Moving to another country is a fantastic adventure! Still, although migrations seem like a common occurrence in this day and age, they aren’t, and they can get overwhelming. Not many people decide to relocate and start a new life. After all, it’s not an easy step to take! Even if you want to, there are many aspects to consider, from migration policies (visas, for example) to financial factors (costs of living). However, if you are lucky enough to have the financial means to fulfill your dreams and move to Ireland, a great experience awaits you! To help you navigate your new life, we assembled a guide for Chinese ex-pats in Ireland.
It is impossible to cover everything, but we will try to give you basic information that can help your further research. Of course, some things you’ll learn as you go. Preparation is good, but most things you’ll have to experience yourself.
Understanding Ireland: about history and culture
You don’t need to know the country’s whole history, but you should know something. It’s not because someone will quiz you, but because countries’ history has formed its culture and identity. There is quite a lot of difference between China and Ireland (Asia and Europe). Knowing a little bit of history, tradition, and customs will help you adapt.
There are several useful things to know about Ireland. First, one of the most significant pillars that Ireland is built on is agriculture. It’s still crucial for people in rural areas. Second, Ireland is a mixture of Celtic and Catholic influences. Celts shaped the ancient culture and the official language, Irish Gaelic. Religion is rooted firmly, so Catholicism still has a significant impact.
Ireland became popular with immigrants in the 1990s when the country went through economic development. Many global companies expanded into Ireland. Facebook, Airbnb, and Microsoft even established their European headquarters here. Because of its economic growth, Ireland is among the most popular destinations for ex-pats.
Generally, Ireland is an excellent destination for ex-pats. One of the main perks is that it doesn’t have stringent visa regulations, and it’s not as complicated to stay for a longer time. Citizens of the UK don’t have any restrictions. People from EEA and Switzerland don’t need a visa, and they can become residents if they’re employed, self-employed, students, or retiring
Citizens of China and other countries go through a bit more complicated process. First, they need a visa to enter the country. Second, if they want to work, they need an employment permit. It lasts two years and can be renewed. If you qualify, you can also obtain a Green Card. It applies to ex-pats who are significant to the Irish labor force and have an annual salary of over 60k (euros). It is good to start with the process before moving, but you can also find a job after relocating to Ireland. There are a lot of opportunities!
If you fall in love with this country, you can apply for an Irish residency. However, this is possible only after five years of legally living here. After five years of residency, you can become a citizen as well.
Costs of living
One of the less encouraging points of this guide for Chines ex-pats in Ireland is the high cost of living. Compared to others, this country is among expensive ones to live in. However, it’s still very popular!
In general, it’s possible to live comfortably in Ireland with local salaries. You won’t be able to save much, but you won’t be living paycheck to paycheck either. Since Ireland is an island, many common goods have to be imported (groceries and gas). It is why they are more expensive.
Also, expenses will depend on where you live. The most expensive places to live are big cities like Dublin, Limerick, and Galway (housing is not as affordable). If you want to save money, look for a place on the outskirts of the city.
Most cities in Ireland have good public transportation. Also, in most towns, you can ride a bike or walk. Bus lines around the city or between cities are well-organized and affordable. If you’re looking for places to relax in Ireland, you won’t have a problem reaching them. Of course, taxis are a widespread option as well.
Education and healthcare
Public schools in Ireland are free and with a very high quality of education. Parents are expected to pay for uniforms, lunches, and school materials. The cost will vary from school to school but are generally affordable. However, if you want to send your child to a private school, the expenses are much higher. Both residents and ex-pats have to pay tuition fees.
Higher education is excellent. You can choose between private and state-funded universities as well. However, state universities are free only for Irish students. Others have to pay full tuition. Also, students from other countries have to apply for a visa once they’re accepted to university.
Healthcare is universal and available for both residents and non-residents. It’s not entirely free, though. You’ll have to cover some sorts of fees. Only if you’re a Medical Cardholder, everything is free of charge. Ex-pats in Ireland with legal papers and who plan to live in Ireland for a minimum of one year can apply for Medical Card. There is an application process and a lot of paperwork involved, but in the end, it can be worth the trouble.
If you decide to make the Emerald Isle your new home, there’s one more thing to think about. Relocating from one house to another in the same city can be stressful; imagine moving from one country to another and from one continent to another. Make sure to plan out the entire process early on for your international relocation to go smoothly. And don’t even think about doing it yourself. Hiring movers experienced in international removals is non-negotiable.
It’s impossible to create a complete guide for Chinese ex-pats in Ireland. You’ll have to figure out a lot as you go. However, knowing these few basic things can help you organize your relocation to one of the world’s most picturesque and fairy-tale-like countries. Ireland is known as the land of pubs, leprechauns, and breathtaking landscapes. Who wouldn’t want to live here?