruitment agency called Zartis. If you have another occupation, you will have to check if your job is in-demand in Ireland. You can always just try apply to jobs that you find on job sites and so on, but basically the more specialised you are in a field that is in demand, the more luck you’ll have.
What do things cost in the country I’m going to?
It’s probably safe to say that things just cost a lot in Ireland, especially if you’re converting from Rands. Ireland is also quite an expensive country to live in. However salaries generally balance out the living costs.
What is the economy like?
After the recession, Ireland exchanged the term “Celtic Tiger” for “Celtic Phoenix“. Although the economy and country struggled a few years back, it seems to be growing along nicely.
How much would I be able to earn? Will we be able to afford it?
Here is a salary guide for 2015. Salaries vary according to where you will be based, for example, a Project Manager in Waterford will earn less than a Project Manager in Dublin.
Whether you’ll be able to afford it or not really depends on how big your family is, your life style and if you’d be willing to stick to a budget, especially in the beginning (before you get your first payslip).
Will the pets be coming with? How do you organise that?
This is a complex one. I will be doing a blog post on moving pets to Ireland soon.
When should we move over?
You will probably have to give a time estimate as to when you can start working in your job interview. So, once you get a job, you might need to start work in Ireland within two months from when you signed the contract. Moving is expensive, so before you start, it’s a good idea to calculate all the costs involved and do some financial planning first to see how much money you’ll need to save.
How much will it cost to visit family?
A return trip to South Africa from Ireland is currently about 1000 Euros per person, which isn’t exactly cheap.
Most flights are from Dublin, because it’s the capital the airport is bigger and better. If you end up living in Cork, you might have to take the bus from Parnell Place in the city in order to arrive in Dublin with enough time to be able to catch your international flight. There are flights from Cork to many international destinations though!
Which bills will we cancel and which shall we keep on debit order?
This will depend on if you want to return to South Africa, or not (or just leave some doors open).
What shall we sell, give-away and ship? How much does shipping cost?
Shipping things is expensive and so is buying new things here. We went with trying to ship small things and sentimental things; we sold most of the big things. Storage in South Africa is also expensive. Perhaps you’ll be able to see the move as a chance to scale down.
Most apartments in Ireland are furnished, so you probably won’t even need furniture. We rented an unfurnished place but included was a microwave, toaster, kettle, washing machine, tumble drier, dishwasher, dining room table chairs and two lounge suites. Some places are furnished like self-catering holiday homes (including cutlery).
Can I run my own business overseas?
Not really, unless you already have a lot of money (I think the minimum business start-up fee is about 50 000 Euros).
Do I have all the paperwork I need?
The documents that you really need to get your hands on in advance are mainly an unabridged marriage certificate if you’re married (this cam take months to get from Home Affairs) and you’ll need to check the expiry of your passport.
What is the health system like in the country I’m going to?
Many people have private health insurance in Ireland because of the long waiting periods for government doctors and procedures (many, many months of waiting for procedures).
What is the crime rate like?
There is some petty theft and disorderly conduct but home invasions and murder are not comparable with South Africa. You can check out the murder rates per country on Wikipedia. Numbeo also has a crime index. National master is also a good place to go for all sorts of stats.
What do I like or dislike about the country?
Do some research on-line, listen to their local radio stations, read blogs and the news to learn about popular culture, social expectations, world views, history and infrastructure.
More thoughts to make you go crazy
If you have kids, I’m guessing you’d be asking a whole bunch of other questions with regards to their well-being, questions about how they would experience the news about a new home, schools, what will happen to their pets, their friends, childcare costs. etc. All these questions are important to ask so that you can be as prepared as possible (there are a few things that you won’t able to be prepared for anyway).
Closer to the time that you move, you’ll be asking more specific questions: How long does it take to get to work? How will I get to work? Where will I shop? Is there anywhere where you can get South African food? Which area is a good one to live in? Do you have to pay for the loos? (Yes, most of the time. This is Europe.) I’m still figuring all this stuff out, but if you have any questions, I might be able to help. Drop me a line: fancyfandango(AT)gmail.com