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Old 19.07.2011, 21:08
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Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

When we moved internationally for my husband's job, we requested and were approved for a pre-determination visit to see if the country would be a place we could see ourselves living in and where we could ask some essential questions that could be deal-breakers (health care system, education, etc).

Now my husband has been offered a job in another country. He requested a pre-determination visit and while it was initially approved, now that we are prepared to travel, the company said that they will not actually cover such an expense and it was a misunderstanding.

So, my questions are: 1) Did your company provide a pre-determination visit? 2) Would you accept an offer without visiting the country first?
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Old 19.07.2011, 21:35
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Is it an unusual country or one that you might be expected to know something about, plenty of info freely available etc? Did your husband have to go to the country to interview? Did he pursue the job or did they pursue him?

I would move somewhere without visiting if I knew enough about it and was pretty sure I could fit into the culture. A short visit may not be that informative anyway. But if I or my husband was accepting a job abroad I would expect that I or he would have visited the company and the country first to ensure I/he wanted to work there and to be able to report back. My expectation on who paid would depend on the answers to the questions above...
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Old 19.07.2011, 21:38
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

1) Yes, we didn't do it for the US, we just went, we did do it this time but only because housing is limited and we needed to make a decision fast and it is only a 8 hour car ride from our homecountry, company did pay for the hotel and food. Edit to add: both times husband already accepted the offer so it is different then in your case

2) Yes why not, it's not that a 3/4/5 day visit will show how daily live is going to be.

Last edited by SwissAstrid; 19.07.2011 at 21:40. Reason: add
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Old 19.07.2011, 21:55
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Thanks so much for the replies...guess I am a little nervous since 1) I have never been there 2) the salary they are offering feels on the low side and it would be nice to see how far it ''feels'' like money will go 3) I have specific questions about health care (which will be a down grade compared to our current health care) and would feel a lot more comfortable if I could meet with health care people personally to ask questions.

My husband has interviewed there, but did not have a chance to see anything (except a look out the window on the way to and from the airport).
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Old 19.07.2011, 22:14
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Thats a shame about not being able to look round at all when he went for interview.

Regarding the money and the healthcare, it sounds like you would need to do some research on the internet, speaking to relevent organisations in that country, and perhaps trying to speak to some ex pats who already live there. I don't think a quick visit would be very helpful, it's probably unliely you can just go into a hospital or doctors surgery and ask questions for example. I get what you mean about the 'feel' though, often countries seem more expensive when you're not a local and don't know the best places to shop, so if it seems good value at first glance it probably is.

Maybe if you feel comfortable disclosing the location there might be people on this forum who could give you opinions?
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Old 19.07.2011, 22:42
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

The job is in Scotland...salaries are lower in that area of the country, which of course affects other things like salary contributed to pension AND the exchange rate sucks (everything will be expensive outside of the UK). Can't be sure how it will affect our standard of living exactly.

Fixed costs seem to be more or less what we are paying now (we are not in Switzerland currently, but do live in the EU). I have ''heard'' that variable costs are cheaper in Scotland and the UK, but I am not sure what that means or actually looks like (one reason a visit would be helpful).

Health care is noteably poorer in the UK than where we live currently (and I have a pre-existing condition which won't be covered by private insurance....wait-times for a specialist are 18+ weeks).

Have heard great things about the people, culture and food. Plus, plus, plus! And I would love to speak English again. The weather freaks me out a little, but I think I could adapt to that.
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Old 19.07.2011, 23:02
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

As an expat and as a Scot - the cost of living is much lower in Scotland than in Switzerland - especially groceries. It's true that salaries are lower than Switzerland and lower than London, but not necessarily lower than the rest of the UK. Edinburgh/Aberdeen salaries, for example, can be notably higher than those in the North of England, in my experience. Of course with everything it depends on the job.
I love my home country, but the weather is much worse there than in Switzerland (even on days like today) so its good you are prepared for that. I would definitely recommend you visit the area before you decide to move - even if that means paying for the trip yourself. In fact, I would recommend you pay Scotland a visit, even if your husband didnt have a job there!
Whereabouts is the job? Let me know if I can help anymore.
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Old 19.07.2011, 23:42
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I find it hard to believe that you have heard good things about the food in Scotland... ;-)

Definitely take a trip, flights to the UK are relatively inexpensive. As a completely biased northerner (UK) I think it would be great to live in Edinburgh but I don't like other Scottish towns. I think most of your costs will be lower there, and the pound is only weak versus the euro and Swiss franc, it's pretty much at a normal historical level against the us dollar.

One thing about healthcare, just my opinion but I think you get used to the system you've had. Coming from the uk I dislike thinking twice here before I go to the doctor, and I really appreciate the nhs now I don't have it. Don't want to get into a big discussion about the pros and cons of uk healthcare as that has been done to death, but one thing I would suggest is that you think about just paying privately to see the specialist you need in the uk. It will probably be a lot less than you are paying here for your insurance. If it's a long term thing though it might be better to stay 'in the system'.
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Old 20.07.2011, 13:34
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Another Scot here. Do you know whereabouts in Scotland you would be located? Like many countries Scotland has it's good, posh areas and some pretty awful parts too. Salaries are lower but then so is cost of living, depending on the area housing can be expensive though.

You are right about the people & the culture The food is also great, lots of real quality produce; don't think it is all about deep fried pizza & mars bars.

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The job is in Scotland...
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Old 20.07.2011, 18:16
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

We are looking at living in the West Lothian area. But can't be sure until we visit.
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Old 20.07.2011, 18:43
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

I have moved country three times in order to take up a new job, each time never having been in the country before. So far 2/3 have been complete successes.
But I always had the option of quitting and leaving, no dependents. And the jobs were 2 year contracts. I think you can grin and bear living pretty much anywhere if it's for a year or two.
Scotland, though, is really nice! I am biased, I'm from up north, but one thing that might hit you moving from a more civilised country is the abysmal public transport if you are outside of a town. Absent or infrequent.
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Old 20.07.2011, 18:46
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Well in West Lothian like most places, some areas are nicer than others.
Livingston is probably the biggest town and has a pretty good and large shopping mall - its a "new" town and as such has a lot of roundabouts to test your driving skills.
Linlithgow is a much prettier town though, so make sure you visit there on your scouting mission.
Quite a lot of people commute from West Lothian to Edinburgh and Glasgow - property prices are lower and transport links are decent (by Scottish, if not Swiss standards). Even if your husband's job is in West Lothian, you are not too far away from the amenities of the big cities.
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Old 20.07.2011, 20:01
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Linlithgow is where you want to look for a place to live. It is the nicest town in the whole area, I worked there for 2 years based in the town itself but travelled around the area a lot so know it well. Linlithgow also has a train station with good connections to Edinburgh & Glasgow.

http://www.linlithgow.com/

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We are looking at living in the West Lothian area. But can't be sure until we visit.
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Old 21.07.2011, 12:02
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

My husband has accepted the job and we will be moving to Scotland within the next 3 to 6 weeks! This is my third international move. And I am doing it blind-without visiting first! I am feeling all of the emotions that go along with a big move-excited, nervous, overwhelmed.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. It made me feel better to know that it was not crazy to not visit a country before moving (although I still think I would prefer it, but sometimes the time line is just too tight and it doesn't work out).

Again, many thanks to all of you who helped answer my questions. I just may have more!
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Old 21.07.2011, 12:12
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

Don't worry about the move Scots folk are generally really nice & welcoming.

For housing check out http://www.espc.com/ it is the biggest site I know of for buying & renting. If you need any more info on the area just shout.

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My husband has accepted the job and we will be moving to Scotland within the next 3 to 6 weeks! This is my third international move. And I am doing it blind-without visiting first! I am feeling all of the emotions that go along with a big move-excited, nervous, overwhelmed.

Thanks to everyone who contributed. It made me feel better to know that it was not crazy to not visit a country before moving (although I still think I would prefer it, but sometimes the time line is just too tight and it doesn't work out).

Again, many thanks to all of you who helped answer my questions. I just may have more!
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Old 21.07.2011, 12:17
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Re: Are Pre-determination Visits Standard?

All the very best with the move, sonnyk - and congratulations to your husband on his new job.
Don't hesitate to ask any further questions - until you find an Englishforum - Scotland, at least

P.S. They have lots of brown sugar in Scotland. But you wont find many "kids" scooters for grown men to use on their commute to work - your husband might want to buy one before you move
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