I'll try to be specific so that this question is not too open ended and can be answered.

We are vaguely dreaming about moving to a different country to work for several years. Most destinations are a long way from Australia so we would like to live and work in another country to experience that country and as a travel base to nearby countries.

Some facts about us to make this question specific:

  • We are too old (40) for student working visas
  • I have skills in IT/finance and she has skills in hospitality/real estate
  • We speak only English (while willing to learn some local language realistically we would need to be speaking English in the workplace)
  • We would be looking at staying for 2 or 3 years if this is possible
  • Could take a pay-cut compared to Australian incomes so long as we have enough money to live on
  • We are both Australian citizens only (no dual citizenship avenues)
  • It's possible that only one of us needs to work and the other could volunteer
  • We have travelled in East Africa and India/Nepal

About possible destinations:-

  • Developing world would be good (and not say, US, UK, Canada, NZ)
  • A warm place would be better than somewhere cold
  • Location should be a good travel base for the nearby region
  • Obviously we would need to be eligible for a working visa

What are the options?

  • 2
    Do you have passports besides you Australian ones or are you eligible for them? If so you could work in the country of a parent or grandparent that was born overseas. But you might both need the same passport. Otherwise you will need to find overseas jobs the hard way. Volunteering might be easier. Sep 22, 2011 at 8:11
  • if you don't mind me asking. If you have any kids, what about their education etc? Jan 29, 2012 at 1:59
  • @Aditya Naidu: They will be at University or working when we do this.
    – WW.
    Jan 29, 2012 at 5:19
  • For anyone wondering: we ended up settling nowhere for longer than 3 months and instead travelled and worked, mostly in: Thailand, Malaysia, Croatia, Spain, UK, Estonia, Romania, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. I was working remotely and my partner was teaching English online and we didn't work in any of those countries themselves which made the visa situation simple.
    – WW.
    Jul 10, 2020 at 1:49

1 Answer 1


Having spent some time in the country, my suggestion would be Singapore. And here are my reasons:

  • Consistent weather throughout the year with most of the rainfall concentrated in a few months. At first it might feel too hot but air-conditioning in housing, public areas, shopping centres, public transport et al is ubiquitous and you generally don't have to deal with the heat. And you eventually get used to it anyway.
  • Even though the ethnic background of a majority of Singapore is Chinese-origin, English is standard language of instruction in schools and you'd rarely, if ever, come across anyone who doesn't speak English. You don't have to learn a new language.
  • Excellent base for travelling. Whether you are looking for full-service airlines or budget airlines, there's a lot of choice and the sheer amount of competition keeps prices low. Alternatively, most of the neighbouring countries are also accessible by fairly good (by Asian standards, not considering East Asia) rail, bus, ferry/water links.
  • Fairly relaxed standards for issuing work visas. Taxation rates are low compared to developed country standards. This is one of the reasons why there's a huge expat population in Singapore (again, a good thing or a bad thing depending on the way you see it) with almost a quarter of the population being foreigners. You also mentioned you work in IT while your wife works in real estate, which is great because these both sectors are booming in Singapore.
  • Working hours. Average on-contract working hours range from 8-10 hours. From what I have heard, that depends on how high up the ladder you are. If you are just starting off your career, some workplaces in Singapore expect you to work without overtime pay while others do pay for overtime. This is what I've heard from recent graduates, so your mileage may vary. I did a research internship for a couple of months and had flexitime, and could even telecommute whenever I wanted.
  • Average holiday allowance is 14 days plus an additional 11 days of public holidays. If you're on an expat contract, your employer may offer to match holiday allowances too.
  • It's close to Australia. Depending on what you desire, this may be a good thing (can meet family easily) or a bad thing (too close to where you already live).
  • What are the expected working hours? Are they similar to the UK or rather Japan?
    – Grzenio
    Sep 22, 2011 at 14:49
  • Ah, and I forgot to ask about usual holiday entitlement - e.g. in the UK you would expect around 25 working days a year in office jobs (on top of public/bank holidays), whereas in the US you only get 10 or so. If you only get 10 days, its a bit pointless if you want to travel around.
    – Grzenio
    Sep 22, 2011 at 19:42
  • 2
    Disagree with Singapore. Too expensive, too strict. I would go with someplace not so developed and Urban. Indonesia is always great. You could also try one of the cities in the Caribbean, such as Nassua. There are a number of married couples who move to that area.
    – Beaker
    Sep 23, 2011 at 6:36
  • @Grzenio You raised some good points so instead of continuing a conversation here, I added details to my answer. Sep 23, 2011 at 11:15
  • Singapore gets a bad rep for 'being too strict' but I didn't feel that way. Sure, there are signs everywhere but the city is clean and nice. Could do much better with freedom of speech on political matters though. Sep 23, 2011 at 11:50

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