Whether you're an investment fund manager or a visionary entrepreneur looking for new business opportunities, getting started in Ukraine is easier with seasoned pros helping you on the ground.
The road ahead
As any expat can tell you from the outset becoming a nomad takes a considerable amount of expertise, experience and well earned years on the road. Our travels as proficient expats still needs much to be desired, but we have encountered those that have been down this path many times and for many years. They divulge information regarding their travels with the knowledge that us novices wish we had when we first set out on our adventures.
Generally our conversations with other expats goes along the following lines: How long have you been here for? Eliciting remarks of "Oooohhhhh, shame you will get used to it, it takes a bit of time". Little smiles of understanding lilt other expats lips as we all know what the new recruits are going through and just how they are feeling.
Everyone takes their own time to settle and in their own way.
I know we would have made several different choices knowing what we know now from leaving our home to where we would stay on our arrival. Here are some of the questions that I have come across over the years, that can perhaps help those that endeavor to go on this voyage of expatriation.
We have broken this article up into a series of questions that you need to ask yourself each step of the way of your enterprise in Ukraine. These are the questions we can help you answer with our consultancy services.
Before simply just moving to Ukraine, ask yourself the following:
- Why do I want to invest of myself in Ukraine, what is making me make this move? Is this due to a career advancement, career move, or to move from a personal situation or country politics. Is it for love, business investment, or both? Make sure you are moving for the right reasons.
- Will this be a good move for me and my family? Will my marriage survive this move? Will the family be happy? Have I discussed all the details with them and what their needs are? Have I included the children in the conversations?
- Who is this going to benefit?
Initially, we discussed every detail about the move between ourselves, we went through the pros and cons, both financially and emotionally for the family. Then included the children in our discussions and found a way for them to feel that they had made the decision, a smart move. (If the children are too small then they cannot be part of this decision but if they understand how their lives will change then they should be included in the discussions).
Once each member of the family is in agreement with the move, then start asking the following questions:
Is the move an open-ended one or just for a couple years?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Should I sell my home or rent it out?
- Can the animals come with, what are the laws regarding this?
- What relocation company is the best to use for international assignments?
- What furniture, clothes, personal belongings should we take with us?
- Where is the country and city we are moving to, i.e. on a map?
- What do we know about Ukraine?
- What is the population, culture, religion, political situation and economy?
- Is there a dress requirement e.g. having to wear a suit to work, etc?
- What is the weather in Ukraine like?
- What are the local people like?
- How many hours will it take to get back to our own country if needed?
- Is there a consulate for my country there?
- How safe is it?
- How many other expatriates live there and which countries do they come from?
Then consider your next plan of action, set dates for each of your objectives:
- Selling / Renting house out
- Finding a relocation / removal company
- Finding an animal relocation company, if you are bringing pets
- Buying airline tickets
- Settling any debts that may arise while you are away
- Setting up a way to pay for any debts that may arise
- Saying goodbye to family and friends
- Selecting a family member or friend to deal with any business / banking issues that may arise
While you are preparing to make your move, find an expatriate website that you can communicate with and help answer your questions about life in the new country and city. These are essential support systems that you may find can help you to settle in when you arrive. Many new expats find that they become good friends with some of the bloggers they come in contact with before arriving in the country.
If you're not coming to retire or start your own business, you may also want to consider finding an expatriate company that can offer to assist you on your arrival, these companies will help you to find schools, accommodation, medical and health facilities, and give you a general idea of the layout of the land. Many of these companies will facilitate you in obtaining Work Permits, Driver's Licenses, Medical Cards, School applications, Spousal Work Applications, etc. The more questions you ask and requirements you find, the more they can help you. Certain companies offer this as a benefit, and it is worthwhile asking your new company to provide this for you.
Accommodation and School
- What accommodation is available?
- Will the company provide accommodation?
- If the company does provide accommodation, can we decide to choose our own instead?
- What are the better areas to live in?
- What are the rentals in these areas?
- How far is work and school from the accommodation?
- Which are the best International Schools?
- What programs do the schools offer?
- What will education cost?
- What after school activities are there and does the school provide these?
- When are the schools holidays and how long are they?
- Does the company have any agreements with any of the schools for their employees?
- What are the universities like and can the children go to these?
- What is the transport system like in the country, are their buses, trains, trams, etc that you can use to get to and from work and school?
If not is there a transport / car benefit?
- Does the company help provide transport to and from work?
- Do you require an international driver's license, or will you have to take a driving test? How does this work?
- What is there to do on a weekend?
- What social and sport groups can you belong to?
- Is there satellite television, and how much will it cost?
- Is there hired help, e.g. house maids, gardeners, etc?
- How much will it cost to have help at home?
- How easy is it to hire help and what are the processes you need to follow?
- How easy will it be for your partner to obtain work?
- What recruitment agencies are there or websites can be used in the country to obtain work?
What will work provide
- Will work help you to open a bank account or will you have to do this on your own, what is required?
- Will work provide local medical aid, international medical aid, or managed health care?
- How will this system work and what medical benefits are covered?
- Will work provide life or other insurance cover?
- Will work pay for education for the children and up until what age?
- Will the company pay for the accommodation, water, electricity, rates, etc?
- Will the accommodation be furnished or unfurnished?
- Will work provide a furnishing benefit or loan?
- Will the company pay for furniture to be brought over from your home country and if so how much?
- Will the company provide a car allowance?
- Will the company pay for tickets home once a year?
- What is the cost of an air ticket back home?
- How many days holiday will you get a year?
When is the best time to actually come over to start the assignment, e.g. starting work during the summer holidays in the northern hemisphere can be frustrating as many people take leave and you are left as the new person at work who needs guidance but there is no one around to provide this. Also the children may find that there is no one to play with as everyone has gone away.
Will you be able to afford the move, will your salary cover the costs that you will incur in the new country?
Will your standard of living be the same as the country you have moved from?
The expats you make contact with before you leave will have the knowledge and experience of the country and will be able to answer most of the above questions. It is good to make sure you are happy with your intended move, company benefits, cost of living and new country.
If you want to find out more about living and working here as an Expat please visit our sister site Expat Ukraine that has been offering advice to Expats since 2003. Apart from the website there is also a lively forum with over 7,000 members. So, why not join?
Steven is Chief Instigator at http://www.xpatulator.com a website that provides cost of living index information and calculates what you need to earn in a different location to compensate for cost of living, hardship, and exchange rate differences. You can use the Salary Purchasing Power Parity (SPPP) calculator to produce a similar report using your own locations. The complete cost of living rank for all 300 locations for all 13 baskets is available here